Saturday, March 15, 2008

March 14 Flu Update

Bird flu (no type yet) found in Edinburgh Scotland.

There's a dead bird in Hong Kong with H5N1.

Vietnam is cordoning off areas were bird flu has been found.

Vietnam is also planning closer surveillance.

ProMed on India, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Nepal: Bird flu "nothing to fear now."

Why do people say stuff like this? Indian official says the state is "safe" from bird flu.

Official government report from India.

Lakewood CO cable station wins award for bird flu program.

CIDRAP reports on a model pandemic plan that HHS has for the states.

Physician publishing in the SF Chronicle has practical advice--flu vaccinations for children protect us all.

The greatest benefit, however, will be an indirect one: less influenza circulating in our communities. Children are an important reservoir for the virus; they can be infected with it and transmit it to others without getting sick or being only mildly ill themselves. Vaccinating them will reduce not only their own risk of illness but the risk of everyone they encounter.


At 7:43 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


When one reads the full ProMED report on India, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, some things really pop out at you. The update on India describes a very distressing situation going on there in West Bengal, and most likely all over the other Indian states as well: the exemption of large cock fighting flocks from inspection and culling. This has undoubtedly resulted in the further spread of the virus, and will continue to further complication containment. I guess if India is going to allow this travesty to continue (I surmise because of political bribes, graft, corruption, or whatever, as well as unfettered cross border poultry movement) they might as well start passing out some pistols and teach everyone how to play Russian Roulette.

The bird flu situation in Vietnam sounds pretty bad also – around 205 million doses of Chinese poultry vaccines will be delivered by April, so Vietnam can start injecting their birds with the “Chinese Silver Bullet”. That ought to solve everyone’s problems… the only thing missing is a couple of good instruction manuals on “Chinese transparency”. And Bangladesh, well, with 2.5 million people jobless, and 50% of the poultry industry closed, it looks a like looming economic and social dilemma is not far off on the horizon.

I really enjoyed the straight-forward article written by San Francisco physician John Swartzberg. Why people do not get a seasonal influenza vaccination, is beyond comprehension, but there are an astounding number of individuals out there who are depending on others (like you and me) to keep the “herd immunity” perpetuating, so they don’t get sick. I work around many people who rationalize the situation this way, I have many relatives who refuse to get inoculated, and I personally know dozens of health care workers who work in large hospitals, who absolutely put lives at stake, because they refuse to be vaccinated. I personally have no solution for these people… other than it is “free country”… if they want to die from an influenza virus, have at it. (Just don’t expect much sympathy from the Wulfster, if the big one hits).

Regarding your CIDRAP article, which does an excellent job summarizing the HHS state guidance and live-webinars, I find it quite concerning that that the NGA is reporting such significant gaps across all the states. Especially, when it comes down to a “lack of consensus” on school closures, what federal resources would be available during a pandemic, what the “triggers” are for the federal government to assume certain roles and responsibilities. This is in my mind, pretty fundamental stuff, the schools and universities would most likely have to be closured quickly at the onset of pandemic, so these laggard states and school districts need to really get on board quickly and stop their bureaucratic jaw-boning and get used to the fact that they are indeed going to have a bunch of whiney parents no matter what they do. They might as well be prepared to exercise good judgment and make a responsible decision. (they should call the school authorities in Hong Kong if they can’t figure it out).

In fact, if certain states and localities haven’t been working with the private commercial sector over the last 12-24 months to make sure critical supplies are delivered, they are way-behind-the-power-curve. I would not want to live in one of these unprepared states if a deadly pandemic hit full blast.

Talk about really, really, REALLY, being on your own…



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