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.


At 6:30 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I was really glad to see that the tone of your articles coming out of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey are so positive: no human infections from blood tests whatsoever, mass culling is completed (in India) and the bird flu spread is contained, and the isolation units that have been on standby, were unnecessary. I just can’t wait until the Who declares these areas “bird flu free zones”, just in time for next winter’s “seasonal reoccurrence”. The bird flu cycles are all starting to make sense to me know. I can now resume my study of solar flares and their implications to global warming and the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. What a sense of relief. I’m sleeping better already.

On a more serious note, I truly believe the CIDRAP/HHS article is a little misleading. Logically, any agency with a $ 737 B budget (which is larger than most third world developing countries GNP), with an increase in real dollars of $ 29 B from FY2008 to FY2009, can hardly portray this increase as problematic. What is not being acknowledged is that the states must share some burden for pandemic preparedness, and most have failed to do so. Granted, I have not read through the entire Bush proposal for FY2009, however, a decrease in “discretionary spending”, is not unusual for any government agency, and mostly consists of targeted grants and endless studies and analyses by Washington Beltway Bandits. Discretionary means just that, discretionary. Notice in particular, on page two of the article, that $ 53 M is being targeted to “establish five new international quarantine stations and to fully staff the 20 existing domestic stations”, and $ 507M is for further non-specific CDC, FDA, NIH and HHS pandemic preparedness planning efforts and equipment. Sounds to me like someone is getting ready for something real bad to happen…

And speaking of real bad, I see you have another article where a CDC insider, Dr. Sureyya Hornston, has publicly stated that the likelihood of an influenza pandemic is “very high”. She also says that “we don’t know how effective antiviral medicines will be”. Couple these statements with your Canadian National Post article, which expresses extreme concern about Tamiflu resistance developing in H1N1 and H5N1, and one could really start getting a little worried about the situation. Notice that I am not puckered up yet at all, because your Asia reports says everything is AOK, no human infections from H5N1 and everything is under control – in fact, they passed out full Tamiflu regimens to everyone like candy and no human infections or illnesses materialized. All blood test results turned out negative. I never once read in all of your news reports Orange where they performed PCR, sequencing, or viral isolation swab tests from the nose or throat, nevertheless, I think everything is hunky-dory. I am sure someone in the WHO would have warned us if things were slightly amiss. Surely.

Which brings me to my last and final comment about your “international UN FAO expert”, John Weaver, who says that “the Indonesian government cannot be the only culprit for failing to stop the spread of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus”. In fact, he believes Indonesia needs “bigger support and courageous commitment from the international community” and blames their crises on their “decentralization process”. (I think this only really translates into “we need to send more truckloads of free money to them” and “don’t blame their inept and incompetent government”, parlance). This really grinds my gears. With all the H5N1 human deaths being reported each week now out of Indonesia, I think Mr. Weaver and his folks ought to realistically start thinking about how there are going to enforce a quarantine on the nation, if it comes down to it.

He speaks like a true politician – let’s not hold governments or individuals responsible – it takes an “entire village” I guess to raise a pandemic.



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