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!


At 7:41 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


A couple of quick comments.

The unfolding evidence that there are some strains of Tamiflu resistant H1N1 circulating in regions of Europe and North America, with the H274Y mutation, is beginning to become quite fascinating. Resistance ranges from as low as 5% to as high as 15%. Especially since the biggest conveyer’s of the drug for seasonal influenza’s, Japan and Hong Kong, are reporting no viral resistance in their tests. The suddenness of this development is concerning, as well as the 1918 type particular train, makes for some real speculation. My take on things – when and if similar mutations start occurring in the other seasonal strains, then it’s time to take things a little more seriously and check the old supply cache.

Your article about “Canadian complacency”, should really be re-captioned “North American Apathy”. The only thing that really surprised me about the survey data, is that only 72 per cent of Canadians had done nothing to prepare themselves or their family for a pandemic. I would have thought that number to be much higher, say in the 95 percentile range. Ask just about anybody in your own ‘hood, on the street, at work and your own relatives, if they’ve given any serious consideration to an avian influenza pandemic – and you get a look like you just walked out of an insane asylum. The fact is: the longer H5N1 primarily remains a disease of domestic poultry in third world countries and wild birds in general, and very few humans have died from it, then only a handful of ninny’s like us care. The majority of Americans do not even get a seasonal influenza vaccination, they are not concerned about HIV, XDRTB, Ebola, PRRS (or even drunk drivers, increasing crime, medical insurance or illegal aliens). They could care less because it hasn’t affected them personally and they don’t view public health care or social issues as their problem.

My final comment is your follow up interview with “Somethingcool”. Nice comments and I suppose I wouldn’t disagree with you on any of your responses - even your comment about genetic elitism and what respected scientists believe. I work with some of the brainiest and respected scientists, medical doctors and engineers in the entire word, and it never ceases to amaze me how naïve (and elitist) some of them can be. Most of them, quite frankly are aware of H5N1 and the threat of an avian influenza pandemic and are not too particularly concerned. A few though whom I collaborate with, are extremely concerned, and believe the worst could indeed happen. These are the ones I listen to. They say it could happen and advise some level of personal and family preparation.

I sincerely hope that a pandemic never occurs during our lifetime, but I wouldn’t bet on it. When it comes down to it, scientists understand very little about virology and epidemiology, and the H5N1 events going on the world are troubling. We all earnestly believe that there will never be any more devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami’s or hurricanes – but you know what – there will be. Since the days of the early Pilgrims, the American Revolution, the settling of the West, up to and including the 20th century and 1918, there have always been pandemics of influenza and other diseases.

And there will be another one. The question is: how soon will it be.



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