Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 28 Flu Update

Very interesting. Not withstanding the recriminations inside the country, WHO is commending India for controlling the bird flu.

WHO also says that the flu isn't any worse in China than anywhere else. Revere blogs, noting its not a competition, and given what we don't know, we don't need to make it worse, its bad already.

Outbreaks continue in Pakistan.

Vietnemese Ag leaders are combining to fight the bird flu.

Researchers look at the spread of various H5N1 strains, noting that some strains from Southern China never spread. This work has interesting potential.

"Some countries appear more exposed to bird flu invasion than others. Learning that is a good step in discovering which social and ecological factors promote, or, on the other hand, hamper the virus' spread," lead author Robert G. Wallace, a postdoctoral researcher, said in a prepared statement.

In Britain, a local meeting is held about the bird flu.

In Fiji, communication is believed to be the key.

No Update Today

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February 26 Flu Update

Human deaths and cases popping up all over.....probably a normal winter occurrence, but who knows?

The sick Chinese migrant worker has died.

A woman died in Vietnam as well.

Two other Vietnamese are supposedly ill.

Massive cull in Bangladesh.

Despite recent cases in China, WHO downplays risk as normal winter disease activity.

CIDRAP on flu spread.

ProMed catalogs recent flu developments.

Overall article on the spread of flu in Asia.

The US says Indonesia's bird flu conspiracy theory is nutty.

Indians are warned bird flu could strike again.

Article from India notes warnings that went unheeded in West Bengal.

The US has provided some funds to India.

People in Barbados are also warned about bird flu.

Virginia Beach is for lovers, and for flu prep.

5 years after SARS, people wonder if Ontario has done anything at all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

February 25 Flu Update

A 4 year old girl in Egypt is H5N1

Human cases put three countries on alert.

CIDRAP on China, Pakistan and Vietnam outbreaks.

There's an additional outbreak in China.

ProMed with more from China.

Bird flu hits another area in Bangladesh.

Financial impact of bird flu on families in India.

California newspaper article on bird flu remaining a serious threat.

Pakistan article notes it will take "phenomenal" resources to combat bird flu.

Article highlights the role of nurses in pandemic prep in Illinois.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

February 24 Flu Update

A migrant worker in China who ate sick chickens has died.

An additional province in Vietnam has been impacted.

ProMed rounds up WHO confirmations of recent human cases.

This is hilarious. If you have read Gina Kolata's book about the flu, you know about Kirsty Duncan, the hyperactive, self-aggrandizing, drama queen who made a reality show out of trying to find flu virus in the permafrost. Well, she's running for the Canadian Parliament. No, really. Be here all week.

February 23 Flu Update

Flu spreads again in Bangladesh.

There's also more outbreak news from Tibet.

Big economic losses in Bangladesh due to bird flu.

This is something we don't think about....but there's a reason there's so many chickens in Asian countries---they rely on it for food. And when that supply is interrupted? Story here from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh urges "caution" in reporting bird flu.

Vested groups are active to prod the media to create a panicky situation and influence the government to import costly vaccines for making brisk business in the name of controlling avian influenza,â€‌ Dr Muhammed Abdul Karim, an expert working with Bangladesh Agriculture University told a seminar on Friday.

Thailand claims slight mutation in flu virus.

Some crows died in India, setting off a panic.

A professor in Pakistan says not to worry, bird flu won't spread there because it is hot.

As if in counterpoint, an outbreak is reported in Karachi.

Revere blogs the recent book from the Indonesian health minister who claims bird flu is part of the developed world's attempt to control the third world......note the use of the phrase "tenuous grip on reality."

NIOSH has an alert on protecting workers from bird flu.

Huntington WV has made a bird flu video---WASH YOUR HANDS!

Friday, February 22, 2008

No post Saturday....

On the road......

Thursday, February 21, 2008

February 21 Flu Update

ProMed on recent fatality reports

CIDRAP rounds up cases as WHO does some verification.

Now, Indonesia is sharing samples again.

An angle we hadn't considered......bird flu is bad for shuttlecock makers in India....

More on flu investment in South Vietnam.

Vietnam is pushing provinces to help with bird flu.

The EU has selected a pre-pandemic vaccine.

Kashmir says it is bird flu free.

Philippines region passes bird flu ordinance.

Check please! Indian bird flu tally is presented.

The New Scientist blogs on the virus sharing situation.

The World Health Organization and wealthy countries have responded by setting up a system for tracking where such donated viruses go in the world’s scientific and pharmaceutical system, and instigating talks to discuss better sharing of results. Donors have helped fund new labs in Indonesia. That’s probably as far as they can go right now. Continuing to hold this gun to their heads is putting us all in more danger, without any real prospect of quick concessions. Indonesia should start releasing samples again.

Effect Measure blogs the recent report about bird flu and mosquitoes.

February 20 Flu Update

Vietnam now has bird flu in six more provinces, and a new death.

A second outbreak has also occurred in Tibet.

ProMed also on Tibet.

The US has dismissed claims that of a virus sharing conspiracy.

Area in Philippines claims to be bird flu free.

General article on animal viruses jumping to humans.

CDC says US states are more prepared for bird flu.

Revere on a recent paper about transmissibility in 1918. Bottom line: we have learned more about transmissibility, but we still can't look at mutations and tell which ones will trigger H2H and which ones won't.

Pandemic Flu blogpost in Seattle.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February 19 Flu Updatre

There is a new human case reported in Central China.

More outbreaks in 3 provinces in Vietnam.

Outbreak also reported in Tibet.

They're giving away free chicken in Kolkata to promote consumption.

Indonesia and virus sharing continues to be an issue.

A new book by the Indonesian Health minister says that US is part of "conspiracy" on flu samples.

CIDRAP reports on a visit by HHS official to the flu wiki.

Here's the link to the fluwiki Q&A.

Revere looks at recent cases, and says based on what we know, the only logical conclusion is that it is just "flu season."

ProMed on bird flu in mosquitoes.

Poultry ban in West Bengal is lifted, but the economic aftershocks are still there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

No Update Today

Events conspired to the contrary.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Feburary 17 Flu Update

Bird flu continues to spread in Vietnam.

Vietnam is strengthening its bird flu activities.

People are still skittish about poultry in India.

Flu is now in the capital of Bangladesh.

Gulf States are meeting on bird flu.

Another bird in Hong Kong with bird flu.

Jackson County, OR, says, "not if, when"

ProMed looks at the World Wildlife Fund report on migratory birds. Interesting mod comment....

The good news is that the initial concern that the global spread of H5N1 was dependent on and a result of migratory birds has proven to be a false alarm -- now that thousands of such have been sampled over the past few years -- and it is now clear that any H5N1-infected wild birds were infected essentially incidentally.

There was no global biological conspiracy of that virus in nature, though the events are not without interest within the greater epidemiology of avian influenza viruses. This is not to say that it cannot go from wild birds to domestic birds, but that is the exception, not the rule.

The bad news is that H5N1 seems to be well embedded in the commercial and domestic poultry in various parts of the world and will probably remain so for some time to come. There are a total of 79 postings on this topic. For earlier reports beyond those cited below, see the ProMED-mail archives. - Mod.MHJ

February 16 Flu Update

A 3-year old has died in Indonesia of bird flu.

A third man in Vietnam has died of bird flu.

ProMed tracks the human cases in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Bird flu reaches another part of Bangladesh.

There is also a new outbreak in Pakistan.

South African cricket players are not eating chicken while in Bangladesh.

The United Arab Emirates are bird flu free, they say.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 15 Flu Update

There is another bird flu death in Indonesia.

CIDRAP on death in Vietnam.

The World Wildlife Fund says again not to blame migratory birds.

ProMed has updates from several countries. Check this out from India.

In a significant development that will affect the government's proposal of culling of birds within 5-km (3-mi) radius of Orissa-West Bengal border to prevent bird flu in the state, the Orissa Veterinary Association (OVA) decided not to participate in the killing.

In Bangladesh, people continue to keep a close eye out for bird flu.

The bird flu search goes on in North Dakota.

Friday, February 15, 2008

February 14th Flu Update

CIDRAP on fatal case in Vietnam, with another case as well.

Dong Van Chuc, director of the provincial animal health department, said nine of the man's 12 fighting cocks have died since late January, the AP reported. However, Reuters reported today that health officials said the man and his family ate two chickens that had died suspiciously and that poultry deaths have been reported in his neighborhood. Health workers are also monitoring his family members for signs of the disease.
A second wild bird is H5N1 in Hong Kong.

West Bengal seeks bird flu aid.

Bird flu may cost India a badminton program.

Alabama is holding a pandemic awareness program.

An emergency response team has also been formed in Holbrook, MA

Ontario Medical Team offers pandemic prep advice.

Ontario is investing in pandemic work at Trent University .

A conference in Bahrain will review bird flu.

Iran says that they have no bird flu in humans there.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 13 Flu Update

A man in Vietnam has died of bird flu.

More birds dead in West Bengal.

The flu in Hong Kong is H5N1

ProMed on Hong Kong (note amusement park) and also new avian outbreaks in Laos.

The bird flu is not found in a new area of India.

Bangladesh is getting protective suits from the US.

Article reviews whether air travel restrictions would help in a pandemic.

Alaska is testing the blood of hunters to see if they have bird flu antibodies.

Revere blogs the bad reviews for USDA's pandemic plan.

Don't worry, though. USDA's response says they are engaged in an "ongoing continual improvement process." Every day in every way they are getting better and better.

Just like the virus.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 12 Flu Update

The biggest story today is that a young woman has bird flu in Indonesia, and her Mother was diagnosed last week. (CIDRAP reports)

There's also bird flu in Laos.

Hong Kong disinfected its markets after bird flu scare.

Bangladesh says simple rules will keep bird flu at bay.

In West Bengal, bird flu measures are being relaxed.

Interesting story about flu in Indonesia, where a patient is said to have numerous false negatives from local medical authorities.

Nasrudin was diagnosed with gastric pain at a public health center and with dengue fever at a public clinic before being diagnosed with dengue fever, typhoid fever and lung disease at Tangerang's Bhakti Asih Hospital on Jan. 24.

The following day, the 33-year-old was thought to be displaying the symptoms of bird flu. He was referred to an avian influenza ward at Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta.

Two hours after it was confirmed Nasrudin was suffering from bird flu, he died.

India accepts US help after three weeks.

Flu is now Tamiflu resistant in Canada.

Revere writes about a JAMA article on a key dilemma in pandemic planning.

This is the dilemma. Community resilience enhances overall outcome but social distancing is advocated for individual protection. Middaugh observes there is little scientific support for some of the recommendations, other than they seem like common sense. But might each person acting in what they think is his or her own interest actually be worse off because the community is weaker?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

February 11 Flu Update

Most of the districts in Bangladesh are not impacted by bird flu.

Awareness is cited as important in Bangladesh.

Not sure if this is a best practice, but Bangladesh is setting up drums for people to throw dead birds into at the market.

India is now using plays to educate on the bird flu.

55 local areas in Nigeria have bird flu.

13 companies in Pakistan are going to make Tamiflu.

Effect Measure has an interesting article. This hits on one of my pet peeves...reporters who reproduce what people say, without challenging to verifying claims. A person of authority cannot be allowed to make facts up....isn't that what papers are for?

Ireland says bird flu would have a 2Bn Euro economic impact.

H5 found in Hong Kong.

Australian professor says bird flu still a threat.

Letter To the Editor blames government officials for bird flu in Indonesia.

CIDRAP blogs on the USDA report about tightening pandemic planning.

Needless vaccine funded by NIH.

Low dose vaccine success is reported.

CIDRAP's best practices looks at faith based prep.

Monday, February 11, 2008

February 10 Flu Update...We're Back!!

OK, we're back after some busy days and travel.

Bird flu advice is being dispensed in Pakistan.

Bird flu affecting vendors in India.

Villagers in a state adjacent to West Bengal are panicking over dead birds.

Another Indian state is trying to avoid the fate of West Bengal.

Interesting local article on fighting bird flu in Asia.

There are some chickens dead in Nadia.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Due to a confluence of events, we're going on hiatus until February 11, 2008.

February 5 Flu Update

Here's the must read of the day. This article from Indonesia notes something that has been circulating for a while. While we know that human-human transmission is still rare, we also don't know how many of these people are getting sick. There is no obvious answer.

"The behaviour (of the virus in Indonesia) is mysterious and we are competing with the dynamics of the virus. There needs to be deeper study on why there are more cases in humans, what are the risk factors... so we can cut the chain of infection to humans," Widjastuti said.

CIDRAP on two new cases in Indonesia, one fatal, one very serious. Note the cluster of cases in one suburb for monitoring....

Excellent BBC story from the ground in India on "risky" or (in my opinion) reckless practices during culling.

The only people in the village with protective gear for bird flu are the five members of the culling team - and this correspondent.

Local official Aloka Mondal says she is busy trying to meet government targets for culling birds and does not have the time to follow the safety protocol.

Flu spreads in Bangladesh (30 districts).

Revere notes that Bangladesh has big problems and little ability to deal with them. Having said that, they are not sharing viruses with India.

CIDRAP on fresh outbreak in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

ProMed also has the Pakistani story. Note references to poultry import patterns.

West Bengal says no human cases there.

India has culled 3.4 million birds to no avail.

Poultry workers in Pakistan are being tested for H5N1. (very low probability of anything here).

Pakistanis are also told poultry and eggs are safe to eat.

Vietnam is keeping the alert up.....

Thailand appears to be taking the latest outbreak in stride.

Upper Pradesh says it has not been hit by bird flu.

ProMed from Turkey and India on the migratory bird debate.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

February 3 Flu Update

India continues to maintain that the bird flu in contained.

This article says the threat of flu still stalks the area.

Pakistan is testing poultry workers.

Meanwhile, the bird flu is spreading Pakistan.

Hospitals in Pakistan are on "high alert."

The poultry industry in Pakistan has had setbacks.

Same is happening in Bangladesh. Note increase in compensation for culling.

Bush budget calls for cuts in public health.

An international expert on the bird flu says government there not solely to blame.

LTE in Jakarta Post on global impact of bird flu.

The National Post of Canada Editorial Board says nation is "defenceless" against bird flu.

CDC expert tells Rotary in Georgia that a pandemic is likely.

Revere looks at a blogger having trouble keeping up, as she draws a pandemic prep lesson (I can identify).

ProMed on poultry/migratory bird debate, as illustrated in Turkey.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Off the air

We'll be off the air Monday. Will publish next on Tuesday morning.

February 2 Flu Update--Groundhog Day

A state that neighbors West Bengal is culling poultry, apparently without any actual H5N1 being found.

More explanation here---apparently they are trying to create a firewall of sorts to contain the virus.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal government said that culling would end Saturday night and that the flu was under control....but things are continuing to be bad in Bangladesh.

Poultry workers from farm in Pakistan with outbreak are OK.

There is a suspected outbreak in Northern Turkey.

Two people in West Bengal are being held for illegally burying sick poultry.

Food prices in Bangladesh are skyrocketing....

A better plan is also needed in Bangladesh, according to local story.

A spate of five deaths in Indonesia (previously reported) has WHO attention.

ProMed looks at Indonesia, including an interesting article on how the flu is spreading there. Note this insightful mod comment:

The observation that the victims of bird flu have tended to be market traders rather than farmers is interesting and deserves to be supported by a comprehensive analysis.

ProMed also on Pakistan and England.

Australia reports a bird flu "breakthrough."

Perth (no, not that Perth, the one in Ontario) tested its pandemic plan.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

February 1 Flu Update

An Indonesian woman has died of bird flu (#102)

CIDRAP has this, too.

Pakistan now has a bird flu outbreak.

Outbreak in Bangladesh results in 27,000 bird cull.

A health worker in India fell ill, but the government says there is no risk of human disease.

More on the monitoring of health workers here....

and here.

West Bengal admits that mistakes were made early in the outbreak.

More positive tests on swans in the UK.

Flu spreads in Central Vietnam.

The USDA is told it needs to test its pandemic plans.

Meanwhile, a survey says Canadians are complacent about the bird flu.

Letter to Editor in Bulgaria contains some questionable info

This isn't directly about bird flu, but seasonal flu is becoming resistant to Tamiflu in the US....a lesson to anyone who has all their pandemic eggs in that basket...

CIDRAP notes the same is true in 9 European countries.

One last thing. I was featured early in, a web publication that interviewed me last year on bird flu, and then followed up this year. Always interesting, and well presented. Take a look!

Friday, February 01, 2008

January 31 Flu Update

The New York Times looks at bird flu with an on the ground perspective in Indonesia. Must read.

There is another feared human case in India. (Truth be told, I suspect there are hundreds of people who are sick who think they have bird flu).

Bird flu is bad news to poultry farmers in India.

The bird flu scare is good news----if you sell egg-free cake mixes.

Bangladesh and India are fighting over who caused the bird flu.

Meanwhile, ProMed notes that Indonesia has announced a three-year plan to fight bird flu.

AP story looks at bird flu's march, as the West moves on.

Revere, rants, on this AP story.

There is also apparently an outbreak in Pakistan that is being tested.

Culling goes on in Tibet.

DEFRA says swans got bird flu from wild birds.

Revere blogs about the situation in India, where authorities say things are "coming under control" while the situation appears to be much different based on simple observation.