Wednesday, January 02, 2008

January 1 Flu Update

Egypt is working harder on flu after recent deaths.

ProMed on Egypt, noting that claims that the disease is spreading despite mass vaccination are not valuable until more is known about how vaccination was done.

Also, why the 100% fatality in Egypt when in the past there has been success treating the disease there. (Note mod comment below, illustrating just how confounding this problem is and how hard it is to develop a fact base.)

The 100 percent mortality rate for the 4 cases reported during the past week, in contrast to the more favourable outcomes achieved by the Egyptian Health Ministry previously is being attributed to delayed diagnosis (in part due to reluctance of patients to come forward for treatment) and consequent late initiation of Tamiflu treatment, rather than to any increased virulence of the H5N1 virus.

South Vietnam has had an outbreak in Geese.

DHS says the "last mile" is where trouble would start in telecom during a pandemic.

This is very funny.....drunken man causes panic claiming he has bird flu.


At 11:35 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I find the ProMED comment by Mary Marshall quite interesting, that “ in order to assess the continued circulation of the virus, despite mass vaccination, details of the vaccines used, the vaccination schemes, date on outbreaks in vaccinated flocks and detailed updates on locations and number of new outbreaks, is necessary. The vaccinations seem to mask the real incidence of infection”. It does appear to me that we have the same type epizootic situation going on in Egypt, as in Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and most probably Pakistan and Iran, at the moment. We also, in my opinion, have an extremely fast mutating virus which render these poultry vaccines mostly ineffective via multiple unidentified sub-strains, or at minimum, drive the birds toward temporary asymptomatic conditions – which makes spotting sick and virus shedding birds much more difficult, that is until they actually start dying. This entire evolutionary process seems to be causing more human infections in the unsuspecting villagers and poultry handlers, and over dependency on ineffective vaccinations appears (to me) to be masking the true extent of the situation.

I believe it is extremely important at this time, to also focus in on the other side of the coin: determine exactly how the H5N1 is mutating, identify those amino acid markers that are statistically more likely to appear (and are) in avian influenza virus proteins and those that are showing up in human influenza virus proteins, especially in view of the fact that Indonesia has reported up to five new sub-clades in circulation there. Bird viruses accumulate and retain these markers after infecting humans and it is extremely important to track their progress in these endemic situations. If human specific markers start accumulating in bird flu viruses that are infecting humans in Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia, it strongly suggests that the H5N1 sub-strains are rapidly adapting to the human populations. It is high likely that we also have 2-3 new sub-clades circulating around Cairo, Qalyubiay, Minulfiya and Gharbiya. Acquiring (and releasing) this critical information by the WHO and these governments will lead to identification of which proteins in cells are appearing to enhance the replication of the viruses, and which are exhibiting suppression in the immune response. Releasing, instead of withholding type of specific information will no doubt lead to better poultry and human vaccines, and more realistic pandemic threat assessments. Just my opinion here – let’s publish some real scientific data to support or refute all these “increased virulence theories”, and get things off the dime.

Regarding the DHS article about the “last mile” turmoil and vulnerability – oh yeah, the author is close to identifying the real problem, but doesn’t even come close to how unprepared businesses and the government is, when it comes to a pandemic. We have spent years installing the most impenetrable and complex system of electronic firewalls, password protections, and encryption procedures known to man – all to deny unauthorized access to valuable internet systems during normal operations. Nearly all telecommuting and remote work access procedures are all “on paper” and never have been tested for feasibility. Without realistic testing of emergency IT procedures, relaxing accessibility and actually allowing telecommuting and remote work access – expect major economic disruption caused by IT gridlock within days.

And the nut job intoxicated tourist in Abu Dhabi who claimed he had bird flu ? The police there should have thrown his butt into the middle of a commercial chicken coop, right in the midst of 100,000 clucking chickens, until he sobered up.

I guess that would be considered too inhumane and uncivil these days, but that’s what Mohammad ‘al bin Wulfgang, chief of police would have done.



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