Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 21 Flu Update

Indian officials optimistically believe they are "mopping up" bird flu in Darjeeling.

Here (search for "flu") we get the encouraging news that bird flu has allowed Israeli and Palestinian officials to cooperate.

Indonesia is now requiring that people get permission before they take their animals to travel.

A Minnesota Regional Medical Office has held a bird flu summit.

South Koreans are urged to fight flu by washing their hands.

In Japan, firefighters are doing pandemic drills.

Flu Primer for Shelbyville, TN

PETA blames filthy farms for bird flu.

Alumni magazine looks at graduate who is working on bird flu. Look for the name Eric Blum.


At 6:10 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


We’ve been hearing a lot about the bird flu status in Darjeeling over the last several months. How much you want to bet that we haven’t heard the last ? Your article seems to be about the 20th “mopping up” comment I’ve seen coming out of the West Bengal area.

Regarding your WHA report, at least the Palestinians and the Israeli’s seem to be agreeing on one critical point: bird flu. Who would have thought…

I was all set to pounce on the PETA, but you know, the article does make sense. The only rebuttal I can think of is: anyone familiar with mass animal operations knows how messy and toxic it can be: it is extremely difficult and expensive to maintain any state of cleanliness or bio-security. The larger the commercial operation, the bigger the challenge. The moral here is that animals and birds are messy creatures (until that is we see them in the final state: at KFC or a Texas Roadhouse) and if we are going to live and manage them in close proximity to humans, we are going to have to expect new immerging pathogens and diseases.

And, as your Jakarta piece points out, animals and poultry are still easily and routinely transported on public transportation in third world countries (in fact, having spent several years in Middle Eastern countries, it is quite common to board local country buses alongside donkeys, cattle, chickens and ducks – you sit right next to them at times). Without strict travel regulations and government strict enforcement, this mode of transporting animals is very unlikely to change and in my view, and unenforceable in most third world countries.

My final comment is: you seem to have published the very first bird flu article (Japan) that relates to firefighters actually conducting pandemic drills. I cannot recall reading any other articles over the last three years which described firefighters conducting bird flu exercise and planning. Japan seems to really take all aspects of their bird flu planning seriously and maybe we Westerners ought to be paying a lot closer attention.



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