Sunday, November 04, 2007

November 4 Flu Update

Sorry for the slow pace of updates, there is a lot going on. More regular this week, I hope.

A 30 year old Indonesian woman died Saturday, before we even knew she was sick.

ProMed on this death...she had been around hundreds of dead chickens.

ProMed on Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan, as reported here yesterday.

Azerbaijan says not bird flu here.

Arab story reviews the effect bird flu could have on the exotic bird trade.

Canadian local government talks about teamwork required in pandemic.


At 6:32 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The news of human bird flu deaths out of Indonesia these days is quite interesting because the numbers are suspect. Indonesia’s reported CFR to date is running exactly at 80% (90 fatalities divided by 112 reported cases). Seems simple enough. However, if one were to extrapolate the statistical number of “reported cases” that correspond to the world average and most other countries who have experienced bird flu deaths, you would realistically come up with around 150 reported cases (math being: 90 divided by “X” equals 60%). It seems doubtful to me that the CFR is actually higher than the world average due to a more virulent strain.

This would mean that they are vastly underreporting and/or misreporting their number of cases, which many of us have long suspected. Nobody in science or the MSM seems to be latching on to this simple concept.

Your ProMed article I believe is a similar clouded situation: the continuous outbreaks of H5N1 in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam, points to a much larger problem in those regions of the world. The H5N1 virus is endemic in their total environment, much like it has become in Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Egypt and the entire Black Sea area – which really means that the immediate threat of bird flu deaths in poultry can be dealt with by culling, but it does not eliminate the viral contamination in their geographical environment – an impossible achievement at this point.

This means that these countries will face continuous outbreaks of H5N1 infection in their poultry flocks in the future, regardless of their mass vaccination programs or mass culling efforts.

I like the name that the people of Durham called their pandemic preparedness exercise: “Pandemonium” – how appropriate.

But did you notice the one-liner that Dr. Robert Kyle, their regional medical officer stated at the end of the article ? He said, “SARS will be miniscule by comparison”.

That’s EXACTLY what my epidemiologist/PHD neighbor said to me this past weekend, and he is a researcher at one of the few designated Level Four Bio-secure laboratories in the nation. He believes an H5N1 avian based influenza pandemic, will make the SARS episode look like a cake-walk in the dark. (this is again consistent with the viewpoint of most of the knowledgeable individuals where I work). To quote him, "it could be a highly infectious disease more easily transmitted than tuberculosis and more deadly than SARS".

Just thought I would pass this little tidbit on to you and your readers. If a pandemic emerges, the chances are it will not be your usual epidemic based experience that we are most accustomed to… the experts are quietly mumbling viral “barn burner” amongst themselves.



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