Saturday, December 15, 2007

December 14 Flu Update

Big news. Today's news from Pakistan indicates that there may now be five cases. If true, this is the most alarming news yet on H5N1.

CIDRAP has this as well. Note sense of urgency in post, and this:

Khushnood Akhtar, secretary of Pakistan's health ministry, said the cases occurred in November but said that four brothers are involved, Deutsche Presse-Argentur (DPA) reported today. One of the men, who worked on a poultry farm, may have contracted the H5N1 virus after he helped cull sick birds, Akhtar told DPA.

The man survived but may have infected three of his brothers, none of whom had been at the farm or in contact with sick birds, Akhtar said in the DPA report. The DPA report appears to contradict the KUNA story, which said the two men in its report were farm workers.

ProMed has the Pakistan information. Note this rather alarming phrase in the mod comment, from the normally skeptical CP.....

An unstated number of other people are suspected cases and are under surveillance awaiting the outcome of diagnostic tests.

Revere blogs this as well. Read to see what the phrase "The unexpected part is the thing that worries everyone. The unexpected part we are all expecting, that is," means.

Here's an AP story that rounds up the recent flu news. More than anything, this shows that the recent flu news is getting MSM attention again.

They are working to confirm the two deaths in Pakistan were H5N1. They were, by the way, poultry workers.

China says not to worry, the two cases of bird flu have apparently not spread around them.

Burma has its first case of bird flu.

ProMed reports on Burma has well, noting the disease extending its range.

CIDRAP on Myanmar.

In Hong Kong, a heron at a nature reserve has tested positive.

Story on community surveillance in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The UAE has banned Polish poultry.

A Poultry Farmer's union protests recent moves by the UK government.

Australian paper has a shopping list for bird flu.

Rwanda says that it is successful in controlling bird flu.

More work in the Philippines on fighting bird flu.

Pakistan feels it will be important to educate poultry workers.

Finally, perhaps the most important piece of the day. CIDRAP looks back at ten years of the bird flu...what happened then, what have we learned now. This is a must read.


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


You have done an excellent job with your litany of articles to capture the news over the last twenty four hours. My view on the disease specifics which are still lacking in the Pakistan, China, Burma (Myanmar) and Indonesia situations, still has not been swayed by the fuzziness surrounding these reported news events. In fact, these nebulous reports probably reinforce my belief that H5, H7 and H9 are circling their wagons of mutated viruses around the globe, and probably accelerating.

Dr. Fukuda, in your last CIDRAP article probably captures my thoughts best, with these remarks:

“The re-emergence of H5N1 and the near-simultaneous 2003 eruption of SARS ‘brought home to both the public and decision makers that emerging infectious diseases really pose very large threats to populations’, he said. And not just a threat in terms of killing people: This can affect travel patterns. It can bring down economies. It can have very drastic social and political effects”.

I believe where we are headed with all these reports of massive numbers of infected poultry and wild birds, as well as suspected human-to human transmission cases, is exactly what Revere says in his commentary: we better be prepared psychologically, physically and emotionally, to “expect the unexpected”, in the near future. I spoke with a very educated lady from Shanghai, China last night, and I believe she would dispute what the official news reports from China are saying about what the real situation is there. Here is a link of the entire conversation and I would like to share it with you and your readers:

I believe one of the main problems we are facing with the spread of bird flu, is denial. Countries and their governing bodies, simply do not want to admit for obvious political, economic, public health and social reasons, that they have an avian influenza virus crisis within their very own borders – they believe culling, poultry vaccinations and Tamiflu blankets will suppress and disguise the problem. This is understandable because it flows with politics and human nature. However, note that two out of three of these tactical approaches have already failed, and blanketing the infected areas with antiviral medicines will eventually collapse also. Since some countries are being totally deceptive about their endemic situations and the true nature of their infections, everyone will ultimately have to pay the supreme sacrifice, and poorer under-developed countries will suffer the worst, no doubt.

I’m not going to quibble about the details and specifics of how many one-sie’s and two-sie’s of people are infected in Pakistan, or China, or Indonesia, or even how many poultry have died where, or how many people are “under observation”, because I don’t think any of this information really amounts to a hill of beans anymore. What essentially matters is when the Tamiflu stops working and that is when to expect all hell to break loose. These countries that are reporting human H5N1 infections in humans (after the fact), have been flooding their villages and country sides with antiviral medicines, and that is the only thing that has prevented a pandemic so far.

When will the Tamiflu blanket stop working? Who knows, but I think the WHO and CDC scientists and medical hotshots who like to get their names in research articles better get to work and really start tracking things and figuring it out. Our entire North American stockpile of Oseltamivir may prove to be pretty worthless.


At 5:31 AM, Anonymous wilfriedsoddemann said...

H5N1 avian flu: Spread by drinking water into small clusters:

Human to human and contact transmission of influenza occur - but are overvalued immense. In the course of Influenza epidemics in Germany recognized clusters are rarely (9% of the cases in the season 2005).
In temperate climates the lethal H5N1 avian flu virus will be transferred to humans strong seasonal in the cold via cold drinking water, as with the birds feb/mar 2006.
Recent research must worry: So far the virus had to reach the bronchi and the lungs in order to infect humans. Now it infects the upper respiratory system (mucous membranes of the throat e.g. when drinking and mucous membranes of the nose and probably also the conjunctiva of the eyes as well as the eardrum e.g. at showering). In a few cases (Viet Nam, Thailand) stomach and intestine by the H5N1 virus were stricken but not the bronchi and the lungs. The virus might been orally taken up, e.g. when drinking contaminated water.
The performance to eliminate viruses of the drinking water processing plants in Germany regularly does not meet the requirements of the WHO and the USA/USEPA. Conventional disinfection procedures are poor, because microorganisms in the water are not in suspension, but embedded in particles. Even ground water used for drinking water is not free from viruses.
In temperate climates the strong seasonal waterborne infections like norovirus, rotavirus, salmonellae, campylobacter and - differing from the usual dogma - influenza are mainly triggered by drinking water dependent on the drinking water temperature (in Germany minimum feb/mar – maximum august). There is no evidence that influenza primary is transmitted by saliva droplets. In temperate climates the strong interdependence between influenza infections and environmental temperatures can’t be explained with the primary biotic transmission by saliva droplets from human to human with temperatures of 37.5°C. There must be an abiotic vehicle like cold drinking water. There is no other appropriate abiotic vehicle. In Germany about 98% of inhabitants have a central public water supply with older and better protected water. Therefore in Germany cold water is decisive to virulence of viruses.
In hot climates/tropics the flood-related influenza is typical after extreme weather and natural after floods. Virulence of Influenza virus depends on temperature and time. If young and fresh H5N1 contaminated water from low local wells, cisterns, tanks, rain barrels or rice fields is used for water supply water temperature for infection may be higher as in temperate climates.

Dipl.-Ing. Wilfried Soddemann
Epidemiological Analysis:


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