January 22-23 Flu Update
Sorry for the missed day. Life intervened.
ProMed reports a woman dead in Egypt (she had sick birds in her home) and two people in Indonesia in the hospital with suspicion of bird flu.
Margaret Chan had important words. Deaths from flu in 2006 were more than 04 and 05 combined. So much for a story that was dying out. Also, more outbreaks in S. Korea, and Nigeria. (Via CIDRAP)Effect Measure blogs this article as well--at least the leaders are saying the right things.
Look to the bottom of this CIDRAP report. Has bird flu reached Hungary (and Europe). Smae report--FAO says outbreaks among birds were actually down from last year....if they were all reported. Also noting that banning backyard flocks is considered ill-advised and more sicks birds in Thailand.Southern Japan had a new outbreak among birds.Definitive tests from Japan are expected later in the week.Vietnemese Delta Province is bird flu free for three weeks.An infectious bird flu expert from the University of Rochester is set to testify before Congress.Developing countries are demanding their fair share of bird flu drugs.CDC has released a pandemic communication guide. Note:
Scientists have modeled the spread of flu in a pandemic using modern informatics with a focus on the role of the airliner. The result has been noted before:
She outlined several mistakes to avoid, such as:
- Mixed or late messages. When it's critical to send a message quickly, "Don't worry about grammar or punctuation," she said.
- Paternalism. "It's not reasonable to tell people to not be afraid. Address that they are afraid, then give them information that may help alleviate that fear," Reynolds said.
- Ignoring rumors or myths. The longer rumors are allowed to circulate, the more likely they are to take hold.
- Power struggles between government agencies, which erode pubic confidence in crisis response.
The researchers show that strict travel restrictions would do little, if anything, to prevent the flu from spreading throughout the globe. Encouragingly, the model predicts that the use of antiviral drugs would significantly thwart a global flu outbreak within certain ranges of infectiousness if every country in the world had a drug stockpile sufficient to treat 5-10 percent of their populations.
A second national summit is being held in Orlando for business preparedness. It is sponsored by CIDRAP.An international pharmacist's organization has issued a report calling for an emphasis on continuity planning.Norvavax touts further success of its flu virus.Effect Measure on a little-seen study that showed that cats can get H5N1 and have no symptoms...and implications thereof.State in the Philippines is fighting bird flu.As Lunar New Year approaches, so do chicken sales.
January 15 Flu Update
Back in the saddle. Winter seems to be bringing its normal outbreaks....Very interesting post which a number of people have forwarded to me. The lead speaks for itself...is a hospital in Indonesia "overwhelmed" with bird flu cases.
An Indonesian hospital was overwhelmed with patients suffering bird flu symptoms as the disease spread further in Vietnam and Thailand reported its first case in poultry in six months.ProMed with news...human case in Egypt. In Indonesia, the father in the potential cluster is reported to be H5N1 negative.Here's the official WHO report from Indonesia.
There's an outbreak of bird flu among ducks in Thailand, too.More on Thailand.ProMed on Thailand and Indonesia.China says it will be effective and transparent in flu fight---these promises made to neighboring countries.There are reports that bird flu is spreading in Northern Nigeria, too.Effect Measure asks about this recent flu outbreak. Revere cites two possibilities. Either January is just a bad month (and that's possible), or we've seen a shift in the virus.
The Ministry of Health of Indonesia has confirmed the death of a 22-year-old woman from Tangerang City, Banten Province. The woman, whose infection was announced on 12 January, died later that day.
The Ministry of Health has also confirmed two additional cases of human infection of H5N1 avian influenza.
A 22-year-old woman from South Jakarta developed symptoms on 6 January 2007 and died on 12 January 2007. Investigations into the source of her exposure found reports of bird deaths near her home in the days prior to symptom onset.
The 18-year-old son of the 37-year-old woman from Tangerang City, Banten Province has now also been confirmed as infected with H5N1 avian influenza. He remains in hospital in a critical condition. Investigations into the source of his infection indicate similar environmental exposure as his mother (editor's note: WHO at it again).
Right now this looks like "flu season." But this virus has proved everyone wrong more often than not.The Mekong Delta remains on bird flu alert.Japan, too? Birds culled in Japan after H5N1 found.South Korea notes with nervousness the outbreaks around Asia.Newspaper says West Java in Indonesia was slow to react to bird flu danger, which certainly has been echoed over the past couple years.Should Indonesia ban backyard flocks?Wow, here's an interesting pandemic plan in Britain. Everyone is supposed to name a flu buddy who will bring them Tamiflu, as opposed to having them report to an ER.
A consultant in Britain says that the bird flu could reduce the DJIA 10%.Officials in Jamaica are warned to be ready for bird flu.Revere v. Furmento continues....Effect Measure responds, if reluctantly, to a dumb-ass challenged from Furmento.US experts issue reminder--bird flu will challenge US healthcare system.
Under a national pandemic plan due to be unveiled this week, patients who fall ill with the highly virulent form will be asked to name a friend or relative to bring them emergency Tamiflu tablets, rather than see a doctor or nurse.
He disagreed with the suggestion that the bird flu threat has been overstated by the media.
"The number of cases in 2006 was more than it was in 2005, which is more than it was in 2004 ... so it continues to go up in people," he said in an interview.
"And it continues to be just as lethal as it was in the beginning," Bartlett said at a conference aimed at helping U.S. hospital administrators prepare for a pandemic.
We're going out of town for the holiday weekend. Next post will be a January 15th update, probably posted sometime that evening.
The Update from today will be delayed until tonight.
January 4 Flu Update
Bird flu continues to "spread its wings" in Vietnam.In her inaugural address, Margaret Chan, the new Director-General of WHO says the world must remain vigilant against bird flu.Helen Branswell (thanks, Crofsblog) has the story of Dr. Chan's first day
"We learned from past experience it goes into cycles. There would be periods of high H5N1 activity or low activity," Chan said from Geneva during a telephone news conference.
"These kinds of what I call peaks and troughs are very characteristic for influenza. ... So my advice to health authorities would be: We are moving into the peak season of influenza activity again. This is the time we really need to redouble our efforts in terms of heightened sense of vigilance."
CDC has approved a "flu chip" that tests quickly for avian flu.A wild bird has tested positive for H5 in Hong Kong---no word on N1.Recombinomics has sources saying it is H5N1, and details the state of flu outbreaks for 2007.This story has emerged before. Imagine a pandemic. People take Tamiflu by the million, and then, eventually, it ends up in the wastewater treatment system, where active ingredients don't biodegrade.Another societal effect of the bird flu...cash supplies could be severely restricted.Recently, we ran a story about how water and wastewater treatment would react in a pandemic, with the report saying that measures currently in place could be effective. Revere blogs this article, saying more work like this is useful, if not the road to "academic stardom."Cameroon reports that its poultry sales have bounced back from bird flu scares.Here, a fellow flu blogger notes our second anniversary.