Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 17 Flu Update

WHO's David Nabarro says that the global response to H5N1 was "extraordinary" and that the outbreaks are being brought under control "reasonably well".

CIDRAP with a world roundup, including Chinese confirmation of the flu in Guandong (how many days until the Olympics?) and a reported outbreak in Vietnam.

ProMed on the Chinese outbreak, and followup reports on flu control in Britain.

CDC is funding research that will allow medical professionals to discern seasonal and pandemic flu in 3 hours. CIDRAP reports.

CIDRAP with yesterday's vaccine news....the Australian vaccine, and Novartis withdrawing its vaccine.

South Korea has restricteds its bird flu quarantines.

Cambodia released a statement that it is vigilant.

Nigeria is trying to boost poultry farming, including work on how flu compensation can play into the mix.

New York Times covers New York City's pandemic flu exercise.

Pandemic flu exercises in Santa Barbara, CA.

Maryland also held a pandemic flu exercise.


At 6:05 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


One has to really wonder whether, according to Dr. Nabarro’s current statements, whether the global bird flu situation is really improving or not. For example, just in the last thirty days alone: China and Vietnam are reporting more poultry outbreaks of H5N1 (Vietnam is investigating more than 30 variants of H5N1 in their country); an H7N7 poultry outbreak was reported in Oxfordshire, England; Haiti reported three outbreaks of H5N2; swine flu H3N2 sequences have been found in wild birds in South Dakota; and H7N3 strain has been found at Tyson Foods in West Fayette, Arkansas. Looks to me as if now that H5N1 appears to be stabilizing, the other avian strains are pulling off similar rapid expansionary maneuvers in the environment.

It’s a darn good thing the CDC has awarded two contracts to develop rapid proto-typing PCR type tests to determine the difference between seasonal influenza types A and B; and can distinguish between A subtypes H1N1 and H3N2, and RSV. We’re going to need this test capability. More importantly, from the looks of the way the avian virus types are spreading around the globe, a rapid test which will distinguish between H5N1, H7N1 and H9N1 (and probably others), will be critical. The chances that a novel mutated pandemic virus will pop up simultaneously during a seasonal influenza epidemic someplace on earth, is near a certainty.

It’s a good thing cities, counties and states all over North America, like NYC, Santa Barbara, Ca, and even the state Maryland are taking the threat of an avian influenza pandemic seriously, and conducting their integrated preparation exercises. But Dr. Weisfuse describes the situation best: “Everybody in the whole state – local governments, businesses large and small, families – should be preparing”. I like to see reports like this.

But just watch and see the backlash from millions of unprepared and irresponsible citizens if something actually does happen. They’ll be saying, “nobody told me”, “what do I do?”, or “why didn’t the government do something?”. (anything to avoid personal responsibility and accountability in my opinion). The lawyers will be out in full force in response the famous US battle cry, “I’ll sue”.



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