April 29 Flu Update
A three-year old boy has died of bird flu.
Human behavior meets infectious disease...poll shows that people in Egypt are keeping their poultry, despite warnings.There's a new outbreak in South Korea.North Korea has formed an office to fight bird flu.CIDRAP news round up.CIDRAP on Sanofi getting contract to add clade 2.2 to the US vaccine stockpile.
Several chickens had suddenly died in the neighbourhood where the boy lived, Sulistyowati said, adding the boy had had contact with the birds.
Sanofi called the strain "particularly troubling because it is the first to be identified in an outbreak of migratory birds, which have the potential to spread the virus across continents."
Robinson told CIDRAP News the national stockpile already contains supplies of vaccine based on three other H5N1 variants: clade 1, clade 2.1, and clade 2.3. HHS has sought to diversify the stockpile out of concern that a vaccine based on one strain won't work well against a pandemic virus stemming from a different strain.
ProMed on Japanese outbreak, and on H7 in Denmark.The Philippines are concerned about people smuggling in Peking Ducks.Check out what the Dominican Republic had to do to be certified bird flu free.Tanzania is alert to the risks of bird flu.Health forums in Kansas discuss bird flu among other public health topics.New Health Director in Washington state says....
Toronto is stockpiling antivirals for city workers, the first Canadian City to do so. CIDRAP reports.
When and if it changes, then we'll worry about having a pandemic influenza. Pandemic influenza would be the kind that happened in 1918; there are a lot of people who get very ill. Unfortunately, a lot of people die from this kind of thing.
April 27 Flu Update
Here's a new flu angle, could MRSA and influenza combine to cause a pandemic.
Dr. Jerome Klein of Boston University School of Medicine stated that this combination of the flu and MRSA is not new by any means.
He stated that “This is what happened in the influenza pandemic in 1957, which was co-incident with a pandemic of multidrug resistant staphylococcal infections.”
April 22 Flu Update
More outbreaks in India.Given that there has to be bird flu in North Korea, the announcement that they are banning South Korean flu imports is somewhat funny.Watch people in Nashville comment that the bird flu hoopla has calmed down.HHS reports back on Sec. Leavitt's trip to Asia. CIDRAP....
The NAMRU-2 lab is situated near other government buildings in Jakarta and has been integrated into the country's health system, Steiger added. The lab has connections to several private and public hospitals in Indonesia and has played a key role in tracking pathogens in the country.
However, Indonesia's health minister recently prohibited all tissue samples—not just those containing H5N1 influenza viruses—from being sent to NAMRU-2, he said.
Warning: Actual science content. Revere blogs on recent research on cells and the immune system. Part I of a multi-part post.
TLR4 is now part of a whole family (13 at last count) of Toll-like genes that produce generalized pattern recognition receptors for broad classes of pathogen components. As such they are part of the innate immune system that begins to act before there is any antibody selection or response. Our knowledge of the TLR system is very recent since their discovery is barely ten years old. But already the original TLR gene, TLR4, is becoming part of the bird flu story.Health Department in Florida warns people not to touch dead birds.
A 19-page pamphlet titled, “What to do about Bird or Avian Flu,” and published by the Sarasota County Health and Human Services Department, admonishes residents to avoid touching dead birds.
April 18 Flu Update
There was a ton of news today, on two topics.....the new vaccine from Purdue and the story below about 65 million Indonesians.An official in Indonesia says that 65 million Indonesians are at risk if the virus mutates.Sweden lowered its bird flu alert level.
April 17 Flu Update
South Korea says it will be an "all-out" fight against the bird flu.And this is what they mean.....3 million birds culled in South Korea.There are now three more suspected outbreaks in South Korea.Secretary Leavitt is interviewed in the Jakarta Post....pledges assistance despite disagreements.The Secretary has also blogged the topic...CIDRAP reports.
Leavitt said he acknowledged Supari's legitimate concerns about her country's access to medicine and vaccines, but emphasized that health officials need to retain incentives that enable pharmaceutical companies to develop new countermeasures.
"I pointed out that technology is improving and might well hold solutions that we don't currently have," he wrote. "Once we are using cell-based methods of making vaccines, the capacity and cost will dramatically drop, which will change the entire equation."
The whole blog post is here....The Wall Street Journal weighs in with editorial opinion on Indonesia's actions. Title says it all: "Recipe for a pandemic."Indian regions on the Bangldeshi border are checking closely for bird flu.Local report talks about West Bengal struggles with bird flu.News today says there is a new approach to a flu vaccine that will provide broader and longer protection, using some common cold virus.Big news is article on how flu virus spreads...starts in Asia, and dies in South America. So the best pandemic fighting plan is to take anyone with the disease and fly them to Uruguay. Or did I misunderstand?Yemeni paper answers questions about bird flu.Philippines also working on its risk areas.In Bangladesh, they are talking about how to protect women and children (but not men) from bird flu.
Revere blogs the article that said that a pandemic would be no worse than seasonal flu, and that we are relying on a "single data point," the Spanish Flu. Excellent post, key point follows:
More important, however, is a point he makes with his own data: not all pandemics are alike. The three pandemics of the last century all had significantly increased mortality but varied in severity. The reason the flu world is concerned about H5N1 is the extraordinary virulence of the virus as expressed by its case fatality ratio (Doshi mistakes pathogenicity for virulence but this is a minor point). If this flu virus becomes transmissible, even with a major reduction in virulence, the results would be horrific. We hope it won't happen. But we have no way of knowing. Preparing for it is prudent and it would be insanity to look the other way, although that is precisely what Doshi's hand waving dismissal encourages.
No Update today
Events conspired to the contrary.