Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12 Flu Update

Indonesian man has bird flu, is being treated.

CIDRAP on this case, as well.

More on the new outbreak in Poland.

Bird flu also re-emerges in Vietnam.

CIDRAP on four countries with recent outbreaks.

Local story on the travels and work of Dr. Osterholm, of CIDRAP.

A military command in Eastern China has been told not to purchase chickens due to avian flu.

Report says Ontario not ready for a bird flu outbreak.

Another report from Canada talks about absenteeism and the economy, including people who are healthy but afraid to come to work.

Experts from Liverpool are leading UK bird flu fight.

Flu fighters in UK spent 121,000 pounds on hotel accommodations near Suffolk.

US Pandemic vaccine plan is subject to comments, rounded up by CIDRAP. Interesting to see differing perspectives....

Here's an interesting post from a paper in Tucson. Author says that organic chickens are just an excuse to charge more, that chickens don't like being outside, and that chickens indoors will be better protected from bird flu.

Company talks about delivering rapid diagnostic capability to the US government.


At 6:32 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your article about the Chinese military-controlled region of Nanjing (actually all China regions are controlled by the military) banning poultry purchases, after the death of the 24 yr old in Jiangsu province and the illness of his father, is rather timely. Earlier this week it seems, the central government issued orders for 36 major Chinese cities to maintain a MINIMUM 10 day reserve supply of food and cooking oil (Tuesday: link China also this week publicly expressed pessimism and issued a warning about possible winter and spring bird flu outbreaks (Monday), and the China Ministry of Health also announced a sudden major South China Region bird flu preparedness exercise (Tuesday).

It would appear to me this confluence of events and announcements this week are curiously coincidental, don’t you think ? Also, we have Australia getting nervous and this very same week, recommending that their citizens maintain at least three months supply of food.(Link: In addition, our US FEMA Region I, decides they are going to conduct a six state pandemic readiness exercise, in conjunction with the DOD, CDC and HHS.

My point here is that it appears things are revving up a little, and the US and Canada better start taking pandemic preparations a lot more seriously than we have been – and stop lollygagging around and dragging our feet on things. Specifically, as your Canadian articles point out, there are substantial risks associated with the failure of having adequate supplies stored where they are readily accessible, and worker absenteeism is going to have grave predictable repercussions all across the board. What the author calls a “significant negative multiplier effect” due to absenteeism, I would call a meltdown.

As further evidence of our total lack of preparedness, one has only to read the warm and fuzzy puppy CIDRAP article, which discusses public input to the US HHS and CDC “Pandemic Vaccine Allocation Plan”. Why does it seem a total surprise to everyone that the electrical grid support must be one of the highest priorities ? Every thing we do runs on electricity, unless you pedal a bicycle. And less of a “consensus on priority status for the families of military members and homeland security employees ? These kind’s of statements definitely lead me to believe we are in for a mess. The statement in the article, “citizens will be enraged if their expectation is not adjusted before a pandemic starts”, is absolutely ludicrous to me. Let me clue everyone in as to how things will work in reality…

If a mild pandemic occurs like 1957 and 1968, there will be no impact. In fact people will barely give it any attention at all. I lived through both “pandemics”, got sick, survived, and they were both non-events in anybody’s book who was alive at that time. However, a severe “Category V, 1918 like pandemic or worse”, spells real potential disaster. First, there is a heavy primary dependence on Tamiflu and Relenza, we have stockpiles for approximately at most 25% of our population, and that depends on required dosages, and getting it into the hands of people in the most critical regions of infection first is imperative. Is this going to happen by magic ? Somebody tell me how this is realistically going to happen, please. And who is going to have the cajones to police that effort ?

Secondly, and most importantly, during a severe pandemic, there will not be sufficient time to manufacture adequate matched vaccine to do a flip of good for anyone. Argue all you want about who has the priorities. Regardless of the hundreds of news articles we’ve all seen on the optimistic “six month target” of having a viable matched vaccine available, we will be damn lucky to see one in twelve to eighteen months, in quantities that will make any difference. What limited quantities of pre-pandemic vaccines that are available now, are slated for the military, ranking government officials, health care workers, and limited emergency responders. Couple all this with the fact that probably no hospital or pharmacy in the entire US or Canada has medical supplies or PPE beyond two weeks, and the problem becomes close to a Shakespearean tragedy.

Citizens being enraged if their “expectation is not adjusted before a pandemic starts” ? Citizens will absolutely be expecting everything that the government, businesses and themselves have actually failed to do: prepare adequately.

It appears that the Chinese and Australians are not screwing around anymore and are really starting to prime their pump for a pandemic. I would bluntly suggest we all get it in gear and do the same, ASAP.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home