Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 30 Flu Update

Scientists have found a quicker way to make antibodies, which could be very important in battling all viruses, including bird flu.

The process allowed them to make influenza-specific antibodies in as little as a month, and they said the discovery could lead new treatments for other infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, pneumococcal pneumonia or anthrax.

The government is jumping into the act in Japan to fight bird flu.

Egypt is concerned about what is going to happen when migrants go back to the Sudan.

The US donated some equipment to Tanzania.

April 29 Flu Update

A three-year old boy has died of bird flu.

Several chickens had suddenly died in the neighbourhood where the boy lived, Sulistyowati said, adding the boy had had contact with the birds.

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.

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....

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.

Toronto is stockpiling antivirals for city workers, the first Canadian City to do so. CIDRAP reports.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 28 Flu Update

CIDRAP on bird flu discovery in four swans in Japan, a new outbreak in Vietnam, as well as news from India

Bird flu is continuing to spread in Tripura, India.

Story on bird flu in swans in Japan. (H5 confirmed, but further strain is not identified)

Bird flu outbreak in Vietnam.

There was an underreported outbreak in Nigeria...and they are trying to figure out what. This is either the right answer--or they are looking for a scapegoat.

The bird flu drill in Indonesia continues to make news:

"Let us out! We don't want to die here!" a man screamed as masked police officers set up barricades around his village after learning the deadly bird flu virus had mutated to a form spreading rapidly among humans. Dozens of other panicked residents joined him in squaring off with the troops.

The US government is going to pay Sanofi $192 million to develop a bird flu vaccine against a "new strain"

The Reveres announced yesterday that they are going to ease up their posting schedule. Just a tip of the hat to them for incredible work presenting bird flu information in a way that makes sense to us laypeople, and for helping us interperet what is going on. We look forward to their continued, if less frequent posts. Everyday posting is a huge drain on time...I evaluate this every six months or so myself, so I can completely understand. Effect Measure started about when we did, in late 2004.

Monday, April 28, 2008

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.”

Sunday, April 27, 2008

April 26 Flu Update

Farmer compensation is an issue in India, as it is almost everywhere.

Jakarta Post article explains to readers why a drill is needed.

(Personal note: wouldn't this make an awesome SIM game?)

This goes to a point Revere often makes....Kansas notes how preparing for disasters helps them prepare be ready for everything.

Friday, April 25, 2008

April 25 Flu Update

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer looks back at SARS, but pandemic flu is never far from the discussion.

This is really odd, the Institute of Medicine is calling for more anti-virals to be stockpiled.

More "wrangling" over US Naval Lab in Indonesia.

Effect Measure looks at Declan Butler's article about naming flu strains.

The naming business provides a fascinating look into the interplay between science, established convention and politics.

April 24 Flu Update

Indonesia has begun a major flu exercise.

It would begin with the isolation of a village where a field hospital would be set up to treat people with flu-like symptoms. At the closing on Sunday, officials will try to prevent ``infected'' travelers from leaving the international airport and spreading the virus to other countries.

A University of Pittsburgh team published a study that says that a vaccine is the best way to stop a pandemic (this is what I believe as well).

The team reviewed more than 150 scientific studies on bird flu and identified three main categories of potential vaccines. Treating infected people with antiviral drugs is not very effective and tests to diagnose infection need to be updated as the virus mutates, the researchers said.

India blames Bangladesh for spread of bird flu.

An Australian team claims to be close to a super-vaccine.

The new vaccine uses a natural plant sugar to trigger signals within the immune system, forcing it to produce more antibodies in response to the vaccine's antigen.

Revere wraps up the series on the cellular workings of bird flu with this post, where he explains the significance.

The bottom line here seems to be that Acute Lung Injury (ALI) with resulting ARDS is the result of oxidative stress coupled to the machinery of the innate immune system through one pathway leading out of TLR4.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 23 Flu Update

The South Korean soldier who was working on the cull does not high high path H5N1. (If you read the story, I'm not sure the case is closed on this).

Latest shot in the war of words between the US and Indonesia. Indonesia says it was never looking for cash for tissue samples.

WHO says India doing a good job with bird flu, but should monitoring the Bangladeshi border.

An additional outbreak in South Korea is reported.

In Adelaide, Australia, a hospital is set up to test the bird flu vaccine.

Scientific American on stopping bird flu by keeping wildlife and people healthy.

Representatives of 42 countries will observe bird flu handling exercises in Indonesia.

There is impatience in Japan over the lack of bird flu prep.

Part II in Revere's blog about important research on how lung disease effects humans.

ProMed reprints Declan Butler article on how the H5N1 strains are being named, for those who are into that sort of thing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 21 Flu Update

Culling number is South Korea is over 5 million. CIDRAP reports.

Meanwhile, a soldier in South Korea who has been working on the cull is being tested for bird flu.

ProMed on Saturday's report of an outbreak in South Korea.

The US is looking to put a naval lab in Indonesia, but talks are all tied up in the virus sharing dispute.

400,000 poultry vaccinated in Russia.

Two districts in Indonesia are at risk of bird flu...blame is placed on lax efforts to remove backyard flocks.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville nursing school hosting pandemic flu exercise.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 20 Flu Update

New Zealand is reminded bird flu risk still remains.

The cull in South Korea is up to 5 million birds now.

Myanmar says it is now bird flu free.

Vietnam is beginning Phase II of human vaccine trials.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

April 18 Flu Update

Another outbreak reported in South Korea.

Political recriminations are flying in India.

A committee in India is going to figure where in the heck that virus came from.

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.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 16 Flu Update

ProMed on who confirming a previous death in Egypt along with a new case in Egypt and the Japanese flu trial. Note this in mod comments:

Despite the precautionary approach of the WHO, it is evident that some countries will prefer to proceed with pre-pandemic vaccination trials. For example, a vaccine trial has been initiated recently in Viet Nam; see: Avian influenza, human - MBDS region (16): vaccine trials 20080328.1166. The comment of Gregory Hartl that, at this juncture, (pre-pandemic) vaccination is "a big roll of the dice" seems particularly apt.

West Bengal outbreaks NOT contained.

South Korea invaded itself to fight bird flu.

Editorial on Japanese plan to vaccinate healthcare workers as part of vaccine research.

Indonesia values cooperation between agencies in bird flu fight.

CIDRAP covers some pandemic planning at the state level...note key phrase "Disasters Discriminate"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April 15 Flu Update

Outbreaks all over the place in South Korea, nearing capital.

ProMed has this as well. Two notes: first, the failed quarantine. And second, the situation in South Korea is more serious than is generally suspected....see this mod comment:

If the figures cited at the end of the above newswire -- namely 32 suspected outbreaks of which 15 already confirmed -- are correct, the South Koreans have indeed a complex situation on their hands.

An apparent lull in Bangladesh no cause for complacency.

Japan plans to vaccinate healthcare workers with pre-pandemic vaccine.

CIDRAP has this as well.

International health officials have been cautious about taking steps toward vaccination in advance of a pandemic, because researchers are uncertain if vaccines that are currently in national stockpiles will offer cross-protection against a future pandemic strain. Also, it's not clear if any adverse events would arise from the use of the vaccine, which makes it difficult to weigh the usefulness of the strategy.

South Carolina article notes that the Federal Government will not be there to help in a pandemic.

April 14 Flu Update

Cooperation between the US and Indonesia is stressed.

Revere blogs the Leavitt visit to Indonesia, wishing the US had some higher moral ground to stand on.

Indonesia has taken a terribly wrong course here. But no member of the Bush administration has the right to lecture them on it. Maybe Leavitt should rephrase his question in this way: "Once a country decides to act unilaterally just because it thinks it serves its own interests, where will it all end?"

A library of bird flu antibodies has been created, which could be a great help in fighting the disease.

Interesting article....after two years, poultry industry in Egypt is recovering.

CIDRAP on outbreaks in S. Korea and Russia.

Irish bird flu emergency centre opens.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 13 Flu Update

Hmmm....Indonesia is planning to launch its pandemic plan.

Indonesia also discussed sharing pandemic samples with a US Health official.

Hunting ban imposed in Eastern Russia.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April 12 Flu Update

China rejects the avian flu H2H report.

British study on closing schools during a pandemic. Yes, 1 in 7 cases might be prevented, but at the same time, hardships would be created throughout the society.

ProMed report on outbreak in Russia.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 11 Flu Update

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu.

Note this from ProMed:

A national campaign to slaughter possibly infected birds is more
often than not seen as a threat from authorities in which people have
no faith. The authorities recommend eating factory-farmed chicken
whose origins can be traced.

Perhaps the story of the day. In an Indian state, bird culling has been cut back so as not to cause controversy before an upcoming election.

Instances have been recorded of local officials found asking culling teams not to stop villagers in infected districts from repopulating poultry, and even asking them not to take away the villagers' chicken for culling.

From the ground in Tripura...interesting report on what is portrayed as a chaotic culling scene.

People are handling the infected chickens that are being culled. No one is warning the people of the dangers of this, the government is not helping. The locals may not be too off the mark. The local administrators shocked TIMES NOW's team of journalists when they instead of owning up passed the buck. AR Barman -- Director, Animal Resource Development Department, Kamlapur said, "It is not my department, we are only responsible for the animals."

A fourth outbreak among ducks in South Korea.

New article in a public health journal says that pandemic flu no more deadly than seasonal flu.

Doshi says the pandemic-equals-extreme-mortality concept appears to be a generalization of a single data point: the 1918 season, a period in which "doctors lacked intensive care units, respirators, antiviral agents and antibiotics." He argues that "had no other aspect of modern medicine but antibiotics been available in 1918, there seems good reason to believe that the severity of this pandemic would have been far reduced."

Bethel, CT, does a "first in the nation" pandemic exercise.

Times of London "Junk Medicine" column looks at the recent H2H transmission story from China.

Monitoring clean in Azerbaijan.

Effect Measure on "vagrant birds" straying from their migration routes, and the possible effect on bird flu.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April 10 Flu Update

And, we're back.

New Scientist on the recent news from China....and how there may be undiagnosed cases there. Also this:

The month before, an H5N1 patient in Shenzhen also recovered after receiving plasma from someone who had survived the infection, suggesting that antibodies from such survivors are a promising approach to treating H5N1, and should be investigated further.

Farmers haunted in Bangladesh, from bird flu.

Bird flu hits the far East of Russia.

France says its bird flu risk is "weak."

Bird flu continues to spread in S. Korea.

Indian culling said to be complete soon.

Flu Preparedness in Alabama.

A Missouri pandemic planning council is planning for...a pandemic.

Hiatus continues.....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

No Update Today

A sticky EGR valve got in the way.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

April 7 Flu Update

Bird flu outbreak reported in Tibet.

Culling begins in region in India.

More on outbreaks in Vietnam.

CIDRAP on new outbreaks in Asia.

The Indian poultry sector is looking for a little economic relief.

CIDRAP on previously reported dead Egyptian.

Vaccine testing continues in Vietnam, as 10 people take the second dose.

According to ProMed, the French Swans was a false alarm.

Planning is going on in Qatar.

IT WILL take 10 years to provide enough vaccines to treat 20% of the world’s population if bird flu becomes seriously endemic, an expert told an awareness session for healthcare workers organised by the National Health Authority (NHA) yesterday.

Imagine this: "So, what do you do for a living." "Well, I work at Colorado State University and I'm going to Vietnam soon, and I'm going to plant clams in waterways to check for bird flu. How about you?" "I'm a financial planner."

Its now easier to detect fake Tamiflu.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

April 6 Flu Update

ProMed on death in Egypt (reported earlier) and a new death in Indonesia.

Swans in France have H5N1.

Human-Human transmission is reported in Pakistan.

According to Dr Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi, head of the isolation ward for avian flu patients at Khyber Teaching Hospital in Peshawar, a poultry worker in Peshawar apparently passed the disease on to members of his family.

Vietnam is going to declare itself bird flu free, which virtually ensures an outbreak next week.

Third possible outbreak in South Korea.

More bird flu in India.

Indonesia is criticized in editorial in The Blade.

April 5 Flu Update

And we're back.....

An Egyptian man has died of bird flu. Contact with sick birds is claimed.

A second outbreak in South Korea is reported, culling begins.

CIDRAP on South Korea.

Culling appears to have re-started in India, too.

China has approved a bird flu vaccine for humans.

Saudi Arabian poultry farmers are not happy with their compensation.....

Hawaii has upgraded its flu capacity.

Friday, April 04, 2008

No Update today

Events conspired to the contrary.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

April 2 Flu Update

Very interesting story from Korea about bird flu crossing the species barrier to dogs, and then go from dog to dog.

A cocker spaniel and a miniature schnauzer were among dozens of dogs in South Korea sickened by an H3N2 strain from birds, researchers said in a study published in the May issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. Viruses taken from the sick canines were used in an experiment later to see if pathogens were capable of spreading from dog to dog.

Revere blogs this as well.

And there are other bird viruses that might also get into dogs or other companion animals. It's about time a serious, systematic investigation and any indicated surveillance of many more animal species got underway.

This story won't go away--Hong Kong expert says surveillance can prevent a pandemic.

Bird flu is reported to be abating in Vietnam.

The Chinese have an approved human bird flu vaccine.

A report from India says that there is confusion over culling numbers.

There appears to be an avian outbreak in South Korea.

China has banned poultry FROM Turkey.....

The US visits India, says flu is transnational concern.

Bird flu in Bangladesh described as "war footing."

Fascinating Revere post. Can healthcare workers be forced to go to work during a law? Interesting. I know some people in healthcare---I'd like to see you try. Anyway, the implications are there for docs, too. When you become a doctor, do you give up the right to say no during a pandemic?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April 1 Flu Update

Serious avian outbreak in Central Vietnam.

Hong Kong is restricting poultry movement to fight bird flu.

In an operation described here as "desperate," live birds are being burned in West Bengal.

The US Ambassador to Indonesia is bringing $$ to help fight bird flu.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

March 31 Flu Update

Two Indonesian youths died of bird flu, #106 and #107.

A child has tested positive for bird flu in Indonesia.

CIDRAP on the new cases in Indonesia.

ProMed notes these cases are not related.

India says culling is nearing completion.

Consumers in India are still eating chicken, even with the bird flu.

Nigeria gets bird flu mitigation credits.

The US Military delivered bird flu vaccine to the Pacific.

More bird flu monitoring in Azerbaijan.

Nebraskans are told bird flu is still a threat.

North Carolina article on how to keep turkeys safe--and the economy humming--in North Carolina.