Tuesday, October 09, 2007

October 9 Flu Update

China has lifted the quarantine in a bird flu afflicted area.

A region in India was also declared bird flu free.

EU Pandemic plans have major gaps that could cause chaos.

"Our findings show that even in Europe, which may be better prepared than some regions, considerable gaps and inconsistencies persist and several areas of operational planning have not been addressed," the study published in the October issue of the WHO Bulletin said.

Hosteling newsletter notes tourism risk remains low.

Bangladesh received World Bank funds for bird flu.

Lab reports new treatment for bird flu.

Bird flu prep is undertaken in Alabama

A massive grid computing project targets bird flu.

A company also demonstrated the value of a specific adjuvant.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I notice that your EU Report article - which points out Europe’s significant pandemic planning gaps and inconsistencies, including operational planning shortfalls - appears to be pretty consistent with our own recent critical US GAO report (GAO-07-1257T “Opportunities Exist to Clarify Federal Leadership Roles and Improve Pandemic Planning: http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20070910145435.pdf). Both reports appear to highlight the major flaws and inadequacies which must be attended to immediately if we are to survive a pandemic without society descending into utter chaos.

Interesting though, the biggest criticism of the US GAO report appeared to be that it was unclear how the secretaries of the HHS and DHS were going to share leadership during a pandemic. The EU report findings however appear to question their actual preparedness for storing and delivery strategies for antiviral drugs, mass pandemic vaccine immunization strategies, as well as border controls, quarantines and travel restrictions – which are all more fundamental issues.

This leads me to believe that the US is perhaps much farther along in its pandemic preparation and planning than Europe is. However, both continents are woefully behind the eight ball and need to accelerate their planning activities immediately.

Today, by coincidence, the President of the US published the following “National Strategy For Homeland Security” press release announcement, on the White House homepage, which further supports this contention, if it is read carefully: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/homeland/nshs/2007/sectionI.html

Regarding your Indonesian article you posted, where their “Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO – I assume this is in Indonesia, Bali or Sumatra)”, declares that “the risk to foreign nationals is believed to be low. There is no reason not to travel to these countries”. Furthermore, they also state: “The FCO insists that until human to human transmission occurs, the risk of contraction when on holiday is minimal”.

I don’t know about anyone else reading this, but Indonesia is about one of the last places on earth I’d consider going to, regardless of how beautiful and picturesque some of the islands are. And waiting until H2H transmission occurs, before there is risk – how absurd – apparently they didn’t get the WHO and CDC memo: it’s already occurred there, in Sumatra, last year. And would someone define “minimal” risk to me, please ?

Also, tell the 87 Indonesian’s who croaked there from H5N1 and are now pushing up daisies, that the “risk was minimal”.

I’ve scratched Indonesia off my travel list, along with Aruba. In Aruba, they kill young tourist girls and get away with it, and in Indonesia people are dropping over with bird flu infections like houseflies and they tell you not to worry about it.

Go figure. It’s become a strange up-side-down world these days.



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