Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 14 Flu Update

Extreme shortage of flu news....

ProMed on existing reports about outbreaks in North Korea.

OIE on outbreaks of bird flu from an animal health perspective.

The Department of Agriculture is being urged to increase bird flu efforts in the Philippines.

Malawi is getting ready for the bird flu.

1 Comments:

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

News might be slow at the moment, but you still managed to publish some interesting tidbits that people need to pay attention to. For example, in your ProMED article about the annual OIE report which summarizes the world wide spread of H5N1, there is one sentence that is quite interesting: it says, “This epizootic of HPAI subtype H5N1 is unprecedented since there are no records of an epizootic having lasted so long a time and having covered such a wide geographical area in such a short period of time”. Interestingly, the report also says that “In other countries, such as Indonesia, Egypt, and possibly certain parts of Vietnam, Bangladesh and the People’s Republic of China, the disease is not under control, despite the vaccination strategy (excluding Bangladesh) put in place”.

Without being alarmist, these two statements are extremely concerning, because what I believe we are really talking about, is a gigantic geographic epicenter of H5N1 in the Indo-China area, where significant amounts of poultry and wild bird outbreaks, and numbers of human illnesses, are not being recognized or accounted for. Let’s do a little rationality test: China, N. Korea, Indonesia, India, or Bangladesh, alone comprise nearly one half of the worlds entire population, in total have the largest number of wet poultry markets, pervasive cross-border bird trade, largest numbers of fowls, and yet they fail to report human H5N1 illnesses or poultry outbreaks promptly. In view of the way the OIE is reporting the world wide rapid spread of the virus, this is a prescription for a pandemic disaster in my view. The present world wide health system can barely meet day-to-day demands as it is, and the world is totally unprepared to handle a catastrophic emergency such as a deadly H5N1 flu pandemic. It would completely overwhelm nearly every country of the world.

Know what the big news is today Orange ? Flooding in China: nearly 1.3 million people have now fled their homes in nine hard hit provinces: Sichuan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Fujian, Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong. These are all provinces where bird flu, porcine respiratory virus and other illnesses have been rampant. In addition, this is the worst flooding in fifty years, right after their devastating earthquake last month, and a substantial portion of their farmland is under water. Fresh water is at a premium. They won’t be able to plant their crops to feed their people.

Yes, there seems to be little bird flu news these days, but how long can nearly one half of the worlds population skate through repeated devastating earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, H5N1 and PRRSV and other localized deadly human epidemics, food and water shortages, – and nothing major happen ?

Heck, M. Night Shyamalan could bundle all these events up in the Indo-China region and win an oscar with a new movie called, “The Plague of 2009”

Wulfgang

 

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