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.


At 6:10 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


One gets the sense of the futility of ever stopping the bird flu infestation and human deaths in Indonesia when reading the New York Times article: 1.4 billions chickens scattered in 395 million backyards, the inability to even find them all to vaccinate them (I know this is true, having grown up on a large farm, chickens are extremely difficult to catch), and the competition of resources with other recurring natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc). No worries though, the Indonesia government has just announced a new “three year plan” and will spend $ 20 million dollars of WHO grant money (i.e. other people’s money) to fix the problem. Bird flu has turned into a real money making machine for Indonesia… a cash cow, so to speak. Sounds cruel and insensitive, but I don’t see any major change in their government’s approach or effectiveness to curtail the virus, as long as the free money keeps flowing into their coffers. There's no motivation behind it that I can determine. Madame Supari has almost single-handedly institutionalized a classic sense of entitlement in that country.

I like the AB Mauri (Division of Associated British Foods) article about the egg-free cake mix, and how their sales are going through the roof, as a result of decreased demand for eggs. This is a good illustration of capitalism, and there will always be parties that profit from an unfortunate situation, whether we like it or not. I suspect if an actual influenza pandemic were to emerge, we would hear a lot more similar stories about ingenious and enterprising individuals profiting from the situation. In my view, sparring over the source of the bird flu outbreaks there in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, makes no sense – the real source of the virus is of course China – but none of the ruling communists there in West Bengal have the cajone’s to openly say that, so I believe the argument is moot.

Regarding Revere’s two good articles: even though he always demonstrates excellent logic from a scientific and health care perspective, raising taxes to fund better bird flu pandemic preparation in the US, is pretty much out of the question during an election year. In fact, most people view raising taxes in the same vein as death and four letter words, regardless how worthy the cause. Especially the blue states. As far as rants go, nah… check out his weekly Sunday Morning Sermonette’s – occasional he/ posts some real colorful language from the loading docks (not for the faint hearted and sensitive).

I guess my final comment is about your BBC News article concerning the latest DEFRA report that concludes, “Swans got bird flu from wild bird”. If I were a British citizen, which I am not, I don’t believe I would have a whole lot of confidence in this government organization. Just like our own USDA folks, who oversee and manage our own bird flu surveillance system in the US, I really believe we could pay a couple of smart high school or college science student’s to conduct bird flu surveillance and analysis, and get a much better job done.



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