Wednesday, November 07, 2007

November 7 Flu Update

Outbreak kills 590 ducks in Vietnam.

There is flooding in Vietnam, which always raises bird flu concerns.

A Korean man died of suspected bird flu in Southern Vietnam. (Note: this is unlikely to actually be bird flu).

The US government has pledged $10.5M to Vietnam for bird flu fight.

Interesting...federal government discusses telework--and a pandemic is one reason why.

David Nabarro points out bird flu trouble spots.

He says the virus continues to spread in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam in Asia, and Egypt and Nigeria in Africa.

A Vietnamese officials claims the flu vaccine is working.

Uganda says its going to keep bird flu outbreaks more secret.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is still not sharing flu samples.

A communicable disease conference in Vietnam covers bird flu.

Blog on Nature asks if you're going to be lucky when the US hands out vaccines.

Gina Kolata of the New York Times (who wrote the book that turned me on to the flu) spoke at Washington State.

Throughout her discussion, Kolata compared the 1918 pandemic to modern concerns. She spoke about the hysteria the United States was involved in after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Among the list of potential disasters were the Avian Bird Flu, bioterrorism threats and anthrax scares.

“Flu isn’t the only biological threat which the government worries about,” Kolata said.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Excellent array of articles covering a myriad of bird flu topics today.

Regarding the comments of Dr. David Nabarro about some of the worlds’ lingering “trouble spots”, I am impressed that he had the backbone to mention China specifically, and about the ongoing problem the WHO is having with current tissue samples of bird flu infections. Since this is his boss’s old stomping ground, it shows he’s a straight shooter.

Of course, Indonesia, via that nitwit Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, is still also refusing to provide current samples. She continues to whine, and has even requested the return of all 58 bird flu viruses it provided to the World Health Organization. There needs to be a law against international Al Capone’s.

As to the Nature Blog which asks the critical question about who feels lucky enough to draw the right color when it comes to dispensing the pre-pandemic vaccine – interesting question. I believe Gina Kolata answers it best: “riots would (will) occur at vaccination clinics”. Anybody who thinks otherwise is just kidding themselves – counter intuitive, so the best advice is to stay as far away from vaccination clinics as possible, until things blow over.

Believe it or not, I’m just not too worried about this subject. I have invested two years of time and effort (spare time of course) and a few discretionary bucks, very carefully getting things ready to stay-in-place, for up to three to four months, or even longer.

Plus, health authorities just don’t want a hybrid Jack Nicholson, Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson type human being (like the Wulfster) showing up during riots at a vaccination clinic, during a pandemic emergency. It just won’t be a healthy situation all around. No thanks – I’ll pass on the stress test. I’d rather watch the melee from a safe distance.

I find your comment about the DOJ article and their telework COOP arrangements being “one reason why”, a little perplexing to me – currently, the threat of a pandemic is the ONLY reason driving the federal government to consider remote working arrangements. All agencies now have very elaborate remote teleworking arrangements written on paper, but very few are practical or realistic. Nor do they really promote or allow teleworking arrangements as stated in the article by the DOJ Assistant Attorney General for Administration. Only when an actual national emergency is declared will the federal agencies permit teleworking arrangements on a significant scale – currently they only permit it on a case-by-case exception basis. What’s more, the federal government has the most sophisticated, complicated, encrypted and fire-wall-protected internet and communications systems in the world, which will prevent successful teleworking from home during in a large national emergency. Federal workers will be just like anyone else: they will feel they have to go to physically go to work, hence further advancing the spread of the disease.

Just watch – the entire federal communication system will be thrown into electronic gridlock during a pandemic. I doubt even if cell phones will be of any major value, the entire communications systems will be in overload.



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