Monday, June 09, 2008

June 8 Flu Update

More on the Hong Kong outbreak, which is Big News, and plummeting poultry sales.

Bangladesh is "gearing up" its bird flu prevention program.

AMA writes about the recent study on antivirals, and how they can be used to slow a pandemic.

Thailand is now flu free, says it wants to export poultry again.


At 6:41 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Regarding the current discovery of H5N1 in the Hong Kong market, at least one bird flu observer (Niman), astutely points out that the infection chickens that were found were asymptomatic, which raises further questions whether the virus has mutated to allow viral shedding to occur. In addition, he also voices concern, similar to my comments yesterday, about large areas of H5N1 infestation in mainland China, that are being overlooked or not reported. In my view, culling all of the infecting chickens in the Hong Kong markets is only a temporary measure, but does not eliminate the source of the virus.

Similarly, it is noteworthy that Bangladesh has taken stringent medical measures, by expanding its internal surveillance network, stockpiling anti-viral drugs, PPE and building isolation units at its 33 district level public hospitals – but these measures would mainly be employed as defensive containment measures once numerous human infections started surfacing. Real precautionary measures such as 100% culling, poultry vaccinations, thorough bio-security, and cessation of wet-markets, have not been implemented, so the threat of bird flu spreading will increase over time. By definition, an influenza pandemic would be massive and infect nearly all elements of Bangladesh society, so contrary to popular belief, a four-person isolation unit in 33 public hospitals would not be nearly enough to accommodate their densely populated country.

About your amednews article about the IOM committee and their questions about the priorities and use of anti-viral medications during a pandemic: I guess I would find it very very interesting to see how stockpiles from the private sector could ever be "included" into the government stockpiles during a national health emergency. I don’t see any businesses voluntarily relinquishing their critical medical or food supplies designated for their employees – in fact, some large commercial businesses are better armed and managed than the US government when it comes down to it. I would be willing to wager that the first time the government tried to appropriate private stockpiles of Tamiflu or Relenza (or any other private stocks, medicines and supplies), all hades would break loose.

Businesses and individuals would instantly go “under ground” at the first hint of government confiscation of their property. The more valuable the items, the deeper they burrow.



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