Friday, November 16, 2007

November 15 Flu Update

A second outbreak in Britain is feared.

Economist talks, as always, realistically and in an informed sense about how bird flu could effect British poultry, given the stubborn nature of animal diseases.

Barbados has banned UK poultry.

Workers near the outbreak in Saudi Arabia have tested negative.

Meanwhile, 50,000 birds have been culled.

Bird flu is also back in Bangladesh.

WHO meeting is coming up to rebuild virus sharing system worldwide.

It is unclear whether the Geneva meeting will make enough progress towards setting up such a system to get Indonesia sending samples again. But "we need to know what is happening to the Indonesian virus," says Dave Heymann, head of flu at the WHO.

In Hong Kong, a health official is inspecting bird reserves to check on surveillance measures.

Revere on recent research that casts doubt on the idea you need Tamiflu within 48 hours of infection to have the drug be effective.

A Seniors Group in Illinois will hear about bird flu at its dinner meeting.


At 6:47 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


It seems fairly evident from your first few articles about Great Britain, that it needs to seriously ramp up it surveillance efforts on zoonotic diseases. To have three fairly major contagious animal born disease outbreaks (H5N1, Foot-and-Mouth, Bluetongue), four times in one year, reveals a serious problem: lack of government commitment, oversight, and biosecurity measures.

England needs to get their act together quickly, or they will be stuck in the vicious culling cycles like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and few others. Is the H5N1 endemic there – doubtful, but it could be if they don’t implement the most stringent agricultural health measures immediately.

It’s fairly easy to tell that as the seasons change in the hemispheres and migratory patterns of wild birds kick in, the spread of H5N1 seems to be continuous. It doesn’t take an army people conducting 500 scientific studies at 85 universities over the next twenty years to arrive at this conclusion.

Regarding the WHO meeting next week in Geneva to try and work a deal for sharing of flu viruses – not a change in Hades with Ms. Supari. I have personally read some of her vehement comments about the West taken from local translated Indonesian news articles. What she says publicly to the Who and privately to her own people are two entirely different things. It would be beneficial to reach an agreement, however, I really believe events will eventually overtake the issue: at the rate H5N1 is mutating, there will be sustained human-to-human transmission in the near future. My opinion not based on scientific fact, just founded on good old common sense and the power of observation.

Finally, lest anyone take Revere’s article and count on taking Tamiflu during a pandemic (long after they have been exposed) and bet that they will be safe – forget it. The study was based on seasonal influenza type A/B strain results, not the killer H5N1.

The best advice to follow when it comes to H5N1, is that life comes with no guarantees and few second chances.

I prefer to have a stockpile of Clorox, not Oseltamivir: it’s cheaper, kills just about every nasty little bug on the planet, and it’s made in America.



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