Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 29 Flu Update

New death in Indonesia, #101.

India is spraying markets and roads to try and prevent bird flu from spreading.

Orissa (India) samples of poultry and humans are negative.

Reports are now that bird flu is reaching urban areas in India.

India is now considering becoming the fourth nation in a bird flu surveillance network.

Indian magazine notes that humans were spared in bird flu.

Reports notes reasons for panic in India, as bird flu heads toward teeming capital.

There is another outbreak in Saudi Arabia. Thousands of birds are culled.

New bird cases noted in Bangladesh.

China reports an outbreak in Tibet.

More birds are dying in Thailand, causing concern.

ProMed looks at several countries.

Hygiene is discussed in Vietnam.

University of Pittsburgh reports success on bird flu vaccine.

Helen Branswell on Tamiflu resistance.

Scientific American on Tamiflu resistance.

Revere on Tamiflu "resistance." As always, the actual science is more nuanced and complex than how it is reported.

Toronto is urged to spend $27M on pandemic prep.


At 8:01 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I think there is a real significant lesson to be learned by watching the chaotic culling events currently happening in Bangladesh and India, throughout the rest of the world: if these countries are so blatantly unprepared to deal with an avian outbreak in their poultry – what might it say if the virus suddenly mutated to become highly transmissible human-to-human ? The answer is clearly the biggest 21st century plague disaster to be written in the history books. As one article points out, Calcutta, Madras, Bombay and Delhi, comprise four of the 13 most densely populated cities in the world. Bangladesh itself I believe is most densely populated country in the entire world. My point is, the inability to manage an infected poultry population is one thing (it results in economic consequences), however the failure to provide medicines, antivirals, vaccines and PPE to stave off the onslaught of a human pandemic results in unnecessary humans deaths, misery, economic disaster and long term survival implications.

In my view, culling works for extremely localized outbreaks of H5N1 in small geographic areas, once the virus spreads and expands beyond these limits – it becomes endemically embedded in the entire environment – and that is what we are watching in India and Bangladesh (and what has already occurred in Indonesia). All three of these countries are contaminated. I will say this though: at least Indonesia reports it’s suspected human infections. Not one case in Bangladesh or India has been verified, reported or treated, which by any stretch of the imagination under the current circumstances, is rather ludicrous and incredulous. I believe they would rather report a UFO landing or Big Foot Monster sighting, than admit that they any humans infected. With this kind of naïve attitude, a pandemic is “marking time”.

Notice in your Vietnam News article, Nguyen Huy Nga, Director of the Dept of Preventative Medicine of the Ministry of Health, states that he believes “the most likely epidemic that may occur this year is a human bird flu epidemic. Interesting. Give the guy a gold bar for honesty.

Equally as fascinating are your numerous articles about the WHO’s surprised reaction to H1N1’s resistance to Oseltamivir in the European countries. I must say, contrary to those prominent scientists quoted in your articles who are “surprised”, most of us on the sidelines are definitely not. We have known all along (based on sheer common sense) that it would just be a matter of time before the only silver bullet in our antiviral flu arsenal, would turn into a “blank”.

Tamiflu unfortunately will eventually become ineffectual for treating even seasonal influenza – it’s only a matter of time. Many countries, like Japan, have been flooding the environment with Tamiflu for years. Some Asian country farmers have been giving it directly to their poultry in water. In fact, what is most concerning is that viral resistance has apparently been developing right under everyone’s noses, and nobody has spotted it until now. Amazing…

Mis-describing the bird flu outbreaks in India, Bangladesh, Tibet, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Thailand, as “seasonal outbreaks” is like describing the events of “9/11” as a “7-11 holdup”, and this is ridiculous. I firmly believe we are seeing the H5N1 virus fueling itself up for a real super-charged human pandemic. I hope I am wrong, but you have to call a spade, a spade.



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