Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Update Today

Events have conspired to the contrary.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 26 Flu Update

Revere has this blog post that is the most important news of the day. Are St. Jude's, the CDC and NIH seeking an international patent for a vaccine based on Indonesian vaccine. Isn't that what we have been critical of Indonesia for doing?

Novavax has a new, novel vaccine that has some encouraging reports, making the company a bunch of headlines this morning.

A new type of bird flu vaccine that uses a mock version of the virus appears to protect people against infection and is safe enough to continue testing, Novavax Inc. said on Tuesday.

One thing I have always worried about in a pandemic is the spectre of mandatory vaccination. See here for people who are wary of even garden variety vaccines.

Sharp has a new air purifier.

Geese shot during hunting season will be testing for bird flu in New York.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 25 Flu Update

People following the flu virus know about NS1, the influenza protein that is believed to play a key role in infection. Researchers from the University of Texas and Rutgers have done some apparently important work on identifying the structure of NS1.

The researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of a site on an influenza A virus protein that binds to one of the human protein targets, thereby suppressing a person's natural defenses to the infection and paving the way for the virus to replicate efficiently. This so-called NS1 virus protein is shared by all influenza A viruses isolated from humans, including avian influenza, or bird flu, and the 1918 pandemic influenza virus.
A seminar is being held in Chicago for businesses looking to prepare for a potential pandemic.

Fear of bird flu is causing the Philippines to curtail a regional "bird trapping" activity.

Strains of flu in Indonesia and Bangladesh are similar.

The military needs to be "ready" for disasters.....check this opinion piece out, as follows:

The message was simple. "It's about being prepared for the first 72 hours after an emergency-situation occurs. We want people to consider how they'll notify their families and where they'll meet," she said.
An alert reader shipped this along....did you know that deadly toxins are shipped via Fed Ex? Military leaders are reviewing safety rules and suspending lab activities in the meantime.

Mike the Mad Scientist at Scienceblogs writes about the bacterial aspect of influenza, which was recently published.

Bird flu fight gets publicity in Sierra Leone.

Cameroon is also re-launching its poultry industry after a bird flu scare.

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 24 Flu Update

Employing the oldest PR trick in the books, Indonesia is combining free food with bird flu education.

Some birds died in Hawaii, but apparently it was botulism.

Thailand is looking to expand its seasonal vaccine program, with benefits to its avian flu program.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 23 Flu Update

The United Arab Emirates is prepping against the bird flu.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 22 Flu Update

Questions are raised in New Zealand about the potential for a Tamiflu resistant flu.

A trial is now testing a universal flu vaccine.

CIDRAP with the story about bacterial infections during the 1918 pandemic.

A pilot program is underway to test insurance for farmers against livestock diseases.

Listen, its hard enough to get people to vote now, I don't recommend following this plan of giving flu shots at polling places.

Here's a review of a new book just out....A social history of influenza. Sounds interesting. The social aspects of influenza are the ones that fascinate me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

August 21 Flu Update

A human vaccine from Vietnam is said to be effective.

The CDC is collecting pandemic survival stories from the Spanish Flu.

"Complacency is enemy No. 1 when it comes to preparing for another influenza pandemic," Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "These stories, told so eloquently by survivors, family members and friends from past pandemics, serve as a sobering reminder of the devastating impact that influenza can have and reading them is a must for anyone involved in public health preparedness."

Birds in North Dakota remain clear on surveillance.

From New Jersey....its not if but when.

Youth in Arkansas learn about nature, including testing wild birds for bird flu.

Alabama community worries about where to store bodies during mass fatalities.

Was bird flu a "spurious scare" for which no one has been held accountable....

Maybe Lab meat is the answer....

Here, a conspiracy theorist says the governments and pharma are going to release bird flu and start a pandemic.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21 Flu Update

Liberal opposition in Canada says government cuts to budget threaten bird flu programs, among others.

Is a world food crisis coming and could bird flu play a role.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 19 Flu Update

The NIH has more on pneumonia causing most deaths in the 1918 pandemic. This is research by Jeffrey Taubenberger, who is a big star in the 1918 research space. Does this mean 1918 could not have happened in an anti-biotic era?

Preparations for diagnosing, treating and preventing bacterial pneumonia should be among highest priorities in influenza pandemic planning, they write. "We are encouraged by the fact that pandemic planners are already considering and implementing some of these actions,” says Dr. Fauci.

CIDRAP on the long-living immunity from the 1918 pandemic.

In Singapore, the financial sectors will test themselves against a pandemic.

Indonesia is enlisting scouts in the fight against bird flu.

Bird flu is involved in a war of words between Brazil and Indonesia.

How do you look for bird flu in North on.

San Bernadino County (CA) is getting a big grant for preparedness, including pan flu.

Canada is holding a national disaster response meeting to discuss whether the nation is vulnerable to a crisis like a severe storm or pandemic.

Adjuvant tested for bird flu will be tested against HIV.

Blogpost on the "hype" related to bird flu pandemic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 18 Flu Update

CIDRAP reports on trends in Indonesia's bird flu cases. This is a very revealing piece of work....

Of the 125 patients who were hospitalized, 104 were diagnosed with pneumonia immediately or shortly after admission.

The authors report there were 11 case clusters that involved 28 patients. Infected patients who were not part of clusters were more likely to die, but researchers did not find any differences between cluster patients and noncluster patients in terms of when they presented to a healthcare facility, whether they received oseltamivir, or how soon they received the drug.

Patients with secondary cases were more likely to survive than primary case-patients, and they received antiviral treatment about 3 days earlier than primary case-patients. The investigators acknowledge that secondary cases may have involved other early interventions as well. They also report that patients who had indirect exposure to the virus were more likely to die.

Maryland "Nurse Detectives" work on bird flu and other diseases.

A PR firm won an award for a its pandemic influenza materials.

Bird flu is used as a reason not to require free range poultry in California.

Effect Measure blogs the story we ran yesterday about the antibodies in 1918 flu survivors. (Which is all over the media today, by the way.) Along with some scientific explanation, Revere adds some cogent perspective.

We still don't know how typical these people are. After all, they apparently didn't get sick in 1918 despite being infected and they have a good enough immune system to last into their nineties. Maybe most of us aren't so lucky and have waning immunity with the years. But this is some slick work and now that we have the actual antibodies in sufficient quantity to study we can begin to ask what features of the 1918 virus made it vulnerable. How much of this is transferable to bird flu, the current pandemic worry, is difficult to say. These antibodies didn't protect against or react with H5 flu viruses so they aren't a therapy for bird flu. But understanding the basic science of influenza virus is always a plus.

Debate breaks out on ProMed about whether it should report suspected (not officially confirmed) cases from Indonesia.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17 Flu Update

South Korea says it is now bird flu free.

Interesting study looked at the blood of 1918 flu survivors. Yes, after all this time, they still have the antibodies. What an amazing thing our immune system is.

This is something that never seems to get resolved. Did the Spanish Flu kill on its own, or through opportunistic bacterial infections (which would help to render the likelihood of a killer pandemic as low in the anti-biotic era.)

No Update Today


Saturday, August 16, 2008

August 15 Flu Update

FAO is consulting with Vietnam and recommends that the country change its poultry vaccination schedule. Vaccination has been widely employed in Vietnam, to mixed results.

FAO is also recommending that Vietnam have private-public cost sharing on vaccination programs. Wonder how that will work with small farmers?

Do skyrocketing poultry imports into China indicate more knowledge than they say they have about avian flu outbreaks?

This story is similar, about avian influenza and the food supply in Africa.

Japan has donated Tamiflu to Vietnam.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 14 Flu Update

Study on Indonesia shows that 80% of cases are fatal. Oddly, it reaffirms that every anti-virals help, but notes that goal is rarely achieved.

Would GPs show up for work during a pandemic? Australia thinks they may not.

Of course, the if pandemic flu broke out in China during the Olympics, it would have huge pandemic potential because everyone would scatter to the four corners of the Earth after the Olympics were over. Here, a reporter from Edmonton looks at that very situation.

Researchers continue to make comments about H9 causing a pandemic, here on CIDRAP.

ProMed has an interesting story on bird flu in swans which they say merits a close read.

I suspect that they demonstrate why adult swans are found dead. The question is how far can a sick swan fly -- 'sick' is a variable term -- and survive, if it even wished to fly while convalescing from this infection; to appreciate risk this should be recalculated as the prevalence rate of infected flying swans.

Developments in Nigeria (new strain) have Ghana worried.

Nature blog has the raspberries for British press, which gives more attention to a quck flu testing machine than it does to a new strain in Nigeria.

Here's a story on the flu testing machine.

Bird flu testing has a higher priority in Nigeria.

Laos has a new law that will reform veterinary service.

Cleveland Plain Dealer runs bird flu primer.

N. Sulawesi has distributed poultry vaccines, but there isn't enough for all the chickens.

Chinese researchers are testing a combination of statins and caffeine to fight bird flu.

Interesting reader comments from Indonesia when there was a suspected cluster of 13 people.

No Update Today

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 12 Flu Update

Commentary posted on ProMed criticizes the site's decision not to post suspected Indonesian cases until the government confirms them.

Is H9N2 a more likely pandemic candidate?

Hong Kong has opted to begin importing poultry from Britain again.

This columnist said that Obama passed a law requiring the government to report on pandemic prep.

Azerbaijan says it needs help preparing for a pandemic.

"Citizen" column on unthinkable and unstoppable pandemic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 11 Flu Update

Today's big news....Nigeria has reported a new strain of bird flu, raising many questions, as below

"The detection of a new avian influenza virus strain in Africa raises serious concerns as it remains unknown how this strain has been introduced to the continent," said Scott Newman, International Wildlife Coordinator of FAO's Animal Health Service.

The fatality rate is falling this year in Indonesia, but I wonder, given the small sample sizes, about relevance.

Meanwhile, N. Sumatra is remaining alert.

In the UK, a man was prosecuted for improperly disposing of bird carcasses.

Cambodia is holding educational seminars to train the people who work in live markets on how to control bird flu.

The US has given funds to Ethiopia to help combat avian influenza, among other things.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 10 Flu Update

.....and we're back.

13 people in Indonesia were tested for bird flu....they are all reported to be negative.

San Juan health official tells local audience that a pandemic is likely.

The Japanese are helping to fight animal diseases in Myanmar.

A bird flu planning meeting was held in Thailand.