Friday, March 21, 2008

March 20 Flu Update

The culling zone in India has expanded.

This is interesting. One of the weaknesses of most H5N1 vaccines is that they require two doses to be effective, and, frankly, we're going to be hard pressed to get people to show up for one in a prepandemic situation. But, here's one that takes one shot, and a booster patch.

That bird flu in Turkey is near the Greek border.

ProMed on this outbreak, and a new one in Laos as well.

Ripple there is less poultry in India, then there is less need for poultry feed, and markets are affected.

Yet more wild allegations from the Indonesian Health Minister about how the US has used Indonesian flu vaccines.

As if in counterpoint, CIDRAP reports that the US has enough for vaccine for 13 million people and enough anti virals for 40 million people.

For the current US population estimate, click here.

Indonesia also dismisses the idea of virus reassortment.

Excellent New Statesman article on the drama playing out in West Bengal.

From an alert reader, the government knows has powerful software that models the US population and how diseases might spread.

Blog on Computerworld updates the computer world on why they should pay attention to Indonesia. This is actually a good read.

Also, an excellent Revere post on how not to deny rumors about flu cases, or, put another way, how you can be wrong even when you are right. For example:

Finally, the argument that the history of having been in Bangladesh is not relevant because there is no reported or confirmed human bird flu there is, at best, misleading. Almost everyone who knows about the situation there assumes there have been at least some cases. They just weren't recognized. Anyway, health officials are fond of saying, and the media dutifully repeats it, that almost all cases to date give a history of contact with sick poultry (even though it's not really true; a substantial fraction of cases have no such history), then it's irrelevant there are no human cases. There are a lot of birds dying from H5N1 in Bangladesh.

Prep work is ongoing in North Georgia, US.


At 2:27 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Just a quick comment before the ol Wulfster hits the road for Easter weekend.

Based on your CIDRAP article about the HHS achieving their present targets of enough pre-pandemic vaccines for 13 million people, and enough anti-viral drugs for 50 million (presumably the states have ordered enough for another 31 million people), that’s enough drugs for a total of approximately 81 million citizens – assuming one dosage each. And that of course is the problem we have all been pointing out for about two years now: better plan on doubling it to be safe, especially at the astounding rate the H5N1 and H1 viruses are mutating and building resistance. And, not surprisingly, the other dilemma that the government is going to surely face is successfully distributing the vaccines and anti-virals to the states on a timely basis. Most of us people that are reasonably sane, see the absolute need to pre-distribute/pre-deploy the anti-viral,s to the states now.

Don’t wait until the pandemic is formally “declared” by the CDC and the WHO. If we do that, we will be already behind the eight-ball. There is no fathomable reason that all fifty states cannot securely stockpile the anti-virals and have them ready for state distribution within their cities and regions. The vaccines should be also be pre-distributed according to a agreed-to set of rules, across the federal government agencies and states.

There is no reason in the world to wait until the federal bureaucracy bungles the whole emergency, and we end up in chaos and unnecessary tension. To raise the necessary funds for additional vaccine and anti-virals, and additional medical supplies, all the Bush Administration has to do is divert one lousy weeks worth of Iraq War spending, which is approximately $ 3 Billion dollars – and the basic pandemic preparedness situation would be well on its way to resolution.

The chances of this all happening are about the same as me winning the Powerball Lottery.



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