Friday, June 06, 2008

June 5 Flu Update

CIDRAP on Indonesia's announcement that it will no longer make prompt notification of bird flu cases.

Sharon Sanders, editor-in-chief of FluTrackers, a well-known Web message board that focuses on avian flu developments, told CIDRAP News that Indonesia's decision to delay H5N1 notifications will obscure what is happening there, which negatively affects the world's ability to prepare for a pandemic.

She said Indonesia's news blackout would likely have the opposite effect from what the government apparently intends. "Now, there will be intense speculation and generation of rumors surrounding suspicious deaths that have similar symptoms to H5N1 infections," Sanders said. "False rumors of an H5N1 outbreak have the potential to be even more economically devastating than a government-confirmed outbreak."

Effect Measure also blogs this news....

The Health Minister is a nutcase to begin with yet her colleagues in the Indonesian government are letting take the wheel of the bird flu bus. Who is going to pay any attention to what the driver says over the loudspeaker system when the bus has already been driven into the ditch?

A farmer in the UK has been recognized for quick action that might have kept bird flu from spreading in that country.

Things seem under control in South Korea, but the poultry industry has continued to be hit.

Vietnam notes no new cases in the past 100 days.

Surveillance in North America shows no H5N1 here.

I'm surprised this isn't happening more...a pandemic committee in Missouri may be disbanded.

A community in Wyoming is joining a statewide pandemic group.


At 12:21 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I believe what is most revealing about Madame Supari’s decision to delay announcements of bird flu fatalities, is the government’s complete acquiescence to this decision. It makes a person wonder if they are all out to lunch. Indeed, as Revere points out, why would one even consider vacationing in Indonesia, when the government’s policy is not to supply timely information about human bird flu deaths ? The decision by Supari and the government doesn’t make sense and it is not rationale. (however, not much of any other health decisions, scandalous comments and flimsy planning activities made by her, have made much sense either though). The decision to withhold government information, will only lead to needless speculation, tension and further censorship of newspaper releases – it’s easy to see where her current decision is leading to.

Regarding the funding dilemma that Joplin and Jasper Counties in Missouri are facing – this will be the first in many more decisions that local health departments will face – and that is, how to continue crisis and emergency health planning, with an extremely limited fund stream. The only solution I see to maintain any semblance of pandemic planning, is to fold the effort into local natural disaster preparation. There is no way that local rural governments can maintain a state of readiness indefinitely for an influenza pandemic exclusively. It is just not feasible. I have been traveling through out the East Coast all week long, and in my view, pandemic planning is the last thing on people's mind. They are far too concerned with job security, regular health care, and the price of gas and heating costs.

Maybe a complete change in the Administration in Washington, Congressional leadership, coupled with a cessation of the disastrous Iraq War, and a renewed emphasis on rebuilding the public health care infrastructure, will free up the funding and keep pandemic planning in the spotlight.

Until this occurs, we are all in the same boat on dangerous seas… it’s up to each one of us to supply our own life jackets. No doubt about it in my mind. I am more convinced than ever because of my travels this week, if a deadly influenza pandemic emerged in the US, the death toll would be significantly higher than anyone could ever imagine, because rural heath care is nearly in shambles. Rural counties are totally unprepared.



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