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.


At 6:44 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


It seems to me we are seeing a steady continuous up-tick in the number of human H5N1 caused deaths these days, coupled with the wide spread out breaks in domestic poultry and wild birds. The funny thing is though, where most of these events are occurring (N. Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia), is right on the border with mainland China.

And not a peep out of mainland China, except the father and son reported illnesses a couple of months ago. The bottom line is still the same in all of these countries: the closer the contact between humans infected with human flu and birds infected with avian flu, the greater the chances are of the genetic recombination occurring that would produce a pandemic strain. Since the last flue pandemic in 1968, China’s human population has doubled and it’s poultry population has increased more than 10-fold. Bird flu in all of the extremely densely populated countries I have mentioned have created the ideal conditions for mixing human and avian viruses and the emergence of a pandemic. Well, at least it’s good to hear that the chickens in Jalpaiguri India are not dying from bird flu, but probably some other fatal condition – like starvation or inclement weather, maybe even boredom.

Orange, when I read your article on whether air travel restrictions have any beneficial value at the onset of a pandemic, I kept looking for a nugget of new information, but just found the same information that we’ve been aware of for years. That is, if universal travel restrictions AND border control measures are initiated promptly, then there is likely a significant reduction in front end cases, and the sickness “curve of infections” flattens out. The only problem with this approach, is guess what – not all countries will implement this approach and it becomes moot quickly. In actuality, all that’s necessary is to have a couple of infected international airplanes, traveling over a couple of days through airports, and all hell breaks loose. No way scientist’s will be able to theoretically “model” themselves out of this most likely situation: international air travel would see that a deadly influenza virus is spread around the world in days. The world has no idea what it’s going to see when the pandemic comes like a “thief in the night”.

I think Revere is too soft on the USDA in his commentary. An immediate solution to the USDA “inaccurately” or “erroneously” reporting their pandemic preparations status, should be to terminate (as in fire or can) those individuals responsible for this deception. That seems to me to be the quickest way to get people’s attention. Show some consequences. We just don’t do it enough these days in the government or in academia, and we end up not holding people responsible and accountable for their actions like we should.

It’s no wonder we have so many confused children who grow up to be irresponsible adults these days.


PS: speaking of children, more warnings coming out locally about the epidemic of seasonal influenza cases increasing - local TV today is asking all parents to keep their children home from school if they have the flu. Looks quite serious in this city of 3.2 million people.


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