December 19 Flu UpdateWHO has told Pakistani authorities that the cluster in Pakistan was due to a combination of common infection sources and some H2H from very close contact. With what we know, this is plausible. There have been other H2H transmissions from close contact. It would be interesting to see if the onset dates match the theory. Finally, the ultimate point is to find out if the virus itself was any different.
CIDRAP has this from FAO.....avian outbreaks were down for 2007, despite a recent spike.
Voice of America has this from David Nabarro:
Bird flu is a problem that will likely be with us for some years to come, according to David Nabarro, senior coordinator for avian and human influenza at the United Nations. But citing data on the spread of the H5N1 virus from 146 nations, Nabarro emphasized the positive. "The first thing to say is that the situation has changed, between 2004 and 2007, the rate at which new countries are being affected by H5N1 has reduced, we've got a bit of a plateauing [leveling out], the number of human cases, which act as a sentinel, has slightly decreased, and the human deaths have also decreased." He said that broad epidemiological evidence suggests that the H5N1 virus situation is not quite so serious.
Declan Butler of Nature interviews the Indonesian Health Minister about its view on sharing virus samples.
We are willing to share viruses for research purposes but if a commercial company wants to create a vaccine from those samples, then it must negotiate with Indonesia, which has rights over the samples.
But the key outstanding concession Indonesia demands is that all shared virus samples be subject to a material transfer agreement clearly setting out such rights. We already share our virus-sequence data with the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), a body created last year. I consider GISAID has established a fair and transparent mechanism for regulating genetic-sequencing databases because it includes a material transfer agreement.
The current US budget has slashed pandemic funds from $870M to $76M.
The US State Department is running a series of articles on bird flu preparedness, featuring Vietnam here. Interesting point: they say that preparing for bird flu has strengthened the country's overall capacity to fight disease.....does Revere write for the State Department.
Speaking of Revere, he does write on Effect Measure. Here, he blogs yesterday's news that Indonesia looks back at some past cases to see if they were bird flu. He notes how differently this is explained in different media outlets.
A University in Pakistan is trying to raise awareness.
Article details bird flu preparedness challenge in East Java, Indonesia.
“I’ve never been frightened of bird flu,” Maryati, a chicken-seller, told IRIN, while cutting up a bird. “I’ve also heard about cases of human avian flu but I’m not worried.”
Canadian experts say masks don't protect against flu.
The world association of Chief Risk Officers has released a position paper on bird flu.
Virginia is well prepared for a pandemic.