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.


At 11:13 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your articles reveal there is cause for concern on two major fronts: the alarming and unexplained worldwide growing resistance of seasonal flu’s to Tamiflu, and the rampant disease situation occurring in Indonesia at the current time.

First, the near 100% H1N1 resistance to Tamiflu over the last 18 months and the evolution of the resistance throughout both northern and southern hemisphere’s in over forty countries, should be raising some serious alarm bells in the epidemiologic community. In addition, this raises the obvious question: how quickly will H3N2 and H5N1 start exhibiting the same rapid resistance ? (probably sooner than we realize) My own opinion is that this may be the one real underlying reason behind health minister Siti Supari’s refusal to release sample strains – they would reveal the extent of the resistance evolving there and account for their high mortality rates. My opinion: Oseltamivir is becoming ineffective there.

Second, the WHO needs to conduct a real fact-finding exercise and determine what exactly is going on with the alarming increases of “dengue hemorrhagic fever” (more misdiagnoses perhaps?) cases in Sumatra, AND the epidemic of bacterial pneumonia cases in Tangerang. The number of pneumonia cases in children in Tangerang has been increasing exponentially since 2006 (5,690 cases), in 2007 (7,695 cases) and in 2008 alone, there have over 500 cases of children under five years old reported each month since January. One has to wonder about the lack of adult statistics and what is truly happening, if this is data for only children under five years of age.

In view of the fact that history suggest that the H1N1 1918 influenza virus caused an astounding 90% deaths due to invasive bacterial pneumonia and this was the single highest cause of death, I believe it is reasonable to question whether the sudden rise in pneumonia infections in youngsters in Indonesia might be related to a new mutated strain of H5N1, that Supari simply doesn’t want to acknowledge ? Sounds farfetched – but sometimes the most obvious is what is true. It could be that modern-day antibiotics are the only defense keeping Tangerang from becoming a killing zone.

I quote your CIDRAP article, “The authors suggest that, as in past pandemics, secondary bacterial pneumonia is likely to be the leading killer in the next pandemic – if it is caused by a human-adapted virus similar to those recognized since 1918”.

I guess what I am really questioning is this: are we in fact slowing seeing the formulation of the next influenza pandemic scenario beginning to shape up with these unexplained "bacterial pneumonia" and “dengue hemorrhagic fever’ epidemics in Indonesia ?

You might really get a chance to study social behavior if that’s the case, Orange. Maybe even publish a book better than Val Hennessy.



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