August 18 Flu UpdateCIDRAP 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.