Monday, March 17, 2008

March 16 Flu Update

This is all over the news. There is a new outbreak in China. It is actually in a poultry market, which seems to have some significance.

Bird flu has broken out in the south of China, killing more than 100 poultry, state media reported on Sunday, citing the agriculture ministry.

The outbreak occurred in a market in Guangzhou, in Guangdong province on Thursday, and was a ''highly pathogenic'' subtype of the H5N1 influenza virus, which can be deadly to humans, the report said.

The OIE has pledged avian vaccine to Vietnam.

Apparently, Indonesia says the US has been making biological weapons from bird flu obtained from Indonesia. The US flatly denies this. I'm not sure that would even make any sense.

Revere reviews US pandemic prep, with an eye toward whether we are preventing or procuring.

More on the civets in Vietnam....


At 6:13 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


It’s good to see the State Department responding again to the ridiculous allegations of Indonesia’s two nut-jobs (Health Minister Supari and biodefense researcher Samihardjo: not the sharpest tools in the shed), who are asserting the US is “producing biological weapons from its bird flu samples”. Stop and think: (a) the war in Iraq is costing us about $ 1 billion every 2-3 days; (b) the US economy is in a recession and our financial system is suffering from lack of confidence due to rampant mortgage and commodities speculation; (3) our public health and social support systems are stuck in gridlock; (4) 40-50 million citizens are not covered by any form of health insurance; (5) the price of oil and gas is at an all time high, (6) per capita personal savings is now near zero (or negative); and (7) Los Alamos Laboratory’s primary responsibility is ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation's nuclear deterrent, as well as developing breakthroughs in nanotechnology and determining how best to prevent the spread of
HIV and avian flu. We don’t have the time or the money right now to enter into a conspiracy with the WHO, and shucks, most people think the UN is a waste of oxygen and money anyway.

With these kinds of issues, it is not even remotely conceivable that Los Alamos Lab, or anybody else of sane mind in the western hemisphere, would be interested in fabricating a deadly artificial influenza pathogen that would end up infecting the entire world. Now I take that back… there are some Muslim terrorists factions located in various countries who would throw their relatives down a well to have the opportunity to weaponize H5N1. (Indonesian Islamic extremists comes first to mind).

Your EM Revere article is kind of interesting. A little lesson on civics is in order: The House and Senate Appropriations Committees provide funding for authorized federal programs and agencies and oversee the use of those funds. Each side has 13
appropriations subcommittees. The Budget Committees determine overall discretionary spending levels for Congress, and the Appropriations Committees determine allocations for each of the 13 subcommittees. The subcommittee members work on the appropriation bill to make it reflect their priorities, for example, in the case of HHS, grants and/or BARDA procurements in select congressional districts are the priority. They also draft report language, which accompanies the appropriations bill, explaining priorities and giving direction to federal agencies. The subcommittee votes on the final proposal, and passes it to the full committee. The full committee can also make changes before voting and passing the bill for action on the House or Senate floor. And finally, the bill is considered on the floor of the House or Senate.

With all the PAC’s and special interest lobbyists competing for influence, and congressional earmark cronyism, as well as the tremendous funding competition with the insane DOD war effort and the war on terrorism - I really don’t see public health infrastructure funding as a high priority on either political party’s political agenda. Right now, health care and social infrastructure improvements and entitlement programs, are viewed as the “red haired step children”.

Of course, an outbreak of a severe world wide deadly influenza pandemic on the scale of 1918 or worse, could really change the national priorities quickly. Maybe that’s what needs to happen to get things on track, unfortunately.



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