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"

1 Comments:

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

I guess what some people at ProMED and the WHO (Gregory Hartl in particular) call the “roll of the dice”, others call “prudent health risk mitigation”. I think what we will be seeing in oncoming months, is unilateral action by even more counties who will also want to pre-prime their populations with whatever H5N1 clade vaccine they have stockpiled before it expires. This is prudent action. The rumor I have heard in the federal government is that if the US State Dept and/or the DOD network get even a hint that H5N1 has sufficiently mutated to a pandemic stage virus (exhibits increased sustained human-to-human transmissibility beyond genetic relatives), they will pull the trigger and proceed quickly to inoculate the military forces and senior key government officials. There ain’t no way any responsible high government officials anywhere in the world are going to wait to the last minute until political hacks at the UN declares “sustained human transmission” and raise the artificial pandemic bars.

I suppose my reaction to the CIDRAP article and the clever (but accurate) use of the phrase “disasters discriminate”, is rather circumspect. First, the work these folks in Minnesota have begun is commendable. I think it is absolutely necessary and vital that we assist the most “vulnerable” people possible for a pandemic. But the reality is that in a national emergency, at some point I truly believe as with any crisis, there is a point to which the axiom of “diminishing returns” is reached: some individuals for example, no matter what type of assistance is offered, they will undoubtedly fall through the crack during a pandemic – in particular, drug addicts, many of the homeless people, and hard core violent repeat offender type criminals. I guess I am a little skeptical about how much assistance these individuals should be provided, in view of their lousy life choices and life style. Money and time could better be spent on the elderly, the poor, infants, disabled, and the “socially or geographically isolated” – people who have been or will be productive members of society. I am definitely not categorizing the homeless, hard core criminals and drug addicts as society write-offs, but realistically, many of these people often contain very dangerous and hard core elements, and do not deserve special consideration and pampering.

A modern day terrible international health care crisis, like a highly virulent pandemic, would most likely reinvent the definition of what “vulnerable people” are. The point here is that the 21st Century Pandemic Model, more likely will turn out to be very disimilar to the 1918 events in terms of vulnerabilities and risks.

As my mother used to say when I was a little boy growing up, “Wulfie: life’s not fair…but maybe that’s a good thing”.

Wulfgang

 

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