Wednesday, July 09, 2008

July 8 Flu Update

Hong Kong has scaled back its bird flu alert with the absence of cases.

An article published recently in a medical journal says that the mutations needed for H5N1 to go H2H have been identified.

"The mutations needed for the emergence of a potential pandemic virus are likely to originate and be selected within infected human tissues," said Professor Dr Prasert Auewarakul from Mahidol University, Thailand. "We analyzed specific molecules called haemagglutinin on viruses derived from fatal human cases. Our results suggest new candidate mutations that may allow bird flu to adapt to humans."
Excellent Purdue study says that when fighting pandemic, we have to look at the people who are affected, and not merely the nation or the region.

"Most public health experts who are leading planning efforts for an influenza outbreak are focusing on specific geographic areas, usually counties, as defined by political lines," said George Avery, an assistant professor of health and kinesiology and member of the Purdue Alternative Care Site Planning Team. "This is problematic because if there is an outbreak, planners need to take into account the people and health-care systems that are or are not around them.

"Counties that border other states may experience nonresidents seeking treatment in their area, while other counties may be home to the only isolated hospital system in the region and can expect the population from other states to travel there for care. Health care, especially in a crisis, is not defined by county or state lines."


A Hong Kong expert says poultry vaccines are losing their effectiveness.

Australian vet joins bird flu team.

Philippine state says it is vulnerable to the bird flu.

Also from the Philippines, this article wonders how long the nation will remain untouched. (Note airport signs that inform visitors of the lack of bird flu.

Ghanan poultry farmers are urged to improve hygiene on their farms.

3 Comments:

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Kobie said...

Yesterday's (July 8th) webcast about home health care was an eye opener.

HHS webiste for the original text:
http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/healthcare/homehealth.html

According to the webcast 7.6 million people received home health care.

During the N.Y. Transit strike hospitals could not discharge people to home health care because home health care workers could not get to them. You guessed it - hospitals started to back up.

During a pandemic Home health care for sick individuals is expected to rise dramaticaly to free up space.

HHS - not FEMA - declares a health emergency which has a seperate protocol.

From the executive summary:
"In the event of an influenza pandemic, because of anticipated shortages of health care professionals and widespread implementation of social distancing techniques, it is expected that the large majority of individuals infected with the influenza virus will be cared for in the home by family members, friends, and other members of the community ? not by trained health care professionals. Given these circumstances, home health care workers can expect to be called on to provide care for two main populations of patients:

Those medical and surgical patients, not hospitalized because of the pandemic, who are well enough to be discharged early from hospitals to free up hospital beds for more severely ill patients.

Patients who become or already are dependent on home health care services (predominantly elderly persons with chronic disease) and will continue to need in-home care during the influenza pandemic whether or not they become infected with the influenza virus."

Archive of web cast to be online next week at:
http://www.pandemicflu.gov/news/panflu_webinar.html

Archives of four (4) previous webcasts available for your viewing pleasuer.

Kobie
"Live, learn, survive"

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger birdfluman said...

It'll be interesting to see how a government reacts when it's resources become consumed. We'll never know until it happens.

One thing's for sure the hype which will preceed the onset of the pandemic will cause an over reaction in all sectors of government and business.

They'll be closing whole office blocks when only single (suspect) cases occur. How long do you think public services are able to sustain these sorts of levels?

Not long, and the businesses that are ready to do things themselves will survive in the face of the pandemic.

Nigel Thomas
For free references and tools go to Bird Flu Manual Online or, if you need more comprehensive tutorials and templates, check out Bird Flu D-I-Y eManual for business preparedness and survival.

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

It’s fascinating that tiny Hong Kong seems to be taking on the role as semi-official proxy “bird flu spokesperson” for the Chinese, even though it is one of two special tiny administrative regions of the People's Republic of China (the other being Macau). Specifically, we barely see or hear of any MSM news about the H5N1 situation from the mainland Communist government (only mostly official denials about any serious disease outbreaks in humans and animals), now Hong Kong professor Yuen Kwok-yung states that the current poultry vaccine being used there (and probably also on the mainland) will inevitably fail completely. The is a very interesting “transparency process” to observe – I wonder if an actual H5N? influenza pandemic were to spark in one of the Chinese provinces, would Hong Kong be the first to report it ? (probably yes, from the looks of things). Hong Kong seems to have learned from the SARS episode, the mainland PRC apparently didn’t learn a thing.

Your Science Daily article outlining Dr. Prasert Auewarakul’s research of pandemic H5 mutations, on the surface appears pretty confident and uplifting. However, one needs to point out the following important point: the missing link will be up-to-date-data and specimens of actual infected human flu strains, in order to head off a pandemic.

One can hypothesize that there are currently (or have been) untold thousands of H5 infected (or co-infected) individuals in third world countries, like China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh: identification of opportunistic “swarms of variants” or H5N1 bird flu “quasispecies”, are solely dependent on these governments diagnosing and reporting human illnesses and deaths on a timely basis, and most of them certainly have not, and some are even refusing to do so. If H5N1 is indeed going through “adaptive changes” every time it infects a human, then some of these countries where the virus is endemic in the environment, are living on borrowed time.

Kobie and birdfluman: you both have very interesting posts. You both seem to point out the sad fact that if a pandemic occurs, we are pretty much on our own and nobody should depend on the government or the health services for a safety net. Minimal family preparation is the key: having emergency supplies on hand to last for several months if necessary, and the social support network in place, if things go to hades-in-a-hand-basket.

Will things go really south during an influenza pandemic ? Nobody knows until one happens, but I believe in preparing for the worst case and in my view, that’s the smart thing to do.

Wulfgang

 

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