Friday, December 21, 2007

December 21 Flu Update

WHO's team confirms that close H2H contact spread flu, which is not unprecedented.

ProMed has more contradictory reports from Pakistan. Read mod comment.

New avian outbreak in Germany.

New avian outbreak in Russia, too.

Bird flu confirmed in Benin.

Novavax bird flu vaccine moves forward.

Pakistan's new goal is safer culling.

Hospitals in Pakistan are also taking steps to contain infection.

Pakistan gives bird flu advice to people in that region.

Bird flu is not a contagious disease and does not spread with casual contacts or shaking hands, hugging or embracing. The only way it can spread to the human being is close and continuous contacts with the birds affected by this disease. These views were expressed by Chairman PMS Dr. Masood Akhtar sheikh while addressing the workshop in connection with the "Bird flu" under the auspices of Pakistan Medical Society.

Perhaps the day's most significant story....research confirms the ability of swine to be "mixing vessels" for influenza. Via CIDRAP.

US State Department has second in series of avian influenza in SE Asia.

Waterfowl in Massachusetts is being tested for bird flu.

Revere blogs the Declan Butler interview with the Indonesian health minister, giving the statements the truth test. Generally, Revere is skeptical of what is said, but note that he notes that many scientists are hoarding isolates, not just Indonesia. See below.

Supari is neither rational nor responsible. Some very reputable scientists are rational but also irresponsible. There is more than a grain of truth to the fact that Indonesia and other developing countries have a problem which the developed countries aren't solving. The scientists can't see it because they are merely conducting themselves in the same ways as always. No one has ever said it was wrong or unethical. But this is a special situation.

I'm saying it, now. We can't keep pointing fingers at Indonesia when we refuse to put our own house in order.


At 1:47 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Although not unexpected, the somewhat dismissive tone of the WHO official news releases these days, are becoming very concerning. It is as if they want to “normalize” or “marginalize” the increasing numbers of H5N1 infected individuals and clusters being reported out of these countries, like Pakistan, Indonesia and our number one good deceitful economic trading partner, China. I see while the WHO avian geek squad is busy in Pakistan doing CSI work, a new large cluster is evolving in Serang, Indonesia: five hospitalize students from a Islamic Boarding School, including a teacher – all of whom apparently ate an infected duck – two other possibly infected students hoofed it (booked) in fear for their lives – and in addition, two other family members who did not eat the duck are like suspects. This totals nine individuals.

Maybe Dr. Nabarro should reconsider his recent statement in New Delhi, India, that “ the broad epidemiological evidence suggests that H5N1 is not quite so serious”. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the numbers of infected people, and numbers and size of family clusters are increasing in separate countries around the globe. As one astute commentator pointed out in Revere’s discourse: if we wait until entire villages are full of human infections, it will be too late. And that seems to be situation that is troubling the most: the WHO officials ought not and should not dismiss these increase human infections, as random events that are to be expected because of the winter months in the northern hemisphere, and based on a three year trend. This is an oversimplification of the problem to its utmost. I noticed your mod comment in the ProMED article you flagged your readers to: “the relationships of another 6 suspected patients are not stated”.

No fear though, the hospitals in Pakistan are taking measures to contain any human H5N1 infections. The only trouble is, as the article points out several times: they have received no advice or guidelines from their NIH. If that were amazing enough, the hospitals have a whopping 50 doses of Tamiflu in reserve for emergencies. How about the need for 5,000 doses, which would seem more reasonable under the circumstances ? Fifty doses of Tamiflu can fit into one hand. And if these situations don’t hit the extreme concern bells, we have the grand mullah sheikh dispensing the general advice not to worry about EID travel and go ahead and have a good holiday. The Islam proclivity to conduct pilgrimages in extremely large groups and gather at Mecca in horrendous mind-boggling numbers, may eventually prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, when it comes to the influenza pandemic. I would submit to anyone that their extreme piousness, religious customs and ignorance on the H5N1 viral front, could well be the primary cause of spreading the contagious disease. Quick question folks: how does one even trace an outbreak of H5N1 human infections in over two million people in Saudi Arabia, who are from 100 different countries around the globe, and jumping on international airplanes ? You don’t. You don’t even have enough antivirals in one location to give to them and most of them would view the medicine as a capitalist infidel plot anyway.

Finally a comment or two on your CIDRAP article which discusses the new virus found in Missouri pigs, which supports the “mixing vessel” theory. The most significant elements of this article are its subtle hidden implications: China has lost over one million swine in the last 24 months to a “mysterious swine” disease (PRRS) that to date, they have failed to provide one sample or isolate for. This has been downplayed by their government for months by their secretive government, and Margie has let them pass on it, without comment.

Could it be that we have a whole bunch of little H3N2 and God-knows-what little influenza infected piggies oinking around in China provinces and they have purposely kept silent because they think they can deal with it by sticking more vaccines into them ?
Most likely, we don’t even know the half of what they are doing over there.

But hey Orange, we are in the winter and spring cold season now, and we should be expecting this type of news according to the WHO. No worries…



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