Monday, October 08, 2007

October 8 Flu Update

I'm back.

The alarming news we have waited for may be here. The bird flu is said to be moving toward h2h transmission. (This news is all over the MSM, this is but one selection)

Scientist Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the H5N1 virus, commonly referred to as the bird flu, has mutated and can now develop in the upper respiratory systems of humans, which may increase the chances of the virus spreading from one person to another.

Meanwhile, a 44 year old woman died in Indonesia.

ProMed on this story. No readily apparent source of infection, personal contacts appear to be negative.

Vietnam remains on red alert.

A Lab Tech from Iowa is going to some training from the CDC, and she iss going to blog about it (cool!)


At 6:35 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your caption comment about the Kawaoka research findings are quite accurate Orange, in my opinion. Dr. Kawaoka is a heavy weight when it comes to H5N1 virus interpretation. Any way you slice and dice the article, it is definitely not good news. I believe we are now entering the final “pre-pandemic stage”, where the virus has mutated sufficiently enough and is now getting ready to cross the threshold, to enable it to efficiently infect in a human-to-human manner.

It is only missing its highly transmissible aspects, but I believe that will fall into place shortly. I also believe that Henry Niman is correct in his recent comments, when he stated, “we are only months away” from a pandemic. (Just my opinion of course)

To make matters a little worse, the official news out of Indonesia is not being accurately reflected in some of their articles. Toggletexts and first hand reports from Riau province we are seeing (over the weekend) indicate that the number of ill under observation and dying, and deceased, are being dramatically under reported. Also, there are two nurse HCW’s who have also fallen ill (once again) who treated many of these H5N1 infected people in Riau. This is in addition to the eight people officially reported who are ill and suspected of having H5N1 infections in Medan, North Sumatra. I am mentioning this because if the true numbers of H5N1 infected people in Indonesia were accurately reported, it would instantly shed more light on the severity of the situation there.

I seldom if ever make any predictions about when I would imagine a pandemic will occur, because I have absolutely no scientific facts to support my contention.

In this instance though, based on the news developments and Dr. Kawaoka’s research findings – I have to say that I have no problem agreeing with Niman…

I will go out on a limb and say it will only be a matter of “months” now before we start seeing numerous large clusters bubbling up. Now is the time to be neither an optimist nor pessimist, but rather switch from being a “possibilist”, to a downright “probablist” mode of thinking. Dr. Kawaoka’s research translates into a clear warning of an imminent pandemic.

Let’s hope I’m wrong, but I’ve learned to be a very good bettor on these things.



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