Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 12 Flu Update

After a second outbreak of bird flu in Seoul, the authorities have killed the entire poultry population in the city. All of them.

CIDRAP on South Korea as well. Note spread to farms in the Seoul metro area.

In fact, bird flu may be endemic in South Korea.

North Korea is casting a wary eye on South Korea.

A new locality in Vietnam has found bird flu.

Australia, on the other hand, still says its bird flu risk is low.

Indonesia's state pharma firm is saying it will have human flu vaccine...by 2011.

OSHA is looking for insight on the stockpiling of respirators in the event of a pandemic.


At 7:26 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The news coming out of South Korea is a little alarming in the following respect: even though they have temporarily wiped out all of the domestic poultry in Seoul for the present, the H5N1 virus seems to have become as entrenched there as it is in Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh. In addition, the virus clearly seems to have gone through a mutation adaptation which allows it to spread in the warmer spring and summer seasons – which is not good at all. The good news is that Korea is giving it their very best efforts, regardless.

I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that the US military health officials are watching the unfolding events there very carefully. If they become alarmed… then we need to increase our awareness. As far as North Korea is concerned, I doubt they have much to worry about: they are facing another year of mass starvation unless outside food stocks arrive – it is doubtful they have many domestic poultry running around – if they did, they would have already been consumed by the starving masses.

I do believe people like Dr. Ian Barr of the WHO is doing a very grave disservice to Australia (and all other countries for that matter), with his following remarks, “there’s no cause for concern and it’s unlikely the virus will be the world’s next pandemic”, and “I think the virus is still very avian like and it’s mainly a problem for poultry and wild birds at this stage”. He should make these remarks to the many poultry workers and cullers around the world to date who have tested positive for the virus antibodies, and to the families of those 240+ people that have already died from the virus. I guess Dr. Barr’s comment really shows what little weight (or credence) the WHO officials really place on this virus becoming a pandemic: in my view all it would take is a couple of key mutations or the right co-infection with an existing influenza type, and we wake up one morning to a nightmare situation. It would make the current EV-71 enterovirus raging through China’s children look like a walk in the park. Sure, the H5N1 virus hasn’t significant mutated to make the human transmissible “cross-over” in five years, but it could well happen tomorrow, or the next day – that’s the random way nature works.

The most surprising article you posted is the OSHA article, requesting “insight on stockpiling respirators”.

It’s pretty scary, in my opinion, when the top federal occupational and health organization issues guidance, and at the same time doesn’t seem to have any clue on whether employers are actually stockpiling respirators and facemasks, or not. Just my opinion.



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