Monday, January 21, 2008

January 20 Flu Update

Bird flu continues to spread in India.

A poultry farmer apparently committed suicide because his sales had fallen so much.

The situation on the ground in India appears to be chaotic--word to the wise.

Egypt says infection rates have fallen since the middle of the month.

Indian poultry has been banned from Nepal.

Is there a medical fabric that can block bird flu?

Vietnam is importing 500 million doses of avian vaccine.

Taiwan complains that it is excluded from world meetings about health issues like the flu pandemic.

Nash County, NC is preparing for a flu pandemic.


At 10:01 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


One of the speculative things to consider when reviewing the daily reports from both India and Egypt, is the distinct possibility that a lot of milder type H5N1 infected cases are occurring below the radar in both places. Combing through dozens and dozens of local news reports from both places reveals many hundreds of people being observed with “feverish type conditions”, but not falling desperately ill enough to be hospitalized. It appears that Egypt is in the midst of a massive poultry vaccination campaign, which seems to be having an immediate positive effect on the poultry, further resulting in a temporary tertiary impact of reducing the number of infected people. As your one news report points out today, even tiny Vietnam is importing a whopping 500 million doses of poultry vaccine (probably from China) to keep their poultry from becoming infected.

The Indian government however, appears to be in complete utter chaos, struggling to enact any kind of master strategy, other than battling with the poor local villagers in the West Bengal provinces, to cull the infected poultry. Since India publicly announced about a year ago, that they had developed their own inexpensive H5N1 type poultry vaccines, it is all very tragic and puzzling why they have not implemented a concerted nationwide poultry inoculation program to protect their country against this massive infestation which is now occurring and appearing to get worse as the days pass. In my opinion, unless India immediately and massively starts a national poultry vaccination initiative – they face two perils – loss of millions of their free ranging poultry (which their poor villagers are dependent upon for subsistence), and the risk of significant numbers of undetected human H5N1 infections igniting in their midst.

There are unusually large numbers of fevers and influenza-like illnesses being reported in humans in both India and Egypt by their local news media, and this cannot in all likelihood, be solely attributable to seasonal flu or misdiagnosis due to similar symptomatic diseases, like dengue. My concluding observation is that the WHO has been uncharacteristically silent in regards to both India and Egypt the last sixty days. I believe the situation is becoming so precarious, especially in India, that if the bird flu virus were to become highly transmissible in their human population, it would quickly drain nearly all available world reserves of Oseltamivir and any human vaccines that might be available.

If India manages to quell this humongous bird flu infestation, it will be by sheer luck, a change in the natural season, and the departure of the wild birds that frequent the area. If they fail to adequately cull down their infected flocks and vaccinate the remainder throughout the country, they will do doubt an endemic situation. In fact, there government must take this decisive action in the oncoming weeks and months, or the entire world will be one more step closer to a novel influenza pandemic occurring.

And as India, Bangladesh and Indonesia have proven so far, very few of these densest populated countries in the world are adequately prepared to contain massive outbreaks of bird flu in its poultry, let alone a virulent and highly pathogenic outbreak of influenza in its human population.

Is what is going on in these densely populated countries in fact the final stages before mutation and evolution of the virus into a repeat of the 1918 Great Influenza ? It’s certainly beginning to appear that way.



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