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August 29, 2005

August 26 flu UpdateThe Coming Influenza Pandemic?

The EU has its conclusions on the bird flu meetings. This is the kind of document that can be really painful later.

It considers that taking into account the existing knowledge on the migratory routes of the species of birds proceeding from central and western Asia and that might pose a risk of spreading the H5N1 avian influenza virus into the EU, the immediate risk of introduction of AI via these birds is probably remote or low (this also depends on the different areas of the EU).

As if in counterpoint, Finland is reporting it might have a dead seagull from bird flu, though they say its LPAI.

Recombinomics on the Finland story.

ProMed praises Finland for rapid response and surveillance.

Germans say they have a flu test that gives results in hours.

In China, officials are now saying that bird flu is more dangerous than SARS.

The Asian Development Bank has approved US$38M to Vietnam for fighting the bird flu.

The EU is looking into whether the Dutch flu moves (keeping chickens inside) violated EU regulations, since, apparently, animal health is an EU matter. Also, there was problems with using the "free range" label.

A nice editorial on the flu from UAE--this guy is ahead of many prominent MSM observers.

Here's a transcript of a radio show in Australia talking about the bird flu in Europe. Note, as always, the confidence of the government bureaucrat.

Manchester is preparing for the flu.

Meanwhile, health officials in Manchester are urging people to ignore "scare tactics" about drug shortages during a flu pandemic, and not to buy Tamiflu over the Internet.

As if in counterpoint, here's a very interesting story about Australian Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty. He has a new book called "the Beginners Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize." He says he is asked often about the bird flu. Here is his answer, emphasis added:

The question he is most asked now is whether bird flu is going to cross over to humans and become the killer pandemic many scientists fear.

Here science fails. It's a roll of the dice, he admits. He quotes figures estimating that 70 million lives could be at risk if the virus does mutate to allow rampant human to human transmission — a circumstance many of his peers fear is inevitable.

The toll was at least 40 million when the last flu pandemic struck in 1918, when the world population was about a third of its present size and did not have aircraft to help its spread.

He suggests people should consider asking their doctor for a script for the antiviral flu medication Tamiflu — the drug governments around the world are stockpiling against a catastrophic influenza outbreak.

He always has his vial of Tamiflu — his $56 "insurance policy" — on hand. Should everyone be hoarding a stash? "It depends how scared you are. But if the flu epidemic hits, the Tamiflu will run out fast."

Hong Kong is viewed as crucial to containing bird flu by this expert.

A month late, a Thai paper is informing its readers that major journals say the flu can be contained.

The Mirror on the bird flu---"Are our lives in Danger?"

The Telegraph (UK) has a Q&A on the bird flu.

CIDRAP on the civets, from yesterday. Civets are cats, and it represents a jump to mammals, though not the first.

ProMed on the civets--"interesting, but not surprising."

WHO experts are going to Mongolia to study bird flu there. Recombinomics covers it.

ProMed has another of a series of what seem to be regular updates from Russia. If only China was this transparent.

Via Crofsblogs, we have an analysis for a flu pandemic on European economies.

Posted by dymaxion at August 29, 2005 01:43 PM

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