January 25 Flu UpdateToday's most significant story, from the flu conference. CIDRAP reports that there is evidence of subclinical disease in Cambodia. This would have huge implications for H5N1--both its transmissibility (higher than thought) and its lethality (lower than thought).
Revere blogs this, noting that it is a positive development.
Not all H5N1 cases are serious or fatal disease.
ProMed also has this story. Note mod comment from the ever-skeptical CP:
This is an interesting observation, but difficult to interpret in the absence of
quantitative data. The analysis is limited by the fact that there have been few human cases of H5N1 avian influenza in Cambodia (since the beginning of 2005 only 7 and all fatal). The study would have been more productive if conducted in a country with greater exposure to the disease. The 100 percent fatality rate in Cambodia and the occurrence of a low frequency of inapparent infection in children is compatible with some degree of inherent resistance of the majority of the population to the H5N1 virus.
Two more districts in West Bengal are reporting flu outbreaks.
A total of 11 districts have been hit.
Low compensation is part of the problem in India, as noted previously.
State is calling for "all possible help" for flu.
Seasonal rains are hitting India, and they hope it helps with bird flu spread.
Nepal is afraid that bird smuggling will bring bird flu over from India.
Interesting stuff on CIDRAP. You will recall the recent study that said non-drug interventions saved lives in 1918. A debate between John Barry, who wrote "The Book" on the pandemic and the authors has erupted over whether New York City used quarantines has emerged.
Kaiser is testing a genetically engineered vaccine.
Along the lines of what has been mentioned before, Crucell has developed ideas on how to use blood from infected people to develop antibodies.
No new cases noted in the UK.
A Phase I test of a universal flu vaccine has been completed.
Story on vaccine testing site in Halifax.
Finland has picked Glaxo to supply its pandemic vaccine.
There's a parrot joke in here. Belarus killed some parrots on fear they had bird flu.