Sunday, February 03, 2008

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.


At 12:34 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The establishment of five kilometer “poultry free zones” in the four states surrounding West Bengal (Assam, Bihar, Jharkland, Orissa) will do very little to curb the spread of the virus in India. This amounts to nothing but a ineffectual “firebreak” or “sandbag” approach which will not work, because these methods only work where threatening natural elements are visible – they will not work with an invisible viral contagion. Especially when poor villagers are hiding infected poultry, disposing of infected contagious chicken carcasses in ponds, streams, ditches, and feces is not disposed of properly.

What’s more, I urge your readers to look at a map of the entire Asia region: it is fairly evident from the news reports that H5N1 is widespread throughout the entire continental area. Notice that the epizootic situation seems to start with Indonesia, moves westward to China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and further westward through Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. It has made a complete swath of infection from Indonesia, westward to the Caspian and Black Sea regions. In fact, I was very curious about your one news report that described the poultry culling operation in Assam, India – this large dog-leg area in particular is located east of West Bengal, north of Bangladesh, south of China, and on the Burma border. This tells me that Assam is already infected and is history – their culling efforts are already too late. For that matter, the northern provinces of upper India are probably also most likely infected: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

Just my opinion here, but I think the history books of the future will record an entry that says, “how the world could have mistaken the march of the H5N1 virus across the entire densely populated Asian continent and not know it could portend the beginning of a human pandemic, is mystifying. The world at that time mistook the disease as only a disease in birds and animals, and failed to prepare properly for the sudden mutation and onslaught of the new deadly human influenza virus”. Similar to the Great Influenza of 1918, the historians will also remark, “most, if not all nations and the WHO denied any human infections, and that their poultry populations were being decimated. The WHO acted merely as a conduit and clearing house for disseminated information and failed to warn the world in time, of the impending human epidemic disaster that was about to unfold”.

Yeah, I know, I’ve been watching the Discovery and History Channel’s on cable TV a little too much lately. But a grand total of only six people in Perth (Population ~ 12,000), Ontario, Canada, conducting a pandemic emergency planning exercise doesn’t quite cut it in my mind. It’s a good illustration of how ill prepared and disengaged people really are with the threat. It should have been at least 60 people if they were serious.



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