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August 31, 2005

H5 infections in Ibaraki, Japan

Antibody tests showed Tuesday that chickens at seven more farms in Ibaraki Prefecture may have been infected with a bird flu virus of the H5 strain in the past, the prefectural government said.

Chickens at two farms near the seven in the town of Ogawa have already tested positive for antibodies to the virus.

The prefectural government imposed a ban on transferring chickens and eggs from an area surrounding the seven farms to places outside.

It will also decide whether to cull the chickens at the farms after hearing from an expert panel of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The prefectural government has confirmed that chickens at 14 farms were infected with the avian influenza.

The story comes from Kyodo News.

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Finska måsar bar inte värsta virusen

Det hundratal måsar som dött i Finland har inte dukat under för någon av de farligaste virusen, som det fruktade H5N1, visar tester. Exakt vad det var för smitta är ännu inte klart. Copyright: SvD 2005

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我今天又要写些乱七八糟的东西了

哈哈

从地球的物种灭绝历史研究中,人们发现越是复杂的生物就就越脆弱,越无法经受住自然环境的变迁,地球上活的最长的可能是细菌,简直是见证了地球的历史。而发展到哺乳动物,生命的形态已经达到了相当的复杂,恒温,胎生,狭窄的食物选择面。。。。。。。这种生命形态的脆弱超出了普通人的想象。而,人类最引以为豪的智慧和精神追求,恰恰使得我的物种变得比普通哺乳动物具有更脆弱的结构。 想象一下,一只猫会自杀吗?反正一个人肯定可能自杀。 我想细菌就更加无法理解(或者是鄙视)人类的自杀行为了。

反正无论如何,一个人可以为了听一场音乐会3天不吃饭,一个人可以饿着肚子在这里写博客,这就说明现代社会正常人类对精神世界的追求远胜于物质世界。

人类要是跟其他种类的生物叫上劲, 吃亏的肯定是自己,当然我们一直是这么做的,非典来了就杀果子狸, 禽流感来了就杀鸡。。。。。。。 呵呵 ,所以我们一直在吃亏,过几年,你等着瞧,又会有些大的疾病风潮, 因为这个世界上唯一比细菌还厉害的东西 就是病毒了。 跟病毒较量,人类没有一点胜算。

那怎么办?我想是没什么办法,当然病毒不是白痴,搞得人类灭绝对他没什么好处,但是人类也不能老乱破坏自然,这样就增加了整个地球的熵(理学中表示混乱的量), 大自然中如果熵多了,病毒里面的熵也就多了,这样他们就会多出来一些搞破坏病毒,比如h5n1 什么之类的。

顺便说一下,科技的发展对与人类对抗病毒是没有帮助的,长远来说,应该是起到反作用。

肚子很饿了, 博客不能当饭吃,但是当这个世界人人都能随便吃上饭的时候,诏显自我就变成了非常重要的东西。人类为什么要显示出自己与众不同呢? 因为人类有表达的欲望,为什么有表达的欲望呢?因为人类希望自己得到延续。

所以,为什么我们有性欲,因为我们希望延续

为什么有人没有性欲依然活着? 因为他希望通过其他方式把自己的一部分留下来。

知道人为什么会郁闷?主要是没有成就感,为什么没有成就感就郁闷?因为失去了在群体中显示自我存在的满足感,为什么不显示自己存在就郁闷? 因为如果你不存在,就无法延续。

本质上,昭示自我的愿望和动力其实和 孔雀开屏应该是一样道理的, 就是延续自己基因的动力,尽管孔雀是使用求偶的方式。

所以,弗洛一得的泛性论,其实总结的并不全面。 人类做任何东西的动力不是性,或者不局限在性,而是延续自己。

其实任何生物都是一样的,包括病毒。

当然,你把什么东西都看透了,对你实现延续自己是没有什么帮助的。 最关键的是,我会死去,人类的生命很短暂。

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ANTICIPATION

>Grippe aviaire : la France va constituer un stock de 200 millions de masques
LE MONDE | 30.08.05 | 13h47 • Mis à jour le 30.08.05 | 13h47



Le chef de l'Etat et le chef du gouvernement français ont, lundi 29 août, tenu à montrer publiquement l'importance qu'ils accordent désormais à la menace sanitaire inhérente à la diffusion, par les oiseaux migrateurs, d'une nouvelle souche H5N1 de virus de la grippe aviaire....

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Reuters AlertNet - Experts see Alaska as US front against bird flu

Reuters AlertNet - Experts see Alaska as US front against bird flu: "Experts see Alaska as US front against bird flu


30 Aug 2005 17:33:09 GMT



Source: Reuters



Background CRISIS PROFILE: Death and displacement in Chechnya




MORE


By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent


WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Bird experts working in some of the most remote areas of Alaska have begun checking migrating birds for avian influenza to see if they are spreading the feared virus out of Asia.


A team heads off later this week for the Alaskan Peninsula to test Steller's eiders, a type of duck, for the virus, U.S. Geological Survey experts said. Other teams have already begun testing geese and ducks in other refuges, taking advantage of regular ecological studies to test birds migrating from Asia for the H5N1 virus.


'We think that Alaska is likely to be the front line,' said Hon Ip, a virologist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Other states are vulnerable, too, he said.


'There are birds that fly directly across the Pacific from Southeast Asia to our western states like California, Oregon and Washington,' Ip added in a telephone interview.


The H5N1 avian influenza virus, which re-emerged in China in 2003, has caused the death or destruction of more than 100 million birds across Asia, from Japan to Russia's Siberia. Migrating birds in China and Mongolia have been found to be infected with the virus.


So far it has killed more than 50 people, although it does not easily infect humans. Experts fear it will eventually acquire the ability to spread easily from person to person and cause a global pandemic of exceptionally deadly influenza.


No one is sure how it is spreading, but migrating birds are a prime suspect. Officials fear birds such as ducks and"

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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Thailand? - Recombinomics


H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Thailand?
Recombinomics, PA - 3 hours ago
... they are raising. The confirmation of H5N1 in domestic chickens in Thailand may signal the arrival of H5N wild bird flu. As noted ...

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Pigs, bulls die in southern Vietnam

According to Thanh Nien Daily, 200 pigs and 5 bulls in southern Vietnam have died of a mysterious disease. Symptoms included diarrhea, bleeding legs, and drooling. Authorities were investigating the possibility that the animals had been imported from Cambodia. Over a thousand pigs, and over fifty bulls and cows, came down with the disease but appear to have survived. The story mentions no human cases.

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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Bulgaria?Big News Network.com - Bulgaria News

European Union has requested Bulgaria to take the urgent control measure. The above machine translation of a boxun report suggest

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No Matter Where I Am In the World.....Zen and the Art of Living It Up

When I lived in London, it was during the Mad Cow era was infecting the beef, now here I am in Japan and the bird flu is attacking the chickens.
Signs of bird flu again detected in Japanese poultry, report says
Authorities have detected signs of bird flu at seven additional poultry farms near a previously affected ranch outside Tokyo, a news report said Tuesday.
Antibody tests showed the chickens may be infected with a virus from the H5 family, and officials have restricted movement of fowl and eggs in the affected area, in Ibaraki Prefecture just northeast of Tokyo, Kyodo News Agency said.
Signs of the antibodies means the chickens were infected in the past but had survived.
Local authorities are still deciding whether to cull the birds.
Japan's Agriculture Ministry identified a previous outbreak of bird flu in Ibaraki last week amid reports that 260,000 chickens would be culled. The strain involved is less virulent that the H5N1 variety that has ravaged poultry in Southeast Asia since 2003 and killed more than 60 people in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.
Bird flu hit Japan last year for the first time in decades, killing or prompting the extermination of more than 300,000 chickens. Japan also confirmed a human case of bird flu in December, but no deaths have been reported.
An outbreak in June forced the culling of about 94,000 birds at another farm outside Tokyo. It was caused by the H5N2 bird flu strain, a variety not known to infect humans. (AP)
August 30, 2005

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Diseased seagulls in Finland not affected with H5N1 virus: EC ...Big News Network.com - Finland News

Xinhuanet) -- European Commission (EC) spokesman Philip Tod said on Monday that the suspected cases of seagulls affected with H5N1 virus in Finland were only a

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France reinforces defenses against bird fluThe World > Russia - Waypath Topic Streams

PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Tuesday it would toughen defenses against the potential arrival of bird flu in the country, reinforcing checks at airports and building stockpiles of vaccines in the event of a human pandemic. France has said there is a moderate but real risk that the H5N1 deadly strain of bird flu that has hit Asia and Russia could spread to Europe via migratory birds. "Reserves of antiviral medicines, vaccines and protection measures for the population will be increased

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Reply to Web and Magazine articles on the potential for a flu pandemicAvian Flu Watch

Quiplashr posted a reply:

The Sunday Times - Britain, August 28, 2005

Focus: Atishoo, Atishoo, we all fall down?

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1753479_1,00.html


Focus: A deadly bird flu, lethal to some animals, is spreading towards Britain. How serious is the threat to humans and what can be done to counter it? Jonathan Calvert, Sarah-Kate Templeton and Will Iredale report

It is the drug of the moment and Ken Livingstone, the London mayor, has ordered 100,000 courses of it. Several British companies are believed to be building stockpiles. Some individuals are said to be paying three times the retail price trying to buy illicit supplies through overseas websites.

The drug is Tamiflu, a prescription antiviral medicine thought to be the only protection available against a potential doomsday virus winging its way towards Britain.

Earlier this month a deadly bird flu, which has been spreading out from Asia, reached Russia. Yesterday a suspected case was reported in Finland, but the exact strain is not yet clear.

The H5N1 virus has killed tens of millions of animals, particularly chickens in Asia, but also other species. So far the strain has infected very few humans — only about 120 — but in those it has attacked it has been highly lethal. Half of them died.

The fear is that H5N1, like all flu viruses, will continue mutating and could turn into a strain that infects humans and passes from one person to another as easily as the common cold.

“If we do get human-to- human transmission, millions will die,” said Dr Nigel Higson, chairman of the primary care virology group.

“With huge numbers of people using air travel, it will move round the world very quickly. A large proportion of people in Africa would die. In western countries where we will hopefully have an avian flu vaccine and antivirals, 25% of the population will be infected and the death rate will be between 3% and 10% of the population. The fatalities will not just be the sick and elderly.”

Experts believe such a pandemic could cause a catastrophe on the scale of the 1918 Spanish flu that killed 50m people in 18 months.

Last month the Department of Health invited manufacturers to tender for a contract to develop and supply a vaccine against the strain. It is also spending up to £100m buying 14.6m courses of Tamiflu — an indication of how seriously it is taking the threat.

There is one big unknown: whether the virus can or will become transmissible between humans. Scientists have little evidence that it can do so at present and nobody knows whether it will be able to do so in the future.

“Although we expect this virus to become a pandemic we have no proof as yet that it will happen,” said Higson.

“To have a pandemic we have got to have a new virus.”

FLU is one of the most mutable viruses in the world, constantly shuffling its array of genes into new forms. The type known as H5N1 is thought to have originated in ducks from the Guangdong province of China in the late 1990s and drew particular attention because it proved devastating in poultry.

Almost every chicken that contracted H5N1 was dead within 48 hours. In 1997 the first human cases emerged during an outbreak on poultry farms in Hong Kong. Eighteen people suffered respiratory infections and six died.

Although more than 1.5m chickens were slaughtered in Hong Kong in an attempt to eradicate the virus, it managed to survive elsewhere — some animals can carry it without dying — and came back even stronger than before.

In January 2003 a tougher “Z” strain emerged in Thailand and Vietnam, capable of killing rats and later pigs. It also killed 45 tigers that were fed raw chicken in Thai zoos; more than 100 others had to be destroyed after becoming infected. National authorities ordered the slaughter of more than 120m chickens as the strain spread to Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Malaysia. This summer more than 120,000 poultry in six regions of western Siberia were destroyed after the discovery of H5N1.

Wild species — in particular bar-headed geese — were found to be infected in Siberia and Mongolia, which witnessed the mass deaths of birds around Lake Erhel in its Huvsgel province.

Several experts feared that the outbreaks had brought the virus within range of Europe through the flightpaths of migrating birds.

In Holland — where a similar avian flu outbreak five years ago led to 30m chickens being culled — officials last week compelled farmers to bring all their poultry indoors.

John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine in London, called on Britain to take similar precautions and Bob McCracken, president of the British Veterinary Association, warned that migrating birds would “inevitably” carry bird flu to the UK at some stage.

However, Debbie Reynolds, the government’s chief veterinary officer, was more cautious after discussing the threat with European Union experts last week; she said the risk of the virus reaching Britain was “remote or low”.

Nevertheless, wildlife is being monitored around the country for any sign of avian flu. If it does arrive it could could easily spread across a range of wild birds — waterfowl are particularly vulnerable — and other animals.

Nor is it simply a problem for the countryside: many migrating birds land at wetlands near cities, such as Barnes, west London, and Martin Mere near Liverpool. Domestic cats that eat H5N1- infected birds could catch the virus, as has proved to be the case in Thailand.

So far studies of the virus’s human victims have concluded that they mostly contracted H5N1 through close contact with diseased or dead birds. The virus is found in both the faeces and raw meat. Most infections have occurred during the slaughter and defeathering of poultry for cooking. It is common in Asia to buy a live chicken at the market and take it home to eat.

Over the past year health officials in Thailand and Vietnam have also investigated three cases that could be the first evidence of transmission between humans.

In each case the victims had cared for an infected family member and then developed the virus several days later. Health officials have not ruled out the possibility that the virus was transmitted by a shared meal or some other exposure in the home.

If there is any human-to- human infection it is extremely limited at present and it is notable that previous H5-type flu viruses have not generally been transmissible between humans.

However, all three global influenza pandemics in the past 100 years have been linked to strains of bird flu that adapted to humans. While scientists emphasise that this risk is always present, they are particularly concerned now because the H5N1 virus is so lethal.

Victims suffer coughing, headaches, fever, dizziness, diarrhoea and internal bleeding. The autopsy of one child who died from the disease last year is reported to have shown that his lungs had been “torn apart” as his natural defences tried to fight the virus.

Professor Neil Ferguson, an expert in flu epidemics from Imperial College London, said: “This particular bird flu variety generates more severe diseases in humans than most bird flu varieties. It would be more like the 1918 type of pandemic than the 1957 or 1968 pandemics . . . that is potentially a very severe event.”

There is also a belief among some experts that pandemics are cyclical and the next is overdue. Forecasting of such catastrophes, however, is an imprecise science. A mutation turning the virus into a form more infective to humans could happen anywhere in the world — or the virus might become less lethal or, indeed, it might not happen at all.

Health officials have cried wolf about flu before and been wrong. When a soldier suddenly died from swine flu in the US in 1976, experts feared an epidemic, predicting that 1m Americans might perish.

President Gerald Ford ordered a mass vaccination of Americans despite the doubts of drug companies over being able to produce enough vaccine swiftly and safely. The flu epidemic never materialised and the US government paid $90m to claimants who suffered serious side effects from the vaccine.

IN judging how to react there are other factors to consider, too, principally the practical limits on protecting yourself. At present there is no licensed vaccination against H5NI and there is not likely to be one in the near future.

Three weeks ago the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in America reported initial success in trials on a vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur, the pharmaceutical company. But the vaccine has yet to receive regulatory approval, which could take months.

It would also take years to produce enough vaccine to immunise the whole of Britain, and by then the virus strain could have changed out of recognition.

Marie-José Quentin-Millet, head of research at Sanofi Pasteur, describes its new vaccine as merely a “dress rehearsal” to build scientific knowledge so that it can be adapted if and when a strain of the virus more infective to humans emerges.

In reality, it is likely that a flu epidemic could be months old by the time anyone gets a vaccination. Even if a suitable vaccine could be produced, few doses would reach the general public. A report by the Department of Health says: “International demand for vaccine will be high. Vaccine will have to be distributed equitably and administered to predetermined priority groups first, according to nationally agreed recommendations.”

The priority groups set out in the report are frontline health workers followed by vital services such as police officers, firemen, the army and undertakers. Most of the population are very unlikely to be offered a vaccine. Given these limitations, the health department has chosen to make its block purchase of Tamiflu. Made by Roche, the drug can be used to protect against contracting the virus or to alleviate the symptoms of those already infected. The full order of 14.6m doses ordered by the health department will not be delivered until March 2007. At present the government has a stockpile of 900,000 doses and they would be offered first to the priority groups. For this reason several organisations are trying to acquire their own stocks, including the London mayor’s office, which spent more than £1m buying antivirals to protect key workers in the capital. Doctors advise strongly against individuals hoarding drugs. “If individuals stock up with pre-orders, the medication will not be there for those who need it when there is an outbreak,” Higson said. There is another problem, too: many of the people who have been infected by bird flu were given Tamiflu, yet they still died. So in the absence of medication, what else could you do if there were an outbreak? According to the contingency plan people would be advised to avoid public transport, crowds, long queues and anywhere else they might encounter carriers of the virus. Most effective, it seems, will be to stay at home and wait until the outbreak is over.

Additional reporting: Nicci Smith, Brussels

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Nanaimo - canada.com network: Scientists, health officials planning for flu pandemicBlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemic

The meeting comes as governments around the world ramp up pandemic preparedness efforts in reponse to concerns that the avian influenza strain known as H...TORONTO — Leaders of Canada’s scientific and public health community will meet this week to chart a course for influenza research that could help the c ountry prepare for a flu pandemic....5N1 might be poised to trigger the first flu pandemic since the Hong Kong flu of 1968-69. ... CIHR’s much larger American counterpart, the National Institutes of Health, began scaling up influenza work in early 2004 when the current H5N1 outbreak was i n its infancy....

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August 30, 2005

Bar-Headed Goose Flyway from China to India (via Flickr)

BarheadedGoose.jpg

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Integrated U.S. Effort Helps Mitigate Spread of Bird Flu in AsiaUS State Dept - Washington File

The U.S. government is pursuing a broad-based, integrated response effort to help mitigate the spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in Asia, Dr. Chuck Lambert, deputy under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture tells the Washington File.

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Vaccination program starts in Hanoi

A trial poultry vaccination programme began in the Vietnamese capital in a bid to combat bird flu, which has caused 42 deaths in the communist nation.

"After the pilot program, which started Monday, a mass vaccination campaign will be launched in Hanoi between September 15 and 30," Dao Duy Tam, deputy director of Hanoi's agriculture and rural development department, told AFP.

[...] The government, which earlier planned to begin vaccinating 80 percent of its more than 200 million chickens and ducks in October, decided to bring the start forward to September.

Vietnam wants to complete the mass vaccination before winter, which is believed to be the prime time for the virus to spread.

ww.todayonline.com/articles/69425.asp">Source.

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August 29, 2005

Major Migratory Bird Flyways (Flickr)

Major Migratory Bird Flyways

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Avian Flu Fears Spread.

I have not been putting much stock into the fears of a bird flu pandemic, but it seems as if governments and media have. We also may have an indication of how serious the British government takes the threat by the actions of its officials:MEMBERS of Britain’s elite have been selected as

priority cases to receive scarce pills and vaccinations at the

taxpayers’ expense if the country is hit by a deadly bird flu outbreak.

Workers at the BBC and prominent politicians — such as cabinet ministers — would be offered protection from the virus.

NI_MPU('middle');Ken

Livingstone, the London mayor, has already spent £1m to make sure his

personal office and employees have their own emergency supplies of

100,000 antiviral tablets.

If there is an avian flu pandemic in the coming months there

would be enough drugs to protect less than 2% of the British population

for a week.This is especially rancorous for me for obvious reasons, and as I tend toward skepticism in matters of doomsday predictions, I also tend to get overly indignant when government officials demonstrate a craven me-first attitude.

The virus is no said to be spreading from Asia into Russia. From there, fears are that migratory birds would bring the deadly strain over the Urals and into Western Russia and then to the Balkans, which is seen as a possible gateway to central Europe:Lakes and rivers along the Black Sea coast ranging from Ukraine to

northern Turkey attract millions of birds each winter from an area

stretching from northern Russia to Scandinavia. Europe's largest

wetlands, Romania's Danube delta, and lakes in northern Bulgaria, are

popular among flocks of red-breasted geese from Siberia as well as

white-fronted geese from Scandinavia, Poland, and Germany.

"There is a risk of spreading the deadly strain of flu to local

wildlife if any of them is infected," said Boris Barov, head of

Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds. Jutzi said countries in southeast Europe may lack the capacity to detect and deal with a widespread outbreak.As it stands now, the fear is that the H5N1 strain would mingle with more standard flu strains and mutate into a sort of super-flu that would spread wider and faster from wild birds to farm poultry:The present European

Commission directive designed to curtail the threat of bird flu is

concerned only with 'high pathogenic' strains, but there are growing

concerns that these can originate from 'low pathogenic' strains which

can be transmitted to poultry from wild birds.

On

Friday, the authorities in Finland detected a case of bird flu in the

north of the country which is thought to be a low pathogenic strain.

The discovery has added to concerns over the speed with which bird flu

is edging towards western Europe.Now, no human has been infected in Russia yet, and the epidemic there seems to have stabilized. However, the demonstrated failure with regards to BSE some years back should give everyone pause.

Here's a good explanation why the avian flu is suddenly getting attention:The H5N1 strain is particularly dangerous because

it mutates very rapidly and can mix with genes from other viruses thus

allowing it to spread to other species. In addition it is highly

pathogenic and can cause severe disease outbreaks.

With the infection spreading in birds there's an increased risk for

direct infection of humans, too. And if more people become infected, it

also becomes more likely that humans, if infected with human and bird

flu strains at the same time, could serve as the "mixing vessel" for

the emergence of a novel strain that could easily be transmitted from

person to person. Such an event would mark the start of an influenza

pandemic.Efforts continue in the US to quarantine against H5N1 here.

The government plans to more than triple the number of

quarantine stations at airports around the country and hire scores of

health officers as part of a broad plan to try to stop deadly

infectious diseases from entering the United States.

Ten

new stations, at airports stretching from Alaska to Puerto Rico, are

already open or nearing completion, and about 50 new health officers

are undergoing training. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

plans to build an additional seven stations as soon as it can get the

money. Eight stations that have existed for years are gaining staff, so

that when the plan is complete, the country will be blanketed by a

network of 25 centers designed as a first-line of defense against a

global disease pandemic.Apart from the personal, some economists are claiming that a pandemic that rises to the predictions could cause a world-wide depression:

In a first-of-its-kind report on the financial impact of a possible pandemic,

BMO Nesbitt Burns researchers in Canada warned that an outbreak could devastate

the airline and hospitality industries, trigger mass foreclosures and

bankruptcies, decimate insurance companies, and disrupt food chains as people

switched from animal to vegetable diets.Losses would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars.Before we start building bunkers, buying gold and shotguns, it should be noted that most of this is hypothesis mixed with a tinge of paranoia. There is an old adage that economists have reliably predicted ten of the last eight recessions. Also, it has become a habit to over play threats to sell newspapers and bilk the citizenry out of more tax dollars by hyping danger. Maybe a way to play this is to invest in Whole Foods Market or any number of organic, vegetarian food producers.

Still, this could happen, although I would wager that the reality will be somewhere in between a blip and a global disaster. On which side of center we land will be the subject of more coverage before long.

Some links and info come from Maggie (who is canning tomatoes and wearing a gas mask 24/7) and the Avian Flu blog.

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Alaska State, UAF test for avian influenza

http://www.sitnews.us/0805news/081805/081805_avian_flu.html



August 18, 2005Thursday
University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists and the state veterinarian have joined forces at state agricultural fairs to test domestic animals for avian influenza, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.
Since 2003, highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (AI) H5N1 has become endemic in Southeast Asia with recent outbreaks among poultry in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The disease continues to spread, carried by wild waterfowl, which could potentially reach Alaska and Western Europe.
Animal health experts warn that efforts to control the spread of avian flu must focus on better management practices on farms and in open-air markets. There are no large commercial poultry operations in Alaska - most domestic poultry reside in small backyard flocks - but there are a few farms that raise as many as 400 to 500 birds. While surveillance of Alaska's domestic poultry population is difficult, one solution is to test at Alaska's agricultural fairs.
Approximately 150 birds were sampled at the Tanana Valley Fair in August, according to State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Gerlach. "We anticipate sampling more birds at the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik today and the State Fair in Palmer August 25-September 5," he said. "The goal is to collect surveillance samples and distribute information about avian influenza and how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in producers' flocks.
Some prevention methods include: keeping poultry away from water sources that may have been contaminated by wild birds; providing clean clothing and disinfection facilities for employees; and thoroughly disinfecting equipment and vehicles entering and leaving the farm."
Avian influenza prevention should also include better management practices, such as using plastic instead of wooden crates for easier cleaning, as well as cleaning and disinfecting the marketplace after every day of sale, especially in small open-air farms where domestic poultry and waterfowl are allowed to intermingle with wild birds.
According to state and university officials, H5N1 has not been found in Alaska, but plans for nationwide surveillance to detect any introduction could be extremely valuable to public health and agriculture. Researchers will use the information gained from the state fair and wild bird sampling to learn more about the ecology and emergence of avian influenza strains, and to heighten awareness and evaluate the need for surveillance and management practices in domestic flocks and wild birds.



Source of News:
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation http://www.state.ak.us/dec/

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The nutters are coming ! Huzzah, Huzzah ! The nutters are coming !

As proof (if proof was needed) that there are some "very strange" people out there in Internet land - I introduce you to the "Bird Flu is a New World Order conspiracy to destroy us all".

And, before you laugh at the loons, dear reader, please remember ..... these people might indeed live near you !!!! (Shudder)

Oh .... and they don't like anyone who isn't an Anglo-Saxon !!

************************************************************

"BASICS:

1. A human Bird Flu epidemic is almost certain to happen at some point, quite possibly in the next few months.

2. There is not likely to be any vaccine available for most people. Even if one is developed then it will take too long to mass produce.

3. Unlike normal flu, bird flu targets the young and healthy as much as anybody else.

4. Death rates could vary but at the moment run at about 75 per cent of those infected.

5. Estimates of total deaths in the West range from about 10% to 30% of the population.

6. Face masks provide little protection as the sub-micron sized viral particles can easily get round gaps.

7. Some argue that you can increase your immunity by taking herbal preparations.

8. The only reliable method of avoiding the disease is to avoid contact with other people who may be carriers.

According to the Times:

"So in the absence of medication, what else could you do if there were an outbreak? According to the contingency plan people would be advised to avoid public transport, crowds, long queues and anywhere
else they might encounter carriers of the virus. Most effective, it seems, will be to stay at home and wait until the outbreak is over. "

CONSPIRACY:

Some people believe that this virus is being artificially created in order to cull the world's population down to a size desired by the International Monocracy (NWO).

a) It is known that the NWO wish to see a reduced world population. Estimates of the desirable population range from 2 billion down to half a billion. The current world population is 6 billion.

b) It is thought that there is a greater desire to cull the third world population rather than Western population which is more productive and has lower birth rates already. However there is no
reason to believe that they do not wish to cull the Western population.

c) The bird flu virus is an unusual and unnatural one compared to most flu viruses giving reason to believe that it is a designer virus. It is assumed that AIDS and SARS were also designer viruses.

d) Genetic sequence from the Spanish flu virus of 1918 (collected in 1933) has been detected in H5N1. There is no explanation other than it being released from a scientific laboratory. The implication is
that there is a deliberate desire to create a new virus with some of the characteristics of the Spanish Flu virus - which caused the worst epidemic of recent times.

e) The Chinese authorities are not being open about the spread of H5N1 and it appears that they have something to hide. A laboratory that has been sequencing the virus has been closed down.

f) A number of leading world scientists who might have expertise in this area have been killed in suspicious circumstances in recent
years.

g) Despite frantic warnings from some scientists about the risk of a global pandemic there is little response from the politicians. The political classes are not mobilising us to deal with the threat.

THOUGHTS:

i) People should not wait on government to provide a lead, but look to their own resources to increase their chance of survival.

ii) People should not trust the words of official bodies such as the WHO, which may be deliberately down-playing the dangers.

iii) People also have to consider other factors such as the possibility of global nuclear war at the same time as the epidemic.

iv) People also have to expect that the authorities will be much fiercer during the crisis than they might expect. It is worth looking back at what happened to farmers during the foot and mouth outbreak. (Some consider this was spread artificially and that the draconian cull policy adopted had no legitimate justification)

http://www.holarchist.org.uk (has a few Bird Flu links on home page)"

******************************************

And they dare call ME paranoid ! {The Rabbit gives an insane snigger then barks at the moon}

From A parcel of pellets - (aka the rabbit's tale) (feed)
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Donation of 3 million treatments of oseltamivir to WHO will help early response to an emerging influenza pandemic

http://i-newswire.com/pr44342.html


Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes Roche's donation of three million treatment courses of the antiviral oseltamivir to a WHO international antiviral stockpile. WHO would use this stockpile to respond quickly to an emerging influenza pandemic.
(I-Newswire) - As part of its work to prepare for, detect and mitigate the impact of an influenza pandemic, WHO is creating an international stockpile of antiviral drugs for rapid response at the start of a pandemic. In an agreement signed today, Roche has committed to providing three million treatment courses ( 30 million capsules ) of oseltamivir ( Tamiflu ) to WHO, which would be dispatched to people in greatest need at the site of an emerging influenza pandemic. Oseltamivir could help to reduce illness and death, and when combined with other measures, could potentially contain an emerging pandemic virus or slow its national and international spread. If it reaches the site of an outbreak quickly, an antiviral stockpile could especially help people in poorer countries. "Right now, many wealthy countries are creating their own stockpiles of antivirals. However poor countries simply cannot afford to do this. If a flu pandemic were to emerge in a poor country for example, these drugs could be flown quickly to the centre of a potential pandemic," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of WHO, during an influenza news conference today in Geneva. "We urge other countries to help us build up the international stockpile." The WHO stockpile is meant to complement other measures of international and national preparedness, including any national stockpiles. WHO is carefully monitoring the ongoing avian influenza outbreaks in parts of Asia, Russia and Kazakhstan. WHO warns that these and other outbreaks could evolve into a global influenza pandemic if the avian influenza virus changes into a form which could transmit easily between people. The longer the current avian influenza strain ( H5N1 ) continues to circulate, the greater the possibility that people will be infected with H5N1, and therefore the greater the risk that the virus will adapt to people and trigger a pandemic. Should a pandemic strain emerge, slowing its spread will be vital as this could buy valuable time to produce vaccines against the virus and introduce other emergency measures. Antivirals, used intensively in an area where a pandemic is emerging, combined with other measures such as quarantine and isolation, could help to delay spread. Roche has agreed to reserve three million treatment courses ( 30 million capsules ) for up to five years. The first one million treatment courses ( 10 million capsules ) will be ready early next year, with the remaining two million ( 20 million capsules ) ready before mid-2006. The timing and severity of a flu pandemic is uncertain, but experts predict a pandemic will occur. Therefore WHO continues to urge countries to develop preparedness plans. Planning must include international cooperation between wealthy and poor countries to reduce the opportunity for national and international spread, and to reduce the death, illness and social disruption which have been a feature of all previous influenza pandemics. Overview of the present situationOutbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in poultry are now known to have begun in parts of South-east Asia in mid-2003. These outbreaks have been historically unprecedented in their geographical size and the number of birds affected. So far, around 150 million birds have died during the outbreaks or been destroyed as part of the containment effort. While some of the initially affected countries have successfully contained the disease in poultry, the virus is now considered entrenched in many parts of Viet Nam and Indonesia and in some parts of Cambodia, China, Thailand, and possibly also Laos. To date, human cases have been confirmed in four countries: Viet Nam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. During early August 2005, highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza was confirmed in poultry in parts of Siberia, Russia and in adjacent parts of Kazakhstan. Both countries have reported deaths of migratory birds in the vicinity of poultry outbreaks. These events mark the first detection of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in the two countries. Last week, avian influenza of the H5 subtype was confirmed in dead migratory birds in Mongolia. No human cases have been reported in conjunction with any of these newer outbreaks. Assessment of the pandemic threatWHO considers the present risk of a pandemic great, but unpredictable in terms of its timing and severity. All conditions for the start of a pandemic have been met save one: changes in the virus that would make it contagious among humans, thus allowing easy and sustainable human-to-human transmission. The likelihood that this will happen is a matter of opportunity and probability. The expanding geographical range of the virus increases opportunities for human cases to occur and these, in turn, increase opportunities for the virus to improve its transmissibility. The fact that the virus is now endemic in poultry populations in several countries increases the probability that this will occur. In response to the pandemic threat, WHO has recommended a series of strategic actions to be undertaken by affected and at-risk countries, by WHO, and by the international community. These actions are phase-wise according to escalating levels of risk, and pertain to the present pre-pandemic situation, the first emergence of a contagious virus, and the declaration of a pandemic and subsequent international spread. In the present situation, recommended strategic actions aim to reduce opportunities for human infection ( by controlling the outbreaks in poultry and avoiding contact between humans and infected birds ), and to strengthen the early warning system. Experts anticipate that a virus with improved transmissibility will announce itself in the form of clusters of human cases, closely related in time and space. Surveillance and reporting systems in all countries experiencing outbreaks in birds need to be strong enough to detect such clusters of human cases. Internal stockpile of antiviral drugsIf the first signs of improved transmissibility are picked up quickly, there is a chance that rapid intervention, involving mass prophylactic administration of antiviral drugs, might contain the pandemic at its source or at least delay international spread, gaining time to intensify preparedness. An international stockpile of antiviral drugs is needed for this purpose. The prospect of halting a pandemic at its source or delaying its international spread is attractive, but untested, as no attempt has ever been made to alter the natural course of a pandemic. Successful intervention requires that at least 5 conditions be met: -- The first viruses that show an ability to sustain transmission among humans will not yet be highly contagious. -- The emergence of such viruses will be limited to a small geographical area. -- The first clusters of human cases caused by the virus will be rapidly detected and reported. -- Antiviral drugs will be rapidly mobilized from the stockpile, made available to the affected population, and administered to sufficiently large numbers of people. -- Movement of people in and out of the area will be effectively restricted. Given the unpredictable nature of influenza viruses, it is impossible to know in advance if the first two conditions will be borne out in reality when a pandemic virus emerges. The remaining conditions require excellent surveillance and logistics capacity in the initially affected area, combined with an ability to enforce movement restrictions. While mass intervention with antiviral drugs has no guarantee of success, it nonetheless needs to be undertaken as it represents one of the few preventive options for an event with predictably severe consequences for every country in the world. As drugs in the stockpile can also be used for treatment purposes, having such a stockpile provides the best guarantee that populations affected at the start of a pandemic and thus in greatest need will have drugs available for treatment. Once the virus has become fully contagious, its spread to all parts of the world is considered unstoppable. However, some non-medical interventions, such as quarantine, movement restrictions, and the banning of public gatherings, could potentially delay introduction of the virus to new areas. Vaccines, if available early enough and in sufficient quantities, can reduce the high morbidity and mortality typically experienced during influenza pandemics. http://www.who.int

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A bum rap for wild birds?

New Scientist has a story about the Brussels conference: Bird flu knocks on Europe's door. As always, NS offers a clear and readable account, this time with a different angle: avian flu may be moving west not in migrating wild birds, but in domestic poultry whose owners are just taking care of business.

Evidence for spread by wild birds is circumstantial. Yevgeny Nepoklonov, head of the veterinary department of the Russian Agriculture Ministry, told the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) in Paris this month that in the six territories where outbreaks have been reported, "the first [domestic] birds to be affected are those kept in homes close to reservoirs"— where wild birds may visit.

On the other hand, not one healthy wild bird carrying highly pathogenic H5N1 has yet been reported, apart from a few carrying a somewhat different virus in Hong Kong in 2002. Hon Ip, a virologist at the US National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, US, notes that in Russia's report on Novosibirsk to the OIE, the H5N1 virus it had isolated from a wild duck was different from the viruses isolated in its domestic poultry.

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CIDRAP update

CIDRAP, always an important resource, has a newly updated post on Avian Influenza (Bird Flu): Implications for Human Disease. Very much worth reading and bookmarking.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Toronto gets ready for flu pandemic

The Star, Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, reports that the Toronto region is getting ready for the pandemic. (Free registration required to read the story.)

"There's a lot of things going on and have been going on for a long time," said Dr. Michael Gardam, head of infection control for the University Health Network and a key player in pandemic preparedness plans.

"I can say honestly, pandemic flu has taken up probably half my time in the last year."

Among the issues being considered are: the ability to staff hospitals, the need for triage centres to access ill people, alternative care facilities to deal with large numbers of sick people, the development of a volunteer management plan, morgue capacity and absenteeism.

"People have to realize everything we do in life will be affected by this," Gardam said yesterday.


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UK Tories complain about bird flu drug delay

According to a story in London's Financial Times, Tamiflu has become a political football in Britain.

The Conservatives accused the government of ordering the vital drug too late, leaving the country vulnerable. Andrew Lansley, shadow health secretary, said: "Because the government ordered its stocks of Tamiflu later than some other countries, the UK will not have full stocks available until the latter part of 2006. This leaves us with a degree of vulnerability to the risk of an early pandemic."

This would be tolerable, I guess, if Mr. Lansley hadn't implied that prompt purchase of mountains of Tamiflu would have seen Britain sail through the pandemic without so much as a sniffle.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flu treated like BSE?

The Independent quotes two experts who warn that the British government is sitting on its hands. Here's what one of them said:

Last night Professor Hugh Pennington, president of the Society for General Microbiology, who has warned that up to two million Britons could be killed by the disease, said that Defra[Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] was repeating the disastrous policies of its predecessor, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, over BSE because "it did not want to tread on anybody's toes from the point of view of agribusiness".

Very interesting to see how rapidly flu is becoming a UK political issue as H5N1 approaches. Meanwhile it's still off the North American political radar. The first sick bird in Alaska or British Columbia will likely change that.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US to triple airport quarantine stations

According to a story in the Washington Post, the US plans to triple airport quarantine stations in hopes of keeping infectious diseases out of the country.

The plan is a response to rising fears about bioterrorism or a potential pandemic of respiratory illness. For example, experts fear that a highly lethal form of influenza now circulating among birds in Asia, if it undergoes certain genetic changes, could start spreading rapidly among humans, potentially killing millions. In an age of global air travel, such an illness could jump from foreign countries to the United States in hours.

This makes sense, but imagine a scenario in which thousands are trying to get out of east Asia into North America to escape a pandemic, only to find flights have been cancelled. An alternative tactic would be to fly to whatever country still accepts flights from Asia, and then to make their way to North America by whatever means possible. It could mean a bonanza for snakeheads, the human smugglers who now bring illegal immigrants into Canada and the US from Asia.

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Nine dead in Nepal

An unknown disease has broken out in Nepal, according to Xinhuanet and some local sources. None of the stories is very detailed, and all repeat the same facts: Nine people have died in eastern Nepal in recent weeks, the last two on Saturday night within hours of displaying symptoms: high fever, headache, bleeding from the nose, and vomiting blood.

Many victims of Spanish flu displayed such symptoms, so this outbreak deserves watching.

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Britain's elite get pills to survive bird flu - The Sunday Times


Britain's elite get pills to survive bird flu
The Sunday Times, UK - Aug 27, 2005
... Fears that a “doomsday” virus may sweep the world have been heightened by the recent spread of the lethal strain of avian flu, H5N1. ...
After decades of war and isolation, Vietnam could become the ... Sunday Herald
all 2 related

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Bird flu precautions being taken - Wodonga Border Mail


Bird flu precautions being taken
Wodonga Border Mail, Australia - 16 hours ago
... The plan involves developing an early warning system that provides rapid detection, diagnosis and treatment of the H5N1 flu strain that experts fear could ...
Australia makes preparations for bird flu outbreak Xinhua
all 12 related

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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Bulgaria? - Recombinomics


H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Bulgaria?
Recombinomics, PA - Aug 28, 2005
The above machine translation of a boxun report suggest that H5N1 wild bird flu has been detected in Bulgaria. Although Bulgaria ...

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Diseased seagulls in Finland not affected with H5N1 virus: EC ... - Xinhua



CRI
Diseased seagulls in Finland not affected with H5N1 virus: EC ...
Xinhua, China - 3 hours ago
29 (Xinhuanet) -- European Commission (EC) spokesman Philip Tod said on Monday that the suspected cases of seagulls affected with H5N1 virus in Finland were ...
A Fatal Flight To Europe? TIME
EU Says Finnish Seagull Didn't Have Deadly Strain of Bird Flu Bloomberg
Dr. Bill Elliott: Bird flu has potential to be pandemic Marin Independent-Journal
I-Newswire.com (press release) - I-Newswire.com (press release) - all 92 related

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Major Migratory Bird FlywaysQuiplashr's Photos

Quiplashr posted a photo:

Major Migratory Bird Flyways

Note the overlap (in Alaska) between the Pacific and East Asia/Australasia flyways. This is how scientists believe avian-flu-infected migrating birds will transfer the H5N1 influenza virus to North American birds.
-----

More pictures, articles and links at the Avian Flu Watch ... Educate yourself. There's still time.

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Vogelgrippe und die finnische RegierungSide Effects

Das in Finnland aufgetauchte Virus in einer Möwe sei für Menschen nicht gefährlich, argumentiert der finnische Chefveterinär Matti Aho heute, Samstag, auf den Internetseiten des Landwirtschaftsministeriums, es stehe eindeutig fest, dass der auch für Menschen gefährliche Virenstamm der Krankheit noch nicht in Europa angekommen sei.
Dem Ministerium zufolge besteht derzeit der Verdacht, dass im Norden des Landes Möwen an der Vogelgrippe (H5N1) erkrankt sind.
Seit die Krankheit zuletzt auch bei Vögeln in Russland und Kasachstan aufgetreten ist, wird eine Ausbreitung nach Europa befürchtet. Experten der Weltgesundheitsorganisation warnen davor, dass das Virus mutieren könnte und die Krankheit dann von Mensch zu Mensch übertragbar wird.
Landwirtschaftsministerium Finnland
Der Standard

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Finland?Effect Measure

If this is Friday, this must be Finland. Or so H5N1 might muse, on its way to Europe via the northern route. Or not.

Yesterday Finland's Agriculture Ministry was looking into possible bird flu in seagulls in a country with an 800 mile border with Russia on one side and borders with Sweden, Norway and the Baltic on the other.
"As a result of a monitoring programme in Finland, we have now made an initial finding of a possible bird flu virus in a seagull," the ministry said in a statement. "The studies are ongoing and a final result will come in three weeks." (Reuters via Eircomnet)
At the moment, the Finns are assuming it is not Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 but a Low Pathogenic variety (LPAI), not uncommon in wild birds. Based on prior probabilities, the assumption that it is LPAI is reasonable, while based on the downside risk that it is H5N1, making an announcement and taking immediate steps is also reasonable.

Despite the Thursday pronouncement in Brussels by EU veterinarians that the presence of H5N1 in Central Asia was "not a direct threat for Europe and there is no need for general emergency actions", most knowledgeable observers believe the virus is almost certain to make its way to Europe. Sooner or later.

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Civet surprise(?)Effect Measure

The H5N1 virus has once again revealed something about the extent of its species range. Three Owston's palm civets, cat-like animals being raised in captivity in a Vietnamese national park, are now confirmed to have died in June from bird flu. No obvious source of the infection has been found, although some of the keepers came from provinces where bird flu is endemic. However Reuters reports "tests did not find the H5N1 virus." Exactly what tests were done is not stated.

Civet cats are also suspected of being a reservoir and vector for SARS in southern China, where they are considered a delicacy. Civets are among an expanding list of animals now shown to be capable hosts for H5N1, a list that includes ostriches, sea mammals, large cats (tigers and leopards), ferrets, rodents and of course birds and humans.

It's interesting to note the differing responses of Scott Roberston, technical adviser for the civet conservation program at the park. (AP)
"It's another good example of how dangerous this thing is," Roberton said. "No animals are ill, no people are ill. We're still trying to figure out where the source was."
Compare this to the WHO response:
Peter Horby, an epidemiologist for the WHO in Hanoi, said the development would not make people more susceptible to bird flu because humans have less contact with civets than poultry.

"The interesting thing is that it's a new species," he said. "It continues to surprise.
I would think that the more speicies this thing reproduces in the more chance of an efficient mammal-adapted virus we would have. So it is not just someone "getting infected" via a palm civet, but what that someone would be infected with. Hey, but what do I know?

The "interesting thing" to me is that this continues to surprise WHO. Because, frankly, this is no surprise. This happened back in June and we are just finding out about it now. I guess that's no surprise either.

What else has already happened that we haven't been told about or they don't know has already happened?


Posted by dymaxion at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A/H5N1frank - today is someday

Was aussieht wie'n elitärer "Häggercode" könnte bald in aller Munde sein.
Sollte es wirklich ganz schlimm kommen, dann im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes.

A/H5N1 ist derzeit der aggressivste Erreger unter der Vogelgrippe, und irgendwie hat er Ambitionen die Pest der 21. Jahrhundert zu werden.
Wenn ich mich recht erinnere, hat man dies von AIDS damals zwar auch behauptet, ist aber so zum Glück nicht eingetreten, denn es ist der kleine aber feine Unterschied. Dieser Erregertyp ist nur, so weit ich weiß, von Mensch-zu-Mensch übertragbar. Soll natürlich jetzt nicht heißen, dass man es auf die leichte Schulter nehmen soll... nichts desto trotz ist mit dieser Krankheit nicht zu spassen!

A/H5N1 ist anscheinend, wenn man den großen Medien Glauben schenken darf, vom Tier auf den Menschen übertragbar. Dazu siehe auch den Bericht vom Auswärtigen Amt, bzw. FR-Rundschau Dossiers. Gegebenenfalls Suchmaschine Deiner Wahl anwerfen.
Zurück...
Und hier wird's "putzig". Wenn wie damals, die Menschen sich von den Ratten mit der Pest angesteckt haben, ja die sanitären/hygienischen Umstände dieser Zeit waren u.a. auch weit schlechter als unsere aktuellen, soll(te) es nicht bedeuten, dass Vögel (Enten, Hühner, Tauben, Möwen, ...) es heute nicht schaffen, wie die Ratten damals, die Menschheit zu infizieren.

Global und um einiges schneller als die Pest dürfte sich dann A/H5N1 wohl oder übel ausbreiten - und die Menschheit etwas dezimieren.
Natürliche Auslese könnte man meinen... Ich hoffe mal nicht!

Lesetipp (Thriller) zu dieser Problematik - allerdings um die Pest handelnd: Fred Vargas - Fliehe weit und schnell

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Kiểm soát cúm gia cầm: Nói vậy nhưng không phải vậyIn_depth reports

Nguy cơ tái bùng phát dịch cúm gia cầm và lây nhiễm H5N1 sang người tại Việt Nam là rất cao theo đánh giá của Bộ Nông Nghiệp Phát Triển Nông Thôn. Tuy vậy Báo Thanh Niên Điện Tử vừa có bài viết gây chấn động dư luận về công tác kiểm soát vận chuyển gà vịt, giết mổ và kiểm dịch tại TP.HCM.

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Pandemic Concerns for H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Finlandelement115

H5N1 in Scandinavian countries would be particularly dangerous. In 2003 there was an outbreak of H7N7 in the Netherlands. Over 30 million birds were culled. However H5N7 isolates were found, indicting H7N7 had reassorted with H5N2. Reassortment, or swapping of whole genes, happens during dual infections, when the same host is infected with two different viruses. The H5N7 isolated in 2003 from a mallard duck in Denmark was novel and signaled new genetic combinations between H5 and H7 viruses.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 27-28 Flu UpdateThe Coming Influenza Pandemic?

Point one. A civet is not a cat. My apologies.

The Chicago Tribune has the civet story today.

The Finnish Gulls are suspected to have bird flu, although the Finns continue to say it was LPAI.

The Financial Times of London has the skinny on what stocks can be expected to do if the bird flu hits--hint: sell your airline and travel stocks.

The Sunday Times points out--as we did here some time ago--that elites in theUK government are slated to get scarce Tamiflu.

The Sunday Times has another story--nothing new--laying out the nearly inevitable steps.

The Independent has a couple of interesting bird flu stories. The first compares flu to BSE, which caused a massive upheaval in the nation. The article criticizes what it sees as the government's repeating of the "false reassurance" policy from BSE. In the second, an on-the-scene reporter says there isn't enough petrol to burn the birds in Siberia.

The United Arab Emiates is certainly on the ball.

Italy is clamping down on its borders to attempt to keep the bird flu out. (Stage One of the Osterholm scenario....see "We're Screwed."

The Sunday Herald (Glasgow) has an intelligent, must-read on the vaccine situation, and how the US vaccine will be difficult to ship around the world. Among the reasons are (emphasis added):


US scientists are genetically modifying H5N1 to “remove the lethal features” and then injecting it into embryos to extract antigens. Tests have been carried out on humans and the drug appears to provide immunity. However, all this scientific endeavour could be futile. If H5N1 mutates when it starts to pass between humans directly, the American vaccine will be useless . Even if the new vaccine did work against human-to-human bird flu, the WHO warns it will still take “ possibly years” before it is available to patients. Also, until the USA stockpiles enough of the drug to protect its own population, America is unlikely to distribute the drug to the rest of the world. That’s not inhumanity on the part of the US, says the WHO any country on earth would do the same.

The USA could pass the science behind the new vaccine to the rest of the world ... but every country in receipt of the technology would have to first master it, develop the drug, test it, regulate it and license it – and that will take a very long time. Also, the quantity of antigens being produced for the new vaccine is very low. For every dose of this new vaccine, doctors need up to 12 times the amount of antigens that are required for regular flu vaccines. Two jabs are also needed, rather than one. “We are really talking about years before Joe Smith in New York can go to his health clinic and get a shot for avian flu,”says a WHO spokesperson.


On a similar point, ProMed has this on a recent study released by the WHO on the genetics of the flu. Note the following mod comment (Emphasis added):

Perhaps one of the most significant aspects of this analysis is the finding that antigenic drift is occurring and that some recent isolates are distinguishable from virus isolates that were chosen as the candidate vaccine antigens. This identifies a need for continued surveillance of poultry for the appearance of antigenic variants which may compromise the effectiveness of the current vaccine under development. A rolling program of vaccine development may be required to take account of possible changes in the antigenicity of the virus.


The Sunday Herald (Glasgow) also warns that crossing fingers won't help.

Flu gets a little ink in Galveston.

Recombinomics on the situation in Finland and in Bulgaria.

Effect Measure on Finland.

Effect Measure on the civets--look closely, I think he said they were cats!

You will recall the challenge on Promed which said that dead birds don't migrate, and the charge to find one sick bird actually migrating. Some responses are here.

ProMed notes that the Finnish claim of LPAI does have some merit to it.

Another farm in Japan is H5N1 positive. (ProMed)

Crofsblog has a story on nine unexplained deaths in Nepal, consistent with Spanish Flu symptoms.

Crofsblog has this on WAPO saying that the US is tripling quarantine at the borders, and then notes an inherent problem with this approach.

Crofsblog has an NPR interview with Margaret Chan on WHO.

Russia is saying that it could have caught the bird flu earlier, with more money.

Recombinomics has the story of concerns about two types of flu circulating in Europe, and the chances of them combining.

Recombinomics says the pandemic is looming, and notes that the reservoir of flu in healthy birds could be a problem for years to come.

No real link, but in conclusion, Crofsblog has pointed us to the coverage of the hurricane in New Orleans, which I have watched all evening. Let's watch how a society provides food and water in the midst of a crisis.

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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.

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August 26, 2005

Role of specific hemagglutinin amino acids in the immunogenicity and protection of H5N1 influenza virus vaccines.H5N1

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Aug 23;
Hoffmann E, Lipatov AS, Webby RJ, Govorkova EA, Webster RG

If H5N1 influenza viruses become transmissible among humans, vaccination will offer the most effective option to limit their spread. Two human vaccine candidates recently generated by reverse genetics are based on antigenically different hemagglutinin (HA) glycoproteins derived from the A/HK/213/03 (H5N1) and A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1) viruses. Their HA1 amino acid sequences differ at 10 positions, one of which (N154) introduces a potential glycosylation site in A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1). To assess the impact of five amino acids in the putative antigenic sites on immunogenicity and immune protection, we generated a series of whole-virus vaccines that differed only in one or two HA amino acids. Sera from ferrets vaccinated with these inactivated preparations had high virus neutralization titers, but their hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers were usually low. Interestingly, a recombinant virus in which the HA amino acid S223 (characteristic of 2004 viruses) was converted to N223 (as in A/HK/213/03) resulted in higher HI titers. This observation indicates that specific HA residues, such as N223, increase the sensitivity of the HI assay by altering receptor specificity and/or antibody-antigen binding. Ferrets vaccinated with mutant vaccine viruses were protected against lethal challenge with wild-type A/Vietnam/1203/04 virus. Our results suggest that inclusion of the N223 residue in the HA glycoproteins of diagnostic reference viruses may facilitate the evaluation of vaccine efficacy in humans.

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Somewhat perverseEU Referendum

We have written so many times about the appalling ignorance of the mainstream media so often that yet another example should come as no surprise.

But, in its pronouncements on avian 'flu in its editorial today, The Telegraph really does take the biscuit.

Headed, "EU is right to get into a flap over avian flu", it goes on to say, of the commission, that "it is entirely right and proper that the strain should be closely monitored and the commission kept fully informed, not least with regard to the remote but real possibility of mutation into a deadly human influenza."

"It is usually appropriate to question, even to ridicule, the European Union and its institutions," The Telegraph continues, "and this newspaper has never shrunk from subjecting them to the derision they deserve." It then adds, "in this case, however, the commission would appear to be acting with measured common sense, and soberly fulfilling its role in effecting a co-ordinated response to the risk of a cross-border outbreak of disease - one of the few roles, in fact, in which it can actually be of use."

"Too often in the past," it concludes, "the EU has acted with inefficiency and sloth, then over-reacted when taken by surprise. If the commission now seems to be planning precipitately for something that might never happen, we should not complain."

Actually, we should complain. The present “flap” over the avian ’flu strain H5N1 has been brought about by a report from Kazakstan of the death of 14,000 birds there, indicating that the virus has broken out of its reservoir in China and is possibly heading our way.

What the Telegraph report does not say – although some do – is that the birds affected are geese, which is unusual to say the very least. Avian 'flu notoriously does not kill geese, which carry the virus unaffected and thence act in spreading the disease to susceptible birds. Therefore, the possibility is that the Kazakstan outbreak is not avian 'flu at all, or that the H5N1 strain has mutated in a unique way that has made it even more problematical.

While this is speculation, that itself brings up another vital point. To date – as far as we understand - no copy of the virus has been isolated from the Kazakstan outbreak and made available to Western scientists for study, which means our knowledge of the behaviour of the virus is extremely limited and we are unable to confirm in any way the nature of the threat to which we are potentially exposed.

If the international system was working at all well, there should be enormous pressure being brought to bear on the Russians to release a copies of the virus so that scientists across the world can get to work. So far, from the commission, we have heard nothing of this.

Thirdly, and closer to home, the diagnostic tests for avian 'flu virus are, to put it mildly, are "crude". The strain typing does not discriminate between relatively mild and benign forms of the virus and those which are highly pathogenic, making the response uncertain potentially giving rise to false alarms and unnecessary losses. That is something the commission and our own government should be addressing.

Altogether, therefore, the commission's response has been wholly inadequate and, more to the point – and typical of the beast – it has been keeping quite about serious inadequacies in the monitoring system which it should be addressing. It seems to me that the commission is indeed acting with its usual level of "inefficiency and sloth". For the Telegraph to be so fulsome in its praise, therefore, is somewhat perverse.

COMMENT THREAD

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Just another irrelevant leftist plan: flu vaccines (2005-08-26)Bondage.com Forums -- Other Topics Category

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article308240.ece[quote]It is inevitable that migrating birds will spread avian flu across Europe, one of Britain's leading veterinary scientists said yesterday.
"Wild birds that have migratory pathways over Europe and the UK will become infected. It is inevitable bird flu will be carried to this country by migrating birds," Dr McCracken, the president of the British Veterinary Association, said.
Debbie Reynolds, the Government's chief vet, said ... "There is a constant, low-level risk of a low-pathogenic strain being introduced, but there is no evidence that the highly pathogenic virus is spread by migrating birds."
Although mass deaths of migrating birds have been reported in China and in Russia east of the Ural mountains, it is possible they have been cross-infected by domestic poultry, she said. Birds infected with the H5N1 strain were probably too ill to travel very far, she explained.[/quote]Yesterday's article on the subject: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/article307987.ece[quote] Senior scientists have advised the Government against a mass cull of wild birds because it would prove ineffective in stemming the spread of the virus to poultry. Instead they have emphasised the importance of knowing whether the H5N1 virus is present in the wild.
So far there have only been a few instances of transmission between people but the greatest fear is that a more transmissible virus will evolve that could cause a pandemic of a highly lethal strain of human influenza.[/quote]Serious science publication's page of relevant stuff: http://www.nature.com/nature/focus/avianflu/index.html
There are items in there about it appearing in pigs. The [i]Indy[/i] says there are fears it may mix with other strains in pigs and produce a super-strain that way. Are you scared yet?

Here's an article with a repost of a fake weblog on the subject:
http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050523/full/435399a.html[quote]Repeated warnings about the international community's failure to respond to the pandemic threat have fallen on deaf ears. So in our opening News Feature, we use the benefit of fictional hindsight to throw the issues into starker relief, describing a future pandemic through the weblog of a journalist in the thick of things. This is fiction, but not fantasy — the storyline was drawn up in consultation with those who could soon be dealing with the situation for real.[/quote]

That weblog: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v435/n7041/full/435400a.html[quote]Ready, my ass! I've reported on avian flu for almost a decade. The first thing I did on hearing Bush's address ...[/quote]There ya go, a shot at Bush. Several of you can now safely stop reading and forget all about this.
[quote]The team has a web video conference via a high-bandwidth satellite connection with WHO headquarters in Geneva. Its Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response is coordinating the international response. Poor guys, there's just a handful of them.

Computer models predict that if we do this, we might just stop the pandemic in its tracks. But there hasn't been enough modelling, and now we're doing the experiment for real.

Continued modelling will be vital, though, to work out how to deploy the limited supplies of Tamiflu we've got, and how long we need to treat people for the drug to work. Geneva informs us that the WHO international stockpile contains just 120,000 pills. WHO officials have been on the phone today with countries that have national stockpiles.

The politicians know that stopping the pandemic at source would be the best solution. But they're reluctant to donate drugs, as they'll have less for their own citizens if this approach fails. No point asking the United States — they've only got enough pills for 1% of the population. Britain and France have enough for a quarter of their populations. Will they spare us any? Will they hell.

Geneva announces that the latest epidemiological studies say that the virus seems to have a 'basic reproductive number', or R0, of between 1.4 and 2.0. This means that one case on average infects only one or two people. So if we can detect cases quickly and treat them and their contacts, the models suggest we could contain the virus most of the time. At the least, that might slow the pandemic and corral it in that region for a few months. That would win time to get a vaccine.

But we know there is a very short window. As time goes by, this virus will get better and better at transmitting between humans, and the R0 will increase. If it goes above 3, there's no way we'll contain it.[/quote]The [i]Indy[/i] yesterday had something along the lines of "by the time we get an outbreak in Britain, it's too late to stop it."

Just to throw in everybody's favourite numbers: 10,000 times as many fatalities as 9/11.

[size=1]Everyone loves the death counts.[/size=1]

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Buitenland: Mogelijk geval van vogelgriep ontdekt in FinlandNieuws.nl - Verzameld nieuws

(Novum/AP) - In het noorden van Finland is een meeuw ontdekt met de symptomen van de vogelgriep. Dat hebben de Finse autoriteiten vrijdag bekendgemaakt. Tests moeten uitwijzen of de meeuw daadwerkelijk is besmet met het virus. Als bij de meeuw het vogelgriepvirus H5N1 wordt aangetroffen, is het het ... Lees verder..

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Molekulares ImpfstoffbastelnSide Effects

Der beste Schutz vor einer Pandemie ist die Schutzimpfung. In Vietnam, China und anderen Gebieten Südostasiens, wo das Vogelgrippevirus H5N1 Haus- und Wildgeflügel befallen hat, werden Millionen von Tieren geimpft.
Die dazu verwendeten Impfstoffe sind für den Menschen indessen nicht geeignet. Das grassierende H5N1-Virus ist nicht in derselben Form auf Menschen übertragbar wie von Gans oder Huhn zu Ente. Ausserdem muss damit gerechnet werden, dass sich der Erreger, der von Mensch zu Mensch übertragen wird, verändert, ehe er sich mit einem A-Virus zusammen tut.
Der Grippeimpfstoff, der von der WHO ausgegeben und mit dem ältere und geschwächte Menschen auch in diesem Herbst geimpft werden, vermag vor Vogelgrippe nicht schützen. Allerdings meint die WHO, dass es sinnvoll wäre, wenn sich Menschen, die mit Geflügel zu tu haben, mit dem normalen Impfstoff gegen Grippe schützten; das nämlich könnte unter Umständen verhindern, dass der Mensch zum Mischgefäss für ein A-Virus mit einem H5N1 Virus würde.
Unzählige Forscher versuchen herauszufinden, wie die HA-Struktur molekular auszusehen hat, damit sie einen starken Immunschutz gegen H5N1-Viren auszulösen vermag. Sie beobachteten, dass man in Immunisierungsversuchen mit verschiedenen H5-Strukturen zwar die Bildung von Antikörpern anregen konnte, diese die entscheidende Kontaktstruktur des Erregers aber nicht oder zu wenig blockierten. Amerikanische Wissenschaftler haben mit Hilfe einer als Reverse Genetik bezeichneten Technik durch den Austausch jeweils einer einzelnen Aminosäure in der HA-Struktur eine H5-Variante gefunden, die bei Frettchen eine deutlich bessere Immunantwort gegen die HA-Struktur eines Vietnam-Virusstammes auslöste als alle anderen H5-Strukturen.
Ob ein brauchbarer Impfstoff, der tatsächlichen Schutz bieten wird, produziert werden kann, ehe H5N1 mutieren oder sich mit einem A-Virus vermischen kann, ist fraglich.
Es ist vorerst wohl klüger und sicherer, auf Tamiflu® von Roche zu setzen.

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More H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Sverdlovsk In Russia? - Recombinomics


More H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Sverdlovsk In Russia?
Recombinomics, PA - Aug 23, 2005
... Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk provinces in western Siberia at the base of the Ural mountains provides more evidence of a western migration of H5N1 wild bird flu ...

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Civet cats killed by bird flu in Vietnam - Khaleej Times


Civet cats killed by bird flu in Vietnam
Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates - 8 hours ago
HANOI - Vietnam’s Wild Animal Health Bureau has issued a warning after three civet cats that died earlier this year tested positive for the H5N1 strain of ...
Bird flu kills Vietnam civet cats BBC News
Bird flu spreads to new species Globe and Mail
Vietnam finds rare civets died of bird flu TODAYonline
Reuters - all 13 related

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Finland reports possible case of avian flu; unlikely to be feared ... - Canada.com


Finland reports possible case of avian flu; unlikely to be feared ...
Canada.com, Canada - 1 hour ago
... Finland (AP) - A suspected case of avian flu has been found in northern Finland, but authorities said Friday they doubt it is the feared H5N1 strain that ...
Possible case of bird flu in Finland Ireland Online
CHRONOLOGY-Key dates in Asian bird flu outbreak Reuters AlertNet
H5N1 seen spreading Bangkok Post
all 19 related

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German scientists cut bird-flu test time to hours - Expatica



ITN
German scientists cut bird-flu test time to hours
Expatica, Netherlands - 1 hour ago
... scientists said Friday they have developed a laboratory test for bird flu that reduces from days to hours the amount of time needed to detect the H5N1 virus in ...
Flu facts and concerns Telegraph.co.uk
Infection getting out of control Guardian Unlimited
World slow to face bird flu threat BBC News
Independent - Sify - all 12 related

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World slow to face bird flu threat

... confirmation that the H5N1 bird flu virus has become capable of human-to-human transmission will send.... The majority of those are wealthy western nations - not the Asian countries where the H5N1... are unlikely to be entirely equipped to quell an outbreak of a mutated form of H5N1. An effective vaccine ...

Medical Health Technorati this

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26 Aug 2005 - 女人,命好苦﹗

... IMG IMG IMG IMG 我認為,做女人真的很苦,因為: 小時候,女生說話銳利點,會被稱為「鐵嘴雞」。 (你可曾聽過男生被安上這個稱號?) 長得稍為胖一點,又會被說像只「豬」。 腦袋轉速略為慢一點,更被稱為「豬頭」。 (看,還只有頭,連身體都沒有。) 什麼 H5N1,豬鏈球菌,通通都要跟女生扯上關係。 到漸漸長大了,每個月又要應付痛不欲生的數天, (這是經痛,男人,你懂嗎?) 搞不好還會引發「陰道炎」或其他疾病。 如果月事遲遲不來,又要開始擔心。 到處去找醫生看是否有什麼毛病, 或是去買驗孕棒檢查是否懷孕。 (買的時候還得遭受白眼,被人家在背後說不檢點 ...

並沒有什麼特別吸引人的地方。Nancy小分享,有空來探我! Technorati this

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August 25, 2005

Magneto-Sphere

Flight404’s latest Magneto-Sphere (built in Processing) combines metaballs, gravity, and a self organizing network of magnetic nodes to create a tantalizing organic display of attraction and repulsion. [video]

Posted by dymaxion at 03:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cooping chickens no guarantee of safety: experts - Edmonton Sun



Reuters India
Cooping chickens no guarantee of safety: experts
Edmonton Sun, Canada - 8 hours ago
... In the wake of news that migratory birds appear to have transported the H5N1 avian influenza strain to parts of Russia, European governments are boosting ...
Scientists fear pigs may play role in bird flu Guardian Unlimited
Flu fears could force free-range poultry indoors Financial Times
Wild geese Times Online
Reuters AlertNet - all 11 related

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Chirac vows to protect against bird flu

AP Wire reports that Chirac vows to protect against bird flu.

"No obstacle, notably economic or financial, will get in the way of useful measures to protect the health of the French people," Chirac said at a Cabinet meeting, according to [government spokesman Jean-François] Cope.

Well, it's a consoling promise, but Chirac has raised a very big question: If and when a pandemic breaks out, and the economy breaks down, who carries the cost? Do workers go without salaries? Do businesses go broke? Will hospitals shut down if tax revenues can't pay for them?

After 25 years of "government is the problem" rhetoric and free-market theology, a pandemic will demand enormous government intervention and support in the economies of the world. Even if the cost means huge deficits and long-term debts, the alternative would be costlier still.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

EU experts assess avian flu risk

Via CNN.com, we learn that EU experts assess bird flu risk.

But don't expect anything to actually happen:

The EU already has a ban in place on imports of Russian poultry, but officials indicated Thursday's meeting was unlikely to advise farmers across the bloc to bring chickens indoors, as the Netherlands has already done.

It will seek to heighten awareness of the potential risks however.

I guess the kindest interpretation is that the experts are trying to ratchet up public anxiety to the point where the politicians, feeling a little heat, order the chicken farmers to get their birds indoors, or else.

If anyone has found a detailed analysis of the likely effect of avian flu on the farm economies of affected nations, I'd be grateful for a link to it. Even if not a single additional human comes down with avian flu, this is already a serious economic blow to countries from Vietnam to the Netherlands.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Role of specific hemagglutinin amino acids in the immunogenicity and protection of H5N1 influenza virus vaccines.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Aug 23;
Hoffmann E, Lipatov AS, Webby RJ, Govorkova EA, Webster RG

If H5N1 influenza viruses become transmissible among humans, vaccination will offer the most effective option to limit their spread. Two human vaccine candidates recently generated by reverse genetics are based on antigenically different hemagglutinin (HA) glycoproteins derived from the A/HK/213/03 (H5N1) and A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1) viruses. Their HA1 amino acid sequences differ at 10 positions, one of which (N154) introduces a potential glycosylation site in A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1). To assess the impact of five amino acids in the putative antigenic sites on immunogenicity and immune protection, we generated a series of whole-virus vaccines that differed only in one or two HA amino acids. Sera from ferrets vaccinated with these inactivated preparations had high virus neutralization titers, but their hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers were usually low. Interestingly, a recombinant virus in which the HA amino acid S223 (characteristic of 2004 viruses) was converted to N223 (as in A/HK/213/03) resulted in higher HI titers. This observation indicates that specific HA residues, such as N223, increase the sensitivity of the HI assay by altering receptor specificity and/or antibody-antigen binding. Ferrets vaccinated with mutant vaccine viruses were protected against lethal challenge with wild-type A/Vietnam/1203/04 virus. Our results suggest that inclusion of the N223 residue in the HA glycoproteins of diagnostic reference viruses may facilitate the evaluation of vaccine efficacy in humans.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Balkans may be bird flu gateway to wider Europe. (BIRDFLU-BALKANS) 2005-08-25 10:10:42



By Michael Winfrey

SOFIA, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Birds heading south for the winter from Siberia may carry a deadly strain of avian flu to the Balkan peninsula and mingle with other flocks from northern Europe, experts said on Thursday.

Millions of birds migrate each year to Black Sea neighbours Romania and Bulgaria for the milder winter climate, making the area a potential gateway to central Europe for the bird flu virus, which has already swept into Russia from southeast Asia.

Samuel Jutzi, head of the United Nations agency in charge of monitoring and controlling the flu, said its quick spread indicated migratory birds may be able to carry it over long distances and that it could reach the Balkans in a few months.

“Knowing the flyways and the bird species that use them, there is a high likelihood that the virus will continue to spread as it has so far,” Jutzi, Director of the Animal and Production and Health Division of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, told Reuters.

“Particularly in the southeastern part of the Balkans, given that these flyways go down there ... It is quite probable in the future and is a major concern for us."

The European Commission has said there is a relatively low risk of migratory birds spreading the virus but has banned poultry products from Russia and Kazakhstan.

One strain of bird flu potentially dangerous to humans, H5N1, has decimated flocks of poultry in southeast Asia and has killed more than 50 people over the past two years.

H5N1 has been officially registered in six Russian regions in Siberia and the Urals, and has also been confirmed in neighbouring Kazakhstan.

Experts fear the strain, which has killed around half of the people who contract it, could mutate into a variation easily spread among humans and spark a pandemic that could kill tens of millions of people.



EUROPE’S LARGEST WETLANDS

Lakes and rivers along the Black Sea coast ranging from Ukraine to northern Turkey attract millions of birds each winter from an area stretching from northern Russia to Scandinavia.

Europe’s largest wetlands, Romania’s Danube delta, and lakes in northern Bulgaria, are popular among flocks of red-breasted geese from Siberia as well as white-fronted geese from Scandinavia, Poland, and Germany.

“There is a risk of spreading the deadly strain of flu to local wildlife if any of them is infected,” said Boris Barov, head of Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds.

Jutzi said countries in southeast Europe may lack the capacity to detect and deal with a widespread outbreak.

Bulgaria and Romania are two of Europe’s poorest countries.

“They are presumably less prepared to detect and react early and also to put into place the necessary movement controls on poultry to really reduce the virus’s spread,” Jutzi said. “That is of quite substantial concern to us."

Both countries have banned the import of wild and domestic birds from Russia and Kazakhastan. Bulgaria introduced a monitoring programme for early detection of bird flu in 2002, and Romania carries out random testing in the Danube delta.

So far they have detected no cases.

“We are closely watching the situation and are in contact with neighbouring countries and World Organisation for Animal Health. We are ready to react,” said Georgi Georgiev, a scientist with Bulgarian Veterinary Institute.

(Additional reporting by Tsvetelia Ilieva in Sofia and Radu Marinas in Bucharest)

REUTERS Reut14:11 08-25-05

Copyright: (c) TWP, AP, Reuters, others as appropriate

From Foreign wire stories (w/summaries) (feed)
See also links to this feed and more from this feed

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Russia steps up measures to contain bird flu. (BIRDFLU-RUSSIA) 2005-08-25 08:22:26



By Aleksandras Budrys

MOSCOW, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Russia is stepping up measures to contain the spread of the deadly bird flu virus amid signs the outbreak is stabilising, Russia’s chief epidemiologist said on Thursday, but Kazakhstan said it was probing possible new cases.

“Deaths of wild fowl continue to occur, although less intensively,” Gennady Onishchenko, head of Russia’s state consumer rights watchdog and top epidemiologist, told reporters.

“In Russia, we intend to keep the current situation within the existing framework, and will try to reduce the affected area through culling all domestic birds until wild fowl leave the country."

He said birds would start migrating from Russia from the second half of September.

The H5N1 strain, which is potentially dangerous to humans, has been officially registered in six Russian regions in Siberia and the Urals, causing the deaths of nearly 14,000 wild and domestic fowl.

Onishchenko said epidemiologists were still trying to establish whether deaths of wild fowl in a seventh region, the Caspian republic of Kalmykia, were caused by bird flu.

He played down a report that bird flu had been found in a wild duck shot in yet another region, saying that practically all wild ducks might carry some strain of the virus but that it may not necessarily be the strain dangerous to humans.

Bird flu has also spread to neighbouring Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday it was treating the deaths of around a dozen wildfowl in the south of the country as suspicious and was testing the animals.

Seven villages in the north of the sprawling Central Asian state have been quarantined after an outbreak of H5N1.

A spokesman said the dead birds, ducks and gulls, had been found in the Almaty Region near Lake Alakol on the Chinese border, 380 km (240 miles) northeast of the biggest city Almaty.

“Our specialists have taken materials and sent them to the laboratory,” he said.



MASS CULL

Russia has culled some 130,000 domestic birds since July 21, when the first reports of the flu appeared.

Onishchenko said a quarantine had been lifted from nine out of 91 affected localities, in which all domestic birds had been destroyed and no new deaths of wild fowl had been registered. He said the quarantine would be lifted in more areas next week.

No cases of human infection have been registered so far, but the country had to be prepared for the possibility, Onishchenko said. H5N1 has killed at least 50 people in Asia since 2003.

Onishchenko said health authorities would supply equipment for detecting the H5N1 virus in humans to medical laboratories throughout the country.

The authorities also plan to vaccinate more people this year to protect against annual outbreaks of human influenza that sweep Russia in winter.

“We normally vaccinate some 20 million people. I hope this year we will have more due to bird flu fears,” Onishchenko said.

(Additional reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva in Kazakhstan)

REUTERS Reut12:22 08-25-05

Copyright: (c) TWP, AP, Reuters, others as appropriate

From Foreign wire stories (w/summaries) (feed)
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August 24, 2005

H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Migration In Russia Kazakhstan Mongolia - Recombinomics


H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Migration In Russia Kazakhstan Mongolia
Recombinomics, PA - 16 hours ago
... All reports of H5N1 virus in wild birds so far appear to be from dead ones. Has anyone, anywhere, actually found a healthy wild ...

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Bird flu killer product to hit market soon - China Daily


Bird flu killer product to hit market soon
China Daily, China - 18 hours ago
... empty coops only. Researchers say CAIQ-1 can kill H5N1, the virus that causes avian flu and circulates among birds worldwide. It can ...
UNPRECEDENTED WIDESPREAD OUTBREAKS OF AVIAN INFLUENZA Wiener Zeitung
all 3 related

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M2 Markers Signal Poor H5N1 Surveillance in Southeast Asia - Recombinomics


M2 Markers Signal Poor H5N1 Surveillance in Southeast Asia
Recombinomics, PA - 3 hours ago
The paper "Evolution of H5N1 Avian Influenza Viruses in Asia" was published ahead of the October, 2005 publication by the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance ...

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How long do the negative consequences of flu epidemics last?

There has been a recent study of the 1918-1919 flu.  It turns out that the pandemic affected health outcomes for many decades to follow.  Here is the abstract:

In the 1960-1980 Decennial U.S. Census data, cohorts in utero during the height of the Pandemic typically display reduced educational attainment, increased rates of physical disability, lower income, lower socioeconomic status, as well as accelerated adult mortality compared with other birth cohorts. In addition, persons born in states with more severe exposure to the Pandemic experienced worse outcomes than those born in states with less severe Pandemic exposures. These results demonstrate that investments aimed at improving fetal health can have substantial long-term effects on subsequent health and economic outcomes.

Thanks to Alex Tabarrok for the pointer, his post contains a lengthier and interesting discussion of the 1918-1919 pandemic.

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Marketplace Health ManagementPSoTD

One of the biggest problems with letting a marketplace manage itself?

Hoarding.

North American sales of the drug oseltamivir have more than tripled in recent months, a trend public health experts see as evidence individuals are stockpiling the once little-used antiviral as a hedge against a possible flu pandemic.

With similar reports emerging in other countries as well, a leading advocate for pandemic preparedness is concerned public demand could soon outstrip the limited global supply.

And what happens when supply can't meet demand in that marketplace?

"We are on a collision course to panic," warns Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

"I think that what's going to happen is . . . that this drug - which has yet to really be demonstrated to have any clinical impact on H5N1 infection - is now going to become the 'I can't get product, therefore I must have it right away product.'

"The reality is going to come through that there is only so much available."

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Миграция вируса птичьего гриппа повышает вероятность пандемии"Вашингтонский файл" на русском

Обнаружение опасной формы птичьего гриппа в России и Казахстане привело к гибели или уничтожению почти 130 тыс. птиц и повышает вероятность инфицирования людей смертельно опасным штаммом, предупреждает Всемирная организация здравоохранения (ВОЗ).Россия и Казахстан впервые обнаружили это заболевание у птиц в июле, а в августе было подтверждено присутствие штамма H5N1. Этот вирус, распространяющийся по Юго-Восточной Азии с 2003 года, представляет собой высокопатогенный штамм вируса птичьего гриппа, от которого уже погибло более 150 млн. птиц.

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August 22 Flu UpdateThe Coming Influenza Pandemic?

While scientists in Britain are urging careful consideration of bird flu measures taken in Holland, the government is staying the course.

Reuters has this story on US safeguards against the bird flu, which could be a little overconfident.

"I think biosecurity has been ratcheted up to a high level. It is very hard to get on farms these days," said Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council.

Does this count a dome to keep migratory fowl out?

Bird flu was found on another Japanese farm.

ProMed on the Japanese report, noting the new outbreak is 44 miles from the previous outbreak.

The EU says it thinks the risk from migratory fowl is low.

Russia reports no registered human cases of bird flu.

More bad economic news...in UAE, pet shops are suffering.

Meanwhile, a UAE medical study says bird flu is a risk.

Klaus Stohr was in Bangkok, where he delivered a stark and bleak assessment of the world's preperation for the bird flu.

Taiwan is preparing to fight the bird flu.

Ongoing news about imminent (not long-range) shortages of Tamiflu, whose sales are skyrocketing.

"We are on a collision course to panic," warns Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

"I think that what's going to happen is . . . that this drug - which has yet to really be demonstrated to have any clinical impact on H5N1 infection - is now going to become the 'I can't get product, therefore I must have it right away product.'

"The reality is going to come through that there is only so much available."

Financial Times--rapidly gaining in the MSM flu rankings--has the tale of two drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza.

CIDRAP has the growing news that wild bird flu is gaining a foothold (or a clawhold) in Mongolia.

Recombinomics asks if the bird flu is being covered up in India.

Recombinomics on confirmed wild bird flu in Russia.

ProMed on more reports from Siberia that still don't answer the questions. The final anonymous mod question is good. All of the sampling is of dead birds, which do not migrate. It asks if anyone has found a healthy, migrating bird that is capable of shedding HPAI?

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L'HÉCATOMBE À NOS PORTES?La Levée !

L'épidémie de la grippe aviaire

class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> L’organisation mondiale de la santé et plusieurs autres chercheurs et observateurs craignent que la grippe aviaire ou la grippe du poulet, ou l’influenza aviaire revienne bientôt en force et qu’elle contamine des centaines de millions de personnes partout sur Terre.

Au cours des 10 prochaines semaines plus de 100 000 oies, goélands et cormorans commenceront leur migration de l’ouest de la Chine vers l’Australie.

Un nombre important de ces oiseaux migrateurs seront infectés du H5N1, une variante de la grippe aviaire qui a déjà tué 61 personnes dans le sud-ouest de l’Asie.

L’OMS craint que ce type de virus puisse se muter en une forme contagieuse dans le genre qui a tué 50 à 100 millions de personnes à l’automne de 1918.

Cette apparition de la grippe aviaire a été découverte par les Chinois à la fin du mois d’avril…et les chercheurs chinois ont été horrifiés par la virulence du virus.

L’H5N1 s’est déjà répandu jusqu’à Lhassa, la capitale du Tibet, aussi à l’ouest de la Mongolie et a même infecté des poulets à la capitale de la Sibérie, Novossibirsk.

L’épicentre humain de l’H5N1 s’agrandit aussi : à la mi-juillet un père et ses deux filles en sont morts dans une banlieue riche de Jakarta.

Ce qu’il faut retenir c’est que l’influenza aviaire est endémique et bien implanté chez les poulets de l’Asie du sud-est et se répand rapidement par les oiseaux migrateurs pour éventuellement atteindre l’ensemble de la planète au cours de la prochaine année.

Chaque nouvelle infection de l’H5N1 que ce soit parmi les canards en Sibérie, les cochons en Indonésie ou les humains au Vietnam est une nouvelle occasion pour le virus de se transformer en un tueur en série incontrôlable.

Partout sur terre les autorités de santé publique s’attendent au pire, en GB on prépare le terrain pour des morgues de masse parce qu’on s’attend à ce que 700 000 britanniques en meurent.

Encore plus inquiétant, le vaccin que l’on prévoit administrer pour contrer la nouvelle grippe aviaire n’est pas très efficace et est produit en trop petites quantités.

Faudra sans faute et le plus tôt possible que les pays riches investissent les milliards pour produire un vaccin accessible au monde entier.

Parce qu’au fur et à mesure que les oiseaux migrateurs quittent l’Asie pour l’Australie le virus va se répandre ce qui nous laisse vraiment très peu de temps.

Carpe diem chers auditeurs…

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August 23, 2005

Scientists Race To Head Off Lethal Potential Of Avian Flu (Washington Post, Tuesday, August 23, 2005; Page A01) [snag for the Av

Quiplashr posted a photo:

Scientists Race To Head Off Lethal Potential Of Avian Flu (Washington Post, Tuesday, August 23, 2005; Page A01) [snag for the Avian Flu Watch group]

PHOTO Credit: Dave Darnell/Memphis Commercial-Appeal


CAPTION: Robert G. Webster, PhD. (Right) at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Left to Right in background are David Walker , Scott Krauss and Kelly Jones. They are doing research with the avian influenza virus.


-----

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/22/...



Scientists Race To Head Off Lethal Potential Of Avian Flu


By David Brown. Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 23, 2005; A01


Robert G. Webster is watching his 40-year-old hunch about the origin of pandemic influenza play out before his eyes. It would be thrilling if it were not so terrifying.


Four decades ago, Webster was a young microbiologist from New Zealand on a brief sojourn in London. While he was there, he did an experiment that pretty much set the course of his scientific career. In just a few hours, he showed that the microbe that swept the globe in 1957 as "Asian flu" bore an unmistakable resemblance to strains of virus carried by certain birds in the years before.


Webster's observation was a surprise -- and a troubling one. It suggested an origin of the unusually virulent strains of influenza virus that appear two or three times each century. His hunch, that at least some of these pandemic strains were hybrids of bird and human flu viruses, was correct.


Since then, Rob Webster has become arguably the world's most important eye on animal influenza viruses. These days, he is deeply worried about what he's seeing.


Strains of influenza virus known as A/H5N1 have been spreading in wild and domestic birds across Southeast Asia and China since 1996. In recent weeks, the virus has apparently struck poultry in Siberia and Kazakhstan.


Since late 2003, about 100 million domesticated birds -- mostly chickens and ducks -- either have died of the virus or have been intentionally killed to keep the viruses from spreading. But what has Webster and other experts so worried are the 112 people who have been infected with the H5N1 "bird flu," more than half of whom have died. The fatality rate of 55 percent outstrips any human flu epidemic on record, including the epochal Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919 that killed at least 50 million people.


Why this new virus is so deadly is not entirely understood, although scientists have hints.


Influenza viruses invade cells lining the throat and windpipe, where they replicate and cause inflammation but are eventually suppressed by the immune system. In some cases, the microbe invades the lungs and leads to viral or bacterial pneumonia. Some H5N1 strains, however, have two features that make them even more dangerous.


Normally, the flu viruses can replicate only in the throat and lungs. With H5N1, however, the protein that triggers replication can be activated in many other organs, including the liver, intestines and brain. What is usually a respiratory infection can suddenly become a whole-body infection. Simultaneously, a second "defect" in the virus unleashes a storm of immune-system chemicals called cytokines. In normal amounts, cytokines help fight microbial invaders. In excessive amounts, they can cause lethal damage to the body's own tissues.


The trait H5N1 has not acquired is the ability to spread easily from person to person. The 112 human cases since late 2003 may turn out to be simply rare events in a bird epidemic that will eventually subside, as all epidemics do.


What is worrisome, though, is evidence pointing the other way.


Working Full-Tilt


Webster's insight about the origins of pandemic flu led to an unavoidable conclusion. If scientists had any hope of preventing the pandemics, they had to keep watch on influenza in many species, not just human beings.


Learning how the virus is changing in birds, and what it may need to get real traction in people is what keeps the 73-year-old Webster working full-tilt at an age when many people are slowing down or have retired.


-----


More pictures, articles and links at the Avian Flu Watch ... Educate yourself. There's still time.

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Grippe aviaire : l'inquiétude grandit en Europe

Les Pays-Bas ont commencé hier à enfermer la totalité de leurs 6 millions de volailles élevées en plein air. Bruxelles a « refusé de céder à l'alarmisme » et a minimisé l'ampleur de l'épidémie. L'Allemagne s'interrogeait toutefois sur l'éventualité d'un projet similaire à celui de La Haye. Une réunion des experts sanitaires européens aura lieu jeudi à Bruxelles. Hier, les autorités sanitaires françaises devaient analyser la situation dans notre pays. Moscou n'a pas de confirmation de cas de grippe aviaire dans un élevage proche de la Caspienne en Kalmoukie, mais le virus H5N1 est bien présent au Kazakhstan.

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Павшие птицы в Казахстане были инфицированы вирусом гриппа, опасным д

... хозяйства Казахстана сообщило, что у всех павших домашних и диких птиц во всех семи селах республики подтвердился вирус гриппа с антигенной формулой H5N1, опасный для ...
Вспышка "птичьего гриппа" была зарегистрирована в период с конца июля по сегодняшний день в селе Голубовка Павлодарской области, в селах Виноградовка, Ушсарт Акмолинской ...

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Reuters News - Influenza aviaria confermata in Kazakistan

Reuters News
Caspico," ha aggiunto. L'influenza, che si è diffusa dalla Siberia alla vicina Russia, ha sollevato timori in Europa che la malattia si potesse diffondere nel continente scatenando un'epidemia di influenza. Sebbene il ceppo H5N1 abbia ucciso oltre 50 persone in Asia dal 2003, nessuno ne è rimasto ... Copyright: Copyright 2004, Italia OnLine S.r.l.

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FT coverage of bird flu

Today the Financial Times features a number of bird flu articles, starting with a front page story on the latest measures taken by European countries. In another article we learn that there is considerable divergence of opinion in the EU on how big of a threat bird flu is:The Netherlands yesterday ordered farmers to keep poultry inside to prevent bird flu spreading into the country.

However, the UK played down the threat posed to domestic fowl from migratory birds. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was not planning any measures to keep poultry indoors.In Europe, the Netherlands has most experience in dealing with the bird flu:The spread of the virus two years ago among its nearly 2,000 poultry farmers led to the slaughter of 30m animals at a cost of hundreds of millions of euros.

“Poultry farmers are very afraid that this strain will arrive in western Europe. In 2003 many farmers were hit hard by what happened and it took a lot of time for them to get going again. Nobody wants this to happen ever again,” said Klass Johan Osinga, of the LTO Dutch farmers’ union.

The Netherlands last year exported almost €500m worth of eggs, making it the seventh largest producer among the EU’s then 15 countries. In 2003 it produced nearly 600,000 tonnes of poultry meat.A separate FT article covers the latest vaccine developments:GlaxoSmithKline is gearing up to file for preliminary European regulatory approv- al by the end of this year for a pandemic flu vaccine that could be used to tackle the future spread of the lethal H5N1 virus.

The move marks an early attempt by one of the world's largest vaccine manufacturers to prepare for high-volume production in accordance with European Union regulations on pandemic flu passed in 2004.

[...] GSK is in the final stages of compiling all the necessary documentation designed to show the European Medicines Agency its technical skills and production methods in order to make subsequent authorisation of a specific vaccine easier.

The company has already run clinical trials showing successful treatment of other flu strains using its flu vaccines in combination with a common “adjuvant” designed to help further boost the response of the human immune system.

The move comes ahead of its planned launch of clinical trials early next year with a potential H5N1 flu vaccine in combination with a proprietary adjuvant, from its “AS” range, which it believes will provide it with a substantial edge over its competitors.GlaxoSmithKline currently manufactures the antiviral medicine Relenza, also reviewed in an article from today's FT.

Read the entire batch of articles in the FT, hat tip to the New Economist for the links.

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Vogelgriep in Kazachstan

ASTANA - In alle zeven dorpen in het noorden van Kazachstan waar de vogelgriep is uitgebroken, gaat het om de voor mensen gevaarlijke variant H5N1. Copyright: Copyright (c) 2005, Nederlands Dagblad

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Казахстан охватил опасный для человека птичий грипп

Это уже седьмой регион России, где у домашней птицы обнаружен штамм вируса H5N1.
... осенью из Сибири проходят через Азербайджан, Иран, Ирак, Грузию, Украину страны Средиземноморья, возможен занос вируса с мигрирующими птицами и в эти страны из России.

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More H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Sverdlovsk In Russia? - Recombinomics


More H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Sverdlovsk In Russia?
Recombinomics, PA - 2 hours ago
... Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk provinces in western Siberia at the base of the Ural mountains provides more evidence of a western migration of H5N1 wild bird flu ...
H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Surgut Kanti-Mansi In Russia? Recombinomics
all 2 related

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Deadly bird flu strain confirmed in Kazakh villages - Reuters.uk


Deadly bird flu strain confirmed in Kazakh villages
Reuters.uk, UK - 6 hours ago
... "The H5N1 strain has been detected in ... Although the H5N1 strain has killed more than 50 people in Asia since 2003, no one has caught it in Russia or Kazakhstan. ...

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No windfall profit seen for bird flu vaccine firms - Reuters


No windfall profit seen for bird flu vaccine firms
Reuters - 1 hour ago
... Research into a new generation of vaccines to tackle a flu pandemic -- which scientists fear will be unleashed if the current H5N1 strain mutates and spreads ...

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Growing evidence of H5N1 in Mongolia reported - CIDRAP


Growing evidence of H5N1 in Mongolia reported
CIDRAP, MN - 19 hours ago
Aug 22, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Wildlife researchers and Mongolian officials have reported increasing evidence that H5N1 avian influenza has infected wild birds ...

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First instance of avian flu (H5N1) occurring in wild migratory birds

The avian flu at Lake Erkhel may have affected only a very small number of birds at the site, according to a story on News-Medical.net.

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Nation on watch for flu pandemic

The story in the Detroit News, Nation on watch for flu pandemic, is mostly a rehash of basic flu facts, but it does have one surprising fact in the last paragraph:

While there have been no reports of the virus being transmitted between people, British researchers reported finding the H5N1 virus in the spinal fluid of a young Vietnamese boy, indicating that the virus is mutating to the point that it can infect the human brain.

That was news to me, and I'd love to see the source.

Apart from that item, the story portrays "expert" anxiety and activity—as it should. It's all part of the public-information process. But I hope the focus on "experts" doesn't make the public relax. If people think "They're doing something about it," then individuals, groups, and institutions may think they don't have to do anything at all.

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Infection of the endothelium by influenza viruses.

Thromb Haemost. 2005 Aug; 94(2): 262-5
Klenk HD

Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses are not only the cause of devastating "bird flu" outbreaks in domestic fowl, but are also occasionally the cause of human disease with a high mortality rate as is being currently observed with the H5N1 viruses in South-East Asia. Infection in birds is systemic with hemorrhages and edema as characteristic symptoms, and virus replication in the endothelium appears to play an important role in pathogenesis. Some of the factors determining endotheliotropism have been elucidated at the molecular and cellular level. They include proteolytic activation of the hemagglutinin, polarity of virus budding, and tissue specific expression of virus receptors.

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Downplaying Flu

... so worried are the 112 people who have been infected with the H5N1 "bird flu," more than half... or bacterial pneumonia. Some H5N1 strains, however, have two features that make them even more dangerous. Normally, the flu viruses can replicate only in the throat and lungs. With H5N1, however ...

Just a Bump in the Beltway Technorati this

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Scientists Race To Head Off Lethal Potential Of Avian Flu

... with the H5N1 "bird flu," more than half of whom have died. The fatality rate of 55 percent outstrips..., the microbe invades the lungs and leads to viral or bacterial pneumonia. Some H5N1 strains, however, have... in the throat and lungs. With H5N1, however, the protein that triggers replication can be activated ...

CALL FOR A SUMMER OF TRUTH Technorati this

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August 22, 2005

Sales of flu drug soar amid pandemic worries - CTV


Sales of flu drug soar amid pandemic worries
CTV, Canada - 2 hours ago
... that this drug - which has yet to really be demonstrated to have any clinical impact on H5N1 infection - is now going to become the 'I can't get product ...
Antiviral sales soar amid pandemic fears Brandon Sun
Virus knows no boundaries Telegraph.co.uk
Flu drug sales rocket Toronto Sun
all 13 related

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Australian ports to be closed if flu strikes

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia will close all its seaports and airports against a pandemic. (Free registration required to view the story.)

The dramatic safeguarding measure against the deadly disease is part of a Federal Government draft management plan circulated for comment to health professionals, the tourism sector and state governments.

The plan paints a bleak picture of Australia under siege from the virus, which Health Minister Tony Abbott has warned is a real threat.

The power to close air and sea ports under the Quarantine Act would only be a last resort, a Health Department spokesman said.


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New York planning since February for the pandemic

The August 21 New York Times has a story on the city's pandemic planning: When a Bug Becomes a Monster.

If a pandemic similar to the one of 1918 occurred today, as many as 2.8 million New York City residents could be infected within months, sending more than 200,000 to the hospital and clogging the morgues with 400 deaths a day during the peak infection period.

Thanks to Taxus Pharma for the original link.

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A German flu blog

I've just discovered Vogelgrippe Virus und Influenza-Pandemie, a German/English blog. Looks excellent, especially thanks to maps showing the current extent of flu outbreaks and mysterious human illnesses across Asia. I'll also add this to my list of flu websites.

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Tamiflu versus Relenza

According to a news story in the Australian Courier-Mail, a legal dispute is arising over the marketing of Relenza, an anti-flu drug. Its sales have been small compared to those for Tamiflu, and the creators of Relenza (an Australian biotech firm) claim it's because licencee GlaxoSmithKline didn't market it effectively.

No doubt we'll see such disputes as the stakes get higher.

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Switzerland prepares

A story at Swissinfo summarizes the progress of avian flu so far and goes on to describe (briefly) what Switzerland is doing to prepare for a pandemic.

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Roche close to deal with WHO on bird flu drug

According to FT.com, Roche is close to a deal to donate as many as 3 million doses of Tamiflu to WHO. It's a subscription site, so most of the story is unavailable.

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INFLUENZA AVIARIA, ESPERTI RUSSI INSISTONO: EUROPA A RISCHIO

Mosca, 22 ago. (Ap) - Yevgeny Nepoklonov, vicedirettore dei

servizi veterinari del ministero dell'Agricoltura russo, ha

nuovamente ammonito sul rischio che gli uccelli migratori

responsabili di aver portato in Russia il ceppo H5N1

dell'influenza aviaria possano trasferire l'agente patogeno, in

grado di attaccare l'uomo, anche in Europa e America del Nord.

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Is Bird Flu Being Covered-Up in India?

Avian influenza in India has been of interest of late because last spring bar headed geese, infected with H5N1, were discovered at Qinghai Lake in China. Copyright: India Gazette

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Marketplace Health Management

... impact on H5N1 infection - is now going to become the 'I can't get product, therefore I must have ...

PSoTD - Technorati this

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Microscopic view of the H5N1 or 'bird flu' virus.

... [IMG ] The Rome-Fiumicino international airport has begun implementing precautionary measures involving passengers and merchandise originating fro ...

Photo Blog Spot ( http://f0to.blogspot.com ) Technorati this

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Out of Time?

... By way of the H5N1 blog, I found a sobering perspective on the coming pandemic at MotherJones.com. ...

Ablogalypse Now Technorati this

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August 19, 2005

WHO Reported Avian Flu Deaths To Date (via Flickr)

h5n1deaths.jpg

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Has bird flu reached Europe?

Russia is investigating mass bird deaths in a region to the west of the Ural mountains in what could become the first case of the deadly bird flu virus spreading to Europe, officials announced yesterday.

But Russia's chief animal health official said a preliminary analysis had shown the deaths in Kalmykia may not have been caused by the dangerous virus that can also kill humans.

The Russian state health watchdog, in a statement posted on its website, said the bird deaths occurred on a farm in the Caspian region of Kalmykia 2,000 km from the region where Russia's first flu outbreak was reported.

[...] There was no final word on what had caused the Kalmyk deaths but Sergei Dankvert, chief animal and plant safety officer, said the birds may have died from an infection caused by parasitic worms.

[...] Separately, Interfax news agency reported that health officials were looking into mass deaths of ducks near a reservoir in the Sverdlovsk region which borders a number of regions hit by the virus.

Full story.

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Latest WHO update

Read it here.

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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Confirmed in Erkhel Lake Mongolia - Recombinomics


H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Confirmed in Erkhel Lake Mongolia
Recombinomics, PA - 5 hours ago
As of today, preliminary tests from one dead whooper swan collected in Mongolia have shown the presence of the H5N1 strain of Avian Influenza using RT-PCR ...
H5 Wild Bird Flu Confirmed in Mongolia Recombinomics
China Offers to Share H5N1 Sequence Data Recombinomics
H5 Detected in Saitama Japan Recombinomics
all 4 related

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Japan halfway through bird flu checks on farms - Reuters AlertNet


Japan halfway through bird flu checks on farms
Reuters AlertNet, UK - 14 hours ago
... Early last year, Japan reported its first outbreak of avian flu in 79 years when it found chickens infected with the virulent H5N1 strain. ...

Posted by dymaxion at 03:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Fowl Guidelines Aim to Check Bird Flu - Deutsche Welle



Financial Times
New Fowl Guidelines Aim to Check Bird Flu
Deutsche Welle, Germany - 1 hour ago
... humans. It has now been confirmed that the deadly bird flu virus -- the H5N1 strain of the influenza virus -- has reached Russia. ...
Dutch poultry ordered indoors to prevent bird flu Ireland Online
Dutch told to keep birds indoors over fear of flu Financial Times
Dutch chickens ordered indoors over bird flu scare Xinhua
Planet Ark - all 12 related

Posted by dymaxion at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GPs briefed on bird flu pandemic

According to SocietyGuardian.co.uk, British GPs are about to receive detailed information on dealing with avian flu.

A package of information put together by the chief medical officer, Liam Donaldson, will be sent to the UK's 10,465 GPs' surgeries next month.

This sounds like a sensible step. I hope the package will be made available electronically around the world.

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Avian flu in Mongolia confirmed

Three migratory birds—a bar-headed goose and two whooper swans—have tested positive for H5 in Mongolia, according to DISEASE INFORMATION. All were found at Erhel Lake.

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[Evolution of avian influenza viruses H5N1 (1997-2004) in southern and south-eastern Asia]

Vopr Virusol. 2005 Jul-Aug; 50(4): 11-7

Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the H5N1 subtype are widespread and have become endemic in poultry in southern and southeastern Asia. An unprecedented epizootic was caused by these viruses in 8 countries in the winter of 2003 to 2004. This fact along with more frequent human cases of the infection with unusually high mortality rates in Vietnam and Thailand raises concern that these H5N1 events may lead to a new influenza A virus pandemic. This review summarizes the results of studies dealing with the ecology and evolution of avian influenza H5N1 viruses in southern and southeastern Asia since 1997. The pathogenesis of the infection in human beings and laboratory animals and possible determinants of the high pathogenicity of H5N1 viruses in mammals are considered. A scheme for designing modified H5N1 vaccines using the latest advances in reverse genetics of influenza viruses is given.

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August 17, 2005

Wild Bird Migration Patterns

reutersmigration.jpg

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Understanding Avian Flu

understandingh5n1.jpg

Snagged from the Register, via Flickr


For link to larger version: click

Posted by dymaxion at 02:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

H5N1 Update - US Armed Forces At Risk?MaxedOutMama

The bird flu continues moving right along. Soon birds will be flying south for the winter and we can expect further spread of this exceptionally virulent strain that appears to have first emerged this spring in Qinghai, China. A Russian journalist has been hospitalized for illness after visiting outbreak areas in Novosibirsk. No test results yet.

Reports of odd illnesses in the affected areas continue (largely associated with contaminated natural bodies of water?), and authorities now seem to be quarantining the human population of some areas. It's too early to tell whether this will be broadly necessary. If it really has made it to the Volga delta, it is likely that a lot of birds will become infected and fly south in a month or two. Russia wants to vaccinate all poultry workers. The flu is believed to be spreading in the feces of migratory birds, so there is concern that the wheels of vehicles could carry the virus from one place to another. Poultry farmers are trying to establish heightened security and quarantine measures to prevent infection. Russian authorities now admit that the disease will remain endemic in Siberia.

If this has made it to the Caspian Sea our military forces are likely to encounter the virus with 3-6 months. Iran is to the south and Turkey is west of the Caspian Sea. Both have borders with Iraq. In the south of Iraq are wetlands and birds will fly in there. See this map. The Caspian Sea is the body of water extending down from Russia and Kazakhstan to Iran. The Volga runs into the Caspian Sea and the Volga delta is in the top left of the Caspian Sea.

This map shows a more detailed outline of the area. Note that the outbreaks and protective measures have been reported to the far north in Udmurtia, Omsk, Kurgan, the Altai and Novosibirsk. Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk were reporting sudden pneumonia cases and some sudden deaths last week in humans. Mongolia has had outbreaks. Kazakhstan has outbreaks. Krygzstan may have outbreaks. The virus has emerged in Tibet. As the dots fill in, it becomes clear that the Qinghai strain is moving as rapidly as migrating birds. Unfortunately, our soldiers will soon be in the path of this disease.

H5N1 does not appear to have achieved efficient human-to-human transmission, but neither has West Nile virus. Yet WNV is a significant threat to human health in some areas. Our armed forces need information and protection; they are now vulnerable. A person died in Vietnam from H5N1 recently. He had eaten a bird which had become ill from the virus. At a minimum the Armed Forces should forbid eating any local poultry for troops deployed in Central Asia, Afghanistan or Iraq. A different strain of this virus killed over 100 tigers in India. It is also known to infect swine. Unofficial reports of tests in China claimed it killed mice.

Unofficial reports from Qinghai in China were of over a hundred human deaths. Most were attributed to eating o being in contact with the sick birds. The virus does present a signficant threat to human health in its present form, and no one can properly assess how significant that threat is because we don't yet have enough experience with it. But there should be enough information to warrant stockpiling of drugs for the military (the strain which is spreading so rapidly probably is not amantadine/rimantadine resistant), isolation of the new strain with the purpose of preparing a vaccine likely to be effective against it, institution of sanitary measures and a ban against buying meat to serve to the troops from local markets.

Furthermore, we have at least some responsibility for the public health of the people of Iraq and we should be preparing to help the Iraqi government meet that responsibility. This situation is developing incredibly quickly. From the focal point in Qinghai Lake, China, this strain appears to have spread over a vast land area in three months. The time for the US Army to prepare to the extent possible is now.

This post is also available at Blogger News Network.


Posted by dymaxion at 02:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Update: Notice to Travelers about Avian Influenza A (H5N1)Community Dispatch

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Cheaper alternative to Tamiflu?Avian Flu - What we need to know

Reader Ross Norcross brings to my attention a drug called VIRA 38, produced by PRB Pharmaceuticals. It is currently undergoing clinical trials in Hong-Kong to determine its effectiveness compared to Tamiflu. The drug is attractive mainly because it is reportedly cheaper than Tamiflu. Recent reports indicate production capacity for the drug has been expanded in response to the threat of a flu pandemic. Medical news today also reports that earlier this week Vietnam announced it will begin tests with Vera 38:

PRB Pharmaceuticals and Lee's Pharmaceuticals announced today that Vietnam's Department of Animal Health will begin testing an animal version of VIRA 38 on their poultry flocks as part of a multi-national, avian influenza research collaboration. Other members of the group include laboratories and clinics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Prince of Wales Hospital (Hong Kong), and Mahidol University, (Thailand).

[...] VIRA 38, first gained notoriety during the Taiwan SARS outbreak when it was used by the Taiwan Presidential staff and doctors at Sungshan Hospital (SARS management facility) and again in 2004 when it was found to inhibit H5N1 infections.

About VIRA 38: VIRA 38, PRB Pharmaceuticals' over-the-counter broad spectrum anti-viral medication is known for its effectiveness in treating and preventing influenza. VIRA 38 has recently been shown to contain compounds that inhibit a variety of pathogens including the bird flu (H5N1) virus.

An older Effect Measure post is skeptical of VIRA 38's effectiveness. If anyone knows more about the drug, feel free to share using the comments section.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Vaccin contre la grippe aviaire: l'OFSP lance un appel d'offreBlogdigger RM Media - Latest links for .rm files

La Suisse, par le biais de son Office fédéral de la santé a lancé officiellement un appel d’offre pour acheter un vaccin contre le virus H5N1, le nom de code de la grippe aviaire ou du poulet. Un virus qui vient de toucher, on l’apprenait hier, une sixième région de Russie. Selon les experts, le virus aurait été introduit en Russie par des oiseaux migrateurs venant de Chine. Depuis 2003, une soixantaine de personnes a perdu la vie à cause de la grippe aviaire en Asie du Sud-est. Johanna Commenge a recueilli les explications de Frédéric Eynard, biologiste à L’OFSP.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What Are We Waiting For?Fragments From Floyd

In the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, the mortality rate was 3 percent, which seems merciful in comparison with the 50 percent mortality rate of today's highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu. In just the past 18 months, avian flu has caused the death or destruction of more than 140 million birds in 11 Asian nations. And, most alarming, in four of those nations, H5N1 has taken the worried jump from birds to infect humans.

Should the virus shift and human-to-human transmission become sustained, the cost in human lives could be substantial -- especially when vaccine would not become available, at best, until six to nine months after the outbreak of a pandemic. And even then, the vaccine would not be available to every American. Nor do we have enough of the only effective anti-viral agent Tamiflu stockpiled to treat more than 1 percent of our population.

To meet this threat, I propose an unprecedented effort -- a "Manhattan Project for the 21st century" -- not with the goal of creating a destructive new weapon, but to defend against destruction wreaked by infectious diseases such as H5N1 and biological weapons.

Such a project would include substantial increases in support for fundamental research, medical education, emergency capacity and public health infrastructure; the unleashing of the private sector and unprecedented collaboration among government and industry and academia; and the creation of secure stores of treatments and vaccines and vast networks of distribution.

But, above all, I speak of action -- without excuses, without exceptions -- with the goal of protecting every American and the capability to help protect the people of the world.

Many benefits other than survival would follow in train. We will come to understand diseases that we do not now understand and find the cures for diseases that we cannot now cure. It will add to the economy both a potent principle of organization and a stimulus like war, but war's opposite in effect. It will power the productive life of the country into new fields, transforming the information age with unexpected rapidity into the biotechnical age that is to come. Recombinomicsquotes Senator Bill Frist

t's concerns and hopes for fighting infectious disease, from a speech delivered at Harvard Medical School, June 2005, can be read here.

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H5N1 komt naar je toe deze herfst !!Sargasso

Onverwachts is het dodelijke vogelgriepvirus H5N1 aan de buitengrens van Europa opgedoken. In Chelyabinsk -aan de oostflank van de Oeral- worden momenteel duizenden kippen afgemaakt om de epidimie te stoppen. Waarschijnlijk is het virus afkomstig uit het noordoostelijker gelegen Novosibirsk waar het in juli opdook, trekvogels zouden het met zich naar het westen hebben meegevoerd. [...]

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Avian flu spreading and now a real threat to EuropeGavin's Blog

This is getting more serious with H5N1, is it a matter of time before it becomes a human-human strain? And what happens if it does?

The first cases of bird flu have been reported in the Chelyabinsk region of Siberia, near the Ural mountains separating Europe from Asia. Scientists don’t yet know whether the deadly H5N1 strain is involved.

Roads were cordoned off and hundreds of chickens slaughtered in Chelyabinsk yesterday to contain the apparent advance of avian flu, first reported in Siberia in July and spreading west via migrating birds.

The H5N1 strain of avian flu has led to the death from infection and culling of tens of millions of birds across South-East Asia. It has also infected 112 people in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia, causing 57 deaths. Russia has not yet experienced any cases of affected human beings.

Scientists are concerned the H5N1 strain could mutate and pass easily between people. Were that to happen, it could potentially trigger a pandemic such as the 1918-19 Spanish flu which killed 20 million to 40 million people.

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Avian Influenza - Plan NowBlogPulse Search Results for: "avian influenza"

I asked him if he had a timeline for the final recombination/mutation of H5N1 avian influenza to efficient transmissibility. . . http://www. node707. com/archives/004828. shtml...

Posted by dymaxion at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Update on the Indonesian bird flu fatalitiesAvian Flu - What we need to know

Dr. Amin Soebandrio from the Ministry of Research and Technology Republic of Indonesia comments at ProMedMail on the source of the bird flu virus that killed a father and his two daughters in Jakarta over a month ago:

It could be true that the "escaped" bird(s) across the street were the source of the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus that infected 3 members of a family in Tanggerang, Jakarta, based on the finding of a trace of avian influenza virus in the dried bird droppings. However, this does not explain why only those 3 were affected, while the other family members showed negative results for both serologic and PCR tests. Also, none of the neighboring families showed a positive result.

There is also a question as to whether those 3 victims were exposed to the source at the same time or whether one of them was the index case and transmitted the virus to the other close family members sharing the same genetic susceptibility to the virus. As we know, the 2nd case showed symptoms 10-11 days after the 1st, the 3rd case a few days later: an unusual incubation period for avian influenza if they were exposed at the same time. My hypothesis is that they were grossly exposed to a (so far unknown) source, possibly repeatedly. Alternatively, one victim could have become a new infection source for the others who have similar genetic susceptibility. Could an intentional targeted spreading of the virus
possibly play a role in this case?

The ProMedMail commentators go on to say that

Dr. Soebandrio has made the interesting comment that differences in genetic susceptibility may have played a role in the Jakarta incident. This is an issue that deserves further study, particularly with respect to an apparent greater vulnerability of Vietnamese people to avian influenza virus infection.

This is an interesting hypothesis, and there may well be something to it in the case of the three Indonesian deaths. In general, I think the "greater vulnerability" observed in Vietnam seems likely to have more to do with how poultry is raised, cooked and consumed than with differences in genetic susceptibility.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lintuinfluenssanettipäiväkirja


Tämännäköinen on paljon puhuttu lintuinfluenssavirus (H5N1)
Via Anti-Aging Medicine & Science Blog

Lintuinfluenssaa vastaan on kehitettu rokote. Aiheesta kirjoittaa NYTimes 7.8.05
Via Acronym Required

Lintuinfluenssasta on oma kotisivu H5N1, johon kerätään ruoreimmat uutiset viruksesta. Posted by Picasa

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Abt. Doomsdayinfamy

(eine grosse Nachrichtenagentur) Bei dem sich von Russland nach Westen ausbreitenden Vogelgrippe-Virus handelt es sich nach Regierungsangaben um eine auch für den Menschen gefährliche Art. Das in der Stadt Tscheljabinsk im Ural entdeckte Virus sei vom Typ H5N1. (...) Ein Experte warnte, Zugvögel könnten das Virus bis in den europäischen Teil Russlands schleppen. Wissenschaftler fürchten eine Epidemie, falls sich das Virus so verändert, dass es direkt von Mensch...

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Bird Flu: Can We Out-Collaborate a Pandemic?WorldChanging: Another World Is Here

Here's a challenge to the blogosphere:

As you probably know, avian flu (especially the virus H5N1) appears to be on the verge of becoming a severe crisis. 57 people have already been confirmed by labs to have been killed by the virus, and it is rapidly spreading in bird populations. If appropriate measures aren't taken, and we're unlucky, it may boil up into a full-blown pandemic. As the WHO warns:

"Never before [have] so many countries been so widely affected by avian influenza in poultry in its most deadly form... Never before [has] any avian influenza virus caused such extremely high fatality in humans."

This is scary.

Public health experts know a lot about how to prevent and manage pandemics. Unfortunately, public health has taken big funding hits nearly everywhere around the world, and many national and local public health programs are understaffed and underfunded.

This too is scary.

So, is it time to take to the basement safe room and start eating canned beans? Not quite. There is still a good chance that we can avert the next plague by working together. If so, the blogosphere will need to play a key role.

Many of the tasks most needed to prevent a global pandemic are, to greater and lesser degrees, amenable to collaborative efforts. And we are increasingly armed with the kinds of tools that facilitate a networked approach to fighting edpidemics We have, for instance, great simulations of how H5N1 might spread, increasingly better understandings of previous killer flu outbreaks, good foresight work on how a pandemic might unfold and a variety of collaborative tools, for instance the Flu Wiki and WikiPedia Avian Influenza efforts.

Much of the frontline work is (and will continue to be) carried out largely by brave and trained professionals. But in one crucial fight, collaborators of all stripes -- but especially those of us who are already adept at online communication -- can make a huge difference: the battle to build public awareness of the risks and public support for government preparedness and action.

Journalists play a key role here, certainly.

Some things, however, are too important to leave to the pros. The alarm is not being rung either loudly enough or responsibly enough. We can change that. Blogs, listserves and other collaborative communcations projects can play a key role in helping to not only build the public will for action, but in sharing information about bird flu in a way which leaves people inspired to pay attention and act rationally, rather than panic or retreat into denial.

How? The WHO's Peter M. Sandman and Jody Lanard have some suggestions. In their paper Bird Flu: Communicating the Risk, they share tips for spreading the news without spreading unproductive panic. It's long, but worth quoting in depth:

1. Start where your audience starts Instead of ignoring the fact that people think flu is minor, or berating people for thinking that flu is minor, acknowledge that even some public health authorities use the term "flu" in ways that minimize its seriousness. (A senior U.S. health official recently apologized for his wife's absence at an event by saying she was home with "a stomach flu"—a misnomer.) After making common cause with the public—"we have all ignored influenza for too long"—talk about how horrific the next flu pandemic may be compared with the annual flu.

2. Don't be afraid to frighten people
For most of the world right now, though, apathy is the problem—not denial. We can't scare people enough about H5N1. WHO has been trying for over a year, with evermore-dramatic appeals to the media, the public, and Member States. Until a pandemic begins, there's little chance we'll scare people too much.

3. Acknowledge uncertainty
Overconfident overreassurance ("the situation is under control, everything is going to be fine") is terrible risk communication. Paradoxically, people usually find it alarming. They sense its insincerity and become mistrustful even before they know the outcome. But overconfident warnings are also unwise. There is so much we don't know about H5N1. Will it ever achieve efficient human-to-human transmission and ignite a pandemic? If that happens, will it become less lethal in the process, or perhaps not lethal at all? How many people will it infect? How quickly will it spread? How long will it last? How much antiviral medication will be available in different parts of the world, and how well will it work? How long will it take for an effective vaccine to be available? Which countries and which people in those countries will get the vaccine first? How well will health care systems cope? How well will national and international economies cope? And how well will civil society cope?

Bird flu experts and risk communicators cannot answer these questions. But we can and should raise them, acknowledging our uncertainty at every turn.

4. Share dilemmas
Sharing dilemmas is a lot like acknowledging uncertainty. Not only are we unsure about what will happen; we're also unsure about what to do. Everyone finds this hard to admit. But dilemma-sharing has huge advantages:
*It humanizes the organization by letting the pain of difficult decisions show.
*It gives people a chance to make suggestions and be part of the process.
*It moderates the conflict between opposing recommendations.
*It reduces the outrage if you turn out to be wrong.

5. Give people things to do
One reason sometimes given for not alarming the public is that there's nothing for people to do anyway. A Jan. 13, 2005, Wall Street Journal article quoted Canadian infectious disease expert Richard Schabas as saying: "Scaring people about avian influenza accomplishes nothing, because we're not asking people to do anything about it." But the error isn't scaring people. The error is failing to realize—and say—how much they can do to prepare.

Helping resolve government policy dilemmas is just the beginning. Thailand, for example, has trained almost a million volunteers to reach out to every village in the country to inform people about the risks and signs of bird flu and how to try to protect themselves and their flocks. Many companies, hospitals, schools, and local governments around the world are starting to plan for "business continuity" in the event of a pandemic. Even cognitive and emotional rehearsal—learning about H5N1 and thinking about what a pandemic might be like and how you'd cope—is a kind of preparedness and a kind of involvement.

6. Be willing to speculate—responsibly
Warnings are intrinsically speculations. Like hurricane forecasters, we have to offer both worst-case scenarios and likelier scenarios, always acknowledging that we may turn out to be wrong.

7. Don't get caught in the numbers game
Battles over how many people an H5N1 pandemic might kill are pointless. What matters is that flu pandemics are horrific, and for the first time ever we can see one coming and start getting ready.

8. Stress magnitude more than probability
The rationale for H5N1 pandemic preparedness isn't that we're sure it's coming, but how bad it could get. Overconfidence about risk probability is a mistake. Dramatic warnings about risk magnitude are more justified. (There are times when it's best to stress probability. But the uncertain prospect of a catastrophe should be about magnitude.)

9. Guide the adjustment reaction
Once people get past their apathy and start taking a new risk seriously, the normal response is an "adjustment reaction"—a temporary fearfulness, sometimes accompanied by misplaced or excessive caution. This is the teachable moment. Don't ignore it or ridicule it; guide it. Then we settle into the "new normal."

10. Inform the public early and aim for total candor and transparency
These are two of the hardest risk communication recommendations for governments to adopt. There are so many barriers—fear of damaging the economy, looking incompetent, turning out to be wrong, causing undue alarm. But the price of informing the public late, of covering up or minimizing the problem, is high: diminished credibility, just when you need it most to help your people through an influenza pandemic.

>I'd submit that these are pretty damn good guidelines for how to blog about pandemic preparedness. (If you're interested in learning more, there's an online tutorial available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.)

So here's the challenge: we know we need a bigger, wider and better debate about bird flu and its dangers. We know time is short. Can we prove ourselves up to the task of not only spreading the word more rapidly, but of helping people think more clearly about what they can do, alone and together, to face what many believe is a looming crisis?

Can we calmly and quickly out-collaborate the pandemic?

Here's one modest proposal: Let's sound the alarm this week. If you're reading this and you have a blog, make a point of posting something about bird flu this week (feel free to use the links we mention here, if that makes life easier). If you maintain a list, perhaps consider include a small note about starting to prepare for bird flu the next time you send something out. If you're active in an online discussion, think about raising the topic there. Then trackback to this post, or leave a note in the comments, so others can see what you're done. Simple, quick, easy, and -- if enough of us do it -- perhaps enough to make a difference.

(Posted by Alex Steffen in Big Systems - Global Institutions, Governance and History at 09:12 PM)

Posted by dymaxion at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ZNet on avian flu

Mike Davis, author of a just-published book called Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu, has an article on ZNet about The Coming Avian Flu Pandemic and the US government's less than adequate response.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Baku braces for avian flu

According to BakuTODAY.net, migrating birds will reach the Caspian Sea port this fall. You can read the story here. And here's a key quote:

According to the research, birds that usually migrate from western Siberia to Africa and Europe fly over the Caspian and Black Seas and stay in these territories for several weeks, which may cause spreading of a H5N1 virus there. The virus may also affect Iran, Iraq, Georgia and the Ukraine, as birds from the north often choose these countries to spend the winter, experts say.

I hope to have some news from Iraq later today or tomorrow.

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Filtering into the blogosphere

No doubt countless regular blogs are touching on avian flu and the threat of a pandemic, but it's still unusual for NewsNow to tag a blog post about flu. Here's such a post: Can We Out-Collaborate a Pandemic?

Posted by dymaxion at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pig disease throws spotlight on use of antibiotics

Reuters has stopped calling it "swine flu" and reported on the possibility that the outbreak of Streptococcus suis is the result of overuse of antibiotics. It raises an unpleasant idea: Using antivirals could make H5N1 more resistant just as using antibiotics is creating tougher bacteria...creating the possibility of opportunist bacterial infections attacking people weakened by flu.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Investor's guide to avian flu

Yesterday I mentioned the Canadian brokerage that predicts a new Depression as a consequence of a flu pandemic. The brokerage is BMO Nesbitt Burns and the report is available as a PDF here.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Influenza A H5N1 detection.

Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Aug; 11(8): 1303-5
Ng EK, Cheng PK, Ng AY, Hoang TL, Lim WW

We developed a sensitive and rapid real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay to detect influenza A H5N1 virus in clinical samples. This assay was evaluated with samples from H5N1-infected patients and demonstrated greater sensitivity and faster turnaround time than nested RT-PCR.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Has Time Run Out? - Mother Jones


Has Time Run Out?
Mother Jones, CA - 9 hours ago
... At the same time, some of them have been performing prodigious genetic detective work as a mutant flu virus, H5N1, has lodged in the systems of wild fowl in ...
The Coming Avian Flu Pandemic ZNet
all 2 related

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Russia needs one year to develop vaccine against bird flu- view - ITAR-TASS


Russia needs one year to develop vaccine against bird flu- view
ITAR-TASS, Russia - 6 hours ago
NOVOSIBIRSK, August 17 (Itar-Tass) - One year and several dozen million roubles will be needed to develop a vaccine against the H5N1 strain of bird flu, a ...

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August 15, 2005

Tamiflu monopoly "bordering on the immoral"

A site called Interactive Investor quotes the Philippines' health minister Francisco Duque as saying that Roche's production monopoly of Tamiflu "borders on the immoral."

"What is also crucial at this point is for the WHO (World Health Organization) and its member states to bond together and exact some kind of pressure to make sure that not just one drug manufacturer is going to produce the anti-viral," Duque told reporters after the meeting.

The WHO's Thailand representative, William Aldis, said urgent discussions with Roche are underway, aimed at maximizing production of the drug.

"I think everyone including WHO is concerned at the limited supply of oseltamivir," he said.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Asian nations plan for pandemic flu, another treatment is suggested

I've posted a couple of stories from the Bangkok conference of Asian health ministers, without really understanding how significant the conference was. Now that it's concluded, CIDRAP has an excellent summary.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Russians testing their own vaccine

According to a story in The St. Petersburg Times, the Russians are about to test a new avian-flu vaccine. Scientists at St. Petersburg's Scientific Research Flu Institute will use themselves as experimental subjects. If all goes well, the vaccine could be in production by this fall.

Meanwhile, a story in Pravda reports Russian scientists are planning vaccination programs for routine flu and aren't as persuaded as WHO that an H5N1 pandemic is imminent.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Again, let us prepare

The Journal News, a paper in New York City's northern suburbs, has a thoughtful editorial on pandemic planning: Again, let us prepare. It's encouraging to see such comments in local media; in many communities, "pandemic" is an unmentionable word, and attempts at discussion end with the unanswerable "Too depressing."

The editorial is pretty specific in its suggestions, and the paragraph in the quote has a sting in its tail:

•We urge the immediate formation of a special Asian Bird Flu Process Committee, under the direction of Rockland Health Commissioner Dr. Joan Facelle, to accomplish the immediate securing of enough vaccine for all Rockland residents. And there must be back-up sources.

• An orderly system must in place to arrange speedy vaccination without panic. That system should be known to all in advance. We cannot have supermarkets giving out vaccine as "loss leaders" while the county has none, as initially happened last fall in the annual flu preparation.

• Prioritizing of vaccinations for the elderly and those with health concerns; first responders, teachers, and health care workers; and children.

• A game plan to oversee health care should enough people get ill, with the powers of quarantine used; with infected children and others immediately sent home or to health care; with hospitals and health care centers told to take in everyone regardless of the ability to pay.

While it is Washington that will really have to lead the country in securing bird flu vaccine, if local health departments across the nation move now while the bureaucracy initially does not, it may shame it and highlight the urgency of the situation.

Shaming the bureaucrats? Treating the ill regardless of ability to pay? Setting priorities for vaccination? Remarkable ideas.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Russian journalist not a flu victim

According to MosNews.com, a Russian news site, the journalist in Siberia did not contract avian flu.

Siberian journalist Maria Pashkova who was hospitalized with bird flu symptoms was in reality suffering from a common respiratory infection, deputy head of Novosibirsk Health Department Sergey Pavlenko told RIA Novosti on Monday.

On Monday a medical consultation diagnosed Maria with acute respiratory viral infection, a malady as common as ordinary flu, Pavlenko said.

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Shenzhen may have S suis...or may not

After several days' silence on health issues, Boxun's English page today says Shenzhen May Have 'Streptococcosis Suis' Victims Dead.

Shenzhen is on the Guangdong-Hong Kong border, and is a very big city in its own right. According to the story, pork is being recalled and anyone who has eaten pork recently has been told to register with their apartment building's manager's office.

An anonymous source claims five persons in a Shenzhen pork-processing plant died within 24 hours of showing symptoms. They had been butchering pork supposedly from Henan province but actually from Sichuan. Meanwhile, no news about pig fever has come out of Sichuan in several days.

Xinhuanet, however, claims the suspect pork has tested negative for S suis:

Fifteen live pigs were spotted symptoms of being infected by the bacteria last Monday in Shenzhen city of south China's Guangdong Province and were quarantined soon.

Then 600-kg frozen pork from southwestern Sichuan Province, where an endemic caused by the pig-borne bacteria broke out in late June, were suspected being infected by the bacteria in the city on Thursday.

After being tested by a team of experts in animal epidemic prevention sent by the provincial agricultural department on Saturday, samples from the live pigs and pork were tested negativefor the epidemic.

esn't say what caused the symptoms that resembled pig fever.

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JUST A BUMP IN THE BELTWAY: On the Wing

Just a Bump in the Beltway- On the Wing August 15, 2005 On the Wing Virus may kill 60,000 in California despite new drug, study says

By DAVID WHITNEY
BEE WASHINGTON BUREAU
Last Updated: August 14, 2005, 04:26:59 AM PDT
WASHINGTON — They know it's coming. Hospitals already are monitoring for its arrival with every patient who checks in. Now scientists are swabbing wild bird bottoms in California and elsewhere in a hunt for the first signs of the deadly virus.

What has scientists worried is not the fact that the avian flu virus H5N1 already has killed at least 60 people overseas. Or that it has spread from Southeast Asia to China and Russia.

What has them convinced about the diminishing odds of escaping a worldwide health catastrophe — one study estimates that fatalities in California could top 60,000 — is that wild birds overseas no longer seem to be dying.

That means the virus is mutating, and scientists fear it has now adapted so that it can survive the annual migration of wild birds from Asia to North America without killing its hosts.

"That's a real danger sign," said veterinarian Carol Cardona of the University of California at Davis.

Cardona is part of the growing army of scientists and health care professionals gearing up to fight what could become the first flu pandemic since 1918, when a Spanish flu virus — also believed to have been spread by birds — killed between 20 million and 40 million people around the world.

More Americans died in that outbreak than were killed in World War I. And already the projections are that the next pandemic, perhaps just months away, will kill similar numbers of people.

So far, the virus has not mutated or combined with other influenza viruses so that it can spread from human to human.

"The great fear is that we will see a version of H5N1 that will spread very easily from person to person," said David Daigle of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Migrating birds may bring flu

"Most experts believe it is not a question of if, but when," he said.

According to a recent report by the Trust for America's Health, the U.S. toll could surpass 540,000.

In California, the report said, deaths could top 60,000 and hospitalizations could exceed 273,000 — unfathomable given that number is four times the amount of hospital beds in the state, according to the California Hospital Association.

Ken August, spokesman for the California Department of Health Services, said that if the nightmare scenario develops, mass quarantine of infected patients and other mandatory steps to stop the virus' spread could be inevitable.

"We could face asking the public to take some extraordinary measures," August warned.

Already, he said, hospitals throughout the state have been asked to begin monitoring for patients reporting unexplained respiratory illness and who have traveled recently to Southeast Asia.

"What we're concerned about is the flu virus mutating into something that no one has experienced and that would cause severe illness and death," he said.

While scientists and health officials stress that there is no evidence of an Asian variety of the H5N1 virus in the United States now, it could arrive at almost any time with passengers unloading from an overseas flight from Thailand, China or Russia.

Or it could arrive on the wings of an infected bird.
Over at H5N1 Blog, Crawford says:
The story says the scientists are alarmed because "wild birds overseas no longer seem to be dying." This is taken to mean the virus is mutating so that it no longer kills its bird hosts—who are therefore capable of long migration flights that could bring H5N1 into North America via Siberia.
Uh huh. I talked about planning yesterday. We don't have unlimited amounts of time.

From Blogrunner Politics (feed)
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Carriers of avian flu could migrate to Alaska

exists that Alaskans have ever caught flu directly from wild birds in the state, he said. And no one has found the deadly H5N1 strain in Alaska's migrating Copyright: Big News Network.com

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Rusia advierte de que la gripe aviaria podría propagarse a Europa.

El principal epidemiólogo de Rusia dice que el brote de gripe aviaria que afecta a Siberia se podría propagar a Europa.

La propagación podría ser a través de las principales regiones agrícolas del sur del país y luego hacia los países del Oriente Medio y del Mediterráneo.

"Un análisis sobre las rutas migratorias de las aves mostró que durante el otoño del 2005 (...) la cepa H5N1 del virus se podría propagar de Siberia occidental al mar Caspio y al mar Negro", dijo Gennady Onishchenko en una carta dirigida a los responsables de salud de Rusia.

La carta fue publicada en el sitio de Internet del organismo encargado de velar por los derechos del consumidor en Rusia.

"Además de la región del sur de Rusia, las aves migratorias podrían propagar el virus en países vecinos (Azerbaiyán, Irán, Irak, Georgia, Ucrania y países del Mediterráneo) debido a que las rutas de migración también pasan por esas regiones en el otoño", precisó en la carta.


Reuters

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H5N1 Impfstoff und weitere VerbreitungScipLog

Forscher des Friedrich-Loeffler-Instituts in Riems haben einen Impfstoff gegen die H5 und H7 Subtypen der Vogegrippe entwickelt, die nach ersten Tests einen guten Schutz bieten. Allerdings ist die Impfung von Geflügel in Deutschland derzeit noch verboten.

Derweil hat sich das Virus weiter verbreitet, es ist inziwschen in Sibirien und Kasachstan angekommen, über 3000 Vögel sollen schon verstorben sein. Ltu dem kasachischen Katastrophenschutz soll auch ein Bauer infiziert worden sein. Ist der Virus also bereits mutiert?

Jedenfalls kommen die Meldungen über H5N1 immer häufiger. Sehr, sehr bedenklich ist das.

(Quellen: SpOn/Forscher finden Impfstoff für Geflügel und SpOn/Vogelgrippe breitet sich in Sibirien aus)

Bisherige Postings von mir zum Thema

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Bites And Ham MorselsMaxedOutMama

Florida Cracker has weathered a canine crisis. See Hambone Day.

And in other news, city commissioners are incredibly good at economics, or believe that they are. That's why we have such successful public projects in this country, right? Eminent domain is a really cheap way for developers to get rich, but that's little consolation when it is your property that's seized to make them rich. If they need it so much, they should be forced to share the profits with the property owners.... But you know that bird just isn't going to fly, right? There would be less left over for donations to the election campaigns of city commissioners, and it is amazing how public-spirited developers are on the local level. Just amazing.

Speaking of flying birds, the Netherlands is considering requiring its poultry businesses to keep birds inside:
The Dutch government said on Friday that it was considering to force poultry farmers to keep their poultry inside following the recent case of bird flu in Russia and Kazakhstan

The migration of birds from Siberia to Europe is about to start. In the autumn the migratory birds from that region will have reached the Netherlands.

According to the ministry, there is a chance that contaminated birds, through their droppings, among other things, will contaminate poultry in the Netherlands.
Probably. The outbreak in Chelyabinsk was confirmed. It's moving right along. In case you think I'm being alarmist about the threat to points south and west, including Iraq, I've got company in Russia:
"An analysis of bird migration routes has shown that in autumn 2005...the H5N1 virus may be spread from Western Siberia to the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea," Gennady Onishchenko said in a letter to Russian regional health officials.

The letter was posted on the Web site of the state's consumer rights watchdog.

"Apart from Russia's south, migrating birds may spread the virus to nearby countries (Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, Mediterranian countries) because bird migration routes from Siberia also go through those regions in autumn," he said in the letter.
It might happen a little sooner than expected, too. People in some districts have been shooting at flying birds to try to keep them from infecting their livestock. So the birds will be moving along a little faster and more to the wild areas where it is less likely that testing will be done on random wild bird carcasses. Some countries don't have good reporting and disease control, so the virus could potentially move several hundred kilometers without anyone noticing for a time.

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Clinical trials of DNA-based avian flu vaccine scheduled for early 2006BlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemic

With avian flu reaching Siberia, the fears of a global pandemic have heightened even further. ... andemic vaccine for the H5N1 avian influenza strain by eight months, to September 2005....

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Alternative drug should be set for bird flu -expertsKeralaNext:

WASHINGTON, A second influenza drug, GlaxoSmithKline''s Relenza, should be stockpiled in readiness for a feared global pandemic of avian flu, researchers said on Thursday. The drug, known generically as zanamivir, is inhaled and some doctors have worried that patients may not be able to use it correctly, but the team of Asian doctors said it will be important to have as many antivirals on hand as possible. The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 62 people since late 2003 and is affecting flocks from Vietnam to Kazakhstan. Although it is not yet easily transmitted from birds to people or from person to person, experts fear it will acquire this ability and cause a worldwide disaster. So health officials are scrambling to come up with a plan for dealing with it.

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ID Biomedical posts wider Q2 loss of $32.5M compared to year-ago ... - Canada.com


ID Biomedical posts wider Q2 loss of $32.5M compared to year-ago ...
Canada.com, Canada - 1 hour ago
... The federal budget in February set aside $34 million for production of trial batches of an H5N1 vaccine, however a contract has not yet been signed. ...

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August 12, 2005

Second drug may be effective against bird flu - MSNBC



CTV
Second drug may be effective against bird flu
MSNBC - 2 hours ago
... possible. The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 62 people since late 2003 and is affecting flocks from Vietnam to Kazakhstan. Although ...
Antiviral drug touted as anti-pandemic tool CTV
Governments should consider stockpiling zanamivir (Relenza) for ... News-Medical.net
all 14 related

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Kazakhs investigate fifth village for bird flu - Reuters AlertNet



Financial Times
Kazakhs investigate fifth village for bird flu
Reuters AlertNet, UK - 4 hours ago
The strain, known as H5N1, can be caught by humans and has killed more than 50 people in Asia since 2003. A senior veterinary official ...
Swiss take further action over bird flu Swissinfo
Deadly bird flu found across Asia New Scientist (subscription)
Deadly bird flu strain spreads in Kazakhstan Reuters South Africa
The Moscow Times - Reuters AlertNet - all 64 related

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Additional drug should be part of contingency plan for avian ... - Medical News Today (press release)


Additional drug should be part of contingency plan for avian ...
Medical News Today (press release), UK - 5 hours ago
... THE LANCET. There is some evidence of human-to-human transmission for the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza. A possible ...

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China Seals off Farm to Curb Bird Flu in TibetSouth Bay Health

China has sealed off a farm in far-western Tibet and inoculated poultry within a five-km (three-mile) radius after discovering a strain of bird flu likely to be deadly to humans, state media said on Friday. The world animal health body OIE said the virus was likely to be the H5N1...

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World Events :: RE: Bird Flu/Influenza Pandemic Threat: UPDATESPolitics & Current Affairs

Author: Fredfredson
Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:20 pm (GMT 1)

From the State Department via :
http://www.curevents.com/vb/showthread.php?t=20185

U.S. Embassy Tashkent issued the following Warden Message on August 11, 2005:

AVIAN FLU FACT SHEET, AUGUST 2005

This Fact Sheet alerts Americans to the most recent occurrences of Influenza A H5N1 (avian influenza strain) in Asia. A number of countries are reporting cases of avian influenza, commonly referred to as "bird flu." The H5N1 strain of influenza causes severe disease in fowl. In addition, several SE Asian countries have reported a number of bird-to-human transmissions of the avian flu. Please visit the WHO website, http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avia...nza/country/en/ for the most up to date information on the countries affected.

The vast majority of the known human cases have resulted from direct contact with poultry, and there is only limited evidence to suggest possible human-to-human transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Department are concerned about the potential for human-to- human transmission of this highly dangerous flu strain, and are working closely with other partners in an effort to monitor the outbreak.

At this time, CDC and the WHO have not issued any travel alerts or advisories for avian flu-infected areas. However, CDC advises travelers to countries in Asia with documented H5N1 outbreaks to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. CDC advises travelers to clean their hands often with soap and water or waterless alcohol-based hand-rubs to help prevent disease transmission. In addition, as a precaution, all foods from poultry, including eggs, should be thoroughly cooked. CDC further advises any travelers with a febrile respiratory illness returning from countries affected by H5N1 virus (bird flu) to seek prompt medical attention.

The WHO does not at present conclude that any processed poultry products (whole refrigerated or frozen carcasses and products derived from these) or eggs pose a risk to public health.

A specific vaccine for humans that is effective against avian influenza has not yet been developed. Based upon limited data, the CDC has suggested that the anti-viral medication Oseltamavir (brand name-Tamiflu) may be effective in preventing or treating avian influenza. Using this input, the Department of State has decided to pre- position the drug Tamiflu at its Embassies and Consulates in the Southeast Asian Region for eligible US Government employees and their families serving abroad.

Tamiflu may not be readily available overseas and the State Department encourages American citizens traveling or living abroad that are interested in obtaining this medication to consult with their physician.

Americans who are planning travel to a country that has reported the virus or who are concerned about the Avian flu are advised to monitor the CDC and the WHO web sites, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm and http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/ for the latest information.

Additional country information can be obtained from the Department of State's Consular Information Sheets at http://travel.state.gov and from the Department of State's toll-free number, 1-888-407-4747, or if calling from overseas, 202-501-4444.

CDC Contact Information: Public Inquiries: English (888) 246-2675 Spanish (888) 246-2857 TTY (866) 874-2646 Mon-Fri 8am-11pm EST Sat-Sun 10am-8pm EST Address: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333 USA (404) 639-3311 WHO Liaison Office in Washington, DC STATE 00143372 002.2 OF 002 Contact Information: Telephone: (202) 331-9081 Facsimile: (202) 331-9097 Address: WHO Liaison Office 1775 K Street, N.W., Suite 430 Washington, D.C. 20006 USA.


interesting...makes quite clear there is no vaccine and has Tamiflu in the embassy
_________________
"Patriotism means being loyal to your country all the time and to its government when it deserves it."-- Mark Twain

"Economic Left/Right: -3.88
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -4.36

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World Events :: RE: Bird Flu/Influenza Pandemic Threat: UPDATESPolitics & Current Affairs

Author: Fredfredson
Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:16 pm (GMT 1)

Journalist Hospitalized With Bird Flu Symptoms in Novosibirsk

Recombinomics Commentary
August 12, 2005

http://www.recombinomics.com/News/08120502/H5N1_Reporter_Novosibirsk.html

Journalist OF GTRK "Novosibirsk" Mary Pashkova, which several days ago visited those infected by ptichim influenza the regions of Novosibirskaya Oblast, it was hospitalized with simtomami of this illness to the state scientific center of virology and biotechnology the "vector", which is found near Novosibirsk in naukograde Kol'tsovo. As the correspondent reports IA REGNUM recently this communication was sounded in the news issue of television network.

As itself reported Mary on the telephone, this is usual procedure for those, who were in these territories and who had a contact with the infected bird and after pochustvoval light indisposition. In the center of virology Mary is completely isolated oi external peace. Scientists already analyzed, but their results are not thus far known.

The above online translation indicates a reporter covering the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Novosibirsk has been placed in isolate after developing bird flu symptoms. Test results have not yet been made public.

Novosibirsk has a large number of villages with H5N1. The villages surround Chany Lake and at least nine independent isolates have been obtained by Vektor Labs. The initial sequence data indicates the H5N1 at Chany Lake is very similar to H5N1 from Qinghai Lake.

Third party reports by boxun described human cases near Qinghai Lake, but China has denied any human cases. Up to this point Russia has also denied human cases, as has Kazakhstan. However, In Kazakhstan a poultry worker in Pavlodar as well as a family of four that ate goose meat developed symptoms. Similarly, in adjacent East Kazakhstan, 15 patrons of a dining hall developed symptoms after eating chicken cutlets.

The Qinghai isolates have been virulent in experimental chickens and mice. The die-off of migratory birds at Qinghai Lake was also without precedent.

In Tomsk, adjacent to Novosibirsk, 20 patients have been hospitalize with meningitis. The H5N1 bird isolates from Chany Lake appear to have PB2 polymorphism, E627K, which is associated with increased virulence in mice and neurotropism in mice, tigers, and ferrets.

More information on the lab results on the reporter would be useful.
_________________
"Patriotism means being loyal to your country all the time and to its government when it deserves it."-- Mark Twain

"Economic Left/Right: -3.88
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -4.36

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Russian scientists conduct bird flu vaccine self-proved testsThe World > Russia - Waypath Topic Streams

Russian scientists conduct bird flu vaccine self-proved tests RIA Novosti, - 7 hours ago MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) - A bird flu vaccine might be launched in Russia sometime in fall 2006 following tests, a Russian daily reported Thursday. VIETNAM REPORTS NEW BIRD FLU FATALITY Antara, - 15 hours ago Hanoi (ANTARA News) - A 35-year-old man in Vietnam has tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, bringing the country`s death toll to 22 since the 133 Confirmed Cases of Bird Flu

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中国 鳥インフルエンザ発生

... 中国 鳥インフルエンザ発生 2005-08-12 / 中国関連 読売新聞 中国チベットの養鶏場、鳥インフルエンザ発生 http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/main/news/20050812i413.htm 12日の新華社電によると、中国チベット自治区ラサ郊外の養鶏場で、 H5N1型とみられる鳥インフルエンザが発生した。 当局は2600羽以上を処分、発見現場周辺の消毒などの措置をとった。 シンガポール紙によると、これまでに133羽が死亡したが、 人への感染は確認されていないという。 Boycott Beijin 2008 Olympics ...

三日坊主症候群 Technorati this

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Antiviral drug touted as anti-pandemic tool

... shown in laboratory trials to protect against all subtypes of influenza, including the deadly H5N1... disinterest in the drug is curious, given it is one of only two known to work against the H5N1 avian flu. Two other flu drugs exist -- amantadine and rimantadine. But the H5N1 strain is resistant to both ...

Medical Health Technorati this

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Frist Lecture

... such as H5N1, and SARS -- all are merely the advance patrols of a great army forming out of sight..., which seems merciful in comparison to the 50 percent mortality rate of today’s highly pathogenic H5N1... million birds in 11 Asian nations. And, most alarmingly, in 4 of those nations, H5N1 has taken ...

The War On Lies Technorati this

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August 11, 2005

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Is Not a Fable in China

Everyone’s talking but no one’s listening. Yahoo’s 1 billion dollar 40 percent stake in Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce firm does not illustrate that a Net bubble is back, but it does give new meaning to the title character, Ali Baba from the Arabian Nights, who accesses treasure from a magical password.

Following so soon on Baidu’s huge IPO success, it makes one wonder, if indeed Internet analysts and investment bankers are dwelling in bunkers and suffer from memory loss.

All right, it’s true that China has a 100 million Internet users, but has anyone taken a pulse or completed recent surveys on the actual buying power of these Net users? The answer is yes. China's online revenue -- which includes sales from advertising and from Internet gaming and wireless services --grew 35 percent last year to $1.1 billion and will rise 30 percent in 2005, according to MindShare, the media-buying unit of London- based WPP Group Plc.

Alibaba, along with the huge treasure or rather investment from Yahoo, gains exclusive Chinese rights to the super-monetized Yahoo brand. The package of Yahoo China’s assets includes Yahoo’s search technology, the Yahoo China website, its communication and advertising business, as well as 3721.com, a Chinese language search engine.

I have met the affable and stealth CEO, Jack Ma at several Internet conferences and he is certain to retain his leadership post in the new enterprise. Ma maintains that this investment infusion will enable them to spend more on the search engine. No doubt about that Jack, after all, it's all about easy access is it not?



Related entries:
Is China SAFE for Private Equity Investors?... - Jul 25, 2005
Understanding the law in China is always a good mantra... - Jul 27, 2005
U.S. VCs Scaling China’s Great Investment Wall... - Jul 29, 2005
Key China Finance Resource... - Jul 26, 2005


Related Research Reports:

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The number of Internet subscribers in China has grown from 10,000 to over 2,000,000 in 5 years. This report is a comprehensive overview including the number of Internet subscribers, web sites, mode/pl...

China Electronics Industry and High Tech Market (2004) (146 pages) Price: US$380

After a decade of moving factories to China, many of the world¡¯s big high-tech firms are forging a new style of partnership with Chinese manufacturers that show the country¡¯s growing engineering ...

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Strong Results in U.S. Bird Flu Vaccine Trial; More Tests Needed

Strong Results in U.S. Bird Flu Vaccine Trial; More Tests Needed

Interview with Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health

10 August 2005
By Charlene Porter
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington – Patients participating in a U.S.-government-backed trial of a vaccine for a dangerous bird flu virus are showing some positive results, but an official overseeing the trial cautions that the vaccine’s ability to actually protect against the virus is still uncertain. In April, the trial began on a vaccine for the H5N1 influenza virus, which officials fear may have the potential to trigger a global flu pandemic. Positive results have emerged from fewer than 120 test subjects so far, according to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health.

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"I've looked at flu from both sides now . . . " (hum along)

No problem with bird flu in Russia? Big problem with bird flu in Russia? Take your pick:

No Problem

Reuters: Russian bird flu epidemic to fade soon -WHO
A bird flu epidemic in Russia is subsiding and should disappear by late August, a World Health Organisation official said on Tuesday.

[snip]

"Things are quietening down. The (epidemic) will vanish in 10-15 days," Oleg Kiselyov, head of a research institute operating under the WHO's auspices, told reporters in Russia's second city of St Petersburg.

"It won't spread further because of changing weather conditions. It's never warm enough in Siberia in late August."
Interfax, Russian News Agency: Bird flu epidemic in Russia to end in 10-15 days
A senior World Health Organization official said the bird flu epidemic in Russia will "die
down completely in 10 to 15 days," and that bird flu vaccine for humans will start being tested in September and might come into use in October.

"Anti-epidemic measures have localized the [bird flu] outbreak," and recent weather changes will help localize the disease, Oleg Kiselyov, head of the WHO National Influenza Center, told a news conference in St. Petersburg.

"The vaccine and strain have been handed over under an agreement to Mikrogen - this is a state consortium for the manufacture of vaccines," he said.

"In September we will start testing the vaccine on 20 volunteers," Kiselyov said.
Big Problem

Reuters again: Russian bird flu outbreak yet to be contained
A bird flu epidemic in Russia's Siberia could be spreading to new regions and there are no immediate signs that the outbreak has been contained, emergency and health officials said on Tuesday.

"The (epidemic) is being localised. Its spread is currently limited to five regions, but that does not mean that birds could not be dying somewhere else," said Gennady Onishchenko, Russia's chief epidemiologist.

"We would've been drinking champagne by now if it had been pinned down," he was quoted by Interfax news agency in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.

[snip]

In a sign the outbreak had yet to be contained, Russian officials said on Monday the virus may have spread to two more districts of the Kurgan region in Siberia where bird flu was confirmed in wildfowl last week.

There was no word on Tuesday on the situation in other affected Russian regions -- including Altai, Omsk and Tyumen -- and the adjacent areas of Central Asia's Kazakhstan.
Interfax again: Humans may contract bird flu in 3 Siberian regions - official
NOVOSIBIRSK. Aug 9 (Interfax-Siberia) - Three regions in Siberia - Novosibirsk and Omsk regions and the Altai territory - are in pandemic phase two with regard to bird flu. This means that there is a high probability that humans may contract the disease, head of Rospotrebnadzor consumers' rights oversight authority Gennady Onishchenko told a conference in Novosibirsk on Tuesday.

"There is every indication in Novosibirsk and Omsk regions and the Altai territory that they are in interpandemic phase two, according to the classification of the World Health Organization," he said.
Onishchenko said that the phase means the absence of registered cases of sickness in humans but a sufficient probability that the virus circulating among birds may cause such a sickness.
Tie Breaker or Tie Maker?

Agence France Presse: Bird flu found in Siberia
August 09, 2005. RUSSIA'S chief sanitary doctor said overnight that bird flu of the H5N1 strain that can be transmitted to humans had been found in three Siberian regions, with sickness also observed among birds in two other Siberian regions.

"There is every reason to believe that... the H5N1 strain of bird flu has been transferred by wild birds from Southeast Asia to the three above-mentioned areas," RIA-Novosti quoted Gennady Onishchenko as saying, referring to the Siberian regions of Novosibirsk, Altai and Omsk.
"The sub-type circulating among animals can reasonably be expected to cause sickness among humans," Onishchenko said.

[snip]

"It is not spreading and will disappear when weather conditions change," said Oleg Kiselyov, head of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences's flu institute at a press conference in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

"There are absolutely no cases of contamination of people in Russia and if there have been no cases so far that means there will not be any," Kiselyov said.
The Envelope Please . . .
  • Two contradictory reports from Reuters.
  • Two contradictory reports from Interfax.
  • One self-contradictory report from AFP.
AFP gets the efficiency award.

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H5N1 reported in Tibet

Reuters has just reported that avian flu has been found near Lhasa. While the type of bird was not specified by the Chinese, the assumption is that chickens were infected.

Some people may think it's not a big deal—too bad for the chickens and geese, maybe, but that's all. But the disease is already creating economic and ecological havoc in regions where it's broken out, which include some very poor communities with few resources. That in itself is cause for concern.

Added to that is the growing likelihood of dangerous mutations: more viruses, in more hosts, means more chance that a particular virus will change into one that transmits easily and lethally between humans. If it happens in a poor area, among people with little or no medical infrastructure, so much the worse for everyone.

Tibet is no longer far away.

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H5N1 Bird Flu Confirmed in Kazakhstan - Recombinomics


H5N1 Bird Flu Confirmed in Kazakhstan
Recombinomics, PA - Aug 10, 2005
" High pathogenic avian influenza Type A with the antigenic variant of H5N1 was discovered in pathological material and blood serum taken from wildfowl and ...
Migratory Birds Target Taiwan Recombinomics
all 2 related

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Hungary to start bird flu vaccine trials in weeks - Reuters AlertNet


Hungary to start bird flu vaccine trials in weeks
Reuters AlertNet, UK - 2 hours ago
BUDAPEST, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Hungary will start clinical trials on humans of a vaccine against the H5N1 strain of avian flu, which is dangerous to humans, in a ...
Migratory birds bring possibility of threat Taiwan Headlines
Scientists studying birds for influenza Juneau Empire
Carriers of avian flu could migrate here Anchorage Daily News
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - all 17 related

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Deadly outbreak contained - Edmonton Sun



Pravda
Deadly outbreak contained
Edmonton Sun, Canada - 8 hours ago
... Initially, the Agriculture Ministry said the three were infected by chicken droppings in their backyard that carried the H5N1 strain of the virus. ...
Indonesia ends bird flu source probe, case unsolved Reuters AlertNet
Bird flu still threatening Indonesia Xinhua
all 15 related

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Invest in fight against bird flu - Denver Post


Invest in fight against bird flu
Denver Post, CO - 10 hours ago
... The virus - tagged A(H5N1) by scientists - has cropped up in about a dozen countries and caused the deaths of well over 100 million birds, either by the virus ...
FOLLOW-UP San Francisco Chronicle
Strong Results in US Bird Flu Vaccine Trial; More Tests Needed All American Patriots (press release)
Strong Results in US Bird Flu Vaccine Trial High Plains Journal
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty - Earthtimes.org - all 8 related

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Чиновник: ЕС запретил импорт российской птицы по политическим причинамПОЛИТ.РУ: НОВОСТИ

Введение Евросоюзом с 12 августа запрета на импорт птицы из России "это политический, а не ветеринарный шаг", считает руководитель Россельхознадзора Сергей Данкверт, сообщает ИТАР-ТАСС. Глава Федеральной службы по ветеринарному и фитосанитарному надзору отметил, что, "по ветеринарным правилам, прежде чем вводить запрет Еврокомиссия должна была разрешить ввоз на свою территорию российской птицеводческой продукции". В то же время Данкверт уточнил, что "в настоящее время такое разрешение для нас действует только на поставки мяса северного оленя, рыбы и молочных продуктов, произведенных предприятием "Алтайхолод", Липецким хладокомбинатом и Лианозовским молочный комбинатом".в настоящее время такое разрешение для нас действует только на поставки мяса северного оленя, рыбы и молочных продуктов. На сегодняшний день вирус H5N1 - птичий грипп - зарегистрирован в пяти российских субъектах: Новосибирской, Омской, Тюменской, Курганской областях и Алтайском крае. Импортировать продукты отечественного птицеводства уже отказались страны ЕЭС, Также запрет в отношении российской птицы ввели страны ЕС, ОАЭ, Украина, Белоруссия, Грузия.

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Dalla Siberia al Kazakhstan: avanza l'influenza aviaria pericolosa per l'uomoEuroNews

Il Kazakhstan ammette. Il virus dell'influenza dei polli che si è diffuso nel paese è l'H5N1, trasmissibile all'uomo.

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Migratory birds bring possibility of threatTaiwan Headlines

In May and June of this year, thousands of migratory birds contracted the H5N1 strain of avian flu near China's Qinghai Lake. More than five thousand birds succumbed. Whether or not H5N1 can be spread by means of birds which were infected and later ...

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Notfallplan soll Pandemie verhindern ?ScipLog

p> http://www.daemon.de/blog/2005/08/09/notfallplan-soll-pandemie-verhindern/

Die Netzeitung berichtet über eine Veröffentlichung in Science und Nature, wo eine Gruppe von Wissenschaftlern die die Ausbreitung der Vogelgrippe bei Menschen am Computer simuliert haben. Die Simulation ging von einer ländlichen Region in Thailand aus, in der die Leute mit Geflügel auf engstem Raum zusammenleben, weshalb die Übertragung auf den Menschen dort am wahrscheinlichsten ist.

Die vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen allerdings sind keine wirkliche Überraschung, antivirale Medikamente, Quarantäne und dergleichen. Und daß die Medikamente nur etwas bringen, wenn der Ausbruch schnell bemerkt wird und die betroffene Bevölkerung sofort behandelt wird, was impliziert, daß die Medikamente schnell dorthin verbracht werden.

Ausser Acht wird aber gelassen, daß der überwiegende Teil der Menschheit NULL Chance auf den Erhalt solcher Medikamente hat. Und wenn der Virus mutiert und sich weltweit ausbreitet (wie 1918 zum Beispiel), schaut es eh ganz übel aus. Hinzu kommt, daß sich das Virus 1918 weltweit verbreiten konnte und das innerhalb kürzester Zeit. Heute aber sind die Menschen viel mobiler, jeden Tag werden Hunderttausende von A nach B befördert. Für H5N1 wäre das ideal.

Da verwundert die relaxte Haltung der WHO doch schon ein wenig, die Stand heute einen Vorrat von 120.000 Medikamentendosen hat.

Mir fällt übrigens grad ein, warum ich regelmäßig über H5N1 berichte: er macht mir ehrlich gesagt Angst. Es ist nämlich so, daß wir, also meine Familie und ich, grundsätzlich jede Grippewelle mitnehmen, uns erwischt es immer. Der Grund ist einfach: ich habe nämlich Kinder und die fangen sich sowas in der Schule ein. Regelmäßig.

(Quelle: Netzeitung)

Bisherige Postings von mir zum Thema

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Natural Disaster Watch - BIO - updateTaurus-Littrow

My Way News:

Russian bird flu advances, Kazakhs say virus deadly
ASTANA/MOSCOW (Reuters) - A bird flu outbreak extended its reach in Russian Siberia and spread to Mongolia on Wednesday, and neighboring Kazakhstan confirmed a fowl virus found in the Central Asian state could kill humans.
It's really out there. The article does go on to say:
Officials said no people had been infected so far, but the highly potent H5N1 strain has killed over 50 people in Asia since 2003. Outbreaks in the ex-Soviet bloc raised fears the virus could infect humans and trigger a global epidemic.
So it is still speculation, but it's getting a little more plausible that this could develop into a pandemic.



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International SOS Launches New Services to Help Businesses Prepare for Influenza PandemicPR Newswire

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- International SOS announced today the launch of a suite of services designed to assist organizations in developing specific pandemic preparedness plans, and a specific "Pandemic Preparedness" website available to its members and visitors. The website may be accessed by going to http://www.internationalsos.com and clicking on the "Avian Flu and Pandemic Preparedness" link.

Throughout history, there have been several influenza (flu) pandemics each century. Many scientists believe that the world will experience yet another pandemic -- what is not known is when the pandemic will occur. If the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, now affecting countries in Asia and Russia, develops the ability to spread easily from person to person, the world may suffer an influenza pandemic that could be as severe as the 1917-18 pandemic that killed nearly 100 million people. A new pandemic would likely affect millions of people worldwide, and cause significant social and economic disruption.

"Despite the significant medical advances that have occurred since 1917- 18, very little has changed in the clinical management of influenza," said Dr. Myles Druckman, Vice President of Medical Assistance for International SOS. "Since the specific virus that will cause the next pandemic will not be known until after the pandemic begins, a vaccine cannot be produced in advance. Even when the pandemic occurs, the virus is identified, and vaccine production begins, production limitations mean that only limited quantities will initially be available. For these reasons preparation and surveillance are critical to an effective response to a pandemic."

"Many national governments are developing extensive pandemic preparedness plans and are stockpiling antiviral drugs. However, there is little or no advice specifically directed towards the business community," Dr. Druckman continued. "We believe we can assist organizations with their planning so they can more effectively medically manage their employees and travelers, especially those in less developed countries, to assist in business continuity. Good planning is critical."

The International SOS Pandemic Preparedness website has three levels of information. The public area of the website contains valuable information regarding the outbreak of avian flu in Asia and the potential impact should it become a pandemic. The second level of the website is available only to International SOS corporate clients and individual members, and contains more details on avian, seasonal and pandemic flu and general information about pandemic preparedness.

The third level of the website contains the "International SOS Pandemic Protocols", a 120-page highly researched document available to International SOS clients who purchase the information. The protocols are designed to help organizations develop an organization-specific Pandemic Preparedness Plan and address specific employee health and business continuity concerns. The protocols include advice on infection control, stocking and use of antiviral drugs, disinfection, management of suspected cases, medical evacuation and traveler management. International SOS can help its clients to customize these generic protocols to suit their organization's specific situation. Additional pandemic preparedness services offered by International SOS to its clients include consultation on antiviral drug policies and protocols, as well as work site assessments and employee training programs.

Regarding the current pandemic concerns, Dr. Druckman commented, "Our global network of telephone assistance centers, clinics, and offices are on the front line of information regarding the development and spread of avian flu and the potential for it to become a global pandemic. We are supplementing our knowledge via direct and regular contact with the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national and local health authorities, and other government bodies responsible for public health. By combining all of the data available to us, we feel that that our "Pandemic Preparedness" website contains comprehensive information that is easily accessible on one site, and complements the new pandemic preparedness services we have launched around the globe."

About International SOS

International SOS ( http://www.internationalsos.com ) is the world's leading provider of medical assistance, international healthcare, security services and outsourced customer care.

With 4,000 professionals operating in over 60 countries, International SOS helps organizations manage the health and safety risks facing their travelers and global workforce. Working in some of the most inhospitable places on earth, International SOS offers international standards of medical care where it is not available or where cultural and language barriers exist.

Founded by a doctor, the company's "people first" approach remains true today. This commitment extends to its outsourced customer care programs and added value services, where it helps clients achieve service excellence and competitive advantage.

Clients include 81% of the FORTUNE Global 100's leading multinational corporations, insurers and financial institutions as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The Americas headquarters for International SOS is in Philadelphia, with offices in Toronto and Houston.

International SOS

CONTACT: Andrea Bestul, Senior Marketing Manager of International SOS,+1-215-942-8050, andrea.bestul@internationalsos.com , or Terry Banks,Senior Vice President of Fleishman-Hillard Communications, +1-202-828-9710,bankst@fleishman.com

Web site: http://www.internationalsos.com/

Content copyright PR Newswire Association LLC. All rights reserved. This content may not be redistributed or retransmitted.

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H5N1 Bird Flu Migrates Toward Nepal India Bangladesh BuhtanBangladesh Sun: Recommended source for Bangladesh News

distribution. Lhasa is about 600 southwest of Qinghai Lake and about 200 miles from borders with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and India.

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Казахстан официально подтвердил вспышку птичьего гриппа7-Days

Министерство сельского хозяйства Казахстана официально подтвердило, что в стране зарегистрирована вспышка птичьего гриппа, сообщает РИА “Новости”. “По заключению, полученному из научно-исследовательского сельскохозяйственного института Казахстана, в материале и сыворотках крови от дикой и домашней птицы, доставленной из крестьянского хозяйства Нан (Иртышский район Павлодарской области), выявлен высокопатогенный грипп птиц типа “А” c антигенной формулой H5N1″, - говорится в сообщении министерства.

Напомним, что Евросоюз с 12 августа вводит запрет на импорт мяса птицы из России и Казахстана, что связано с эпизоотиями птичьего гриппа на территории этих стран. Как пояснили чиновники Евросоюза, эта мера превентивна, так как никакой торговли подобными продуктами между Объединенной Европой, Россией и Казахстаном нет.

Аналогичный штамм птичьего гриппа, H5N1, циркулировавший до этого в Юго-Восточной Азии, обнаружен и на территории нескольких сибирских регионов России.

[ оригинал ]

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Russian bird flu advances, Kazakhs say virus deadly | ReutersFurl - The hellblazer Archive

A bird flu outbreak extended its reach in Russian Siberia and spread to Mongolia on Wednesday, and neighboring Kazakhstan confirmed a fowl virus found in the Central Asian state could kill humans. Officials said no people had been infected so far, but the highly potent H5N1 strain has killed over 50 people in Asia since 2003. Outbreaks in the ex-Soviet bloc raised fears the virus could infect humans and trigger a global epidemic. In Siberia's Novosibirsk region, officials found the virus in another village, Novorozino, taking the total number of infected areas there to 14, Interfax news agency reported. "Domestic birds in that village will be ... killed," Interfax quoted a regional administration official as saying. About 35,000 birds have been killed in the Novosibirsk region to prevent the deadly virus from spreading further. The total number of bird deaths since the epidemic hit Siberia in mid-July rose to 8,347 on Wednesday, the Emergencies Ministry said. The number on Tuesday was just over 5,580.

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Avian Flu, Dejavu: The vaccine against the bird fl...BlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemicBlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemic

. . . that we are probably in a period equivalent to the historical period right before the 1918 influenza pandemic which killed tens of millions of people..... . . . . . During previous influenza pandemics in the United States, large numbers of people were ill, sought medical care, were hospitalized and died. [Crofsblogs. typepad..... . . . . . Such a subtype could cause a global influenza pandemic, similar to the Spanish Flu that killed over 20 million people in 1918 (though a variety of sources q.... . . . . . pread lasting m. . . . . . com] H5N1: Buried near the end of the story was the bad news that Ferguson's smothering of the pandemic requires far more tamiflu t ... han i . . . . . . org] Avian influenza - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: It is feared that if the avian influenza virus undergoes antigenic shift with a human influenza v... ... irus, t he n. . . . . . . . . uote a. . . : Nature: Here's the transcript: "At this hour, the World Health Organization has declared a full-scale pandemic influenza a lert, with person-to-person s. . ....

Posted by dymaxion at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird Flu Cases IncreaseBlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemic

Bird Flu Cases Increase, Adding Credence to Warnings, Computer models aid in containment strategies if human pandemic erupts, By Charlene Porter, Washington File S taff Writer. ... Washington – The steady creep of a deadly form of avian influenza, or bird flu, lends further credence to warnings issued by international health officials f... ... or months that the H5N1 virus could trigger a worldwide flu pandemic. ... After Vietnam, Thailand has confirmed the most avian influenza cases – 17 –...

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wednesday late linksasiapundit

Another Avian Flu Blog, H5N1, offers a look at computer modeling of how an epidemic may spread.

Both studies look at Thailand as the example source of an epidemic, in part because the Thai government has been more forthcoming with useful information than China and Vietnam (other locations of known human H5N1 infections), and in part because Thailand remains a hotbed of the virus. The Nature team took a case of a single rural resident of Thailand coming down with a human-transmissible form of H5N1, then calculated the patterns of infection across the nation. The results -- visible in this movie (small .mov, larger .ram), with red representing flu cases and green representing locations where the disease has "burned through" the population -- are sobering.

H5N1 also links to clips on how the plague could be controlled. Improvements in computer modeling are fantastic. And even if we don't face Armageddon, a pandemic option would be a great feature for any new Sid Meier game.

Via PubSub: "h5n1"

Posted by dymaxion at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

La grippe aviaire diagnostiquée au Kazakhstan est transmissible à l'hommeTV5.org info - Médecine/santé

Le virus de la grippe aviaire diagnostiqué dans un élevage de volailles du nord du Kazakhstan fin juillet est du type H5N1, et donc transmissible à l'homme, a indiqué mercredi le ministère kazakh de l'Agriculture, dans un communiqué cité par Interfax-Kazakhstan.

Posted by dymaxion at 01:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Не пейте куриную кровьЯндекс.Новости: Общество

Работа по созданию вакцины против вируса птичьего гриппа H5N1 идет, - рассказала "АиФ" Е. Дорошенко, заведующая научно-организационным отделом Института гриппа РАМН в ...
Но в борьбе с птичьим гриппом может помочь и введение обычной противогриппозной вакцины сотрудникам птицефабрик.

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Flu News

... My colleague at The Flu Wiki, Declan Butler, has an important article in Nature News today: The world is not enough If the entire US vaccine productio ...

Just a Bump in the Beltway Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Social Robotic MAVs to Divert Migratory Birds with...

... Social Robotic MAVs to Divert Migratory Birds with H5N1 Virus We need to develop robotic unmanned MAVs Microair Vehicles to stay within the bird populations As the migratory birds contract the H5N1 Bird Flu Virus stain and travel they will introduce this to the mosquito population and to local ...

Birds Information Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

原因不明の伝染病はEB−SZ77型?

... H5N1型の変形ウイルスが発見された。     この新型H5N1を実験したところ、ニワトリは20時間以内に実験用八羽全てが死亡、鼠は 四日以内で実験した鼠七匹すべてが死んだと上海の『文匯報』が報じた。...ニュージーランドまでへと、世界各地に飛び立つ。発見された猛毒新型 H5N1ウイルスは、世界的な脅威になる」と警鐘を乱打した。     新彊ウィグル自治区でも疑いのあるニワトリ一万三千羽が処理された。   2003年には山東省から日本に輸入されてニワトリのなかにH5N1の菌が発見されている。   『大紀元』(日本語版、7月25日付け)は、「青海省北西部の玉樹チベット族自治州で7月12日、 重症インフルエンザ ...

日知録 Technorati this

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August 10, 2005

В России начнется производство вакцины против "птичьего гриппа"Яндекс.Новости: Общество

"Полтора месяца назад, согласно международному соглашению, нами получен штамм вируса H5N1, пригодный для вакцинации", - сказал он во вторник журналистам.
По словам Киселева, разработанная институтом гриппа вакцина и штамм вируса переданы в консорциум по производству вакцины при Минздраве РФ.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US may order experimental flu vaccinehealth kaleidoscope

U.S. may order millions of doses of an experimental avian flu vaccine from French vaccine maker Sanofi-Pasteur. Shots would be administered only if H5N1 evolves the capacity to be transmitted person to person - and if it reaches the United...

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Leveraging WHO's demand for better reporting on H5N1: US actions would speak louder than wordsBlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemic

Pandemic Rising?(3) The essay is stuffed with practical advice about biopreparedness, right down to the level of individual families. ... ountries) since 2003 have been from H5N1 but were reported only as influenza....

Posted by dymaxion at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Avian Flu, Dejavu: The vaccine against the bird fl...BlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemic

. . . that we are probably in a period equivalent to the historical period right before the 1918 influenza pandemic which killed tens of millions of people..... . . During previous influenza pandemics in the United States, large numbers of people were ill, sought medical care, were hospitalized and died. [Crofsblogs. typepad..... . . Such a subtype could cause a global influenza pandemic, similar to the Spanish Flu that killed over 20 million people in 1918 (though a variety of sources q... ... pread lasting m. . . . . . com] H5N1: Buried near the end of the story was the bad news that Ferguson's smothering of the pandemic requires far more tamiflu than i ... . . . org] Avian influenza - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: It is feared that if the avian influenza virus undergoes antigenic shift with a human influenza virus, t he n. . .... ... uote a. . . : Nature: Here's the transcript: "At this hour, the World Health Organization has declared a full-scale pandemic influenza alert, with person-to-person s...

Posted by dymaxion at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird Flu Cases IncreaseRepublican National Convention Blog NYC 2004

A bird flu patient receives care in Bac Mai hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 11, 2005. (©AP/WWP) Bird Flu Cases Increase, Adding Credence to Warnings, Computer models aid in containment strategies if human pandemic erupts, By Charlene Porter, Washington File Staff Writer. Washington – The steady creep of a deadly form of avian influenza, or bird flu, lends further credence to warnings issued by international health officials for months that the H5N1 virus could trigger a worldwide flu pandemic.
Vietnam remains the nation most seriously affected with the appearance of bird flu in humans; officials there report, and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms, three additional cases of human infection with the virus that has caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of poultry across Asia.

Vietnam has detected a total of 90 human cases of H5N1 since the disease first began to appear in the region in late 2003. Of those, 40 have died.

WHO’s official accounting of human cases issued August 5 tallies 112 in four nations – Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. After Vietnam, Thailand has confirmed the most avian influenza cases – 17 – while Indonesia is the most recent government to report a human death. A man who died July 12 had two young daughters who also became ill and subsequently died. Tests are still ongoing to determine whether H5N1 was the cause of the girls’ deaths.

As the human toll of the disease increases, so does the spread of the virus among bird populations. Russian animal health officials have reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health the appearance of H5N1 in three villages in Novosibirsk province.

This Russian region borders on Kazakhstan, where a strain of bird flu is also reported, according to news reports, but not yet confirmed as the highly dangerous H5N1 strain.

This strain infected humans for the first time in only 1997, health officials say, so immunity to it is virtually nonexistent in people. The pattern of human infection so far proves that the virus is not easily transmitted between humans. Most cases have been traced to close contact with infected birds.

Health authorities fear though that H5N1 will mutate to become more transmissible between humans. If that happens, in a world of rapid transit and globalized travel, experts say a flu pandemic could sweep from nation to nation with the potential death toll in the tens of millions, and economic and trade disruption of immense proportions.

Pandemic Research

A timely response with a targeted distribution of antiviral drugs could contain an epidemic and prevent a global spread, according to research published by international research teams. Using computer models, the research shows that pandemic could be prevented with a combination of carefully implemented public health measures introduced soon after the first cases appear.

Scientists in the United States, Hong Kong, Thailand and France produced the work as participants in a research network funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Two different computer models tested different outbreak scenarios, according to an August 3 NIGMS press release. One focused on 85 million people in Thailand and bordering regions of neighboring countries. Published in the magazine Nature, this study found that 3 million courses of antiviral drugs targeted for treatment of infected individuals and all their contacts – family, friends, schoolmates, coworkers, and shopkeepers – could have more than a 90 percent chance of stopping the virus.

A second computer model developed a scenario involving 500,000 people in rural Southeast Asia. Described in the magazine Science, this model applied similar treatment and response strategies to those of the first study, but also called for the pre-pandemic inoculation of the population with a flu vaccine, even though the vaccine would be considered low-efficacy. That is, it would be a vaccine of limited value because it would not have been specifically developed to target a rapidly emerging, previously unknown viral strain.

An inoculation campaign would help bolster the effectiveness of the other containment strategies such as quarantine and antiviral treatment according to the study. Under that scenario, the spread of the pandemic might be contained to less than one case per 1,000 people.

Further information on both
studies is available at the MIDAS (Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study) Web site.

more at
or and or and or

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Hopes For Avian Flu VaccineU.S. National - Waypath Topic Streams

Health officals announced this week that an H5N1 vaccine had been developed at St. ... The gist of the study is that an increasing dose of the vaccine produced a commensurate antibody response in data from about a quarter of the clinical trials 452 subjects. ... The first is that like other viruses (flu and HIV), H5N1 mutates rapidly, so that the strain that the vaccine is derived from many not match an epidemic strain, meaning the vaccine wouldn't protect against all strains necessarily. ... In fact the strain used to make this vaccine is ...

Posted by dymaxion at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

State Readying for Worst-Case Scenario of Avian FluBig News Network.com - Public Health News

Of primary concern is a particular strain of bird flu known as Type A (H5N1), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

HEALTH: Vietnam Stops Chinese Chickens Crossing the Border

have refused to share their human H5N1 virus samples with the World Health Organisation (WHO). But Bui Quang Anh, director of the Department of Animal Health (DAH), under the

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MORE DETAILS ABOUT FLU BURUNG presented by Ukht...

... ini adalah Virus H5N1. Virus ini sangat aggressive dan menyebabkan infeksi yang sangat serius baik... akan menular lagi ke orang yang berikutnya. Virus H5N1 ini dapat bermutasi sangat cepat dan bergabung dangan type virus yang lain. Jika virus H5N1 bergabung dengan virus flu pada manusia, maka akan ...

Konsultasi Kesehatan - akhowat kpii Technorati this

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WHO in talks with Roche on bird flu stockpile

... of the anti-bird flu drug Tamiflu capable of treating at least one million against the killer H5N1 ...

The Flu News Blog Technorati this

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生物恐怖武器 - 迁徙的鸟

... 我知道迁徙的鸟很好看 (buy it here),不过随着在青海湖候鸟,斑头雁的死亡与夏季大量鸟类向北极圈的迁徙,禽流感进一步向全球蔓延的可能性在不断加大。事实上,人们已经在西西伯利亚的Novosibirsk的家禽中发现了致死的H5N1型禽流感。可怕啊。美国人正在担心Alaska也会有这种致死病毒传播。 可见Carriers of avian flu could migrate to Alaska by Scripps Howard News Service tags: 禽流感 ...

Neuromancer in Savannah Technorati this

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wednesday late links

... Another Avian Flu Blog, H5N1, offers a look at computer modeling of how an epidemic may spread... of known human H5N1 infections), and in part because Thailand remains a hotbed of the virus. The Nature... of H5N1, then calculated the patterns of infection across the nation. The results -- visible ...

asiapundit Technorati this

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August 09, 2005

The Karl Rove bird flu strategyEffect Measure

The New York Times rarely issues retractions, but we can agree with Henry Niman (in the comments to a previous post) that today's article by Altman and Bradsher, "A Successful Vaccine Alone Is Not Enough to Prevent Avian Flu Epidemic" is almost the same thing. No, they didn't go and say, "Never mind" about their post on Saturday but they may as well have. Unfortunately the AP didn't get the message (see, for example, "Government To Order More Avian Flu Vaccine").
Health officials, who over the weekend announced success in an initial test of a human vaccine against avian influenza, cautioned Sunday that the existence of a vaccine in itself would not be enough to avert a worldwide pandemic.

They said countries need to quickly organize ways to give the shots when they become available, a task that will take coordination, money and more scientific work. But they also emphasized that additional steps must be taken to better prepare for a possible worldwide epidemic of the respiratory disease, whether it is caused by the strain of avian influenza that has been spreading though birds in Asia and Russia, known as A(H5N1), or by another strain.
Why didn't they say that on Saturday, instead of leading many people to breathe a sigh of relief that the threat had receded and they can go back to more important things? Because that is exactly what is going on out there and federal officials are much to blame. Tony Fauci used to be pretty much a straight shooter, but when you carry water for The Man in the Big House you wind up, well, carrying water for The Man in the Big House. Because the "Hope is on the Way" exclusive to the Times on Saturday can't be seen for much else. Especially when it is coupled with a policy that has conveniently forgotten to tell us in equally effective ways that The Threat is on the Way.

So what's the problem with the vaccine? First, there isn't a vaccine yet. There is just one effort in a small clinical trial with a particular strain of bird flu H5N1, the one that is flying around southeast asia now. If it stays genetically fixed the vaccine might be very effective. But if it mutates much, it might not be. And the version flying around Russia (ex-China) is fairly far removed from the one that is in the supposed miracle vaccine.

Moreover we don't know if the vaccine even works to prevent disease in the strain it uses. All we know is that relatively high doses are needed to get an antibody titer high enough that experts think it might work. But the doses needed are unusually high:
Currently the combined output of the world's flu vaccine manufacturers is about 900 million 15-mg doses of antigen.

If a pandemic flu vaccine regime required two doses of 90 mg apiece, the combined annual output of the globe's flu vaccine makers could be as low as 75 million doses - enough to protect a small portion of the world's people. (Helen Branswell, Canadian Press)
The nature of the antibody isn't given or perhaps isn't known. Not all immunologic responses are effective and some are even harmful. We are reminded of the recent attempt to make a more generic vaccine by raising antibodies against the M2e protein of the virus, which is less variable across strains. A good antibody response was obtained, but unfortunately the vaccinated pigs died more often and more quickly than the unvaccinated ones on challenge with influenza virus (see our post on another much hyped vaccine "story," now off the radar screen since it has served its purpose of boosting Acambis stock prices). However Branswell's story quotes one of the investigators, Dr. John Treanor, referred to the antibodies as neutralizing antibodies. No support for this was given, but if true, suggests they would be effective.

As Altman and Bradsher properly point out, even if this were the greatest vaccine going, your chances of getting any in the next six months are poor. Federal officials put in an order for 2 million doses and are talking about upping that order, perhaps enough for 4.5 million people. But one result of the trials was that it takes a much bigger dose (administered twice) to get what might be an effective response, so the 2 million doses is only enough for about 450,000 people. But maybe you are well connected. If so, maybe you'll get some.

Maybe. Whether they can actually obtain even that much is doubtful, because there is a potential shortage of eggs to grow the virus in. The whole process takes time.
Given that manufacturers can only make enough vaccine for a fraction of the world's population in normal times with regular dosing schedules, experts said the findings underscore the urgent need to find ways to produce the same response with smaller doses of vaccine.

"I think these results suggest the world is even less prepared than more prepared," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

"And unfortunately many policy makers might take this announcement as being 'We've hit the gold mine' - when in fact I would suggest we are having a hard time even finding water." (
Helen Branswell, Canadian Press)
So if a pandemic occurs this flu season, in the immortal words of Dr. Osterholm, "We're screwed."

But there is some hopeful news. Judy Miller is reporting from prison that Karl Rove has mounted a campaign to cast doubt on the alleged virulence of the virus. If he is successful in convincing everyone the virus isn't what it obviously appears to be, no one will die from it.

Or at least if they do, there won't be any photographs of the coffins.

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A(H5N1) Impfstoff - voreilige Schlüsse?Side Effects

Wie bereits gestern notiert, glauben die Wissenschafter einen Impfstoff gegen das Virus A(H5N1) entwickelt zu haben. Die Überzeugng beruht auf der Auswertung der Daten von 115 Probanden, die eine äusserst starke Reaktion des Immunsystems zeigten. Für Anthony Fauci, den Leiter der US-Einrichtung National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gibt es kaum Zweifel. Kritisch aber sei die Menge des notwendigen Impfstoffs.
Sanofi-Pasteur habe, so Fauci, etwa 2 Millionen Dosen hergestellt. Die Substanz könne schnell zugelassen werden, weil sie herkömmlichem Grippe Impfstoff ähnle.
Die WHO allderdings gibt sich nur vorsichtig optimistisch, ein Allheilmittel gegen die Vogelgrippe sei dieser Impfstoff nachgerade nicht. Doch ein Anfang sei gemacht...
Quelle Washington Post

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Ebola and H5N1Not the PHB

Recombinomics is hypothesizing that the 'mystery illness' in China could be a combination of ebola and H5N1.

**********
All of the above sounds like a viral component such as H5N1 bird flu and a recombinant Ebola is responsible for the high case fatality rate and rapid spread to humans.
**********

Combining a hemorrhagic fever like ebola with H5N1 would be devastating! While deadly, ebola can be successfully contained, mainly due to how it spreads. If this combined virus were capable of airborne human to human transmission...

And because you can't have too much pessimism too early in the morning (my emphasis):

**********
H5N1 Bird Flu Evolution and Spread Outpace Pandemic Vaccine

Medical experts in Asia, where all of the human and poultry cases of bird flu have occurred, cautioned on Sunday that formidable obstacles remained before the new vaccine would become a useful tool in preventing a pandemic.

The biggest impediment may be the rapid evolution of the virus itself .

Dr. Guan Yi, a Hong Kong University microbiologist, said that the flu virus that has just appeared this summer among migratory birds roosting on an island in Qinghai Lake in western China had quite a few genetic differences from previous viruses that had circulated in Southeast Asia.

The previous viruses appear to have been used in the successful vaccine tests this spring and summer in the United States.

"It keeps changing, it keeps evolving," he said. "We don't know how much the vaccine matches."

The above comments confirm the concerns about the ability of the pandemic vaccine that is being developed worldwide to have utility against the H5N1 that has emerged from Qinghai Lake and is now rapidly spreading across southern Russia and northern Kazakhstan .

This version of H5N1 is considerably different than the H5N1 in Vietnam and the current vaccine is unlikely to have significant activity. The new vaccine requires at least 2 injections of 90 micrograms. The 180 micrograms is 12 times higher then the amount used for a human flu isolate. Moreover, the dose response is border-line, so a third injection may be required. Thus, almost 20 times the normal dose may be necessary, and the H5N1 has a tendency to kill the chicken eggs, reducing the yield . Thus, the availability of chicken eggs could severely limit the amount of vaccine produced and could conceivable require 50 times the number of eggs required to make a vaccine against one human isolates (the current human trivalent vaccine is made against three viruses using 15 micrograms each).

These data suggest that the vaccine under development may not work well against the 2005 H5N1 in Vietnam, which only has 4 amino acids changes in HA, because the vaccine against the immunizing isolate is so weak.

As H5N1 closes in on Europe and threatens to spread throughout Asia and beyond, it is clearly time to rethink and retool vaccine development, which uses technology developed shortly after the first human flu virus was isolated in 1933. The techniques used in 2005 are strikingly similar to the technology of the 1940's, and the case fatality rate of the 2005 H5N1 is 10 to 20 times higher than the 1918 pandemic virus .

Although efficient human-to-human H5N1 transmission has not been confirmed, the rapid evolution of H5N1 and its increased host and geographical range, creates a very unstable genetic situation .

This instability could have dire consequences in the very near term.
**********

I'm still amazed at how little coverage this story is getting. But dollars to donuts, it's going to be getting a lot more coverage as soon as H5N1 'officially' spreads to Europe - particularly western Europe.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four sacked, 39 dead

Four county officials have lost their jobs, according to a Xinhuanet story about pig fever, because they didn't carry out their duties properly and tried to conceal what was going on.

As an aside, the story mentions that another person has died of pig fever, raising the total to 39.

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Boxun News update for August 8

The pig fever outbreak is much more serious than reported, according to Boxun's Disease Update - Aug. 8. They cite a "volunteer reporter" by name who claims over 200 have died of pig fever. The government is supposed to be downplaying the disease because the economic impact of a pork boycott would cause social unrest in Sichuan—which has 100 million pig farmers.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Restrained enthusiasm

Helen Branwell of Canadian Press has a good story in today's Globe & Mail. The first paragraph sums it up: Nice to have the vaccine, too bad it takes 12 times the usual dose to create sufficient antibodies.

The Globe also has a sensible editorial on the subject, equally restrained in its enthusiasm about the vaccine. (Digression: The editorial is technically accessible only to "Insiders," people who pay extra; but the same "insider" item is available to anyone through Google News. Go figure.)

Posted by dymaxion at 02:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

80 Migratory Birds Dead of Avian Flu in MongoliaPale Horseman

Mongolia Says 80 Migratory Birds Died From Avian Flu (Update1)

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia said 80 migratory birds were found dead in a lake, killed by an avian influenza virus, the World Organization for Animal Health reported.

Laboratory diagnosis yesterday of the wild ducks, geese and swans that were found on Aug. 2 has confirmed they died from `A'- type bird flu. The Paris-based animal health organization said in an e-mailed statement that it received the information today from Ravdan Sanjaatogtokh, director of the state veterinary services at Mongolia's ministry of food and agriculture in Ulan Bator.

Neighboring China, Russia and Kazakhstan have already reported outbreaks of an avian influenza virus that had infected 112 people in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia by Aug. 5, killing 57. Health experts fear the A/H5N1 virus may mutate into a strain that can be transmitted easily between humans.

The European Union said earlier today that it plans to ban imports of live birds, as well as feathers, from Russia and Kazakhstan because of confirmed outbreaks of avian influenza.

The ban, which will be in place by Aug. 12, will be reviewed in September, the Brussels-based European Commission, the 25- nation EU's executive arm, said in a statement.

Russia and Kazakhstan will join a list of nine Asian countries -- Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, China, Vietnam North Korea, Pakistan and Malaysia -- that are subject to similar bans. These nine nations aren't allowed to export birds, their meat or their products to the EU.

``No ban is necessary for eggs, poultry meat or meat products on this occasion as there is no trade between Russia and Kazakhstan and the EU in these products,'' the commission said.

The contagion is spreading.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry said 5,573 domestic and wild birds suspected of being infected have died in Novosibirsk, Omsk and Altay since July 21, when the A/H5N1 strain was identified in the three regions bordering Kazakhstan. In the past 24 hours, 217 birds have died, the ministry said on its Web site. The ministry didn't specify how many of the dead birds were culled to prevent the disease spreading.

``As of today, the epidemic situation in relation to diseases caused by this bird flu virus A/H5N1 is stable in relation to humans,'' the ministry said. ``There are no registered cases of humans being infected.''

Veterinary officials in Kazakhstan have confirmed an outbreak of bird flu in the country's Pavlodar region that borders Novosibirsk, Mosnews.com, an online Russian news provider, reported Aug. 5. A disease with similar symptoms was also killing birds in other parts of Kazakhstan, the report said.

The United Arab Emirates yesterday banned the import of all live birds from Russia, according to Gulf News.

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Vaccine coverage: the day afterAvian Flu - What we need to know

The euphoria caused over the weekend by the announcement that we may have a bird flu vaccine was replaced in today's newspapers by a much more cautios tone. The New York Times writes A Successful Vaccine Alone Is Not Enough to Prevent Avian Flu Epidemic:

Now in the wake of the announcement, officials and scientists said in interviews, the critical factor is timing: If a pandemic strikes before the vaccine becomes widely available, it still will put millions of people at risk. Further tests need to be conducted before the vaccine can be licensed and offered to the public.

Even if the avian influenza virus does not spread in the near future, countries and industry must find ways to produce enough vaccine in time to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect the people at greatest risk.

[...] Influenza viruses are grown in chicken eggs, and the vaccine industry has difficulty obtaining enough of them to produce the standard influenza shots each year. That is among the reasons that the industry can currently produce only an estimated 450 million doses of standard influenza vaccine for the human strains, Dr. Fauci said.

Efforts are being made to encourage companies to keep their production facilities open throughout the year so they can produce more influenza vaccine. But while the added amount the companies can produce would be welcome, there is no way industry can now meet the needs for a pandemic of human avian influenza, experts said.

The Washington Post has its own follow up story, where you can read about the steps the vaccine will need to go through before it can be mass produced:

Production of next winter's seasonal flu vaccine will end later this month, meaning it will be mid-September at the earliest before mass production of the bird flu vaccine can get under way, he said.

"It's less a regulatory issue than a production capacity issue," Fauci said.

The next step in the testing process is to try out the vaccine on a group of volunteers over age 65, followed by tests on children. Fauci said trials on the over-65 volunteers will begin within a month, and will take four to six months to complete. Tests on children will follow immediately.

See H5N1 for a discussion on the number of vaccines likely available in the next six months.

The problem of production capacity is huge, but by no means singular. For bird flu to turn into a human pandemic it has to mutate. We still don't know how effective the vaccine will be if the mutation takes place. Read more on Recombinomics.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird Flu Cases Increase, Adding Credence to WarningsFlu Information and News

Computer models aid in containment strategies if human pandemic erupts

Story here:

http://usinfo.state.gov/gi/Archive/2005/Aug/08-339612.html?chanlid=globalissues

By Charlene PorterWashington File Staff Writer

Washington – The steady creep of a deadly form of avian influenza, or bird flu, lends further credence to warnings issued by international health officials for months that the H5N1 virus could trigger a worldwide flu pandemic.
Vietnam remains the nation most seriously affected with the appearance of bird flu in humans; officials there report, and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms, three additional cases of human infection with the virus that has caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of poultry across Asia.
Vietnam has detected a total of 90 human cases of H5N1 since the disease first began to appear in the region in late 2003. Of those, 40 have died.
WHO’s official accounting of human cases issued August 5 tallies 112 in four nations – Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. After Vietnam, Thailand has confirmed the most avian influenza cases – 17 – while Indonesia is the most recent government to report a human death. A man who died July 12 had two young daughters who also became ill and subsequently died. Tests are still ongoing to determine whether H5N1 was the cause of the girls’ deaths.
As the human toll of the disease increases, so does the spread of the virus among bird populations. Russian animal health officials have reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health the appearance of H5N1 in three villages in Novosibirsk province.
This Russian region borders on Kazakhstan, where a strain of bird flu is also reported, according to news reports, but not yet confirmed as the highly dangerous H5N1 strain.
This strain infected humans for the first time in only 1997, health officials say, so immunity to it is virtually nonexistent in people. The pattern of human infection so far proves that the virus is not easily transmitted between humans. Most cases have been traced to close contact with infected birds.
Health authorities fear though that H5N1 will mutate to become more transmissible between humans. If that happens, in a world of rapid transit and globalized travel, experts say a flu pandemic could sweep from nation to nation with the potential death toll in the tens of millions, and economic and trade disruption of immense proportions.
Pandemic Research
A timely response with a targeted distribution of antiviral drugs could contain an epidemic and prevent a global spread, according to research published by international research teams. Using computer models, the research shows that pandemic could be prevented with a combination of carefully implemented public health measures introduced soon after the first cases appear.
Scientists in the United States, Hong Kong, Thailand and France produced the work as participants in a research network funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Flu Information and News

Posted by dymaxion at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reply to Web and Magazine articles on the potential for a flu pandemicAvian Flu and Pig-Borne Virus/Bacteria Watch

Quiplashr posted a reply:

www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/0805/08tamiflu.html

Tamiflu ordered as office supply

By JEFF NESMITH in Washington , DAVID WAHLBERG in Atlanta
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/08/05
Washington — Multinational corporations are being advised to stockpile the crucial influenza drug Tamiflu at a time when governments and international health agencies are frantically trying to buy the drug in preparation for a feared pandemic of avian flu.

International SOS, a London-based company that provides medical evacuations and other medical and security services to 6,400 corporations, says it is advising clients such as the Coca-Cola Co., Motorola Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. to consider stockpiling Tamiflu in order to protect employees and keep overseas businesses operating during a pandemic.


"The rationale with most companies so far is, look, we have an obligation to protect our own people within our company and to protect the business and keep it operational," said Dr. Miles Druckman, a vice president of International SOS.

Corporate stockpiling of the highly sought — and probably scarce — drug raises concerns that private money would trump the U.S. pandemic flu plan's priority recommendations for who should get the medication. And it provokes ethical questions about private employees getting protection when key medical personnel, for instance, might not.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, has estimated a "medium-level" pandemic could sicken 90 million Americans and kill more than 200,000.

Only one source

Federal researchers reported last month that Tamiflu — an antiviral drug currently made by one company in one overseas plant — was effective against the strain of avian influenza that health experts fear is close to evolving into a pandemic of human disease similar to one that caused the deadly 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic.

The avian influenza, which has ravaged millions of chickens and other wild and domesticated fowl, has already begun infecting people in Southeast Asia, sickening at least 114 so far and killing 58 — most of them from contact with affected birds.

Substantial person-to-person infectivity has not been confirmed, authorities say. If the H5N1 influenza strain now circulating among birds evolves into a disease capable of spreading among humans, Tamiflu would be the only effective treatment for months, until a vaccine could be produced and distributed.

Government scientists said late last week they believe the H5N1 vaccine that has been in clinical trials will be effective against the virus, but full production cannot begin until an epidemic is under way and the exact pandemic strain identified. That process could take another six months.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a critical issue is whether enough vaccine can be manufactured to meet demand if a pandemic develops.

Demand raises price

Tamiflu's status as the sole treatment for avian flu has increased competition for the limited supply of the drug. With demand growing, the price of Tamiflu has climbed above $10 a pill in some places, said Druckman.

Tamiflu can be used to treat or prevent regular flu and avian flu. Used as a treatment to lessen the severity and duration of the illness, it must be started within 48 hours of the appearance of symptoms, with a recommended two pills daily for five days. Used to prevent flu in the event of a pandemic, it would likely be given to select groups of people — such as key health care workers and some high-risk patients — once a day for about six weeks.

Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., the company that manufactures the entire global inventory at a single plant in Switzerland, has little "surge capacity" to meet growing demand, experts say.

Roche has greatly expanded its European production, however, and plans to start making Tamiflu in as many as six plants in the United States this fall — in part to meet the U.S. government's recently announced goal of purchasing 20 million treatment courses of 10 pills each, said Roche spokesman Terence Hurley.

For months, U.S. officials have said they would stockpile only 2.3 million treatment courses of Tamiflu. That would cover less than 1 percent of Americans, far less population coverage than many other nations' stockpiles.

Priority list

The Tamiflu purchasing issue comes as Mike Leavitt, the U.S. health and human services secretary, finalizes the agency's pandemic flu plan, to be released soon. It outlines who would get vaccine and drugs first if a pandemic strikes, from health care workers and morticians to those at risk with chronic illnesses.

Druckman acknowledged that some companies may encounter widespread criticism by buying up scarce supplies of the only drug that can save lives in a pandemic.

"There are a lot of issues that you are dealing with when you look at Tamiflu stockpiling," he said. "How do you do this so that it is as accessible as possible, but also with the understanding that you're not going to be able to treat the whole country?"

He said companies may view their stockpiles as a way of "augmenting" national pandemic preparation efforts in countries where they operate.

Ben Schwartz, senior science adviser for the National Vaccine Program Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the government is concerned that corporate purchases of Tamiflu could threaten the nation's response to a flu pandemic.

"Our ability to purchase drugs nationally depends on having that drug available," said Schwartz, an architect of the U.S. pandemic flu plan. "If companies purchase it, that will potentially decrease what is available."

Schwartz raised another concern: the shelf life of Tamiflu. Since the drug expires after five years, companies might buy it from distributors two or three years after manufacturing, and it could go stale and cost the companies a lot of money, he said.

But Hurley, of Roche, said corporations that buy Tamiflu now to prepare for pandemic flu could use it for regular flu each winter.

Druckman said International SOS will launch a Web site, accessible only to the firm's clients, to track developments involving influenza and Tamiflu.

"Many companies are now kind of waking up to the fact that this is a serious issue," he said. "Typically, it'll be corporate security people. Their issue is business continuity — 'How are we going to assure that our employees are adequately prepared and protected in the best possible way if there is the evolution of a pandemic?' "

He said "there are quite a few variables at play. Obviously cost comes into play, as well as just purely the stock — what inventory is out there around the world in order to meet what the plan is."

Some epidemic experts said most of the Tamiflu inventory has been bought up years in advance. It's not clear how many companies have actually purchased Tamiflu already.

"The problem is the pipe is only so big and no one can make the pipe any bigger," said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

He said Roche has "orders from some countries that extend out years."

Alternative plan

Researchers in two prominent journals predicted last week that an avian flu outbreak among humans could be contained if strict measures were taken quickly.

But Osterholm, who has urged more aggressive preparations for avian flu, said the likelihood that Tamiflu might not be available quickly enough points to a flaw in those predictions: they assume every countermeasure can be deployed swiftly, without complications.

"We need comprehensive disease surveillance, rapid detection, extreme ability to control population movement and a collateral surveillance system that can pick up any people who move from one location to another," he said. "We hardly have that anywhere in Asia right now."

Laurie Garrett, a health writer and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said corporations "are worried about their overseas employees, and that's perfectly reasonable.

"The reason they are trying to build their own stockpiles is there's a tremendous shortage and they know it," she said.

She said Roche has "been very slow to respond to a real outcry from [the World Health Organization], the U.S. government and other governments who are saying, 'We need a lot more Tamiflu than you guys are cranking out.'

"The amount of hoarding, if you will, that may occur in corporations is a pittance compared with what governments are trying to obtain," she said.

Roche spokesman Hurley said Friday that 25 countries, including the United States, have placed orders for Tamiflu as part of national pandemic preparation efforts and that five others have signed "letters of intent."

Increasing output

Roche is filling "pandemic stockpile orders on schedule," he said, and is wrapping up negotiations about donating a "large quantity" of Tamiflu to the World Health Organization for possible use in an effort to contain an initial human outbreak of the disease.

He said the company doubled the output of its Swiss Tamiflu factory between 2003 and 2004 and will double it again this year.

"We have also built a U.S.-based manufacturing supply chain, that when launched later this year, will result in an increase in total Tamiflu capacity of nearly eightfold over 2003 production," Hurley said in an e-mail response to questions.

He declined to say where individual plants in the chain, which have not yet received FDA approval, will be located.

"Six U.S. sites are involved in the process," he said. "It's a combination of existing Roche facilities and approved third-party vendors."

Hurley said Roche officials knew about International SOS, but so far there has been no direct contact between the two companies.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC, has faced criticism from two House committees over the agency's purchase of only 2.3 million courses of Tamiflu and its plans to buy only another 5 million.

But HHS Secretary Leavitt last month told state and local health officials the country would obtain 20 million courses of antiviral drugs. An HHS spokesman said Friday there are no plans to increase this amount.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Grippe aviaire, un vaccin imminent [08/08/2005 22:55]Sciences : actualité scientifique - NouvelObs.com

Les essais effectués par trois équipes américaines portant sur un vaccin protégeant contre la grippe aviaire sont concluants. Le vaccin contre le virus H5N1, fabriqué par le groupe français Sanofi-Pasteur, pourrait être commercialisé très prochainement après une nouvelle série d’expériences.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bến Tre: một bệnh nhân tử vong vì cúm A H5N1Tuổi Trẻ Online - Sức Khỏe

TT (Bến Tre) - Ngày 8-8, Viện Pasteur TP.HCM đã hoàn thành việc xét nghiệm bệnh phẩm của bệnh nhân P.L., 35 tuổi, ở Ba Tri, Bến Tre. Kết quả cho biết có dương tính với virus cúm A H5N1.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird flu vaccine requires huge doses; stretching strategies critical: expertsCanadian Online Health News

TORONTO (CP) - Enthusiasm over the news that U.S. researchers have proven a vaccine is effective against the H5N1 avian flu strain was tempered Monday with word that it took massive doses - roughly 12 times the normal amount - to produce a protective response in humans.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mouse studies show promise against H5N1 Bird Flu virus, OseltamivirBig News Network.com - Medical News

Experiments in mice show that an antiviral drug currently used against annual influenza strains also can suppress the deadly influenza virus that has spread from birds to humans, killing dozens of peo...

Posted by dymaxion at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Avian Flu I quote from an article by Mike Davis i...

... Avian Flu I quote from an article by Mike Davis in "The Nation": "Avian Influenza is a viral asteroid on collision course with humanity. The flu subtype known as H5N1, now endemic in waterfowl and poultry throughout East Asia ... is the most lethal strain of influenza ever seen, killing ...

Looking Askance Technorati this

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DSL開放問題、夏川りみ公演など

... Pedro St.)。チケットは35〜100ドル。問い合わせは同劇場ボックスオフィス(213)680-3700へ。 鳥インフルエンザのワクチン試験成功 米国立アレルギー感染症研究所が、H5N1型の高 ...

日米タイムズ記者通信 Technorati this

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Vaccine coverage: the day after

... a month, and will take four to six months to complete. Tests on children will follow immediately. See H5N1 ...

Avian Flu - What we need to know Technorati this

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Ebola and H5N1

... and H5N1. ********** All of the above sounds like a viral component such as H5N1 bird flu.... ********** Combining a hemorrhagic fever like ebola with H5N1 would be devastating! While deadly... early in the morning (my emphasis): ********** H5N1 Bird Flu Evolution and Spread Outpace ...

Not the PHB Technorati this

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農林水産省「第1回高病原性鳥インフルエンザ感染経路究明チーム検討会の概要について」(200

... H5N1亜型)とは異なる。 ウ近隣の韓国や台湾で分離された同じH5N2亜型のウイルスとも遺伝的に相同性が低く、既知のウイルスの中ではグアテマラ株と近縁である。 エ今回の分離株は、弱毒タイプであり、鶏に ...

ご存じドットコム Technorati this

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GRIPPE AVIAIRE "elle se propage"

... , l'homme en question venu du district de Ba Tri, avait été infecté du virus H5N1. Il est mort dans un ...

spelldragon Technorati this

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Mongolia Says 80 Migratory Birds Found in Lake Were Killed by Avian Flu

killing 57. Health experts fear the A/ H5N1 virus may mutate into a strain that can be transmitted easily between humans. The European Union said earlier today that it plans to ban

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Asia still lacks comprehensive flu pandemic plan, experts say

health officials say. Experts fear the H5N1 bird flu virus could mutate into a form easily passed from person to person, creating a powerful new strain of influenza that could

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Avian flu kills one more person in Vietnam, taking the regional toll to 61

31. He tested positive for the H5N1 flu virus Saturday, said Phan Van Tu, chief virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City. A total of 61 people have died of bird flu

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Carriers of avian flu could migrate here

migrating birds. Scientists fear that the H5N1 virus will now spread along the world's flyways to Europe, India and other population centers. Alaska is the first stop on the avian

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Russia's chief veterinarian calls for stricter measures against avian flu

Onishchenko said. The outbreak of the H5N1 virus was first registered in the Novosibirsk region. Thousands of domestic fowl have either died of the virus or been destroyed to

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Avian Flu Vaccine Not Coming to Your Local Pharmacy

single strain of flu virus, designated H5N1 , which leads to severe disease in birds and humans. That strain of avian flu has killed millions of birds in Asia this year, and so far

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Protective efficacy in chickens, geese and ducks of an H5N1-inactivated vaccine developed by reverse genetics.

Virology. 2005 Aug 3;
Tian G, Zhang S, Li Y, Bu Z, Liu P, Zhou J, Li C, Shi J, Yu K, Chen H

We generated a high-growth H5N1/PR8 virus by plasmid-based reverse genetics. The virulence associated multiple basic amino acids of the HA gene were removed, and the resulting virus is attenuated for chickens and chicken eggs. A formalin-inactivated oil-emulsion vaccine was prepared from this virus. When SPF chickens were inoculated with 0.3 ml of the vaccine, the hemagglutinin-inhibition (HI) antibody became detectable at 1 week post-vaccination (p.v.) and reached a peak of 10log2 at 6 weeks p.v. then slowly declined to 4log2 at 43 weeks p.v. Challenge studies performed at 2, 3 and 43 weeks p.v. indicated that all of the chickens were completely protected from disease signs and death. Ducks and geese were completely protected from highly pathogenic H5N1 virus challenge 3 weeks p.v. The duration of protective immunity in ducks and geese was investigated by detecting the HI antibody of the field vaccinated birds, and the results indicated that 3 doses of the vaccine inoculation in geese could induce a 34 weeks protection, while 2 doses induced more than 52 weeks protection in ducks. We first reported that an oil-emulsion inactivated vaccine derived from a high-growth H5N1 vaccine induced approximately 10 months of protective immunity in chickens and demonstrated that the oil-emulsion inactivated avian influenza vaccine is immunogenic for geese and ducks. These results provide useful information for the application of vaccines to the control of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry, including chickens and domestic waterfowl.

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Origin and evolution of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in Asia.

Vet Rec. 2005 Aug 6; 157(6): 159
Sims LD, Domenech J, Benigno C, Kahn S, Kamata A, Lubroth J, Martin V, Roeder P

Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza caused by h5n1 viruses were reported almost simultaneously in eight neighbouring Asian countries between December 2003 and January 2004, with a ninth reporting in August 2004, suggesting that the viruses had spread recently and rapidly. However, they had been detected widely in the region in domestic waterfowl and terrestrial poultry for several years before this, and the absence of widespread disease in the region before 2003, apart from localised outbreaks in the Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region (sar), is perplexing. Possible explanations include limited virus excretion by domestic waterfowl infected with h5n1, the confusion of avian influenza with other serious endemic diseases, the unsanctioned use of vaccines, and the under-reporting of disease as a result of limited surveillance. There is some evidence that the excretion of the viruses by domestic ducks had increased by early 2004, and there is circumstantial evidence that they can be transmitted by wild birds. The migratory birds from which viruses have been isolated were usually sick or dead, suggesting that they would have had limited potential for carrying the viruses over long distances unless subclinical infections were prevalent. However, there is strong circumstantial evidence that wild birds can become infected from domestic poultry and potentially can exchange viruses when they share the same environment. Nevertheless, there is little reason to believe that wild birds have played a more significant role in spreading disease than trade through live bird markets and movement of domestic waterfowl. Asian h5n1 viruses were first detected in domestic geese in southern China in 1996. By 2000, their host range had extended to domestic ducks, which played a key role in the genesis of the 2003/04 outbreaks. The epidemic was not due to the introduction and spread of a single virus but was caused by multiple viruses which were genotypically linked to the goose/gd/96 lineage via the haemagglutinin gene. The h5n1 viruses isolated from China, including the Hong Kong sar, between 1999 and 2004 had a range of genotypes and considerable variability within genotypes. The rising incidence and widespread reporting of disease in 2003/04 can probably be attributed to the increasing spread of the viruses from existing reservoirs of infection in domestic waterfowl and live bird markets leading to greater environmental contamination. When countries in the region started to report disease in December 2003, others were alerted to the risk and disease surveillance and reporting improved. The h5n1 viruses have reportedly been eliminated from three of the nine countries that reported disease in 2003/04, but they could be extremely difficult to eradicate from the remaining countries, owing to the existence of populations and, possibly, production and marketing sectors, in which apparently normal birds harbour the viruses.

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August 08, 2005

News Feed

Researchers create vaccine for avian flu; hurdles remain
Duluth News Tribune - Duluth,MN,USA
... steps must be taken to better prepare for a possible worldwide epidemic of the respiratory disease, whether it is caused by the A(H5N1) avian influenza that ...
 

Mongolia Says 80 Migratory Birds Died From Avian Flu (Update1)
Bloomberg - USA
... 5, killing 57. Health experts fear the A/H5N1 virus may mutate into a strain that can be transmitted easily between humans. The ...
 

Mongolia Reports That 80 Migratory Birds Died From Avian Flu
Bloomberg - USA
... Aug. 5, killing 57. Health experts fear the A/H5N1 virus may mutate into a strain that can be transmitted easily between humans.
 

Bird-flu hunters take aim at far-ranging wildfowl
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
... last month, Russian health officials confirmed that the deadly H5N1 strain of ... top epidemiologist, blamed migratory birds for the arrival of avian flu in the ...
 

Human Bird Flu Outbreak "Containable"
Science a Gogo - USA
Despite suspicions of human-to-human transmission, the H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus seems, at least so far, to be restricted to birds and swine in ...
 

Tamiflu ordered as office supply
Atlanta Journal Constitution (subscription) - GA,USA
... Government scientists said late last week they believe the H5N1 vaccine that ... Tamiflu's status as the sole treatment for avian flu has increased competition for ...
 

Avian flu vaccine developed
Health24.com - Cape Town,South Africa
... Japan have been racing to develop a vaccine against the A(H5N1) strain that ... of millions of birds have already died from infection with the avian flu virus as ...
 

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Area of Infestation: Poultry and Pig Density in Southeast Asia from FAO

birdflumap.JPG

click for pdf

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EPIDEMIOLOGY: A Drug Makes It Big-But Can It Deliver?

Science. 2005 Aug 5; 309(5736): 871
Enserink M

The worldwide fears triggered by the Asian outbreak of H5N1 have created one clear winner: oseltamivir, the drug that, from a quartet of candidates, is considered the best one to fight a pandemic.

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Bird Flu Cure!Fragments From Floyd

Wonderful news! Only 296 million Americans will not receive the recently-successful vaccine touted by Toni Fauci over the weekend. That means that less than half of a percent of our population may be protected from the H5N1 bird flu! That is, if the tested doses are actually strong enough for the flu virus that hits the streets. And of course, you have to realize that the tested antivirus may well be ineffective against a mutated virus six months or two years from now. It's a shame that it will so expensive to produce (can't use chicken eggs as chicken tissue is fatmeat for this virus) that, should it be produced in adequate volume and in time to be an effective preventative (two highly iffy conditional clauses) much of the eastern European and Russian populations couldn't afford to pay for it. Pardon my sarcasm. It covers my disappointment.

I saw the headline, my hopes lifted. I read the analysis and saw what I expected. Spin.

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Mouse studies show promise against H5N1 Bird Flu virus, OseltamivirMedical News Today

Experiments in mice show that an antiviral drug currently used against annual influenza strains also can suppress the deadly influenza virus that has spread from birds to humans, killing dozens of people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand since early 2004... click link for more info.

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Virus Found in 2 More RegionsTechnorati Search for: bird flu

... in northern Kazakhstan, officials said Friday. Health officials fear that a subtype of bird flu dangerous... in two locations in the Kurgan region and in one in the Omsk region. Bird flu has already been... and Omsk did not appear to be highly pathogenic. H5N1 bird flu has killed more than 50 people in Asia ...

quickstep Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 12:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Clinical trials of DNA-based avian flu vaccine scheduled for early 2006Technorati Search for: influenza pandemic

... With avian flu reaching Siberia, the fears of a global pandemic have heightened even further... company CSL bring forward clinical trials of its prototype pandemic vaccine for the H5N1 avian influenza strain by eight months, to September 2005. ...

Biopeer Technorati this

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Avian Flu Vaccine Experimentally EffectivePowerpundit

A new vaccine has been experimentally effective in producing a strong immune system reaction to the avian flu in humans: Two doses of the vaccine produced an immune system response potent enough to neutralize the virus in tests on 113 volunteers who were injected as part of a federally sponsored study being conducted at three U.S. universities. "This is very good news," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "This is the first vaccine that anybody has that has been tested to show that you can actually produce a robust immune response." Public health authorities are alarmed by a strain of flu virus known as H5N1, which has been spreading primarily in birds across Asia and in Russia. It also has infected more than 100 humans in the past 18 months, killing about half of them. If the virus starts to spread efficiently among humans, experts fear it could trigger a global pandemic that could kill millions. In response, millions of birds throughout Asia have been slaughtered to try to stem the spread of the virus, governments and the World Health Organization have been stockpiling antiviral drugs, and scientists have been scrambling to produce an effective vaccine. Much more testing will be needed to determine exactly how the vaccine could be used, and other hurdles remain, including being able to produce and distribute large quantities of vaccine in the event of a pandemic, Fauci said. But he said the results represent a crucial milestone. Very good news, indeed! *** Related: Terrorism And Avian Flu Strategy Lacking For Spreading Avian Flu Avian Flu Is Spreading Are We Ready For The Avian Flu? Flu Pandemic WHO Warns Of Avian Flu Pandemic...

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Simulations versus the Avian FluWorldChanging: Another World Is Here

h5n1_outbreak.jpgGlobal warming is a slow-motion disaster; peak oil is still subject to a lot of debate; even a meteor strike is too much of a bolt-from-the-blue. No, when I really want to keep myself up nights with stress stomach aches, I turn to Avian Flu. Avian Flu -- H5N1 to its friends -- combines a variety of nightmares into one, easy-to-digest package. If an Avian Flu pandemic hits, we might see global deaths in the hundreds of millions, along with the long-term cessation of travel, massive reduction of trade, abandonment of environmental and development efforts, and the conflict that such chaos would unleash. Fortunately, one of the tools we can use to keep that scenario from happening is one we understand very, very well: computer simulations.

H5N1 is a rapidly-evolving virus easily transmitted across bird populations, fatal to a significant percentage of those infected. It occasionally mutates into a version that can be picked up by humans from infected birds; the first reported case was in 1997, and new outbreaks occasionally pop up in different parts of Asia. (For an excellent account of the early history of H5N1, see the indispensable Flu Wiki.) Over 100 people have died so far in southeast Asia and China, and the disease has been spotted in birds in Russia and Kazakhstan. There's no vaccine, although the heavy-duty antiviral Tamiflu has some value in knocking down the infection. So far, none of the human cases of Avian Flu have evolved into a version that could be readily transmissible from human to human.

So far.

The "Spanish Flu" of 1918 killed at least 25 million (and perhaps as many as 100 million) people worldwide, a pandemic in the era before air travel and with a population less than a third of today's. If Avian Flu evolved into a virus of similar infectiousness, the results could be far, far worse. Globe-spanning travel and higher-density urbanization patterns would allow the disease to spread at a rate far surpassing that of the Spanish Flu.

To get a sense of the scale of the problem, check out this map (PDF), showing the "areas of concern" for Avian Flu. The map displays locations of poultry and pig concentrations (pigs can be intermediary vectors for H5N1), along with density of reported cases of Avian Flu in animals and people. As a side-map, it also shows the typical flight paths for migratory water fowl.

But we have tools at our disposal today that medical scientists of a century ago couldn't have even imagined: rapid genome sequencing, collaborative networks for vaccine development, and -- possibly most important -- computer simulations. This week, two teams funded by the US National Institutes of Health published the results of detailed computer models of how a human-transmissible form of H5N1 could spread and the best ways to contain that spread. The results were published in Nature and Science, and have been getting abundant attention in the scientific community. Of the two pieces, the article in Nature is more useful, as the full text is available for free.

Both studies look at Thailand as the example source of an epidemic, in part because the Thai government has been more forthcoming with useful information than China and Vietnam (other locations of known human H5N1 infections), and in part because Thailand remains a hotbed of the virus. The Nature team took a case of a single rural resident of Thailand coming down with a human-transmissible form of H5N1, then calculated the patterns of infection across the nation. The results -- visible in this movie (small .mov, larger .ram), with red representing flu cases and green representing locations where the disease has "burned through" the population -- are sobering.

But swift containment efforts could effectively limit that spread (.mov, .ram -- blue is treated area), giving enough time for a vaccine to be developed that would be effective against that particular strain of Avian Flu (because of the rapid evolution of viruses, useful vaccines can't be prepared before the precise nature of a given strain is known). What would these containment efforts look like?

The first step in preventing a pandemic, Ferguson said, is for doctors to quickly recognize that the virus is something unusual and notify government health officials. Then, infected patients should be isolated from other populations. Steps such as closing schools and work places and limiting access to gathering spots should be taken to increase “social distance”—reducing opportunities for infected people to transmit the virus to others. Finally, Ferguson and his colleagues recommend that public health officials treat the 20,000 people closest to the outbreak with anti-viral drugs. It might take a stockpile of as many as 3 million doses of anti-viral treatments to eliminate an outbreak, the scientist said.

But such containment is contingent upon some important changes to how we report and handle flu infections:

Both groups agree that, for a containment strategy to have any hope of working, it must be in place within a few weeks at most of the first people being infected with a virus capable of sustained human-to-human transmission.

If such a virus arose today, that is unlikely to happen. Surveillance systems in southeast Asia are poor; recent cases have taken weeks to detect and diagnose. Whereas Cambodia has typically reported cases to the World Health Organization (WHO) within about a week, Vietnam has often reported cases after several weeks, and in some cases months.

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, says the papers leave him concerned that too little is being done to plan containment strategies. "We are simply not moving fast enough," he says.

For example, the WHO currently has just 120,000 courses of antivirals in its stockpile, although it is in discussions to get more. "I think the take-home message is that the current stockpile is very unlikely to be adequate to stop anything," says Lipsitch.

What's needed, says Ben Schwartz of the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, are international agreements on how to investigate and report clusters; training and resources to strengthen surveillance; and measures to ensure that the WHO has enough antiviral drugs. The countries where a pandemic is most likely to emerge need detailed plans and drills, he adds.

e>

This does not mean that insufficient efforts have insufficient results, however. As the article in Nature notes, "even an unsuccessful containment strategy can delay widescale spread by a month or more—a potentially critical window of opportunity for accelerating vaccine production." The goal isn't simply to stop the spread in order to let the virus burn itself out in the infected population, but to allow the medical research teams enough time to develop a treatment that can prevent a pandemic and prevent further disease in the infected areas.

For many researchers, a human-transmissible version of Avian Flu is not a question of if, but of when. That the virus is predominantly located in developing nations, some of which with less-than-stellar records of government honesty when it comes to local disease outbreaks, complicates matters severely. A global H5N1 outbreak is not a world-ending scenario, but it's one that inevitably makes solutions to other, more chronic or deeply-rooted problems all the harder to find. The massive reduction in population that could result from a serious pandemic would not mean a reduction in resource footprints or environmental impact -- people who are desperate for survival do not give much thought to the long-term implications of their actions for the planet or for "nature" as a whole.

But we are not defenseless. We can stop or slow an Avian Flu pandemic. It won't be easy, it won't be cheap, and it won't be something we can pass off to someone else to handle. Transparency, collaboration and science are our best tools -- and the most worldchanging.

(Some links via Avian Flu blog and MedGadget)

(Posted by Jamais Cascio in Plausibly Surreal – Scenarios and Anticipations at 04:08 PM)

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H5N1, Virus X, and a frightening flash from the past: Spanish FluPundita

(Note to new readers: This post builds on consecutive Pundita posts over the last few days and in particular yesterday's post, in which I expressed reservations about the associations and credentials of Patricia Doyle and Henry Niman -- names that have been linked with recent reports about an outbreak of Ebola virus in China.) "Hello Pundita: With regard to your request for information about my

Posted by dymaxion at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"H5N1 Bird Flu Evolves Away From Pandemic Vaccine"Pundita

I consider it so important that I publish below the entire August 6 Recombinomics commentary (unsigned but surely written or at least reviewed by Henry Niman -- see yesterday's post). However, the original publication of the text contains 11 links that you will need to access via the Recombinomics site here: H5N1 Bird Flu Evolves Away From Pandemic Vaccine. I strongly recommend that you take the

Posted by dymaxion at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

【感染症】米でワクチン臨床試験 鳥インフルエンザ(08/07/2005)

... 【感染症】米でワクチン臨床試験 鳥インフルエンザ(08/07/2005) ■米でワクチン臨床試験 鳥インフルエンザ(08/07/2005)  7日の米紙ニューヨーク・タイムズ(電子版)によると、米国立アレルギー感染症研究所は、 アジアで猛威を振るっているH5N1型の高病原性鳥インフルエンザウイルスに対するワクチンの 臨床試験に成功した。  鳥インフルエンザは、人から人に容易に感染する新型ウイルスに変異すると、世界的に大流行する 恐れがある。リン酸オセルタミビル(商品名タミフル)などのインフルエンザ治療薬も感染予防に有効と されるが、ワクチンの開発、実用化が急務とされている。  同 ...

News Scrap from 2ch Technorati this

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Griepvaccin

... besmetting op en daarvan overleed de helft aan de besmetting met het virus A(H5N1). Tot nu toe is er... immers aangemaakt op kippe-eieren. In 1997 werd een eerste menselijk vaccin tegen A(H5N1)-virus... pandemie te kunnen voorkomen, zegt de geleerde heer. De gemuteerde stam van het A(H5N1)-virus dat ...

http://yellowrosered.KJ_JV.com Technorati this

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[科学/歴史]

... 鳥インフルエンザのワクチン臨床試験   科学/歴史   アメリカ国立アレルギー感染症研究所が、中国をはじめ、アジアの各地で大流行しているH5N1型の高病原性鳥インフルエンザウイルスに対するワクチンの臨床試験に成功した、という。(尚、こういうものは、試験に成功したからといって、直ぐに実用化されるというものではない。) 臨床試験は65才未満の少人数の成人を対象に実施し、今のところは強い免疫反応が得られている、ということで成功している。しかし、一般のインフルエンザワクチンよりも多量の接種を必要とするというので、実用にはもう少し時間がかかることになると思われる。 鳥インフルエンザは、人 ...

So-net blog:MEICHIKU なんでもぶろぐ Technorati this

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Avian influenza situation in Viet Nam update 27

... 5 August 2005 The Ministry of Health in Viet Nam has today confirmed an additional three cases of human infection with H5N1 avian influenza. One case was reported in Ha Tay Province, one in Tra Vinh Province, and one in Ho Chi Minh City. The patients from Tra Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City died.The ...

Baxter Vaccines MIS Technorati this

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Avian influenza- situation in Indonesia update 26

... USA, detected high positive rising microneutralisation titres specific for H5N1 in 2 samples taken 3... case shows high homogeneity with other H5N1 isolates from poultry in Java, and no evidence ...

Baxter Vaccines MIS Technorati this

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Sichuan Outbreak Linked to Tainted GM Pig Feed? - H5N1 Captain Trips?

... The logic presented here follows "BioPharming" and "You Are What You Eat". Translated from a Boxun report out of China... "From begining, some peop ...

The Nattering Naybob Chronicles Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drug Discovery Online Newsletter - Discovery On Target 2005 Bringing Together The Who's Who Of Drug Discovery R&D Leaders

... H5N1 For Clinical Development 7) FDA Approves New Drug For Cryptosporidium Outbreaks 8) Symyx... 6) PowderMed Manufactures A Vaccine Against H5N1 For Clinical Development PowderMed has announced that it has progressed its H5N1 Avian Influenza Vaccine programme into the final stages ...

Pharmaceutical Engineering :: Main Page Technorati this

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Russia finds more bird flu cases.

... ABC News Online: "However, the potentially deadly H5N1 strain has only been positively confirmed in one Russian region, Novosibirsk." ...

EZSmirkzz Technorati this

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Roche Takes Tamiflu Orders - H5N1 Captain Trips?

... From July 21st: Over 25 governments around the world have placed orders for stockpiles of Roche Holding AG's influenza treatment Tamiflu in prepara ...

The Nattering Naybob Chronicles Technorati this

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Site and Show Announcements :: PID Radio #21: Why We Wear Foil Hats

Author: Mr. Otis

Subject: PID Radio #21: Why We Wear Foil Hats
Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:03 pm (GMT 0)

Topic Replies: 0

For P.I.D. Radio #21, we offer some background into who we are. Our journeys have taken us down some strange roads and we firmly believe that we were brought together for a reason.



Sharon talked about her ability to sometimes see things that others can't, a gift that manifested itself very early in her life. This was at least partly responsible for her faith in God. Derek, on the other hand, has no such gift, and had to do a lot of sifting through evidence to decide what he believed.



We also discussed some items of importance in the news. In particular, keep an eye on China: Not only has the avian flu (H5N1) spread from the Qinghai Lake region to neighboring Kazakhstan and Russia, it may be spreading from human to human much more easily than the Chinese government is letting on. Be cautioned that news reports this weekend about the successful test of an avian flu vaccine aren't giving you the whole story. It is doubtful that it will be possible to produce enough vaccine to protect more than a handful against H5N1.



In addition, at least 38 people have died from what the Chinese government is calling a streptococcus infection carried by pigs. However, translated posts from public forums in China indicate that the death toll may actually be over three hundred, and emerging diseases specialist Dr. Henry Niman says the evidence points to a recombinant strain of Ebola.



The shuttle Discovery is now due to return tomorrow (8/9/2005). Pray for the astronauts' safe return.



Show links:


">PID Radio #21.
_________________
Derek Gilbert


Peering Into Darkness - Welcome to the battlefield...


P.I.D. Radio - Dispatches from the bunker


s.com/forum/rss.php">feed)
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Brussel wil importverbod pluimvee uit Rusland vanwege vogelpest

De Europese Commissie heeft de lidstaten van de Europese Unie verzocht eind deze week een importverbod af te kondigen voor veren en pluimvee uit Rusland en Kazachstan. Dat is om de verspreiding van het vogelpestvirus tegen te gaan. In beide landen werd in juli alarm geslagen vanwege het signaleren van vogelpestvirusvariant H5N1. Copyright: Copyright: Trouw

From Trouw | laatstenieuws (feed)
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Vaccine Alone Won't Stem Avian Flu, Experts Warn - New York Times

Health officials, who over the weekend announced success in an initial test of a human vaccine against avian influenza, cautioned Sunday that the existence of a vaccine in itself would not be enough to avert a worldwide pandemic. They said countries need to quickly organize ways to give the shots when they become available, a task that will take coordination, money and more scientific work. But they also emphasized that additional steps must be taken to better prepare for a possible worldwide epidemic of the respiratory disease, whether it is caused by the strain of avian influenza that has been spreading though birds in Asia and Russia, known as A(H5N1), or by another strain. In issuing dire predictions during the past two years about the devastation that an influenza pandemic might cause, a number of infectious disease experts and others have said development of a vaccine was an imperative. Now in the wake of the announcement, officials and scientists said in interviews, the critical factor is timing: If a pandemic strikes before the vaccine becomes widely available, it still will put millions of people at risk. Further tests need to be conducted before the vaccine can be licensed and offered to the public.

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Feeling Safer Yet?

Is it just me, or is BushCo giving this the same half-assed, half-hearted attention it gives everything else?

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 – Health officials, who over the weekend announced success in an initial test of a human vaccine against avian influenza, cautioned Sunday that the existence of a vaccine in itself would not be enough to avert a worldwide pandemic.

countries need to quickly organize ways to give the shots when they become available, a task that will take coordination, money and more scientific work. But they also emphasized that additional steps must be taken to better prepare for a possible worldwide epidemic of the respiratory disease, whether it is caused by the strain of avian influenza that has been spreading though birds in Asia and Russia, known as A(H5N1), or by another strain.

In issuing dire predictions during the past two years about the devastation that an influenza pandemic might cause, a number of infectious disease experts and others have said development of a vaccine was an imperative.

Copyright: Copyright 2005

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Boas Notícias

align="justify">

As últimas notícias relativas à gripe da aves são animadoras: os EUA têm em fase adiantada de investigação uma nova vacina e o nosso Ministério da Saúde tem preparado um plano de contingência pronto a ser accionado em caso de pandemia.

ério da Saúde tem preparado um plano nacional de contingência, coordenado pelo sub Director Geral de Saúde , Francisco George, para actuar num cenário de pandemia provocada pelo vírus da gripe das aves, o H5N1. Este plano nacional prevê para o combate à pandemia a utilização da vacina e de medicamentos antivirais específicos (ozeltamivir)

tp://jn.sapo.pt/2005/08/08/sociedade/plano_nacional_contempla_vacinas.html">(link)

(link)

p>O sucesso obtido nos primeiros testes (com base num pequeno número de casos: 113 em 452 ), obrigam a uma melhor avaliação da nova vacina antes da sua autorização e lançamento no mercado.
Nesta altura o factor crítico é o tempo, ou seja, ultimar a avaliação da vacina antes da eclosão da pandemia.
Depois há que decidir entre avançar de imediato com a vacinação das populações ou esperar pela evidência de que o vírus (H5N1) se transmite eficientemente de pessoa para pessoa.

A Successful Vaccine alone is not enough to prevent Avian Flu Epidemic (link)

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August 4 Flu Update

CIDRAP has the news of two NIH funded studies that analyze containment strategies for the flu. The plan is to "nip it in the bud" with highly focused resources.

Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP, had this to say in comment:

"I want these strategies to work," infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, told CIDRAP News. "But in all my years in public health, I have yet to see mathematical models that have driven public health actions in meaningful ways." Osterholm used HIV and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) as examples of diseases for which there have been what he calls a "pandemic of modeling studies."

"My concern is that papers like these suggest more direction for planning than is warranted and may placate policymakers who believe the planning puzzle has clear solutions. . . . The issue of antiviral treatment, for example, has to be looked at against the whole system of disease occurrence and transmission. How well can we detect the disease when it starts occurring? How can we make sure travelers who appear healthy aren't unknowingly spreading the virus?" Osterholm, who is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, publisher of this Web site, used as illustration the example of SARS' fast jump from the Far East to Canada in 2003.

Osterholm also made the point that since a flu pandemic will very likely be caused by a mutation of the H5N1 virus currently spreading among birds in Asia, we will be facing a "reloading" problem at the source—that since birds are a reservoir that is constantly replenished, "We are dealing with a moving target, not a static population like humans. . . . Culling [the birds] won't work. It's like throwing fresh wood on a fire."

Here's an NIH link to the study.

Here's a WHO link.

The Daily Mail in the UK has its take on this...something along the lines of scientists say it can be "stopped in its tracks."

WaPo is a little more reasonable, on the order of a theory.

The Times of London notes, correctly, that the key is "decisive action" would be required under the plan.

Effect Measure drops the bomb on these studies, despite that he respects the people who did them. Note these quotes:


...it must be said again: once this virus gains the capability of being transmitted from person to person like other influenza subtypes that circulate in human populations, there will be no way to prevent its global spread.

clip

So I hate to disagree with Elizabeth Halloran of Emory, an infectious disease epidemiologist of note and a genuine expert. In her view, as reported by the BBC,
"Our findings indicate that we have reason to be somewhat hopeful.

"If - or, more likely, when - an outbreak occurs in humans, there is a chance of containing it and preventing a pandemic."
There is no reason at all to be hopeful.


As always, the comments are excellent on Effect Measure.

Tyler Cowen on Avian Flu has a nice post, too.

Note that Thailand, or similar places, has not had the past facility to stop malaria, or even to provide clean drinking water to its rural populations. Measures of these kinds will limit deaths, and should be taken, but they are highly unlikely to stop a pandemic from spreading, should one get started.


Here is a Reuters timeline that spells out the march of the bird flu through Asia.

Reuters bird flu fact sheet.

Roche is in discussions to donate a substantial amount of Tamiflu to WHO.

In Vietnam, there were three news human cases in July.

From Russia, flu threatens European Russia.

Fiji is on the case to fight the pandemic.

Vietnam is vaccinating poultry.

Recombinomics on the spread of bird flu in Russia.

Staggering....Recombinomics says 70% of waterfowl in Mekong Delta are bird flu positive.

Crofsblogs points us to the disease section on boxun.

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August 06, 2005

NYTIMES: Flu Vaccine Called Effective in Human Testing

August 7, 2005 Avian Flu Vaccine Called Effective in Human Testing
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 - Government scientists say they have successfully tested in people a vaccine that they believe can protect against the strain of avian influenza that is spreading in birds through Asia and Russia

.

Health officials have been racing to develop a vaccine because they worry that if that strain mutated and combined with a human influenza virus to create a new virus, it could spread rapidly through the world. (The vaccine cannot lead to such a situation because it is made from killed virus.)

Tens of millions of birds have died from infection with the virus and culling to prevent the spread of the virus. About 100 people have been infected, and about 50 have died from this strain of the avian influenza virus, called A(H5N1). So far there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission, but that is what health officials fear, because it could cause a pandemic. And that fear has driven the intense research to develop a vaccine.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, said that while the vaccine that has undergone preliminary tests could be used on an emergency basis if a pandemic developed, it would still be several months before that vaccine is tested further and, if licensed, offered to the public.

"It's good news," Dr. Fauci said. "We have a vaccine."

But he cautioned: "We don't have all the vaccine we need to meet the possible demand. The critical issue now is, 'Can we make enough vaccine, given the well-known inability of the vaccine industry to make enough vaccine.' "

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August 05, 2005

china.scmp.com - 300 dead egrets spark bird virus fears in Guangzhou

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Bird Flu Deaths Sow Panic In Wealthy Jakarta Suburb ?person-person spread of H5N1

"Rafei's wife and his mother, speaking in interviews outside their house, said they did not know how he and the daughters got sick. Rafei was a busy professional who set out early every morning on his two-hour commute to Jakarta's downtown financial distr

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RTHK Online News - Japan confirms new birdflu case

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H5N1 Avian Influenza update

I was Browsing through the beeb today and found an article with some good links, and I also found some more good websites to keep an eye on...
http://www.osha.gov/dsg/guidance/avian-flu.html
ttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/">http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/
ttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2004_01_15/en/">http://www.who.int/csr/don/2004_01_15/en/
http://www.keepmedia.com/pubs/BusinessWeek/2004/02/09/363380?extID=10038&data=avian_flu
ttp://www.avianbirdflu.com/">http://www.avianbirdflu.com/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4741031.stm
ttp://biopeer.blogs.com/biopeer/avian_flu_h5n1/">http://biopeer.blogs.com/biopeer/avian_flu_h5n1/
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/avianflu/
ttp://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/352/18/1839">http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/352/18/1839
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/en/
ttp://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/">http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/

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World Events :: RE: Bird Flu/Influenza Pandemic Threat: UPDATES

Author: Fredfredson

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 8:18 pm (GMT 1)


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4784395

Transcript from: http://www.curevents.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19712

Spelling on the names will be phonetic and best guess.

Russians dealing with outbreak of Bird Flu in central Siberia.

Russian researchers say it’s the same virus that has caused concern in South East Asia.

Over the weekend Russian news agencies reported that bird flu had been confirmed in13 villages in the Novesea Birsh region. Scientists have now identified the virus in two more regions Altie and Tyumane and officials are investigating reports of bird deaths elsewhere in Siberia.

Special brigades have begun slaughtering all domestic fowl in the effected areas.

Poultry farms not yet hit are under quarantine.

Alexander Sphiftupoluf who heads the vector research group in Novasea Birsh led the team that identified the virus. He said that it’s the same virulent strain that wiped out Bird populations and infected humans in Vietnam.

"I am absolutely sure it’s the H5N1 virus" "I have 9 independent isolates" "We checked them using the methods used in Webster's Laboratory"

That's the laboratory of Dr. Robert Webster in St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis Tennessee.

The vector lab in Novasea Birsh received training and equipment and chemical reagents from the Memphis Lab. One of the worlds foremost flu labs.

Dr. Sphiftupoluf said that while he's sure the bird flu strain effecting Russia is H5N1 its NOT absolutely identical to the virus that hit Vietnam. This means the Sibearn variety of H5N1 might not prove as dangerous to humans as the South East Asian virus. Still an American college of Dr. Sphiftupoluf sees the outbreak of this strain of birdflu in Siberia as potentially ominous.
Michael Callahan is a physician at the division of infectious disease at Massachusetts Hospital.

He's keeping a close eye on the bird flu in Russia. "It's the most north its ever been, it is also the most westerly that its been" "These viruses we think of moving up and down the longitudes because ducks fly north and south right?" "But the flyways all bifurcate they're like the branches of a tree and so as the ducks fly both north and south they mix with other ducks allowing viruses to cross the longitude."

And this Dr. Callahan says puts the H5N1 virus right on the migratory ducks flyways to the Caspian sea and Eastern Europe. And he notes that the species that have been infected included ducks known to migrate across hemispheres at the top of the globe (black ? and mallards) Dr. Callahan explains why the H5N1 virus can pose such a threat for people.

I'm skipping that because we already know why.

He worries that this virus could mutate and produce a flu as deadly as the flu Pandemic of 1918.

While the H5N1 virus that has hit Russia isn't known to have claimed any Human victims, the outbreak in birds will be costly for the rural economy in central Siberia.

The Russian gov has promised to pay farmers for the birds they destroy.

At least 65 thousand have already been culled.

Martha ? NPR news Moscow.
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病猪被投河 四川民众不敢吃鱼


http://www.dajiyuan.com/gb/5/8/5/n1008510.htm

【大纪元8月5日讯】(大纪元记者徐竹思报导)四川猪疫继续蔓延,许多农民将病猪投河淹死,致使政府派人忙打捞,民众现在担心河流被污染,不敢吃鱼。据四川省卫生厅报告,截至8月4日12时,无人感染猪链球菌死亡,新添2例新确诊病例,累计感染病例208宗,死亡38人。世界卫生组织认为此次疫病有其它来源,海外传染病和病毒专家纷纷提出自己的病源观点,认为危机随时可能爆发。
官方控疫措施得不到执行
为防治正发生在四川农民中造成20%死亡率的猪疫病,当局制定一系列措施包括对病猪的处理,加强对猪肉的进出口管理与检验,惩罚弄虚作假或延迟报告有关致命猪疫情的官员等。但这些措施并不能完全得到执行,隐患四伏。
一些成都市民4日对《大纪元》表示,从7月初知道猪疫爆发以来,就没有吃猪肉了,现在连鱼也不敢吃了。成都电视台3日晚6点30分新闻报导了成都周边乡村的防疫人员将河中浮起的死猪打捞上来,装进塑料袋运走的情形。成都周边地区至少有11例感染猪疫住院病例。一些村民在发现病猪后,为图省事就将其扔到附近的河中淹死,而不是按规定埋葬或烧葬。
《羊城晚报》8月4日报导,其记者乔装暗访发现,进入广州境内的死猪还出现在天河某牲畜交易市场,并有可能以200元人民币的价格被买到。而市场保安收下的死猪被扔在大门口,直到次日上午暴晒数小时,才被卫生处理车运走。记者跟踪载着多头死猪的卫生处理车,惊奇地发现此车一路驶进驶出屠宰场所
疫区猪肉外流成大问题,据悉,广州查出有来自四川疫区的冷冻猪肉制成的10吨腊肠,已经流入珠江三角州地区。广州市工商局正在紧急追寻这批腊肠的下落。长春市也发现病死猪肉做成的儿童香肠,部份已经流入市场。
专家怀疑猪疫非猪链球菌
据中国官方报导,医生认为此次疫情的高死亡率,是因中毒休克引发脏器衰竭所导致。官方宣布这纯粹是由猪链球菌二型引起的传染,受到所有外界专家的质疑,世界卫生组织3日发表声明,要求进一步的实验室测试鉴定。专家分析患者 出现高热、皮下瘀血、休克等症状,怀疑与禽流感H5N1病毒、伊波拉(Ebola)等更致命病毒相符,但由于中国拒绝让第三方参与测试,真正病原仍不得而知。
美国Recombinomics公司的创立者及董事长、病毒学家尼曼(Henny Niman)博士对《大纪元》说,四川的疫情与1918至1919年在全球造成五千万人死亡的流感非常相似。与四川相邻的青海省前期爆发禽流感,香港大学的管易(音)博士发现具100%家禽与鼠致死率的H5N1病毒,很可能会传染人,其结果发表于5月25日的《自然》杂志。中共否认禽流感已传播于人,指管易“泄漏国家机密”,并关闭了其在中国进行研究的实验室。最近,中国的邻国俄国、越南、日本等都发生了禽流感,印尼的一家三囗感染禽流感而死。H5N1病毒变种快,并可与其它病毒发生重组形成新特性的病毒,造成四川疫病的情况。
就日前网上流传的一些未经中国官方证实指伊波拉病毒在患者血液被发现的报导,尼曼说,伊波拉病毒早些时候在深圳等地被发现,它可以与禽流感病毒发生基因重组。“要了解真实情况,必须有患者血液样本。”
在外界对四川的情况雾里看花之时,中国民众还是决定谨慎为妙。接受《大纪元》采访的一北京市民表示,要尽量少吃猪肉。在猪疫发源地的四川资阳,一位汽车制造厂的女士劝笔者暂时先不要到当地旅游了。(http://www.dajiyuan.com)8/5/2005 3:41:05 AM

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Role of domestic ducks in the propagation and biological evolution of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses in Asia.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 26; 102(30): 10682-7
Hulse-Post DJ, Sturm-Ramirez KM, Humberd J, Seiler P, Govorkova EA, Krauss S, Scholtissek C, Puthavathana P, Buranathai C, Nguyen TD, Long HT, Naipospos TS, Chen H, Ellis TM, Guan Y, Peiris JS, Webster RG

Wild waterfowl, including ducks, are natural hosts of influenza A viruses. These viruses rarely caused disease in ducks until 2002, when some H5N1 strains became highly pathogenic. Here we show that these H5N1 viruses are reverting to nonpathogenicity in ducks. Ducks experimentally infected with viruses isolated between 2003 and 2004 shed virus for an extended time (up to 17 days), during which variant viruses with low pathogenicity were selected. These results suggest that the duck has become the "Trojan horse" of Asian H5N1 influenza viruses. The ducks that are unaffected by infection with these viruses continue to circulate these viruses, presenting a pandemic threat.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent hyperinduction of tumor necrosis factor alpha expression in response to avian influenza virus H5N1.

J Virol. 2005 Aug; 79(16): 10147-54
Lee DC, Cheung CY, Law AH, Mok CK, Peiris M, Lau AS

Avian influenza A virus subtype H5N1 can infect humans to cause a severe viral pneumonia with mortality rates of more than 30%. The biological basis for this unusual disease severity is not fully understood. We previously demonstrated that in contrast to human influenza A virus subtypes including H1N1 or H3N2, the H5N1 virus associated with the "bird flu" outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997 (H5N1/97) hyperinduces proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), in primary human macrophages in vitro. To delineate the molecular mechanisms involved, we analyzed the role of transcription factor NF-kappaB and cellular kinases in TNF-alpha dysregulation. H5N1 and H1N1 viruses did not differ in the activation of NF-kappaB or degradation of IkappaB-alpha in human macrophages. However, we demonstrated that unlike H1N1 virus, H5N1/97 strongly activates mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), including p38 MAPK and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2. Specific inhibitors of p38 MAPK significantly reduced the H5N1/97-induced TNF-alpha expression in macrophages. Taken together, our findings suggest that H5N1/97-mediated hyperinduction of cytokines involves the p38 MAPK signaling pathway. These results may provide insights into the pathogenesis of H5N1 disease and rationales for the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

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Studies of H5N1 Influenza Virus Infection of Pigs by Using Viruses Isolated in Vietnam and Thailand in 2004.

J Virol. 2005 Aug; 79(16): 10821-5
Choi YK, Nguyen TD, Ozaki H, Webby RJ, Puthavathana P, Buranathal C, Chaisingh A, Auewarakul P, Hanh NT, Ma SK, Hui PY, Guan Y, Peiris JS, Webster RG

To determine whether avian H5N1 influenza viruses associated with human infections in Vietnam had transmitted to pigs, we investigated serologic evidence of exposure to H5N1 influenza virus in Vietnamese pigs in 2004. Of the 3,175 pig sera tested, 8 (0.25%) were positive for avian H5N1 influenza viruses isolated in 2004 by virus neutralization assay and Western blot analysis. Experimental studies of replication and transmissibility of the 2004 Asian H5N1 viruses in pigs revealed that all viruses tested replicated in the swine respiratory tract but none were transmitted to contact pigs. Virus titers from nasal swabs peaked on day 2, and low titers were detected in the liver of two of the four pigs tested. Our findings indicate that pigs can be infected with highly lethal Asian H5N1 viruses but that these viruses are not readily transmitted between pigs under experimental conditions.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

Rysk varning för fågelsmittaNyhetsportalen.se

I tisdags meddelade ryska myndigheter att den farliga virusvarianten H5N1 påträffats hos fåglar i Sibirien. Nu befaras vilda flyttfåglar kunna föra viruset med sig till regionerna kring Kaspiska havet och Svarta havet.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 3 Flu UpdateThe Coming Influenza Pandemic?

WaPo is rapidly picking up the bird flu story. This is on the spread to a new area of Siberia.

Here's the TASS story on the same topic.

Russia is having war games, and this report says its soliders are going to get flu shots (??) for bird flu. Check the well photo-shopped image out in this story.

Russia is looking at a $1B tab for the bird flu to farmers alone.

The cull is on in Siberia.

CIDRAP with a story on the cull.

There's a new case of human bird flu in Vietnam.

Recombinomics on the new case. He reminds us that there are two H5N1 in Vietnam--a milder version in the north, where this case is, and a more deadly version in the south, and discusses the implications of this genetic variability running around.


The HHS Secretary says they may use the US Postal Service to deliver flu meds (Tamiflu, I guess) to homes during a pandemic.

(Two thoughts. First, if the mail carriers get the flu, we're in real trouble. And, if they think I'm taking an injection from my mail carrier, they have another thing coming.)

The Rutgers College of Nursing is during an infectious disease seminar in October. Keynote speaker will be Gina Kolata of the New York Times, who wrote an outstanding flu book I read last December.

The EU Communications Commission is working on a green paper on pandemic preparedness.

Recombinomics looks ath the situation in China, which is, for lack of a better phrase, a bacterial and viral cluster-f**k. Niman combines on-the-ground, unconfirmed reports with other media accounts in this commentary.

Recombinomics cites a machine translation here showing bird flu in Tyumen, a heavy poultry district in Russia.

Wikipedia on Tyumen, which is in Siberia

Recombinomics on the spread of the flu toward Europe.

More Recombinomics and the spread to Asia.

Recombinomics notes that the isolate heading to Europe is not resistant to Amantadine and Rimantadine, which could increase demand for these drugs.

Recombinomics has a machine translation which points to four new human cases in Kazhakstan.

Recombinomics has this boxun report about villages being razed in China based on the riots reported last week due to quarantines. Unconfirmed, but not implausible.

The above translation of a boxun report suggest that three villages were razed in response to unrest linked to a forced bird flu quarantine in Yushu in northwestern Qinghai in China. China has imposed news blackouts and arrested reporters in the past, so verifiable news from the area is difficult to obtain.
Croflogs identified this, based on Declan Butler on Connotea, which is a Singapore news site on bird flu.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

Flu medication VIRA 38 inhibits SARS virusNews-Medical News Feed

PRB Pharmaceuticals and Lee's Pharmaceuticals have announced that a recent study by Taiwan researchers from the National Health Research Institutes demonstrates TF2b and TF3, two components of v38 AMF-1, inhibit the 3C-like protease encoded by SARS-CoV. v38 AMF-1, a fraction of the flu medication VIRA 38, is best known for its ability to inhibit bird flu virus (H5N1) infections.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 4 Flu UpdateThe Coming Influenza Pandemic?

CIDRAP has the news of two NIH funded studies that analyze containment strategies for the flu. The plan is to "nip it in the bud" with highly focused resources.

Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP, had this to say in comment:

"I want these strategies to work," infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, told CIDRAP News. "But in all my years in public health, I have yet to see mathematical models that have driven public health actions in meaningful ways." Osterholm used HIV and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) as examples of diseases for which there have been what he calls a "pandemic of modeling studies."

"My concern is that papers like these suggest more direction for planning than is warranted and may placate policymakers who believe the planning puzzle has clear solutions. . . . The issue of antiviral treatment, for example, has to be looked at against the whole system of disease occurrence and transmission. How well can we detect the disease when it starts occurring? How can we make sure travelers who appear healthy aren't unknowingly spreading the virus?" Osterholm, who is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, publisher of this Web site, used as illustration the example of SARS' fast jump from the Far East to Canada in 2003.

Osterholm also made the point that since a flu pandemic will very likely be caused by a mutation of the H5N1 virus currently spreading among birds in Asia, we will be facing a "reloading" problem at the source—that since birds are a reservoir that is constantly replenished, "We are dealing with a moving target, not a static population like humans. . . . Culling [the birds] won't work. It's like throwing fresh wood on a fire."

Here's an NIH link to the study.

Here's a WHO link.

The Daily Mail in the UK has its take on this...something along the lines of scientists say it can be "stopped in its tracks."

WaPo is a little more reasonable, on the order of a theory.

The Times of London notes, correctly, that the key is "decisive action" would be required under the plan.

Effect Measure drops the bomb on these studies, despite that he respects the people who did them. Note these quotes:


...it must be said again: once this virus gains the capability of being transmitted from person to person like other influenza subtypes that circulate in human populations, there will be no way to prevent its global spread.

clip

So I hate to disagree with Elizabeth Halloran of Emory, an infectious disease epidemiologist of note and a genuine expert. In her view, as reported by the BBC,
"Our findings indicate that we have reason to be somewhat hopeful.

"If - or, more likely, when - an outbreak occurs in humans, there is a chance of containing it and preventing a pandemic."
There is no reason at all to be hopeful.


As always, the comments are excellent on Effect Measure.

Tyler Cowen on Avian Flu has a nice post, too.

Note that Thailand, or similar places, has not had the past facility to stop malaria, or even to provide clean drinking water to its rural populations. Measures of these kinds will limit deaths, and should be taken, but they are highly unlikely to stop a pandemic from spreading, should one get started.


Here is a Reuters timeline that spells out the march of the bird flu through Asia.

Reuters bird flu fact sheet.

Roche is in discussions to donate a substantial amount of Tamiflu to WHO.

In Vietnam, there were three news human cases in July.

From Russia, flu threatens European Russia.

Fiji is on the case to fight the pandemic.

Vietnam is vaccinating poultry.

Recombinomics on the spread of bird flu in Russia.

Staggering....Recombinomics says 70% of waterfowl in Mekong Delta are bird flu positive.

Crofsblogs points us to the disease section on boxun.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Запрет на ввоз животноводческой продукцииЯндекс.Новости: Общество

... установлено в 14 населенных пунктах 5 районов Новосибирской области, а также в селе Глубокое Завьяловского района Алтайского края и селе Пеганово Бердюжского района ...
... пресс-служба Минсельхоза РФ, при исследовании патологического материала от больных птиц из Новосибирской области был обнаружен вирус гриппа птиц типа А, субтип H5N1.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Probable tiger-to-tiger transmission of avian influenza H5N1.

Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 May; 11(5): 699-701
Thanawongnuwech R, Amonsin A, Tantilertcharoen R, Damrongwatanapokin S, Theamboonlers A, Payungporn S, Nanthapornphiphat K, Ratanamungklanon S, Tunak E, Songserm T, Vivatthanavanich V, Lekdumrongsak T, Kesdangsakonwut S, Tunhikorn S, Poovorawan Y

During the second outbreak of avian influenza H5N1 in Thailand, probable horizontal transmission among tigers was demonstrated in the tiger zoo. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of those viruses showed no differences from the first isolate obtained in January 2004. This finding has implications for influenza virus epidemiology and pathogenicity in mammals.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

Highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus in smuggled Thai eagles, Belgium.

Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 May; 11(5): 702-5
Van Borm S, Thomas I, Hanquet G, Lambrecht B, Boschmans M, Dupont G, Decaestecker M, Snacken R, van den Berg T

We report the isolation and characterization of a highly pathogenic avian influenza A/H5N1 virus from Crested Hawk-Eagles smuggled into Europe by air travel. A screening performed in human and avian contacts indicated no dissemination occurred. Illegal movements of birds are a major threat for the introduction of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

Preparing for pandemic vaccination: an international policy agenda for vaccine development.

J Public Health Policy. 2005 Apr; 26(1): 4-29
Fedson DS

The international use of influenza vaccine is growing, especially in developing countries. Since 1997, avian H5N1 influenza in Southeast Asia has caused several human infections and high mortality. Experts warn that the next influenza pandemic is imminent and could be severe. Prevention and control will depend on the rapid production and worldwide distribution of specific pandemic vaccines. If the vaccine supply is to be sufficient to meet global demand, issues related to the intellectual property rights for the reverse genetics technology essential for vaccine production must be resolved. In addition, candidate "pandemic-like" vaccines must be developed and tested in clinical trials to determine the most antigen sparing formulation and the best vaccination schedule. These studies must involve all vaccine companies and will require international coordination and public funding. Whether this international policy agenda for pandemic vaccine development will succeed is uncertain, but it will provide a good indication of whether "good governance" for global public health can be achieved.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

Analysis of synonymous codon usage in H5N1 virus and other influenza A viruses.

Biosystems. 2005 Jul; 81(1): 77-86
Zhou T, Gu W, Ma J, Sun X, Lu Z

In this study, we calculated the codon usage bias in H5N1 virus and performed a comparative analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in H5N1 virus, five other evolutionary related influenza A viruses and a influenza B virus. Codon usage bias in H5N1 genome is a little slight, which is mainly determined by the base compositions on the third codon position. By comparing synonymous codon usage patterns in different viruses, we observed that the codon usage pattern of H5N1 virus is similar with other influenza A viruses, but not influenza B virus, and the synonymous codon usage in influenza A virus genes is phylogenetically conservative, but not strain-specific. Synonymous codon usage in genes encoded by different influenza A viruses is genus conservative. Compositional constraints could explain most of the variation of synonymous codon usage among these virus genes, while gene function is also correlated to synonymous codon usages to a certain extent. However, translational selection and gene length have no effect on the variations of synonymous codon usage in these virus genes.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

Human infection by avian influenza A H5N1.

Hong Kong Med J. 2005 Jun; 11(3): 189-99
Yuen KY, Wong SS

The Southeast Asian outbreak of the highly lethal avian influenza A H5N1 infection in humans is unlikely to abate because of the enormous number of backyard farms providing poultry as the main source of food protein in developing countries. This increases the risk of the emergence of a reassortant pandemic influenza virus with improved human-to-human transmissibility. Currently triage of suspected cases by epidemiological risk factors remains the only practical way of case identification for laboratory investigation and infection control. The clinical usefulness of rapid diagnostic laboratory tests requires more vigorous evaluation. The lethality of this disease may reflect systemic viral dissemination, cytokine storm, or alveolar flooding due to inhibition of cellular sodium channels. The present circulating genotype Z is intrinsically resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. Prognosis may be improved by early treatment with a neuraminidase inhibitor with good systemic drug levels, and post-exposure prophylaxis for health care workers is recommended. The role of immunomodulators and other modalities of therapy requires evaluation in randomised controlled trials, with prospective monitoring of the viral load and cytokine profiles in various clinical specimens. In view of the high fatality of the disease, a combination of contact, droplet, and airborne precautions are recommended as long as resources allow despite the fact that the relative importance of these three modes in nosocomial transmission of avian influenza is still unknown.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

Isolation of a genotypically unique H5N1 influenza virus from duck meat imported into Japan from China.

Virology. 2005 Jun 17;
Mase M, Eto M, Tanimura N, Imai K, Tsukamoto K, Horimoto T, Kawaoka Y, Yamaguchi S

An H5N1 influenza A virus was isolated from duck meat processed for human consumption, imported to Japan from Shandong Province, China in 2003. This virus was antigenically different from other H5 viruses, including the Hong Kong H5N1 viruses isolated from humans in 1997 and 2003. Sequence analysis revealed that six genes (PB1, PA, HA, NA, M, and NS) of this virus showed > 97% nucleotide identity with their counterparts from recent H5N1 viruses, but that the remaining two genes (PB2 and NP) were derived from other unknown viruses. This duck meat isolate was highly pathogenic to chickens upon intravenous or intranasal inoculation, replicated well in the lungs of mice and spread to the brain, but was not as pathogenic in mice as H5N1 human isolates (with a dose lethal to 50% of mice (MLD(50)) = 5 x 10(6) 50% egg infectious doses [EID(50)]). However, viruses isolated from the brain of mice previously infected with the virus were substantially more pathogenic (MLD(50) = approximately 10(2) EID(50)) and possessed some amino acid substitutions relative to the original virus. These results show that poultry products contaminated with influenza viruses of high pathogenic potential to mammals are a threat to public health even in countries where the virus is not enzootic and represent a possible source of influenza outbreaks in poultry.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

[Multi-epitope DNA vaccines against avian influenza in chickens]

Sheng Wu Gong Cheng Xue Bao. 2003 Sep; 19(5): 623-7
Peng JM, Tong GZ, Wang YF, Qiu HJ

Multiple epitopes from one or more viruses can be lined up and co-expressed in one vector to generate multi-epitopes DNA vaccines. In the study, four recombinant plasmids were constructed based on HA and NP gene of avian influenza virus (AIV) (H5N1): (1) pIRES/HA, carrying the complete HA gene; (2) pIRES/tHA, carrying a truncated HA gene fragment of major neutralizing antigenic epitopes; (3) pIRES/tHA-NPep, in which three CTL epitopes of NP gene of AIV were fused to the truncated HA from the C-terminal; and (4) pIRES/tHA-NPep-IFN-gamma, which was constructed by replacing neo gene in pIRES/ tHA-NPep with IFN-y of chicken. Fifty five SPF chickens were randomly divided into five groups and immunized with the above four constructs and control plasmid. Each chicken was intramuscally immunized with 200 microg plasmid DNA three times in a two-week interval. Two weeks after the third immunization, chickens were injected with H5N1 subtype avian influenza virus. Before the virus loading no detectable antibodies to HA were found in the chicken serum; but high levels of HI antibodies were detected in the serum of the survived chickens. The percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocyte in peripheral blood of immunized chickens increased steadily after the vaccination. After virus loading all chickens in the control group died within three to eight days, and the survival rates of the four DNA vaccine groups were as follows: pIRES/HA, 54.5%; pIRES/tHA, 30%, pIRES/ tHA-NPep, 36.3%, pIRES/tHA-NPep-IFN-gamma, 50%. These results indicated that multi-epitopes DNA immunization can induce immune response and protect chickens from homologous virus loading.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

Pandemic influenza: are we ready?

Disaster Manag Response. 2005 Jul-Sep; 3(3): 61-7
Cinti S

An influenza pandemic is inevitable, and the H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in Southeast Asia has heightened concern that a disaster is imminent. Pandemic preparations are beginning around the world, and it is important for first responders, particularly disaster management personnel, to understand the difference between pandemic and epidemic influenza preparedness. This article will focus on distinguishing between an influenza epidemic and an influenza pandemic and, in light of these distinctions, how to manage the next pandemic with limited resources, particularly the absence of vaccine.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

Update: Influenza activity--United States and worldwide, 2004-05 season.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Jul 1; 54(25): 631-4

During the 2004-05 influenza season, influenza A (H1),* A (H3N2), and B viruses cocirculated worldwide, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated. In addition, several Asian countries continued to report widespread outbreaks of avian influenza A (H5N1) among poultry; in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, these outbreaks were associated with severe illnesses and deaths among humans. In the United States, the 2004-05 influenza season peaked in February, was moderate, and was associated predominantly with influenza A (H3N2) viruses. This report summarizes influenza activity in the United States and worldwide during the 2004-05 influenza season.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Influenza Virus Infection in Migratory Birds.

Science. 2005 Jul 6;
Liu J, Xiao H, Lei F, Zhu Q, Qin K, Zhang X, Zhang X, Zhao D, Wang G, Feng Y, Ma J, Liu W, Wang J, Gao GF

H5N1 avian influenza virus (AIV) has emerged as a pathogenic entity for a variety of species, including humans, in recent years. Here we report an outbreak among migratory birds on Lake Qinghaihu, China, in May and June 2005, in which hundreds of thousands of birds were affected. Pancreatic necrosis and abnormal neurological symptoms were the major clinical features. Sequencing of complete genomes of four H5N1 AIV strains isolated revealed to be reassortants related to a peregrine falcon isolate from Hong Kong and showed known "highly pathogenic" characteristics. Experimental animal infections reproduced typical highly pathogenic AIV-infection symptoms and pathology.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

Protecting human and ecological health under viral threats in Asia.

Water Sci Technol. 2005; 51(8): 91-7
Matsui S

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbroke in 2003, and the avian influenza A (H5N1) also outbroke in 2003 and continued to 2004. These pandemic viral diseases originated in South East Asia. Many human and animal lives were lost. Economic damages due to the pandemics were also very large. The question arises of why did the pandemics originate from South East Asian areas. Human influenza A consists of many sub-types of coronaviruses including the SARS virus and the avian influenza (H5N1) that are all variants of RNA of avian coronavirus. Variants are formed during infection of a coronavirus through not only birds but also mammals, including human beings. There are hot spots where viral infection rates are accelerated among birds, mammals and human beings. Suspicious areas are in South East Asia, where living conditions of birds, mammals and human beings are so close that there are always risks of viral infection. When we see the living conditions of farmers in southern China, northern Vietnam, Laos and northern Myanmar, they commonly raise ducks/chickens with pigs sharing ponds into which they discharge household wastewater, including human excreta, and pig excreta that are significant carriers of viruses. Bird faeces are also key carriers of the viruses. In the ponds, they raise ducks and conduct fish culture. Other important players are migrating birds from North Asia, which are principal vectors of avian influenza viruses. There is an urgent necessity of improving human and ecological health in South East Asia to control viral infection among birds, mammals and human beings. We can hinder the vicious cycle of virus infection through water contamination in ponds by providing good human, pig and chicken sanitation. It is easy to provide good sanitation practices for human, pigs and chickens, introducing collection and treatment of excreta. Our modern water technology can find good solutions for the problem.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

Protection against multiple influenza A subtypes by vaccination with highly conserved nucleoprotein.

Vaccine. 2005 Jul 9;
Epstein SL, Kong WP, Misplon JA, Lo CY, Tumpey TM, Xu L, Nabel GJ

Influenza epidemic and pandemic strains cannot be predicted with certainty. Current vaccines elicit antibodies effective against specific strains, but new strategies are urgently needed for protection against unexpected strains. DNA vaccines encoding conserved antigens protect animals against diverse subtypes, but their potency needs improvement. We tested DNA prime-recombinant adenoviral boost immunization to nucleoprotein (NP). Strong antibody and T cell responses were induced. Protection against challenge was T cell-dependent and substantially more potent than DNA vaccination alone. Importantly, vaccination protected against lethal challenge with highly pathogenic H5N1 virus. Thus, gene-based vaccination with NP may contribute to protective immunity against diverse influenza viruses through its ability to stimulate cellular immunity.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

Characterization of a human H5N1 influenza A virus isolated in 2003.

J Virol. 2005 Aug; 79(15): 9926-32
Shinya K, Hatta M, Yamada S, Takada A, Watanabe S, Halfmann P, Horimoto T, Neumann G, Kim JH, Lim W, Guan Y, Peiris M, Kiso M, Suzuki T, Suzuki Y, Kawaoka Y

In 2003, H5N1 avian influenza virus infections were diagnosed in two Hong Kong residents who had visited the Fujian province in mainland China, affording us the opportunity to characterize one of the viral isolates, A/Hong Kong/213/03 (HK213; H5N1). In contrast to H5N1 viruses isolated from humans during the 1997 outbreak in Hong Kong, HK213 retained several features of aquatic bird viruses, including the lack of a deletion in the neuraminidase stalk and the absence of additional oligosaccharide chains at the globular head of the hemagglutinin molecule. It demonstrated weak pathogenicity in mice and ferrets but caused lethal infection in chickens. The original isolate failed to produce disease in ducks but became more pathogenic after five passages. Taken together, these findings portray the HK213 isolate as an aquatic avian influenza A virus without the molecular changes associated with the replication of H5N1 avian viruses in land-based poultry such as chickens. This case challenges the view that adaptation to land-based poultry is a prerequisite for the replication of aquatic avian influenza A viruses in humans.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

Influenza A H5N1 replication sites in humans.

Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Jul; 11(7): 1036-41
Uiprasertkul M, Puthavathana P, Sangsiriwut K, Pooruk P, Srisook K, Peiris M, Nicholls JM, Chokephaibulkit K, Vanprapar N, Auewarakul P

Tissue tropism and pathogenesis of influenza A virus subtype H5N1 disease in humans is not well defined. In mammalian experimental models, H5N1 influenza is a disseminated disease. However, limited previous data from human autopsies have not shown evidence of virus dissemination beyond the lung. We investigated a patient with fatal H5N1 influenza. Viral RNA was detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in lung, intestine, and spleen tissues, but positive-stranded viral RNA indicating virus replication was confined to the lung and intestine. Viral antigen was detected in pneumocytes by immunohistochemical tests. Tumor necrosis factor-? mRNA was seen in lung tissue. In contrast to disseminated infection documented in other mammals and birds, H5N1 viral replication in humans may be restricted to the lung and intestine, and the major site of H5N1 viral replication in the lung is the pneumocyte.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Virulence may determine the necessary duration and dosage of oseltamivir treatment for highly pathogenic a/vietnam/1203/04 influenza virus in mice.

J Infect Dis. 2005 Aug 15; 192(4): 665-72
Yen HL, Monto AS, Webster RG, Govorkova EA

Background. Control of highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza viruses is a major public-health concern. Antiviral drugs could be the only option early in the pandemic.Methods. BALB/c mice were given oseltamivir (0.1, 1, or 10 mg/kg/day) twice daily by oral gavage; the first dose was given 4 h before inoculation with H5N1 A/Vietnam/1203/04 (VN1203/04) virus. Five- and 8-day regimens were evaluated.Results. Oseltamivir produced a dose-dependent antiviral effect against VN1203/04 in vivo (P<.01). The 5-day regimen at 10 mg/kg/day protected 50% of mice; deaths in this treatment group were delayed and indicated the replication of residual virus after the completion of treatment. Eight-day regimens improved oseltamivir efficacy, and dosages of 1 and 10 mg/kg/day significantly reduced virus titers in organs and provided 60% and 80% survival rates, respectively (P<.05). Overall, the efficacy of the 5- and 8-day regimens differed significantly (death hazard ratio, 2.658; P<.01). The new H5N1 antigenic variant VN1203/04 was more pathogenic in mice than was A/HK/156/97 virus, and a prolonged and higher-dose oseltamivir regimen may be required for the most beneficial antiviral effect.Conclusions. Oseltamivir prophylaxis is efficacious against lethal challenge with VN1203/04 virus in mice. Viral virulence may affect the antiviral treatment schedule.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

WHO Vaccine - H5N1 Captain Trips?

... The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to stick with the strains of H5N1 avian influenza... strains of H5N1 viruses from affected countries "did not provide any convincing evidence to change... companies, Sanofi Pasteur and Chiron, to make prototype H5N1 vaccines. A government-sponsored clinical ...

The Nattering Naybob Chronicles Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

病猪被投河 四川民众不敢吃鱼

... ,受到所有外界专家的质疑,世界卫生组织3日发表声明,要求进一步的实验室测试鉴定。专家分析患者 出现高热、皮下瘀血、休克等症状,怀疑与禽流感H5N1病毒、伊波拉(Ebola...。与四川相邻的青海省前期爆发禽流感,香港大学的管易(音)博士发现具100%家禽与鼠致死率的H5N1病毒,很可能会传染人,其结果发表于5月25日的《自然》杂志。中共否认禽流感已传播于人,指管易“泄漏国家机密”,并关闭了其在中国进行研究的实验室。最近,中国的邻国俄国、越南、日本等都发生了禽流感,印尼的一家三囗感染禽流感而死。H5N1病毒变种快,并可与其它病毒发生重组形成新特性的病毒 ...

九 评 共 产 党 Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Bird flu may be spreading in Kazakhstan, Russia

ALMATY/MOSCOW, Bird flu detected in northern Kazakhstan and in three Russian regions may be spreading further, officials said on Friday, but measures were being taken to curb the outbreak.

Senior Kazakh veterinary officials confirmed on Thursday bird flu had broken out in the Pavlodar region bordering Russia''s quarantined region of Novosibirsk, where the virus has been found to be of the H5N1 type dangerous to humans.

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Posted by dymaxion at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

C'est quoi cette crète ? Rien une mauvaise grippe !

pe aviaire désigne une maladie virale rencontrée sur les volailles. Cette affection est transmissible à l'homme et à d'autres animaux (porc notamment).
Le virus A, responsable de la grippe, telle qu'on la connaît, compte 135 versions infectant les volatiles et 3 s'attaquant directement à l'homme. L'échange de virus entre les volatiles et l'espèce humaine est très exceptionnel mais pas impossible, un virus peut muter, c'est-à-dire voir son information génétique être modifiée, et l'homme peut être surexposé au virus. Ce cas de figure est apparu lors de l'épizootie de 2004, provoquée par la souche H5N1, qui a durement frappé les oiseaux, mais aussi certaines personnes résidant à proximité des poulaillers et des élevages de volailles touchés par la pandémie.

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Posted by dymaxion at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

Not Really

Check out the title of this news item:

China lifts veil on extent of pig disease
05 Aug 2005 12:36:33 GMTSource: Reuters

BEIJING, Aug 5 (Reuters) - China on Friday for the first time announced the number of pigs killed by a deadly bacteria that has also claimed the lives of at least 38 people who slaughtered, handled or ate infected animals.

A total 644 hogs in southwestern Sichuan province have died from Streptococcus suis, although the number of swine affected by the epidemic - which China insists has been brought under control - is falling daily, the official Xinhua agency reported.
There is no transparency. China hasn't allowed any independent verification of the tale they are telling.

The WHO has asked again, with a pretty please and sugar on top, for China to do more testing to determine if Streptococcus suis is the true and sole cause of the outbreak. I'm still not sure why the WHO isn't asking to conduct their own tests.


Previous posts on the topic:

Sichuan Swine Disease Reports Continue to Puzzle Experts

H5N1 Avian Flu Virus Outbreaks in Poultry in Russia and Kazakhstan

Pig-Borne Illness in China Story Getting Curiouser and Curiouser

H5N1 Avian Flu Update: Read it and Weep


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Posted by dymaxion at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

CBC News Indepth: Avian Flu The next pandemic?

CBC News Indepth: Avian Flu

INDEPTH: AVIAN FLU

The next pandemic?

CBC News Online ¦ Updated July 27, 2005

H5N1. A string of numbers and letters that has the World Health Organization deeply concerned.

It’s one of 15 varieties of avian influenza – bird flu. So far, it’s the only one that’s shown any ability to directly infect humans. Twice.

Hong [...]

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Posted by dymaxion at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Sichuan Swine Disease Reports Continue to Puzzle ExpertsGee Dubya

The beginning of an AP story via the Washington Post:

Experts on a strep germ that's sickening people and pigs in China are baffled by reports of 37 farmers suddenly falling ill, bleeding under the skin and dying - all previously unheard of with the disease.

While not uncommon in pigs, Streptococcus suis is seldom seen in people and never dozens of cases all at once - raising bigger questions about whether the germ has mixed with some other bacteria or virus.

"Something is different," Marcelo Gottschalk, one of the world's leading experts on the disease, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

"We are worried and we wonder what's happening. We would like to have the strain to identify."

Gottschalk works in the world's only reference laboratory for Streptococcus suis at the University of Montreal in Canada and says no one in China has contacted him for help since the outbreak was reported last month.

So few people have studied this disease, he's unsure how the Chinese have been able to identify it and what type of vaccine they plan to use since immunizations typically are not effective. Chinese state media have reported that enough vaccine for 350,000 pigs has already been sent to Sichuan province from a company in southern Guangdong province and that enough doses for 10 million swine will be shipped later.

As Gottschalk notes, the Chinese have not shared samples with his laboratory (and they haven't with anyone else, for that matter). Furthermore, there is a news blackout in effect in the region, so the only updates on the situation come from China's state media (which, by the way, has stated that the death toll is now 38).

I've also been curious about the vaccine China says it is using to prevent the spread of the disease. Not only do I wish to know what type of vaccine is it, but how China just happened to have such a large quantity stockpiled or how they produced so much of it in so little time (just over a month)? Perhaps China would care to share some information about the vaccine with the world? Or is the vaccine a state secret, too?

Despite the fact that a deeply disturbing mystery, which may have health implications for the planet, is evolving in a highly secretive and uncooperative China, the WHO is calmly sitting by and watching the events unfold:

To date, the Ministry of Health in China has reported 206 cases of human disease associated with an outbreak of Streptococcus suis in pigs. Of these human cases, 38 have been fatal. As reported by China, 18 patients are critically ill.

Virtually all cases have occurred in Sichuan Province, where infections with Streptococcus suis have been detected in pigs in a concurrent outbreak. The province has one of the largest pig populations in China.

Investigation and containment of the outbreak have been given high priority by Chinese authorities. The country’s ministries of health and agriculture are working in close collaboration, and WHO and FAO are being promptly informed of new developments.
So, basically, the WHO is taking China's word for it. Spectacular. The WHO has not done any inspections in the region nor has it analyzed any laboratory samples taken from infected pigs or humans.

I don't know why I'm expecting more from an agency of the United Nations.


Previous related posts:

H5N1 Avian Flu Virus Outbreaks in Poultry in Russia and Kazakhstan

Pig-Borne Illness in China Story Getting Curiouser and Curiouser

H5N1 Avian Flu Update: Read it and Weep


Posted by dymaxion at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

Computer Model Could Help Prevent Avian Flu PandemicMedGadget

This is a snapshot taken about 60 to 90 days after the first case of an uncontrolled outbreak of transmissible avian flu in people living in Thailand. Red indicates new cases while green indicates areas where the epidemic has finished. The accompanying movie (requires free RealPlayer) shows the spread of infection and recovery over 300 days in Thailand and neighboring countries.Dr. Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London and a scholar at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, headed a study to evaluate feasibility of computer modeling to prevent the pandemic of avian flu. The starting point was a single patient with mutated H5N1 influenza A virus in a rural village in Thailand. To read what it takes to contain the epidemic, go to the news section at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Very scary stuff.

More info and accompanying video of epidemic model at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences...

Related News: Bird flu moves towards Europe; Flu viruses mix it up.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Nachtrag: Pandemie H5N1Side Effects

Die Reaktion der WHO auf das Computermodell ist mehr als nur hilflos; sie hat sich der Einfachheit halber den Vorschlägen der US-Forscher angeschlossen: Nur eine frühzeitige Quarantäne möglicher Infizierter und vorsorgliche Massenimpfungen mit dem herkömmlichen Grippe-Impfstoff könnten eine Pandemie verhindern, hiess es aus Genf.
Impfen mag gut sein. Allerdings ist es in den letzten Jahren immer wieder vorgekommen, dass die WHO mit Impfungen die falschen Virenstämme "bekämpft" hat.
Die antiviralen Medikamente, welche die WHO gerade dieser Tage in Massen abzugeben gewillt ist, sind alles andere als "mit Sicherheit wirksam". Ausserdem wird CYP450 nicht berücksichtigt. Letzeres nämlich bedingte, dass das Blut der Menschen getestet würde, ehe ein Medikament abgegeben wird. Ansonsten es noch mehr Tote und Dahinsiechende gäbe.
Und wenn die WHO in einer Erklärung sagt: "Aber das enorme soziale Trauma und menschliche Leid, das eine Grippe-Pandemie bewirken könnte, verpflichten dazu, alle Vorschläge zur Begrenzung des Schadens gründlich zu erwägen.", so ist da nichts als etwas Hoffnung, dass genügend Zeit für die Erwägungen bleibt...
Seltsam, dass das Interesse der Pharma-Industrie an einer wirksamen Impfung gegen diese Bedrohnung so gering ist...
CYP450
die Wirkstoffe

Posted by dymaxion at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

H5N1: Clear and Present Danger vs Tinfoil HatPundita

(This post builds on discussion in earlier Pundita posts over the past few days. I will update this post by noon today at latest with additional data and/or put up a second post.) Rense.com has reprinted a translation of a BBS story about the three village bulldozings. (It seems there were a few retaining walls left standing; if so, it would not be entirely correct to state, as I did in my

Posted by dymaxion at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

Strategies for containing an emerging influenza pandemic in Southeast Asia.HubMed - drugs

Nature. 2005 Aug 3;
Ferguson NM, Cummings DA, Cauchemez S, Fraser C, Riley S, Meeyai A, Iamsirithaworn S, Burke DS

Highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A viruses are now endemic in avian populations in Southeast Asia, and human cases continue to accumulate. Although currently incapable of sustained human-to-human transmission, H5N1 represents a serious pandemic threat owing to the risk of a mutation or reassortment generating a virus with increased transmissibility. Identifying public health interventions that might be able to halt a pandemic in its earliest stages is therefore a priority. Here we use a simulation model of influenza transmission in Southeast Asia to evaluate the potential effectiveness of targeted mass prophylactic use of antiviral drugs as a containment strategy. Other interventions aimed at reducing population contact rates are also examined as reinforcements to an antiviral-based containment policy. We show that elimination of a nascent pandemic may be feasible using a combination of geographically targeted prophylaxis and social distancing measures, if the basic reproduction number of the new virus is below 1.8. We predict that a stockpile of 3 million courses of antiviral drugs should be sufficient for elimination. Policy effectiveness depends critically on how quickly clinical cases are diagnosed and the speed with which antiviral drugs can be distributed.

Posted by dymaxion at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

Viral consciousness

... IMG H5n1 A thought that occurred to me a month ago while xarking influenza: The epidemiologists I... the local infectious disease consultant told me that "this (H5N1) virus is up to something," he... on what they've learned. So when you look at the 10-year history of H5N1 , you begin to see why ...

Xark! Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

EnergeticNeurons.bloghorn.com

... Avian Flu Links and Excerpts Here is a quick collection of bits and pieces that others have collected concerning the continuing development of the H5N1 avian flu story: http://avianflu.typepad.com/avianflu/2005/08/simulating_avia.html — Describes a simulation published in Nature that tried out ...

EnergeticNeurons.bloghorn.com Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

Modeling Epidemics

... Researchers published articles in the journals Science and Nature this week that attempt to predict the outcome of a potential avian influenza A (H5N1) virus pandemic and containment response in South East Asia. The two groups were Ira M. Longini et al. of Emory University; who wrote, "Containing ...

Acronym Required Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

病猪被投河 四川民众不敢吃鱼

... ,受到所有外界专家的质疑,世界卫生组织3日发表声明,要求进一步的实验室测试鉴定。专家分析患者 出现高热、皮下瘀血、休克等症状,怀疑与禽流感H5N1病毒、伊波拉(Ebola)等更致命病毒相符,但由于中国拒绝让第三方参与测试...。与四川相邻的青海省前期爆发禽流感,香港大学的管易(音)博士发现具100%家禽与鼠致死率的H5N1病毒,很可能会传染人,其结果发表于5月25日的《自然》杂志。中共否认禽流感已传播于人,指管易“泄漏国家机密”,并关闭了其在中国进行研究的实验室。最近,中国的邻国俄国、越南、日本等都发生了禽流感,印尼的一家三囗感染禽流感而死。H5N1病毒变种快,并可与其它病毒发生重组形成新特性的病毒 ...

惜 缘 Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

is h5n1 stoppable if we all just get along?

... Over the past couple of days, some stories have appeared in the press suggesting that computer models show that if we can get 3 million doses of Tamiflu to the location of the first human outbreak (30-50 cases) of H5N1 in 3 weeks or so, we can make short work of the pandemic... Effect Measure has ... ...

paranoid prose Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Cuckoo Ah-choo!

... . *!* Wake up! Across East Asia, an influenza virus known by the scientific designation H5N1 has... on different animal species and its contact with humans. By those measures, H5N1 is a virus ...

God Dem! Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

【感染症】新型インフルエンザの流行阻止は抗ウイルス剤の迅速投与がカギ(08/04/2005)

... 【感染症】新型インフルエンザの流行阻止は抗ウイルス剤の迅速投与がカギ(08/04/2005) ■新型インフルエンザの流行阻止は抗ウイルス剤の迅速投与がカギ 〜London大などがタイ想定したモデル研究をNatureに発表 (08/04/2005)  ベトナム、カンボジア、インドネシアなど東南アジアでは、野鳥や家禽類にH5N1型の高病原性トリインフルエンザ ウイルス感染が蔓延しており、...予防的投与により非感染者への感染可能性を下げる、などの処置が必要だ。  H5N1型ウイルスについては、有効性が証明されているワクチンはなく、ワクチン製造には時間がかかる。  そこで研究者たちは、タイでの ...

News Scrap from 2ch Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

中国医学论坛报评出国际医学十大新闻(注:2005-1-11出的)

... 1.SARS病毒进化规律被揭示 中美科学家通过对SARS病毒分子流行病学的研究,揭示出SARS病毒从动物感染人类的进化过程。这项研究成果对预测将来的SARS疫情和公共卫生措施的制订具有重要意义。(Science 20040331666) 2.H5N1型禽流感在亚洲大肆蔓延 ...

04临床1班 Technorati this

Posted by dymaxion at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2005

8-04-05 Feed

Flu could infect half world's people in year

 
WHO in talks to stockpile antiviral drugs in case of global outbreak


Ian Sample, science correspondent
Thursday August 4, 2005
The Guardian

An outbreak of flu in rural south-east Asia could spread around the globe in three months and infect half the world's population within a year, unless strict measures to contain it are introduced, scientists said yesterday.
 

The warning comes from researchers who used computer models to investigate what would happen if the avian flu virus, which is currently rife among poultry in areas of China, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, mutated into a form that spread easily among humans.
 

Scientists believe it is only a matter of time before the virus, known as H5N1, mutates to become more infectious to humans, possibly by swapping genes with the human flu virus.

Full Article

From quickstep (feed)
 

Today 12:57:49 PM

Avian Flu update

  The great migration of birds from China has begun.  H5N1 is the variant of avian flu that is the most worrisome because it's fatal to humans, and has killed to date some 57 people in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.

From Estate Legacy Vaults Blog (feed)
Today 9:42:09 AM

Запрет на ввоз животноводческой продукции

  ... установлено в 14 населенных пунктах 5 районов Новосибирской области, а также в селе Глубокое Завьяловского района Алтайского края и селе Пеганово Бердюжского района ...
... пресс-служба Минсельхоза РФ, при исследовании патологического материала от больных птиц из Новосибирской области был обнаружен вирус гриппа птиц типа А, субтип H5N1.
From Яндекс.Новости: Общество (feed)
 

Today 9:40:11 AM

 

CHRONOLOGY-Key dates in Asian bird flu outbreak. (BIRDFLU-CHRONOLOGY) 2005-08-04 09:10:58

LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan confirmed on Thursday an outbreak of bird flu in the north of the country and said scientists needed more time to discover whether the virus was dangerous to humans.

Here is a brief chronology of the spread of Asian bird flu:

Dec 15, 2003 - South Korea confirms a highly contagious type of bird flu at a chicken farm near Seoul and begins a mass cull of poultry when the virus rapidly spreads across the country.

Dec 31 - Taiwan reports its first case and later destroys thousands of chickens with a milder form of avian flu.

Jan 8, 2004 - Vietnam says bird flu has been found on many of its poultry farms.

Jan 13 - The World Health Organisation confirms the deaths of three people in Vietnam are linked to bird flu.

Jan 25 - Indonesia discovers an outbreak among chickens.

Jan 26 - Thailand confirms the death of a six-year-old boy, its first human death from bird flu.

Feb 12 - The World Health Organization confirms tests show no evidence bird flu is passing from person to person.

March 16 - China declares it has stamped out the disease in all 49 hotbeds and has had no reports among poultry for 29 days.

May 26 - Thailand reports a fresh case of bird flu is found in several dead chickens on a university research farm in the northern city of Chiang Mai.

Aug 19 - Malaysia says a strain of bird flu has been found in two chickens that died in a northern village near the Thai border in the country’s first bird flu outbreak.

Sept 27 - Thailand says it has found its first known probable case of a human being infecting another with bird flu. It insisted it was an isolated incident that posed little risk to the greater population.

Dec 15 - Taiwan says it has discovered two strains of avian flu in migratory birds in the northern part of the island, the milder H5N2 strain and also the H5N6 strain.

April 5, 2005 - The UN says that the H7 strain of bird flu previously undetected in Asia has been found in North Korea.

July 8 - The Philippines says it has suffered its first case of bird flu after ducks were found to be infected. It later says that it is free from any highly pathogenic strain of bird flu.

July 20 - Indonesia confirms its first deaths from bird flu.

July 26 - Japan says a fresh outbreak of bird flu has been discovered on a chicken farm in eastern Japan. All outbreaks in the Ibaraki prefecture since late June have been confirmed as the weak H5N2 strain.

July 29 - Vietnam reports that bird flu has killed two more people, taking the toll to 42. The H5N1 virus has also killed 12 people in Thailand, four in Cambodia and three in Indonesia.

-- Russia’s Siberian region of Novosibirsk confirms cases of the H51N strain of bird flu. Two other regions, Altai and Tyumen have also since confirmed cases.

Aug 4 - Kazakhstan confirms an outbreak in late July in the Pavlodar region. Veterinary officials say the virus is avian influenza, but have yet to define the exact type.

REUTERS Reut13:10 08-04-05

Copyright: (c) TWP, AP, Reuters, others as appropriate
Today 9:32:43 AM

On the mirage of stopping bird flu

 
It pains me to say some work of people I know and respect is a load of crap, but it has to be said in this instance. It is widely reported (e.g., BBC) that a bird flu pandemic is stoppable "if governments work together." Whether a pandemic with H5N1 (as opposed to another influenza A subtype) happens or not is no longer within the control of any government (if it ever was). I (and others, notably Henry Niman) have said this before, but it must be said again: once this virus gains the capability of being transmitted from person to person like other influenza subtypes that circulate in human populations, there will be no way to prevent its global spread. The contrary idea, as reported in this week's scientific journals Nature and Science, is so heavily qualified it might as well have never been made in the first place.
 

Indeed the requirements for the claim to be valid essentially make this a "trans-scientific proposition," i.e., one that can be phrased in scientific terms but not practically carried out, like weighing the moon on a balance.
 

Here are the conditions required to "stop" an outbreak that begins in Thailand, according to two research teams, one in England, the other in the US:

Firstly, the virus would have to be identified while confined to about 30 people, they told Nature.
 

In addition, antiviral drugs would have to be distributed rapidly to the 20,000 individuals nearest those infected
 

They estimate an international stockpile of three million courses of the treatment would be enough to contain an outbreak.
 

But it would mean having to deploy the drug anywhere in the world at short notice.
Another team from Emory University in Atlanta, the US, led by Dr Ira Longini, simulated an outbreak in a population of 500,000 in rural Thailand, where people mixed in a variety of settings, including households, schools, workplaces and a hospital.
 

Provided targeted use of antiviral drugs was adopted within 21 days it would be possible to contain an outbreak, they found, as long as each infected person was not likely to infect more than an average of 1.6 people.
 

If it was more infective than this, household quarantines would also be necessary, they said.

These expressions of hope are based on some rather shaky foundations, computer models with many assumptions built in (among them an R0 of 1.6 in the Longini model, likely an underestimate). I am not knocking computer models. I construct and use them myself. But they shouldn't be used in circumstances where the margin of error is as slight as in this case and they shouldn't be interpreted to provide reliable assurance things would evolve in the way predicted. They may be useful for understanding the qualitative dynamics of disease spread, but in this case we are too close to the sensitive points (the bifurcation points in the parameter regimes) to have any confidence in the results.
 

Even if the models were valid (a big "if"), just a glance at the initial conditions above would show the futility of relying on this strategy. Early detection, a relatively small cluster, rapid distribution of an antiviral stockpile that doesn't exist, all in a three week period in a rural area with little public health infrastructure and porous borders. And that would be the minimal requirement.
 

So I hate to disagree with Elizabeth Halloran of Emory, an infectious disease epidemiologist of note and a genuine expert. In her view, as reported by the BBC,

"Our findings indicate that we have reason to be somewhat hopeful.

"If - or, more likely, when - an outbreak occurs in humans, there is a chance of containing it and preventing a pandemic."

There is no reason at all to be hopeful. If the pandemic never materializes it will be from dumb luck or for biological reasons we as yet don't understand. The task at hand, as I have noted in many other posts, is to prepare to manage the consequences, not hold out false hope that anything we do can avoid them altogether.

From Effect Measure (feed)
Today 8:44:08 AM

 

Птичий грипп: катастрофические сценарии

  На сегодняшний день случаев передачи вируса H5N1 от человека к человеку по-прежнему не отмечено. Но никто не может поручиться, что этого не произойдет завтра...

From Inopressa.ru (feed)
 

Today 8:42:04 AM

 

China Outbreak: More Questions...and Yale Weighs In

  As a continuation of what looks to become a series of posts initiated by Ebola Outbreak in China? More Questions Than Answers, there are two trains of thought that should be persued.

(At this point, consider this an open call for reader feedback and resource tips. Please e-mail at any time with additional information or insight, or comment on appropriate posts.)

The first is the following e-mail from a doctor (Dr. Patricia Doyle) with observations on the outbreak:

Jeff, I think the outbreak in China is something other than straight H5N1 bird flu. As I mentioned, it is different. Man-tweaked. Maybe their Plum Island had power outage and loss of biosecurity. If dealing with an altered bird flu - or worse, Ebola/flu - then we would see the high death toll that we are seeing. I think Dr. Niman knew all along that the Chinese bird flu samples would be different.

China had admitted using Amantadine yet, the bird flu was amantadine sensitive. I am sure that the Chinese bird flu is a new type. All of the Boxun News service reports claim various diseases, Ebola, an Ebola with up to 6 month incubation, FMD, Bird Flu etc etc. Whatever is happening centered in Qinghai - and is spreading.

The military involvement tells me that the Boxun reports were accurate.
 

They have chaos there now and I surely hope that our government will do something to prevent it from coming here. It won't be popular but we may have to really watch our borders for immigrating Chinese. Those who can leave China will...if the conditions are as reported. Some may head for North America.

First, some background neglected in the previous post that warrants mention in order to understand this email.

While hesitant to use the same source to vet the previous one way or the other, this entry is nothing more than the text of an article from the South China Morning Post. The Post writer explains the 'Boxun' reports Dr. Doyle referenced.

A US-based Chinese-language news website known as Boxun, or "Abundant News", has riveted the online medical community over the past month with a series of reports from China's Qinghai province about an alleged bird flu cover-up. One report - said to be leaked by a Chinese official - claimed that 121 people were dead from avian influenza, or H5N1.

China has denied the claims, but for anyone who follows both Chinese-language underground news agencies and the medical organisations that obsessively monitor emerging viruses, the Boxun reports and the international online response to them recalls early 2003, when news emerged of a killer virus in Guangdong. The virus was Sars, which became a menace overnight after a Boxun report interrupted a long media clampdown by Beijing.
 

Boxun's Sars story was translated into English and repeated by ProMED-mail, an online reporting system that keeps subscribers informed of outbreaks of new diseases. Now Boxun is either leading the pack again, or leading it astray - and Boxun's founder doesn't rule out the latter. Nevertheless, ProMED picked up the story once again and the world's online community of virus watchers has been discussing it since.

Dr. Doyle and the SCMP journalist both seem wary of the sensationalchinamap3.GIF specifics of Boxun's reports (Ebola in Sichuan Province and spreading), but seem to universally acknowledge that they are nonetheless onto something again just as they were with China's SARS/Avian Flu cover-up.

 

 

So that's Boxun explained. You will see it again. Direct link to their BBS-type news is here.

 

 

Second, Dr. Doyle refers to a Dr. Niman who predicted ('knew all along') that the bird flu strains would be different.

 

 

One can find some of his thoughts here. He has posted observations at Recombinomics.com that suggest what is in China at the moment is a recombination (mutation, if you will) of Ebola and Avian Flu (Bird Flu, or H5N1).

Dr. Niman was essentially asked how this could happen (short version of the question):

I was starting to wonder if the presence of the same sequence segments in Ebola and H5N1 required dual infection (somebody or some animal having both Ebola and avian flu at the same time).

I guess that the dissemination of viral sequences can have lots of intermediary steps, where several links in a chain of dual infection and recombination can eventually spread a sequence so it ends up in both H5N1 and Ebola. H5N1 and Ebola never needed to meet directly in one individual (or a bioweapons lab for that matter) to share some sequences in common.

Dr. Niman deadpanned what my untrained eye considered the obvious:

First H5N1 isoaled was from a chicken is scotland in 1959. First H5N1 in Asia was 1996. H5 and Ebola have met in the same cell.

Additionally, Pundita directs to a new credible source of analysis on the issue (finally), Yale. Yale Global Online is lending their credibility to the possibility that what is now in China (and spreading) may indeed be a recombination of Bird Flu (aka Avian Flu or H5N1) and the Ebola Virus.

China’s official Xinhua news agency recently ascribed the deaths and illnesses of 68 people in Sichuan province to a common swine bug called streptococcus suis. A close examination, however, raises speculation that provincial authorities may be prevaricating. Not only is this infection rare in human beings, but the bacterium can be readily treated and seldom leads to mortality. China’s reputation for information censorship raises additional worries. As was the case in Qinghai – where Chinese officials denied human cases of bird flu and jailed reporters who detailed human fatalities – Chinese authorities may be hiding the truth behind the illnesses in Sichuan. The large geographical distances covered by this mysterious disease suggests viral transmission by migratory birds. This is highly conceivable given the southward migratory pattern of birds and Sichuan’s location – directly to the southeast of Qinghai province. As this Straits Times article implies, the possibility of bird flu warrants enormous concern, especially given recent reports of a possible swap between the bird flu and ebola viruses, making the deadly virus even more dangerous.

–YaleGlobal

Yale's weighing in on the developments lends much credibility that has been elusive to date.

If this is the case, just how did Ebola make its way to China? Or, did Avian Flu make its way to Africa and back in a new form? Ebola is known to date only on the continent of Africa. Did Ebola make its way to China? Was it already there via Chinese bioweapons experiments? Regardless of where a recombination may have occured, the important question remains: Is Dr. Niman correct?

Again, more questions.

While this unfolds, this series of posts will appear essentially as a rolling notepad intended to share information and foster feedback and research by others.

If this is indeed a recombination of Ebola and Avian Flu, what we have on our hands is an unbelievably lethal virus (without cure) that melts and dissolves the infected's internal organs in an agonizing death...now carried by migratory birds from region to region.

 

 

1918Flumap.gif

 

 

There are comparisons being made already to a potential similar to that of the 1918 flu pandemic. The alacrity of its spread through the United States is effecitvely represented by a PBS graphic that is part of their documentary and part of their 'American Experience' series online. While worthy of consideration, this disease spreading at that speed would seem unlikely unless it became an airborne transmitted virus (coughing, etc.). Currently it is understood not to be. But, with no cure, it is cause for concern and further research and awareness on our part.

While initially seeming 'sensational', there appears to be enough plausibility that warrants a continued and much closer look into the possibility of an Avian Flu / Ebola recombination & outbreak in China. If we dismiss it as sensationalism and we are wrong, the consequences are potentially too great to fathom.

Already there are reports that H5N1 Avaian Flu has spread to parts of Russia and that Russia has shut down all transport of fowl from China as a result. Is the diagnosis of H5N1 in Russia only half correct?

Developing...
 

From The Word Unheard (feed)
Today 8:06:16 AM

INTRODUCTION The rapid spread of bird flu, which i...

 
INTRODUCTION
The rapid spread of bird flu, which is not uncommon among chickens and other fowl, has caught the attention of global health authorities. Click on the topics to learn more about the illness and why scientists are so concerned
WHAT IS IT?
There are at least 15 different types of avian influenza that routinely infect birds around the world. The current outbreak is caused by a strain known as H5N1, which is highly contagious among birds and rapidly fatal. Unlike many other strains of avian influenza, it can be transmitted to humans, causing severe illness and death.Bird flu is not the same as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Although their symptoms are similar, SARS is caused by completely different viruses. Influenza viruses also are more contagious and cannot be as readily contained as SARS by isolating people who have the infection.
 

WHY THE CONCERN?

Influenza viruses are highly unstable and have the ability to mutate rapidly, potentially jumping from one animal species to another. Scientists fear the bird flu virus could evolve into a form that is easily spread between people, resulting in an extremely contagious and lethal disease. This could happen if someone already infected with the human flu virus catches the bird flu. The two viruses could recombine inside the victim’s body, producing a hybrid that could readily spread from person to person. The resulting virus likely would be something humans have never been exposed to before. With no immune defenses, the infection could cause devastating illness, such as occurred in the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed an estimated 40 million to 50 million worldwide.
 

TRANSMISSION


In rural areas, the H5N1 virus is easily spread from farm to farm among domestic poultry through the feces of wild birds. The virus can survive for up to four days at 71 F (22 C) and more than 30 days at 32 F (0 C). If frozen, it can survive indefinitely.So far in this outbreak, human cases have been blamed on direct contact with infected chickens and their droppings. People who catch the virus from birds can pass it on to other humans, although the disease is generally milder in those who caught it from an infected person rather than from birds.If the virus mutates and combines with a human influenza virus, it could be spread through person-to-person transmission in the same way the ordinary human flu virus is spread.
 

HISTORY


The current outbreak of bird flu is different from earlier ones in that officials have been unable to contain its spread. An outbreak in 1997 in Hong Kong was the first time the virus had spread to people, but it was much more quickly contained. A total of 18 people were hospitalized with six reported deaths. About 1.5 million chickens were killed in an effort to remove the source of the virus.
Unlike the 1997 scare, this outbreak has spread more rapidly to other countries, increasing its exposure to people in varied locations and raising the likelihood that the strain will combine with a human influenza virus.


SYMPTOMS
 

Bird flu can cause a range of symptoms in humans. Some patients report fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches. Others suffer from eye infections, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and other severe and life-threatening complications.


TREATMENT
 

Flu drugs exist that may be used both to prevent people from catching bird flu and to treat those who have it. The virus appears to be resistant to two older generic flu drugs, amantadine and rimantadine. However, the newer flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza are expected to work – though supplies could run out quickly if an outbreak occurs.Currently there is no vaccine, although scientists are working to develop one. It probably will take several months to complete and may not be ready in time to stop a widespread human outbreak, if one occurs.


PREVENTION


Rapid elimination of the H5N1 virus among infected birds and other animals is essential to preventing a major outbreak. The World Health Organization recommends that infected or exposed flocks of chickens and other birds be killed in order to help prevent further spread of the virus and reduce opportunities for human infection. However, the agency warns that safety measures must be taken to prevent exposure to the virus among workers involved in culling.

From wise vet (feed)
Today 7:54:00 AM

One more case of human infection suspected in Vietnam

 

Specimens from a 49-year-old woman from the northern Ha Tay province of Viet Nam have tested positive to H5N1 avian influenza virus infection, according to a report in the local newspaper Labor on Tuesday [2 Aug 2005]. The woman from the Quoc Oai district needs respiratory assistance at the Institute of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, although she no longer has a fever. Earlier, she received treatment at a provincial hospital for 3 days starting on 27 Jul 2005. The woman had bought a chicken at a local market and cooked it. Local healthcare agencies have kept close surveillance on areas where she lives and on those who have close contact with her.

[...] To deal with possible new outbreaks among poultry, Viet Nam is vaccinating chickens and ducks in northern Nam Dinh province and southern Tien Giang province against avian influenza viruses, including H5N1. It plans to vaccinate over 2.9 million fowl this month [August 2005].

The full story at Xinhuanet, via ProMedMail. This case and the two reported last week have not yet been confirmed by the WHO.

From Avian Flu - What we need to know (feed)
Today 7:45:02 AM

 

Scientists have a plan to prevent bird flu pandemicc
  According to scientists the H5N1 strain of bird flu circulating in Asia which could mutate into a lethal strain and cause a pandemic, could be contained.

From Medical buzz (feed  

Today 7:04:53 AM

 

Computer Model Could Help Prevent Avian Flu Pandemicc
 

This is a snapshot taken about 60 to 90 days after the first case of an uncontrolled outbreak of transmissible avian flu in people living in Thailand. Red indicates new cases while green indicates areas where the epidemic has finished. The accompanying movie (requires free RealPlayer) shows the spread of infection and recovery over 300 days in Thailand and neighboring countries.Dr. Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London and a scholar at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, headed a study to evaluate feasibility of computer modeling to prevent the pandemic of avian flu. The starting point was a single patient with mutated H5N1 influenza A virus in a rural village in Thailand. To read what it takes to contain the epidemic, go to the news section at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Very scary stuff.

More info and accompanying video of epidemic model at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences...

Copyright 2005

From MedGadget (feed)
Today 6:58:14 AM

 

Avian flu casts shadow over beauty of China's bird lakee
 So many gulls, geese, larks, egrets, swans and cormorants fly in and out of Bird Island - actually a small peninsula jutting out from the western end of the 60-mile saltwater lake - that locals claim the skies are sometimes darkened by feathered traffic. In autumn and spring, the migration of hundreds of thousands of birds is such a glorious sight that Qinghai Lake draws tourists from all over the world. But after the first mass outbreak of avian flu among wild birds this summer, the resort is attracting attention from a different group of bird watchers: international scientists, health officials and agricultural experts. Virologists writing in the journals Science and Nature warned last month that Bird Island could become a nexus for the H5N1 virus to mutate and spread across the globe, possibly becoming more virulent and developing into a deadly pandemic. Until now, the disease has been concentrated largely in poultry-related communities in Asia, where it has led to the culling of 120 million fowl and the deaths of at least 63 people. But in Qinghai, the pathogen has struck a different population, killing more than 5,000 wild birds, mostly bar-headed geese, but also great black-headed gulls, brown-headed gulls, ruddy shelducks and common cormorants. Other species may be carriers, having been infected without developing symptoms, as is often the case with ducks. But the Chinese authorities have yet to release the results of research into the outbreak, which has left the international community guessing about the prevalence and virulence of the Qinghai strain of H5N1. The lack of information has prompted increasingly anxious calls for more transparency. With the next big migration season due to start at the end of the month, the World Health Organisation says there is an urgent need for more information about the outbreak before the birds head south and west for the winter. "Time is running out," said Julie Hall, the WHO official in charge of communicable diseases in China. "This is an international issue. We need to give an early warning to countries on the birds' routes." Rangers at Qinghai Lake and local guidebooks say the birds will head to southern China, but international organisations suggest they will migrate across a far wider area, stretching from breeding grounds in Russia during the summer, down to wintering areas in south-east Asia and India. If so, their paths will crisscross the routes of birds that fly to Europe and America. But there are so many different species that nobody knows for sure. "There are almost no studies of the migration patterns of these birds," said an official at the Institute of Zoology in the Chinese Academy of Science. "This is an area where Chinese research is lacking." In some places, the warnings may come too late. Last week, Russia reported its first case of bird flu. About 300 poultry were infected in Siberia, which is thought to be one of the summer breeding areas for wild birds from Qinghai. In June, two outbreaks were reported in Xinjiang province, next door to Qinghai. The government refused to allow international health and agriculture officials to visit the area, but officials said migratory birds appeared to have spread the disease to local poultry stocks. Since the first dead goose was found in Qinghai, the priority of the authorities has been to minimise the economic damage through containment of the disease and scientific research into its origins. Workers on Bird Island say there is video footage of the first infected birds, which died on May 3. "We watched everything by remote camera," said an official who declined to be named. "There were three birds which were obviously suffering. They were fluttering around in a circle that had been formed by the other healthy birds. When I reported this to my boss, he told me not to touch them. The hygiene department came in soon after with masks and gloves." Police and troops were sent in to cordon off a 30-mile radius in the sparsely populated Gancha district. The entire local stock of 20,000 poultry was culled without compensation. "Our family had five chickens and we were told we had to kill them all or we would be fined. It was a real blow," said Zhang Gi-hua, whose household income is less than £140 per year. "I used to buy my children's pens and schoolbooks with the money from the eggs." No visitors were allowed inside a second 10-mile radius inner cordon without surgical masks and gloves. Those living inside were given disinfectant and hygiene lectures by local officials. Anti-government websites spread rumours that more than 100 people had been killed by the disease, but nobody in the area had heard about any human deaths. Chinese authorities have clamped down heavily on scientists whose research has differed from the official version of events, which is that the disease spread from outside China's borders. The Joint Influenza Research Centre, a laboratory run by universities in Hong Kong and China, published studies suggesting the strain of H5N1 virus found in the Qinghai birds might have been picked up from poultry farms in southern China. Punishment was swift: the centre closed last week after the ministry of agriculture said it lacked biological safety standards. The government has also issued new regulations restricting research into H5N1 to three government laboratories. In Qinghai, the authorities claim the outbreak is over. Last week, the cordons were lifted and tourists were allowed back on to Bird Island. But without research into the seemingly healthy birds, the virus may simply be dormant, waiting to wing its way across the globe. That risk does not appear to worry the locals, most of whom are just relieved that they can resume their normal lives. Among them were the monks at the Tibetan lamasery in Shatou, a mile from Bird Island. Geri Caidan, a 20-year-old acolyte, said: "We believed Buddha would keep us safe so we chanted scriptures every day and prayed for the disease to leave the area." The question is, where will it go next?http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1539974,00.html

From A World on the Edge (feed)
Today 6:49:42 AM

[2005-08-04] Quantas são as perdas humanas pela Influenza Aviária? Open link in new window

  Na última quinta-feira, a OMS – Organização Mundial de Saúde divulgou, como tem feito a cada final de mês, um demonstrativo atualizado do número de vitimas fatais da Influenza Aviária no sudeste asiático. Assinalou, então, serem 55 as perdas humanas decorrentes de infecção por H5N1 (quadro abaixo). ... Copyright: Agrosoft 2005

From Agrosoft Brasil (feed)
Today 6:21:20 AM

Vietnam vaccinates poultry to fight bird flu

The Agriculture Ministry said it would use than 400 million batches of vaccine imported from China and the Netherlands to inoculate chickens, ducks and quails against the deadly H5N1 virus. ' All efforts are for the health of the people.

From Moreover Technologies - Southeast Asia news (feed)
Today 5:53:00 AM

Scientists have a plan to prevent bird flu pandemic

 According to scientists the H5N1 strain of bird flu circulating in Asia which could mutate into a lethal strain and cause a pandemic, could be contained.
 
Today 7:00:00 AM

Vietnam vaccinates poultry to fight bird flu

 GIAO CHAU COMMUNE, Vietnam (Reuters) - Vietnam has begun to vaccinate 210 million poultry as part of an all-out effort to eradicate the deadly bird flu virus which has killed 42 people in the country, half of them since December. The Agriculture Ministry said it would use more than 400 million batches of vaccine imported from China and the Netherlands to inoculate chickens, ducks and quails against the deadly H5N1 virus. "All efforts are for the health of the people.
 
 
Today 5:11:26 AM

Scénarios catastrophe de grippe aviaire

 

GrippeaviaireEpizootie. Des chercheurs ont simulé par ordinateur la transmission du virus entre hommes. La grippe aviaire poursuit son funeste périple. L'ouverture récente d'un front eurasien du virus augmente le réservoir animal qui pourrait déclencher une pandémie. Pour l'heure, le virus H5N1 ne se transmet toujours pas d'homme à homme. Mais rien n'assure que ce ne sera pas le cas demain.

Un article à consulter sur le site de Libération

Chinese Government's Answer to Containing H5N1: "Make Villages Disappear!

 
Today 3:15:45 AM - by clifford