Monday, December 31, 2007

December 30 Flu Update

A woman in Egypt has died of bird flu. She is the second death there in a week.

ProMed on Egypt. Note mod comment on the meaning of dormant.

An outbreak has occurred in Vietnam.
LTE in Indonesia criticizes government on virus sharing.

Excellent Effect Measure post, that says that WHO's statement that the virus hasn't mutated because of the lack of new cases is not supported by a knowledge of mutations. What you can't tell without looking at the actual RNA is whether the virus made some of the changes needed to be more transmissible, even if it didn't make all of them.

Pakistani finance document talks about financing poultry farming, including a discussion of the placement of labs in affected areas.

As always, Vietnam touts its vaccination efforts.


At 1:30 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I see from your first Egypt article that they may be in for another rough ride like last year. The human infections and events appear to be starting out in the same manner as last year at this time: a significant number of infections, illnesses and deaths reported for the first month or two in dead winter, then the children seem to get infected and probably due to the use of significant amounts of Tamiflu dispensed and the approaching spring cycle, the virus seems less virulent and deadly. Resistance to Tamiflu was reported last year in several instances there and it should be interesting to see if this same scenario unfolds again this time. What seems to be significantly different in Egypt this year is that the infections appear to be more widespread geographically – this can’t be good news.

I applaud the LTE composed by Emmy Fitri in Jakarta, which aptly describes her criticisms and summarizes the major concerns as a result of Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari’s current policies. It is very elegantly composed, concise and fairly describes the over all issues associated with providing H5N1 virus strains to the WHO, attribution via MTA’s, and global responsibility. Let’s just hope the esteemed Health Minister gets the message, and provides the world with an answer that will bring herself and her country into a more favorable light in 2008. Recalcitrance and obstinate behavior has proven predictably unsuccessful, unacceptable and dismal for her country so far.

I see another excellent article, as usual by Revere. His mild criticism of the WHO about their curious Friday statement released to quell any concern about the Pakistan cluster situation, really hits the bulls eye, dead center: the WHO is The World Health Organization, not the “World Reassurance Organization”. The issue is rather simple this time around: if further genetic sequence testing and analysis is pending, how on earth can they clearly make the statement that “there is no suggestion that the virus has changed into a form that poses a broader risk”? I have already expressed my major concern about the WHO’s incomplete RNA analysis and probable inaccurate (or at least premature) assessments in their news releases, but maybe I’m just too dense to really appreciate their political subtleties and public agendas.

I didn’t even bother reading your article about Vietnam touting its vaccination efforts. Vaccination of poultry in my view has a chance to work providing it is a matched vaccine to the existent circulating strains, it is performed uniformly and consistently across the total fowl population, and it is used as a tool in conjunction and combination with other animal husbandry procedures – like culling, bio-security, sanitation and disinfection, and removal of dangerous social and economic practices like wet markets, cock fighting and uncontrolled cross-border trade - otherwise, it doesn’t work.

Tomorrow Orange, with your indulgence I will have any interesting comment for you I have been working on: the top ten influenza predictions for 2008. This will be my take on what future events will most likely poke out in the world wide news over the next twelve months, and we can watch to see if I hit any of them accurately. This should turn out to be interesting, if not perhaps a very humbling, experience.

Somebody has to carry the heavy load though when it comes to bird flu, no pain, no gain. The quality of my ideas does increase proportionately with the approved federal minimum wage scale though.



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