January 10 Flu UpdateThe Director General of OIE says that fears of bird flu were overblown.
Fears of a flu pandemic originating from the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus were overblown, the head of the World Organization for Animal Health said Thursday.
The Paris-based body — an intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide — has been at the forefront of global efforts to monitor and fight H5N1, which scientists have tracked because they fear it may mutate into a human flu virus that starts a pandemic.
But "the risk was overestimated," said Bernard Vallat, director general of the animal health organization, also known as the OIE.
Vallat said the H5N1 virus has proved extremely stable, despite concerns that it could mutate into a form that could spread easily among humans.
"We have never seen such a stable strain," Vallat said.
Effect Measure weighs in with a thoughtful response on this statement.
The first part is that the virus is extremely stable, meaning in this context, stable in terms of changes that might turn it into an animal virus that becomes easily transmissible to and between people. Maybe Director General Vallat knows what those changes are. If he does he should tell the scientific community. I, for one, would certainly like to know. Without knowing that, how could be possibly know how stable the virus is? It does change and adapt. So it isn't stationary.
Anybody has the right to shoot off their mouth without first engaging their brains. But the Director General of OIE isn't just anybody.
Meanwhile, WHO's David Nabarro is singing a different tune.
"Most countries have now focused on pandemic as a potential cause of catastrophe and have done some planning. But the quality of the plans is patchy and too few of them pay attention to economic and social consequences," he told BBC radio.
Girl is hospitalized with bird flu in Indonesia.
Two dead swans signal return of H5N1 to Britain.
ProMed has this as well.
ProMed follows up on Chinese and Pakistani human-human issues.
Kerala, India, has a road map to fight bird flu.
Trinidad and Tobago also have rules now to keep the flu out.
Doc from the Peter Sandman lab writes letter to editor to Caribbean publication on errors in a story.
Limestone, AL, asks if it is ready for the bird flu.
A report is issued on 25 public meetings held on bird flu in Kansas City. Called "helpful."
International Security publication looks bird flu, ready to "explode."
In Benin, they are fighting bird flu with voodoo.
Bangladesh has heightened concern over the bird flu.