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September 30, 2005

Current Map of Outbreaks of Avian Flu (from Flickr)



map created and supplied by Dr, Niman of Recombinomics.

Sept. 26th stats (according to news reports): 42 cases in 8 Indonesian provinces

Sept. 28th stats (according to news reports): 57 cases in 14 provinces

Legend:
Red Circles = Confirmed Cases, Alive
Red Squares = Confirmed Cases, Dead
Orange Circles = Suspected Cases, Alive
Ornage Squares = Suspected Cases, Dead

Posted by dymaxion at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 29, 2005

Finland to vaccinate entire population against bird flu

In response to a recommendation by the World Health Organization, according to which the avian influenza pandemic threat is real, Finland is preparing to vaccinate its entire population against the disease.

In the second supplementary budget for 2005, released by the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday, it was proposed that a total of EUR 20.8 million be allocated to finance the acquisition of 5.2 million bird flu vaccine doses.

Link.

Posted by dymaxion at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird flu and statins

In an extremely interesting article in the Clinicians Biosecurity Network Weekly Bulletin (issue of 9/27/05) Borio and Bartlett review a suggestion of David Fedson, an expert on vaccines (and former Director of Medical Affairs at Aventis Pasteur), that statins (tradenames Zocor or Lipitor) might be helpful in preventing serious complications of influenza, perhaps by dampening the cytokine response.

The statins are widely used and available drugs used to lower cholesterol. They also have anti-inflammatory activities, perhaps by preventing activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB. One mechanism thought to underlie the virulence of the H5N1 virus is production of a "cytokine storm," an unregulated systemic inflammatory response that results in a rapidly developing generalized clotting disorder, hemorrhage, kidney failure and fluid-filled lungs. The phenomenon is similar to or the same as what is called gram-negative sepsis or septic shock, a serious complication of bacterial infections that claims 400,000 to 500,000 lives each year in the US and has 50% to 70% mortality. Treatment for sepsis is a high priority independently of any role for the same or similar mechanism in influenza.

The idea that statins might be helpful for sepsis or influenza is based on more than speculation about mechanism. In 2004 Almog et al. (Circulation, Aug 17 2004;110(7):880-885) reported that patients admitted to the hospital with acute bacterial infections and who were on statins for more than a month for other reasons had a dramatically reduced incidence of severe sepsis (19% versus 2.2%) and reduced admission to the Intensive Care Unit (12.2% vs. 3.7%). An interesting point is that patients on statins might be expected to be at greater risk because they are taking a medication for a pre-existing medical condition.

Another study (.pdf available free on line here) looked back at the experience of over 700 patients that were admitted to a hospital for pneumonia. About 100 of them were also taking statins. Using 30-day mortality as a measure of outcome, the statin group had about two thirds fewer deaths than the non-statin group (odds ratio .36, 95% confidence interval .14 - .92).

Borio and Bartlett also report on an article from The Netherlands by Enserink to appear shortly in Science (hence not available to me other than through their summary). Enserink examined influenza seasons between 1996 to 2003, and using a database of 60,000 primary care patients compared those with at least two statin prescriptions in the previous year to those without. There was a 26% lower risk of pneumonia in the statin group. Because of the imprecision of the measure of statin use, I would expect the statin effect to be even greater than reported here.

Borio and Bartlett conclude:
These studies suggest that statin therapy may ameliorate the course and/or prevent complications of influenza. In these studies, it appears that all of the people were already receiving statins when they got infected. Whether statins would be beneficial after the onset of symptoms is still unknown. However, further investigation is merited. This is particularly important given the likelihood that vaccines and antiviral agents will be in short supply during an influenza pandemic, and statins are widely available and may be produced relatively inexpensively.

This is extremely interesting work. It is too early to say that prophylactic statin use in a pandemic is a reasonable strategy, but it is worth considering.

From Effect Measure:http://effectmeasure.blogspot.com/

Posted by dymaxion at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Clean hands the way to stop flu

We're going into the next pandemic with the basic hygienic techniques of 1918, according to a story on BBCNews Online.

If everyone was to wash their hands the risk of colds, flu and even bird flu would be much less, say UK experts.

Professor John Oxford, of London's Queen Mary's School of Medicine, warns many people are failing to do so and are complacent about personal hygiene.

His team looked at the most effective methods to prevent the transmission of colds and flu, including bird flu.

Rather than relying on products such as antiviral tissues, personal cleanliness should be a priority, they say.

Hand cleaning came out top, followed by disinfecting surfaces.

kind of story that tells us more about our fellow-citizens than we want to know. During the SARS outbreak, the toilets on my campus had big "wash your hands" signs, but they've long gone. And of course even if you do wash your hands, you then have to turn off the tap (which some slob may have used, if only to fill his water bottle) and then pull the handle on the door (which some other slob has just used).

Automatic taps and doors might help a bit, but it's too late to retrofit our whole sanitary system. Besides, a third slob may then hand you an assignment he's just sneezed on.

It's easy to understand why Howard Hughes tried to avoid infection by walking around in empty Kleenex boxes. But unless paranoia results in demonstrable enhancement of the immune system, we're probably better off just washing our hands.

Posted by dymaxion at 03:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesian Bird Flu (H5N1) Update 4MaxedOutMama

Effect Measure is a good blog that is covering H5N1 from a public health standpoint. Check it out, particularly the stuff about the CDC.

Forbes is reporting 63 suspected cases in Indonesia, up from yesterday's 57. Japan is sending a medical team to help at the reference hospital in Jakarta. Is the rapidly growing case count due to better identification because tests are actually being run? Probably. But it still shows the degree of the underlying problem. Also, another zoo in Semerang, Indonesia has been closed to the public because birds there tested positive.

Indonesian health officials are testing the family of two children which died of bird flu-like symptoms. The sister of the two children is now sick with similar symptoms. The two were never seen by doctors or tested. They did have exposure to chickens who died. Is it a coincidence that this was also in Semerang? See the CurEvents.com thread for discussion.

The way these cases break out is this. The first child, a 15 year-old (boy?) became sick on the 15th and died on the 20th of September. The second child, a girl 18 months old, is reported to have died on the 24th of September. Now the 8 year-old girl is sick, and it's a good guess that she was helping to care for the 18 month old girl who was ill. Do you see why people are getting very nervous about possible human to human transmission?

Dr. Niman of Recombinomics comments on the reports in Semerang.

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a. flu b. flubird a.FLU Definitions : Influen...

... ." IMG b. FlubirdAvian Influenza (Bird Flu) and Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus What is avian... of avian influenza A (H5N1) among poultry in Asia (see below) is an example of a bird flu outbreak... website.What is an avian influenza A (H5N1) virus? Influenza A (H5N1) virus – also called “H5N1 virus ...

family care Technorati this

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NEJM - Current Concepts: Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Infection in Humans

... The New England Journal of Medicine just published online a review article on H5N1 titled: Current Concepts: Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Infection in Humans. An unprecedented epizootic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus that is highly pathogenic has crossed the species barrier in Asia to cause many human ...

Gee Dubya Technorati this

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China says pandemic planning underway

SHANGHAI, China -- China's Health Ministry on Wednesday launched a contingency plan to prepare the country against a possible influenza pandemic, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The plan outlines the organization of prevention and enforcement systems, logistics and emergency controls, the report said without giving any details. It said the ministry also urged local authorities to draw up their own plans as a precaution. The H5N1 strain of bird flu has swept through poultry

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Suspected Indonesia bird flu cases pass 50 - officials

By Ade Rina and Jerry Norton JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia faces more than 50 suspected cases of deadly bird flu, Indonesian health ministry officials said on Thursday, while lowering their figure on deaths from the disease to five from an earlier estimate of six. Bird flu has killed 65 people in four Asian nations since late 2003 and has been found in birds in Russia and Europe. Experts' greatest fear is that the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has the power to kill one out of every two people

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September 28, 2005

Avian Flu on NPR: Leavitt and Fauci Interviews on Diane Rehm Show

Diane Rehm interviewed both  Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH on her show this morning.  Readers can find streams of the show at the following link on WAMU.org.  The interviews break no new ground but leave no doubt how seriously the situation is being taken by government officials.  Given Rehm's skills as a savvy, intelligent and humane interviewer, this is an excellent place to point friends and colleagues who may not yet have grasped the significance of the looming pandemic.

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At least 57 people suspected of contracting bird flu in Indonesia

The coming pandemic appears to have got a step closer. How many more steps remain is unclear. Not many IMO.
JAKARTA (AFP) - At least 57 people were being treated for suspected bird flu in Indonesia, where the disease has already claimed six lives, officials said.

OF the total, 20 patients were under observation at Jakarta's Sulianti Saroso hospital for infectious diseases, a doctor there, Ilham Patu, said.

The latest suspected case, a 23-year-old man from the capital, was admitted late Tuesday.

Blood and muccus samples from the patients were being tested locally with any positive results indicating bird flu being sent to World Health Organization laboratories in Hong Kong for confirmation.

Since Monday the hospital has released five people who were suspected of contracting bird flu but tested negative.

Health ministry spokesman Sumardi said Wednesday that a shipment of some 20,000 doses of Tamiflu, anti-viral medication that can stop flue if given quickly when symptoms develop, will arrive in the country on Friday.

"This medicine will be sold commercially at pharmacies," he said. So far, it has only been available in hospitals.

Six Indonesians have died of bird flu, bringing to 65 the number of people in Southeast Asia known to have died from the H5N1 strain of the virus since 2003. Vietnam has recorded 43 deaths, Thailand 12 and Cambodia four.

The WHO fears H5N1 will mutate, acquiring genes from the human influenza virus that would make it highly infectious and lethal to millions in a global pandemic.

But it has also urged calm, saying investigations in Indonesia had produced no evidence that H5N1 was spreading easily from person to person.

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MedImmune gets NIH pandemic flu vaccine collaboration pact

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- MedImmune Inc. said Wednesday it signed an agreement to collaborate with the National Institutes of Health in developing investigational pandemic influenza vaccines. Under the agreement, MedImmune scientists will work with researchers from the

Laboratory of Infectious Diseases to produce and test versions of MedImmune's attenuated, live intranasal flu vaccine for use against different types of potential pandemic influenza strains, including one based on H5N1, a strain of avian influenza.

MedImmune will use its proprietary reverse genetics technology to develop the

pandemic vaccines. The technology will allow MedImmune and NIAID researchers to

alter potentially harmful portions of influenza viruses, such as the

hemagglutinin protein of the H5N1 virus strain, and to rapidly produce

attenuated vaccine strains, thereby accelerating vaccine production. In the

interest of public health, MedImmune has also offered licenses for its reverse

genetics technology to U.S. and international health authorities and other

vaccine manufacturers developing pandemic influenza vaccines.

"As a U.S.-based influenza vaccine manufacturer, MedImmune is committed to

working with public health agencies such as the NIH in preparation for a

pandemic emergency," said James F. Young, Ph.D., president, research and

development. "With the occurrence of several avian or 'bird' influenza cases in

Asia this year, the development of a pandemic vaccine is a proactive step toward

protecting the health of our nation. An intranasal pandemic vaccine may help

facilitate and expedite influenza vaccinations for more Americans in the event

of a pandemic outbreak."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory

Committee on Immunization Practices, possible advantages of attenuated, live

influenza vaccine include its potential to induce a broad mucosal and systemic

immune response, its ease of administration, and the acce

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Copyright: Copyright 2003, MarketWatch, Inc.

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Thoughtful or provoking?

An editorial in Thailand's Bangkok Post

has characterized as "thoughtful" in the flu blogging world. Perhaps. But there is much in it that requires additional editorial comment.
First, there are several assumptions that should be questioned, among them that there is evidence the virus has not mutated into a form that is easily transmitted. Given the poor surveillance and lack of seroprevalence studies, itself a scandal, we simply don't know this to be true. Niman at Recombinomics has repeatedly called attention to fallacies in the assumption that lack of evidence of reassortment is sufficient to conclude the necessary step to pandemic ability hasn't occurred. Clearly the biology tells us differently.


Second, the editorial praises Bush's "initiative" announced at the UN for "a new international partnership" to fight bird flu. It is doubtful Bush's do-nothing administration had much to do with it (except to take credit), and even worse, the stated goal of the 16 nation partnership is to ensure adequate sharing of information. The Bangkok Post editorial takes China and Vietnam to task for their failure to share information, but says nothing about the Bush administration's own lack of openness, as revealed in the Nature magazine article of last week (see our earlier post).


Third, The Bangkok Post again raises the hoary specter of avian flu being used as a bioweapon, citing an unpublished and highly censored Canadian military report. It is impossible to comment on leaked intimations of dire threats from sources with questionable motives, but suffice it to say use of avian influenza as a bioweapon makes very little sense, at least one designed against humans. Unless one assumes the object is just to kill as many people as possible (nationality, ethnicity and religion irrelevant), H5N1 would be an abysmal weapon. In the case of nutcase apocalyptic "End of Days" thinking, it is implausible they would have the technical expertise to figure out how to do something even today's best virologists can't do: determine what makes the virus efficiently transmitted. If the object is political, it is hard to see how its use could have any political use. Since an outbreak would appear to be natural (unless a group or country took credit for it, which seems like it wouldn't be such a popular thing to do as it would be killing its own people), no political purpose could be served, any more than a group that took credit for Hurricane Katrina would be likely to profit (or be believed). Talk of avian flu as a bioweapon merely diverts attention from the main focus: responding to the primary public health challgenge of managing a naturally occurring epidemic infectious disease in a highly connected global population.


So the editorial is thoughtful, yes. But some of the thinking is flawed.

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[2005-09-28] Instituto Butantã produzirá vacina contra gripe aviária

O Instituto Butantã deu na semana passada o primeiro passo para fabricar a vacina contra a gripe aviária. Isaias Raw, diretor da Divisão de Desenvolvimento Tecnológico do Butantã, em São Paulo, pediu em Genebra (Suíça) a autorização para receber a cepa de um subtipo do vírus da gripe, o H5N1, responsável pela doença. Copyright: Agrosoft 2005

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Are we capable of coping with the deadly bird flu? - Jakarta Post



Financial Times
Are we capable of coping with the deadly bird flu?
Jakarta Post, Indonesia - 12 hours ago
... At that time, a small number of chickens in isolated poultry farms in Vietnam were killed by H5N1, an agent of avian influenza. ...
Poor response towards bird flu Bangkok Post
ASEAN considers regional plan to fight bird flu Radio Australia
UN Warns of Lack of Bird Flu Funding Washington Post
New Straits Times - Reuters AlertNet - all 66 related

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Four new cases outside Jakarta

The Jakarta Post reports new suspected bird flu cases emerge in regions.

Four people in Bandung, Semarang and Bandar Lampung have been hospitalized with suspected avian influenza after showing symptoms of the disease.

Chicken vendor Suprat, 58, was admitted to Dr. Kariadi Hospital in Semarang, Central Java, on Tuesday with a high fever, cough and respiratory problems.

The resident of Kendal regency had been treated at Roemani Hospital for a week, before being transferred to the government-designated hospital for bird flu patients.

Roemani Hospital head Sofa Chasani said tests have yet to confirm Suprat has bird flu.

A chicken seller, Suprat supplied 800 kilograms of chicken daily to markets in Semarang and Kendal.

he other cases are in the story. And to think I thought this had been shaping up as a slow news day on the flu front.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Philippines have no Tamiflu

Francisco Duque, minister of health in the Philippines, says his country has no antivirals to combat avian flu.

"There is only one drug company producing oseltavimire which is Roche of Switzerland. Developed countries usually have a stock of this medicine. We have a zero stockpile," Duque said.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

China preparing flu plan...maybe

China is developing a plan to combat an avian flu pandemic, according to a story on Canada.com.

The plan outlines the organization of prevention and enforcement systems, logistics and emergency controls, the report said without giving any details. It said the ministry also urged local authorities to draw up their own plans as a precaution.

This does not sound reassuring. I'm nervous enough about our own plans here in Canada, which are publicly accessible but have very little to say about the public's own role in the pandemic. The key words in the Chinese plan seem to be "enforcement" and "controls," with the details kept a surprise until the authorities are good and ready. As for the local plans—as we've seen with Katrina, the locals will be useful scapegoats if everything blows up.

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Dunia Berantakan...

... Dunia Berantakan!!! Dunia yang Berantakan! Itu yang kurasakan beberapa hari ini tentang keadaan dunia di sekelilingku. bagaimana tidak, Virus AI (H5N1) telah menyebar kemana-mana tapi anehnya... mampu menembus barrier antar spesies. Misalnya: Kucing yang memakan ayam yang terjangkiti H5N1 akan ...

Berasal dari sirna mungkin juga menuju sirna! Technorati this

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インドネシアの鳥インフルエンザ

... WHO(世界保健機構)の 鳥インフルエンザ更新情報によると (9月16日),インドネシアで、ジャカルタ在住の、37才の女性が H5N1 亜型鳥インフルエンザウイルス感染により、8月31日に 発症し,9月6日に入院し,9月10日に死亡したという。 この患者の感染源を確認するため、インドネシア政府は、 WHO の協力の下、調査を開始した。 患者は、鳥およびアヒルに暴露される機会の多い...が、38才の父親が、H5N1亜型ウイルスに感染していた 事が確認されている。 Herald Tribune 紙によると、インドネシア政府は異常事態を 宣言し、新たな患者の流行の阻止に勤めている. 鶏 ...

玉野医院掲示板 Technorati this

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EnergeticNeurons.bloghorn.com

... .  A nine-year-old girl that visited the Rangunan Zoo tested positive for H5N1.  Two others... providing H5N1 with a "silent spread" of growing efficiency.  Recombinomics, Sept. 27, 2005 "H5N1 Jakarta... population if H5N1 should reassort with H3N8 in case of dual infection with the two types of flu ...

EnergeticNeurons.bloghorn.com Technorati this

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September 27, 2005

Confusing Reports from Indonesia

Readers dismayed with the seeming confusion coming out of Jakarta should be alarmed. In recent days we have heard of confirmed cases and deaths due to the H5N1 virus and later official denials. It appears that there is no trustworthy source of information in the country.


We will continue to reblog conflicting information while trying to seek out the most reliable reports. The worst thing that can happen in a developing pandemic situation is a tacit censorship on the part of interests within the government.


Indonesia has a large tourist industry that is still in the process of recovering from the bombing that took place several years ago. It's possible to imagine that the tourist industry, a major source of foreign currency, is instrumental in suppressing critical information. We can also suspect that confusion will always be a component of any outbreak, no matter the efficiency of the authorities.


Let's hope that the news out of Singapore of a quick (easy to use?) diagnosis kit stands up to scrutiny. Quick and certain diagnosis can make all the difference in an outbreak. Used efficiently, it can greatly decrease confusion on the ground.

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New test for bird flu

Scientists in Singapore said on Tuesday they have developed a test kit which can detect bird flu infections in poultry within four hours -- a tool which could help health officials control the spread of the deadly virus.

In the absence of a vaccine, early identification of the virus is especially important, and current tests used by laboratories take two to three days and sometimes up to a week.

From Reuters.

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Schon sechs Vogelgrippe-Tote in Indonesien

Die Zahl der Todesopfer durch die Vogelgrippe in Indonesien ist auf sechs gestiegen. Zuletzt erlag eine 27-j hrige Frau dem aggressiven Virus H5N1, wie die Gesundheitsbeh rden am Montag mitteilten. Dar ber hinaus best tigten Untersuchungen, dass auch ein in der vergangenen Woche gestorbenes f hriges M dchen mit dem Erreger infiziert war. Unterdessen stieg die Zahl der Patienten mit Verdacht auf Vogelgrippe auf 42. Der Gefl gelpest erlagen seit ihrem Ausbruch Ende 2003 in S dostasien mehr

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Indonesia có thêm người chết vì cúm gà

... Indonesia có thêm người chết vì cúm gà Theo thông báo mới nhất, Indonesia có thêm 2 người chết vì cúm gà, nâng tổng số nạn nhân của virus H5N1 lên 6 người. Hiện, 20 người khác có triệu chứng bệnh. Kết quả kiểm tra cho thấy, cả 2 người - một bé gái chết hồi tuần trước và một phụ nữ 27 tuổi … ...

Tin tức Việt Nam hàng ngày - Daily Viet Nam News Technorati this

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La gripe aviar cobra la vida de otras dos personas en Indonesia

Las autoridades indonesias anunciaron este lunes dos nuevas muertes por gripe aviar, lo que eleva a seis la cifra total de víctimas mortales por el virus H5N1 en este país.

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Most people know we are in danger, but these sites...

Most people know we are in danger, but these sites make it clear just how much danger. The problem I am seeing is that aside from the possibility of H5N1 simply continuing to evolve into a major killer there is a steadily increasing danger that the more it spreads the more chance it has of infecting a human who is infected with a human flu. The mixing of two flu strains within the cells of a single organism could cause H5N1 to suddenly gain the ability to become a panemic. The biggest danger would be if there are a large increase in H5N1 cases this flu season, which would seem likely considering there is a large increas in the prevalence of other flu strains as well. Because there would be more H5N1 cases and more human flu cases, the chance of a single person getting both forms of the flu at the same time would be dramatically increased.


The reason for the increased danger is that contrary to what is publically reported by the WHO, human to human transmission of H5N1 Avian flu is quite common. And although the WHO grudgingly admits that H5N1 can be transmitted from a person who has been infected by chickens or other foul to another person, but denies that it can be transmitted beyond the first person infected, this also appears to be false.


Why is this the case? The simplest explaination is simply lack of data. Not every case gets tested and even when tests are done our weak immune response causes a lot of false negatives. Then again there are positive tests that are not counted because a second corroborating test wasn't performed. For example the official data records no cases of H5N1 in Thailand during 2004, yet there were 12 cases with positive tests for H5N1 that didn't make it into the official numbers. That article also lists multiple cases which due to lack of laboratory testing are not included in the numbers and which appear to indicate human to human transmission that is being reported not to exist.


Then there are cases which were not even initially thought to be flu related. This was due to causing meningitis-like symptoms. Four people attending the wake of a fifth person all died within a span of three days aproximately 1 1/2 weeks later even though they had returned home after the wake to separate cities. At the time H5N1 was not known to cause meningitis-like symptoms without apparent respiratory symptoms. Now it is known to do so. Since none of the victims from the wake were tested we cannot know whether or not this was caused by H5N1. However there are basically only two possible culprits. H5N1 would only have to gain the ability to transmit as efficiently from person to person as it transmits from chicken to checken. Meningitis would have to gain the same ability (and is less likely to do so, and would also have to develop a much higher case fatality rate. Note that the 5 fatalities in this cluster was 2 and 1/2 times the entire number of cases of Meningitis in the country that year. It is very unlikely that this was caused by Meningitis, thus making a strong case that H5N1 caused the deaths, and thus indicating that it can transmit from human to human with much greater ease than health officials have been willing to admit.


If these cases were actually H5N1 spreading through concentrated refugee camps then the virus would have had an excellent opportunity to improve its ability to be transmitted from human to human. Before H5N1 couldn't improve its ability to transmit from human to human much because the virus died with its victims, so every human to human transmission was an evolutionary dead end. In a concentrated population even if the ability to transmit from human to human multiple times were weak, it would still occur. Thus the viruses able to transmit only once would die with the first victim, those which could transmit only twice would die with their second vicetim, etc. Those viruses that could pass on to new victims indefinitely would be able to survive and possibly be communicated into the community at large. Furthermore those viruses that could transmit from human to human most easily because they would infect more victims, thus forming a larger portion of each generation than those that could only transmit from human to human with difficulty. If those viruses were somehow able to re-enter the avian population, for example by a scavenger bird eating flesh from a corpse that had died of H5N1, they might then be able to spread even further.


The danger posed by the meningitis form of H5N1 is particularly accute because it is operating completely under the influenza monitoring system's radar. Everyone is looking for flu, not meningitis. Furthermore because people's meningitis has symptoms that are less obvious than the respiratory symptoms that we associate with flu, others nearby are less likely to avoid contact with infected persons, and people who are infected are less likely to make changes in their behavior that would reduce their contact with others, like calling in sick from work. Thus a meningitis form of flu would be likely to spread more easily than a rispiratory form.


Changes like these occur because the genome of any Influenza strain is in a constant state of change. This is due to the process of recombination, which occurs continuously as flu viruses infect animals or people who are already infected by another flu virus, and pick up genes from other strains. Viruses also mutate, and then those mutations are added back into the mix. Again, as H5N1 continues to spread, the number of these recombinations will continue to increase. Also as human flus become more common during the flu season, the chance that this mixing will occur between H5N1 and a human flu increases.

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ICAV holds symposium at Trent

The International Consortium of Anti-Virals (ICAV) held its third symposium at Trent University over the weekend. This event brought together the who’s who in the world of viruses. The current Asian outbreak of the Avian Influenza Virus, H5N1, was of particular interest.

Posted by dymaxion at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesia Bird Flu Increasing - in Jakarta

It’s frustrating being in such close proximity (30km) with this bird flu (H5N1 virus) outbreak occurring, and knowing that the government has not taken the proper steps to help control it. Is there reason to panic? Should we be considering what could happen? If this were to indeed mutate into human to human contact - how much time feasibly would people have? What about the 99% of the population who cannot afford to leave if an intense outbreak did occur? Why do they always wait until it’s too late, simply to help buffer their own pocketbooks?

These are questions weighing on my mind. These are the frustrations we’re dealing with. These are the times when it’s not easy to remain here.

From the BBC,
Monday 26, September:

Another two people are confirmed to have died from bird flu in Indonesia, bringing the death toll there to six.

Test results show that both a young girl who died last week and a 27-year-old woman who died on Monday had been exposed to the H5N1 virus.

Several other recent fatalities are being investigated, and about 20 people are in hospital with bird flu symptoms.

The deadly disease has already killed dozens of people across Asia, and led to millions of birds being culled.

There is so far no evidence of human-to-human transmission, but health officials fear that if the virus combines with the human influenza virus, it could become highly infectious and lead to a global flu pandemic.

… Last week Health Minister Siti Fadila Supari warned that Indonesia could be facing an epidemic, remarks which were later played down by other officials.

… The WHO has urged countries with infected poultry to use widespread mass culling as the best method of stopping the spread of the disease.

But the government has only carried out limited culling, preferring to vaccinate poultry because of the expense of compensating farmers.

The recent outbreak in Jakarta is causing particular concern because of the close proximity between birds and humans.

Most Indonesian households keep chickens for food or caged birds for pets.

Finding the source of an outbreak is therefore extremely difficult, our correspondent says, and the chances of the virus spreading in a teeming city of more than 15 million people are high.

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CIDRAP >> Indonesia blames two more deaths on avian flu

 
CIDRAP >> Indonesia blames two more deaths on avian flu (info)
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/avianflu/news/sep2605avi an.html
Cidrap update on events
Posted by Declan to cidrap INDONESIA AvianFlu cases on Tue Sep 27 2005 at 04:02 UTC

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S. Korea to issue bird flu alert in mid-October

 
S. Korea to issue bird flu alert in mid-October (info)
http://english.yna.co.kr/Engnews/20050927/640000000020050927120211E5.html

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September 26, 2005

Meanwhile, back at the avian flu pandemic.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is warning that world governments are falling down on their commitment to fight the spread of avian flu in animals. While nations have pledged US$ 100 million to this effort, says the FAO, only US$ 16.5 million has actually been delivered.

UN health officials are particularly worried about the H5N1 flu strain. So far, there have been 120 reported human

Magpie (feed)
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La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno - L'influenza aviaria fa altri morti in Indonesia

La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno
Una indonesiana di 27 anni è morta oggi in un ospedale di Giakarta dopo essere stata contagiata dal virus H5N1, all' origine dell'influenza aviaria. Test effettuati a Hong Kong hanno intanto accertato che una bimba di 5 anni era deceduta dopo aver contratto la stessa malattia. Una donna ... Copyright: Copyright 2004, Italia OnLine S.r.l.

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False Negative on Sixth H5N1 Fatality in Jakarta Causes Concerns - Recombinomics


False Negative on Sixth H5N1 Fatality in Jakarta Causes Concerns
Recombinomics, PA - Sep 21, 2005
The failure of Indonesia to confirm H5N1 in the sixth reported fatal case of bird flu is cause for concern. Thus far Indonesia has ...

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3 Hungary Officials Get Bird Flu Vaccine - ABC News



Reuters.uk
3 Hungary Officials Get Bird Flu Vaccine
ABC News - 8 hours ago
... and the government's health care commissioner, were the first volunteers to receive the vaccine that Hungarian scientists developed against the H5N1 strain of ...
Hungary says could make 50 mln bird flu vaccines ABC News
3 Hungary Officials Get Bird Flu Vaccine Leading The Charge
all 43 related

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Bird-flu drug supplies cleaned out

Via the New Zealand Herald: Bird-flu drug supplies cleaned out.

The anti-viral drug Tamiflu is regarded as the best hope against any epidemic. The World Health Organisation has recommended Governments stockpile supplies for essential workers and the New Zealand Government has committed $26 million to buying 850,000 doses of Tamiflu.

At most, this is only enough for about one in five people and more and more New Zealanders are opting to buy their own for about $75.

Manufacturer Roche admits it is unable to keep up with demand.

New supplies arrived in the South Island on Wednesday but stocks nationwide were exhausted by Friday.


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Probable H2H in Thailand

From the New England Journal of Medicine, via Declan Butler at Connotea: Probable Person-to-Person Transmission of Avian Influenza A (H5N1). This is the abstract of the full report. It's enough.

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احتمال بروز بيماري آنفلوآنزاي فوق حاد پرندگان (H5N1)

احتمال بروز بيماري آنفلوآنزاي فوق حاد پرندگان (H5N1)

4 مهر 1384

به دليل احتمال بروز بيماري آنفلوآنزاي فوق حاد پرندگان (H5N1) به طيور/ از سوي سازمان حفاظت محيط زيست؛شكار، صيد و زنده‌‏گيري كليه پرندگان در مناطق آبي و تالابي سراسر كشور تا اطلاع ثانوي ممنوع اعلام شد
تهران- خبرگزاري كار ايران

از طريق پرندگان آبزي مهاجر به كشور آنفلوآنزاي فوق حاد پرندگان (H5N1) به كشور منتقل خواهد شد.

به گزارش ايلنا, گزارش‌‏هاي واصله از سازمان دامپزشكي كشور حاكي از شيوع بيماري آنفلوآنزاي فوق حاد پرندگان (H5N1) طي هفته‌‏هاي اخير در كشورهاي روسيه و قزاقستان است، اين بيماري از طريق پرندگان آبزي مهاجر به كشور قابل انتقال به طيور اهلي است.
همچنين, خطر انتقال بيماري فوق‌‏الذكر به افرادي كه به طروق مختلف مانند شكار، صيد، زنده گيري و خريد و فروش با پرندگان آلوده در تماس باشند وجود دارد ؛ لذا به منظور مقابله با بروز احتمالي اين بيماري در كشور و پيشگيري از گسترش احتمالي آن سازمان حفاظت محيط زيست شكار، صيد و زنده‌‏گيري كليه پرندگان را در مناطق آبي و تالابي سراسر كشور تا اطلاع ثانوي ممنوع اعلام مي‌‏دارد.
بديهي است, با متخلفان طبق قانون برخورد مي‌‏شود.
لازم به ذكر است, بيماري آنفلوآنزاي فوق حاد پرندگان تاكنون در كشور گزارش نشده است.

خبرگزاري كار ايران

http://www.cyrusnews.com/news/fa/?ni=7169&mi=9

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FAO: Avian flu endemic in Indonesia

The US Department of State reports that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has declared Bird Flu Endemic in Indonesia.

Everyone has been soft-pedalling the implications of H5N1 in Indonesia. I presume that's because the implications of an unstable Indonesia don't bear thinking about. Even if the flu doesn't break out into human-to-human form there, the country's going to take a heavy economic hit. Trade and tourism will weaken, riots will break out over poultry culls (or the lack of them), and every social tension in a volatile society will worsen. Outright H2H avian flu will blow the lid off altogether.

So if the US State Department is now aiding FAO in calling H5N1 "endemic" to Indonesia, it looks as if Indonesia's quarter-billion people are being left to dangle in the wind.

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Bird Flu (H5N1) Update - IndonesiaMaxedOutMama

Today Bloomberg conveyed the cheery news that patients under observation for bird flu in Indonesia were dropping:
Indonesia's suspected bird flu cases among humans declined to 21 as some patients tested negative for the virus and five people will be released from a Jakarta hospital after showing signs of recovery, a doctor said.

Jessica, a two-year-old girl who died last week, tested negative for the H5N1, a deadly strain of the avian influenza virus, said Sardikin Giriputro, a director at Sulianti Saroso hospital, one of 44 hospitals in the country which have been designated to treat bird flu patients.

Twenty-one patients, including two new ones who were admitted yesterday, remain under observation for avian flu because they were exposed to live chickens or birds shortly before developing bird flu symptoms, Giriputro said.
Later on they also list five dead in Indonesia. They're wrong on both counts. Another patient died, bringing the total to six, and hospitalized cases are up to 42:
There are 42 reported human cases of bird flu across Indonesia but only 10 patients have been tested positive of bird flu, Minister of Health Siti Fadillah Supari said here Monday.

Six of the ten people infected with bird flu have died recently,the minister said.

Supari said bird flu cases have been reported from at least eight provinces in the country, with Jakarta having the highest case number of 28.
Not so good. There are real questions about how good testing for H5N1 really is. See this autopsy report, which notes that the virus doesn't seem to be replicating the upper respiratory tract, so swab testing won't work very well. Anyway, 12 of the patients are associated with Ragunan Zoo. It's hard to know exactly what is happening. Plenty of sick people have been turned away from hospitals in Indonesia. It seems as if they are only hospitalizing the very ill.

The first case in Indonesia was in July. A father and his two daughters died. Then RD, a woman who worked at the airport, died. Her nephew has now been confirmed as having H5N1. See this Recombinomics commentary:
There is considerable concern over false negatives or misdiagnosis. Rini Ignoble's (Rini Dina's) nephew, Paradise initially was H5N1 positive by PCR, but is now being discharged and is H5N1 negative, He will be the first discharged positive patient. Thus, collections from patients after the H5N1 has been cleared from serum will fail to detect the infection. Similarly, misdiagnosis is common. Karwati was initially diagnosed as having typhus, which was changed to Dengue Fever when she vomited blood and was bleeding from her nose. This presentation sounds similar to the index case in Thailand, who subsequently infected her mother and aunt.
It's hard not to see some H2H in this. I don't think anyone really knows what's going on, but Australia (very close to Indonesia) is quite worried and is providing 50,000 courses of Tamiflu to Indonesia:
INDONESIA was struggling to contain an outbreak of bird flu and had been slow in distributing drugs to counter the disease, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.
...
The Federal Government has increased the amount of anti-flu medication Tamiflu it is sending to its northern neighbour from 10,000 to 50,000 courses as Indonesia confirmed its sixth death from bird flu.

Asked if he was happy at how quickly the first batch of 10,000 courses of Tamiflu had been distributed, Mr Downer said: "I think it's been a little slowly, a little more slowly than we would have liked.
In theory, if you consistently catch severe strains beginning to go H2H that produce high death rates, a milder strain of H2H H5N1 should evolve that is less of a threat to humans. I suppose that is all we can hope for now.

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Indonesia bird flu toll increases

... Another two people are confirmed to have died from bird flu in Indonesia, bringing the death toll there to six. Test results show that both a young girl who died last week and a 27-year-old woman who died on Monday had been exposed to the H5N1 virus. Several other recent fatalities are being ...

Indonesian News & Culture Technorati this

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September 23, 2005

National Tamiflu stockpiles

Randall Parker attempts to create a list of Tamiflu stockpiles around the world. The US, for example, has some 2.3 million doses, and plans to buy up to 20 million doses, eventually covering some 6.7% of the population. France will have the best coverage by the end of 2005, with 14 million doses, enough for over 20% of its population. Read the whole list at Future Pundit.

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Pandemic Flu Awareness Week

by DemFromCT

According to the Houston Chronicle:

Pfaw_dateThe most important speech President Bush gave last week was not the prime-time address from Jackson Square in New Orleans. The world will little note nor long remember what he said there. It was stagey and prosaic, and his words were artificially elevated in importance by the passing political moment, not the substance of his remarks.

The most important speech Bush gave last week was delivered at the United Nations. It contained an ominous reference, which very few people seem to have noticed. The president signalled his concern over a new threat currently building in southeast Asia — and this time the threat has nothing to do with terrorism.

In the poultry farms of Vietnam and Thailand, in the slums of Indonesia, along the migratory routes of wild fowl in China, a new strain of bird flu is mutating and spreading. It's just a matter of time, scientists say, before the strain — H5N1, the most virulent form of influenza ever identified — will fully lodge itself within the human population. When that happens, start looking for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse — in particular, the one named Pestilence who's riding a pale horse.

This is not your ordinary, off-the-shelf, garden variety flu strain. It's a superbug. Currently, the virus is transmitted to humans only through direct contact with birds. Up until now, there's been very little to worry about unless you work with chickens in Thailand, or you eat Vietnamese delicacies such as uncoagulated duck blood soup. But scientists tell us that the virus is mutating, and it will soon become a human-to-human contagion that's spread the old-fashioned way — by nose, hand and mouth.

It is for that reason that we at Flu Wiki will enlist the help of bloggers everywhere. October 3-9 will be Pandemic Flu Awareness Week. If you have a blog, consider linking to some authoritative flu sources during that week, or even running a few flu stories of your own. There's plenty of material to use. Steal the logo. Get the word out to your readers. A little knowledge goes a long way; public health authorities can't do everything themselves. And perhaps knowledge dissemination will help them focus on what's real, not just what's feared, so they can share with us what we need to know.

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Entry screening for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or influenza: policy evaluation -- Pitman et al., 10.1136/bmj.38573.696100.3A -- BMJ

 
Entry screening for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or influenza: policy evaluation -- Pitman et al., 10.1136/bmj.38573.696100.3A -- BMJ (info)
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/rapidpdf/bmj.38573.696100.3Av3
Concludes screening would be ineffective
Posted by Declan to AvianFlu screening on Fri Sep 23 2005 at 08:52 UTC

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WHO: Đừng tiếp xúc quá gần người bị cúm gia cầm

Đại diện của Tổ chức Y tế Thế giới (WHO) tại Indonesia Georg Petersen tuyên bố hôm 22-9 rằng, số lượng người có triệu chứng bị cúm gia cầm gia tăng tại Indonesia không có nghĩa là đợt bộc phát bệnh này tồi tệ hơn và không có dấu hiệu cho thấy virus H5N1 lây nhiễm dễ dàng từ người sang người.

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Some background on Tamiflu

Via Canada.com, an article on the history of Tamiflu.

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Which to believe?

On one hand we have the Viet Nam News Agency, which tells us 23 Indonesians are suspected of catching bird flu.

On the other hand we have Medical News Today, which tells us that, according to WHO, bird flu isn't getting any worse in Indonesia, even if the numbers are growing.

In an abstract sense, I guess WHO is right. Human-to-human contact, once established, would mean a rapid increase in the numbers infected. But the people who catch H5N1 from birds get very sick, and half of them die. So any increase in cases, by whatever contact, means bird flu is indeed getting worse, and WHO seems to be trying to slip us a verbal Valium.

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FAO asks Indonesia to enhance steps to combat bird flu - Press Trust of India


FAO asks Indonesia to enhance steps to combat bird flu
Press Trust of India, India - 14 hours ago
... with the full power to enforce disease control measures," Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in the latest warning on the spreading of H5N1 virus. ...

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Vietnam says bird flu under control, stocks drug - Reuters AlertNet



USA Today
Vietnam says bird flu under control, stocks drug
Reuters AlertNet, UK - 14 hours ago
... Hanoi government launched a programme in late July to vaccinate poultry in 47 of the 64 provinces to try and stop the spread of the contagious H5N1 strain of ...
We need to stockpile more bird Taipei Times
Scientists stockpile bird flu drugs The Age (subscription)
Vietnam to stock bird flu drug, boost surveillance ABC News
Melbourne Herald Sun - Washington Post - all 88 related

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. . . and still no planEffect Measure

Reports on the evolving H5N1 story out of Indonesia are confused and colored by a combination of wishful thinking and deliberate obfuscation by Indonesian authorities and WHO, whose main objectives seem to be preventing the spread of public concern. Unfortunately the virus doesn't care much whether the public is concerned or not. But attempts to calm people by downplaying the seriousness of the situation dampens enthusiasm for what needs to be done, some of it expensive and unpalatable.

Indonesia's health ministry is reporting either 16 or 17 people under observation with possible bird flu. They are also saying the 5 year old girl who died last week didn't have bird flu on the basis of tests they did, but they have elected not to send blood samples to the WHO reference lab in Hong Kong. Whether this is a true negative or a false negative we will probably never know. Niman at Recombinomics has discussed the false negative problem in this case and in the many others from Vietnam. In the Vietnamese cases, so-called negative tests later turned out to be positive when adequate procedures were used.

The UN continues to say there is no evidence that the virus is spreading person to person, on the one hand, but admits there is good evidence of transmission within families when contact is close. Unless these families are duck or chicken families, it is hard to see how this isn't evidence of person-to-person transmission. If they are talking about some measure of ease or efficiency, they should say so.

Speaking of ease of transmission, visitors to the zoo closed on Sunday after almost two dozen exotic birds were found to be infected continue to come under scrutiny. Nine of the 17 that Reuters reports to be under observation in a government hospital in Jakarta designated to receive suspect bird flu cases are zoo visitors. Three other zoo-exposed cases were earlier identified, all with non-occupational exposures to the birds. Hence the virus seems to be passing from birds to humans with greater ease than previously, although neither WHO nor the Indonesian authorities have observed this publicly.

Nor is it clear how vigorously the Indonesian government is moving to kill infected birds:
Joko Dwihartato, a driver who rears chickens in his backyard in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, won't let the government cull his flock of seven birds without paying sufficient compensation as avian flu spreads in the nation.

"If they give me enough money, I don't mind,'' said Dwihartato, 40, who sells eggs to supplement his income. "Otherwise, why should I kill the chickens? They are perfectly healthy.''

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government, which is struggling to find ways to close a $2.5 billion budget deficit, isn't paying enough to compensate poultry owners for culling fowl infected with avian influenza, or spending the money to stem the spread of the virus in villages, UN agencies and health experts said. Culls are needed to curb a growing outbreak of a disease that's killed at least 59 people in Asia since 2003.

If the compensation "is perceived as not just by farmers,'' culling won't happen, said Juan Lubroth, senior officer at the animal health division at the Food & Agriculture Organization in Rome. ``I don't think the veterinary services have enough support to be able to do what I think the national strategy should be doing at the commune level.''

[snip]

There are about 30 million village households in Indonesia that have about 200 million chickens in their backyards, the FAO said in a statement yesterday.

"The problem is with funding and not having enough resources,'' said Marthen Malole, former head of virology at Indonesia's Bogor Institute of Agriculture, who in January 2004 said the government was covering up the spread of the virus.

"The government needs to deploy officials, vaccinate, and then monitor the result of the vaccines,'' he said. "The inability to do this has helped the virus become endemic.'' (Bloomberg)
Not so, good, huh? But you wouldn't know it if you just listened to either the Indonesian government or the US government, whose ambassador, Lynn Pascoe had arranged a meeting with a "fact-finding" mission of US and Japanese scientists and experts from CDC and Japan on Friday. Pascoe reportedly praised the Indonesian efforts "to move very quickly" stood out (AFP via ChannelNewsAsia). Since the Indonesian's have been widely criticized for their slow response, it seems like this is just a case of liars covering for each other.

Meanwhile the New Zealanders are now talking openly about closing their borders:
New Zealand may lock down all air and sea ports if a lethal bird flu epidemic takes hold internationally, potentially turning planes around and putting all arrivals into quarantine.

[snip]

In late October, New Zealand border agencies would look at the logistics of stopping all people and imports, such as food and medicine, from entering the country in the event of a pandemic, Customs business development unit manager John Ladd said yesterday.

Enormous problems would accompany such a move, he said.

"What do you do when you have got a whole lot of people in quarantine? Are there legislative processes available to stop New Zealanders coming into the country?"

The agencies would have to consider whether it was reasonable to direct planes in mid-air not to land in New Zealand.

People may need to be quarantined for as long as eight days if New Zealand hoped to stop the outbreak spreading while keeping its borders open, Ladd said. "How do we feed all these people?"

[snip]

Customs officials will visit Christchurch next Wednesday to discuss a plan of action with airport staff.

[snip]

"To do that, all those people overseas on holiday would not be allowed in either. It sounds a good idea, but I would find it interesting to see whether it could ever be done," he said.
Probably it couldn't be done, and even if it could it wouldn't keep the virus out. But this kind of talk is just a taste of what's to come if this beast really is loose. The effect on trade and travel will have enormous economic and material consequences, even for those who stay put. The lack of planning for this foreseeable eventuality on the part of national authorities, especially the United States, is nothing short of stunning.

Like generals fighting the last battle, they are currently engaged in getting hurricane preparation right. The global hurricane is brewing and still no plan.

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Indonesia Bid Flu UpdateTransparent Grid

Reuters: The number of Indonesians under observation for bird flu symptoms has risen to 16, the Health Ministry said on Friday, but added that tests confirmed a five-year-old girl who died this week did not have the virus. Four Indonesians are confirmed to have died from the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu since July, fueling [...]

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Indonesia says world must cooperate on bird flu

for symptoms of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu has risen to 17, all in a Jakarta hospital, health officials said on Friday. But U.N. health experts have said the

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September 22, 2005

Vietnam receives drug donation

Vietnam has received a donation of 600,000 tablets of the bird flu drug Tamiflu from Taiwan and is planning to buy another 70,000 tablets for its national stockpile, health officials said Thursday.

Nguyen Van Binh, deputy director of Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health, said the antiviral medication will be distributed to cities and provinces badly hit by bird flu.

Read the story in the Washington Post. See also the previous post, which raises questions about the effectiveness of current anitvirals for fighting the flu.

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WHO guidelines for global surveillance of influenza A/H5

 
WHO guidelines for global surveillance of influenza A/H5 (info)
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/guidelines/globalsurveillanc e.pdf

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Flu Vaccines Don't Work; Tamiflu Effective

The New York Times reports:
Just as governments around the world are stockpiling millions of doses of flu vaccine and antiviral drugs in anticipation of a potential influenza pandemic, two new research papers published today have found that such treatments are far less effective than previously thought.

"The studies published today reinforce the shortcomings of our efforts to control influenza," wrote Dr. Guan Yi, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, in an editorial that accompanied the papers. The two studies were published early online by the British medical journal, the Lancet, because of their implications for the upcoming flu season.

In one paper, international researchers analyzed all the data from patient studies on the flu vaccine performed worldwide in the past 37 years and discovered that vaccines showed at best a "modest" ability to prevent influenza or its complications in elderly people.

"The runaway 100 percent effectiveness that's touted by proponents was nowhere to be seen," said Tom Jefferson, a Rome-based researcher with the Cochrane Vaccine Fields project, an international consortium of scientists who perform systematic reviews of research data.

"There is a wild overestimation of the impact of these vaccines in the community," Dr. Jefferson said. "In the case of a pandemic, we are unsure from the data whether these vaccines would work on the elderly."

In the second paper, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control found that influenza viruses, particularly those from the dreaded bird flu strain, had developed high rates of resistance to older and cheaper antiviral drugs - rates that have escalated rapidly since 2003, particularly in Asia.

"We were alarmed to find such a dramatic increase in drug resistance in circulating human influenza viruses in recent years," said Dr. Rick Bright of the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta. "Our report has broad implications for agencies and governments planning to stockpile these drugs for epidemic and pandemic strains of influenza."

Before 2000, almost no virus was resistant to the drug Amantadine. By 2004, 15 percent of influenza A viruses collected in South Korea, 70 percent in Hong Kong and 74 percent in China were impervious. During the first six months of 2005, 15 percent of the influenza A viruses in the United States were resistant, up from 2 percent the year before. All human cases of the bird flu (H5N1) strain - which is still extremely rare in humans - have been resistant, the researchers said.

The immediate implications of these finding are most ominous for the developing world, because wealthier nations have been stockpiling newer and vastly more expensive antiviral medicines, like Tamiflu, which are effective against the disease but still on patent.

..."What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth," Dr. Jefferson said. "Vaccines may have a role, but they appear to have a modest effect. The best strategy to prevent the illness is to wash your hands."

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UPDATE 3-WHO cautious over Indonesia bird flu outbreak. (BIRDFLU-INDONESIA) 2005-09-22 14:37:32



(Adds new case paragraphs 3-4)

By Dan Eaton and Achmad Sukarsono

JAKARTA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Indonesia announced a new case of human bird flu on Thursday but U.N. health experts said the growing number of people with possible symptoms did not mean the outbreak was worsening.

They also said there was still no sign the virus could be passed easily among people.

Alarm has spread in populous Indonesia, where bird flu has killed four people and left 11 under observation in the capital. Two others, both children, have also died but the government is awaiting results to confirm if the H5N1 virus killed them.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the Indonesian Health Ministry confirmed on Thursday a further human case of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza. Investigations into other cases were continuing, it added.

“The case, in an eight-year-old boy, was confirmed as positive for H5N1 infection by a WHO reference laboratory in Hong Kong,” the Geneva-based agency said in a statement. He remained in hospital in Jakarta, it added.

Georg Petersen, the WHO’s Indonesia representative, said that despite the new cases, there is no evidence the H5N1 strain has mutated into a form that could trigger a pandemic.

Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO’s global special representative on avian flu, also said on Thursday there was no sign the virus had mutated into a form that could easily spread among people.

“So far there is no evidence for increased chance of human-to-human transmission,” Chan told Reuters by telephone from Sydney after attending a WHO conference in Noumea, capital of New Caledonia in the South Pacific.

But Petersen said very close contact with a sick person might infect that caretaker.

“That is why in hospitals we need to take all precautions ... That would be in a way a human-to-human transmission, but that demands close, close contact,” he said.

Petersen said the case of a father and his two daughters who died in the Tangerang suburb of Jakarta in July might have involved “within-family transmission".

Thailand had reported a probable case of human-to-human transmission in September 2004, when a 26-year-old woman died of bird flu after “prolonged face-to-face exposure” with her daughter, who was hospitalised with the virus.

All the confirmed and suspected cases have come from, or near, the capital Jakarta.

Chan said the rise in the number of suspected cases did not point to an epidemic.

“With increased surveillance it’s not unusual that you would pick up more cases,” Chan said.

Bird flu has killed 64 people in Asia since 2003 and has since been found in birds in Russia and Europe.



HIGH ALERT

Petersen said laboratory tests on people killed by bird flu in Indonesia showed they had the same or a similar virus that has killed millions of poultry in Asia.

“The tests from the 37-year-old woman ... so far that looks like the bird virus. So there is no reason to believe there has been any mutation so far,” Petersen said of the fourth confirmed bird flu death in the country.

Indonesia’s health minister said on Thursday a two-year-old girl who died in Jakarta this week had shown bird flu symptoms, adding that hospitals would be enhanced to cope with the virus.

Eleven patients were now under observation at the designated bird flu hospital in Jakarta, Siti Fadillah Supari added, raising the number from 10.

Indonesia is waiting results from Hong Kong after a five-year-old girl also died on Wednesday after suffering bird flu-like symptoms.

I Nyoman Kandun, the head of disease control at Indonesia’s health ministry, said tests so far showed only one patient out of those under observation was positive for the H5N1 virus. That patient was related to the Jakarta woman who died of bird flu almost two weeks ago.

The government has appealed for public calm over the outbreak, which has dominated local media in recent days. On Monday, it imposed a state of high alert, giving authorities power to order people with symptoms of the virus into hospitals.

The WHO last week warned bird flu was moving towards a form that could be passed between humans and the world had no time to waste to prevent a pandemic. Millions died in past pandemics.

The U.N. health agency was also working with Jakarta to bolster stocks of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in Canberra and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva)

REUTERS Reut18:38 09-22-05

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

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Webcast of Global Health Initiative

Via CIDRAP, here's the webcast of the September 19 conference: Global Health Initiative @ the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It features Dr. Michael Osterholm of CIDRAP and Helen Branswell, the medical writer for Canadian Press.

I haven't had time to watch or listen to it, but I'm sure it's excellent.

Posted by dymaxion at 08:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Genetic Comparison of H5N1 Influenza A Viruses Isolated from Chickens in Japan and Korea.

Microbiol Immunol. 2005; 49(9): 871-4
Mase M, Kim JH, Lee YJ, Tsukamoto K, Imada T, Imai K, Yamaguchi S

Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) caused by H5N1 virus occurred during 2003 to 2004 in Korea and Japan. The H5N1 viruses isolated in both countries were genetically similar at > 99% identity in the nucleotide sequences of all eight RNA segments, indicating that they belong to genotype V and are distinct from HPAI viruses prevalent in southeast Asia that belong to genotype Z. These findings indicate that the H5N1 viruses that caused the HPAI outbreaks in both Korea and Japan were derived from a common ancestor.

Posted by dymaxion at 08:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Australia to close all ports if bird flu strikes

Australia's air and sea ports would be closed off from the world in the event of an Asian bird flu outbreak.

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.

[...] Under the draft plan, if there was a serious outbreak of the disease the Government could ban gatherings of people, close schools and quarantine anyone suspected of carrying the virus.

"Fever clinics" would be established and certain hospitals designated as specific "influenza hospitals" or "care centres" to stop the spread of the disease. Mobile medical teams would roam suburbs treating home quarantine cases.

The story mentions Australia expects some 13,000 casualties in the event of an outbreak. Read the entire article in the Sun-Herald. Thanks to Chris Berkeley for the link.

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Grippe Aviaire : elle devient de plus en plus virulente.H5N1

... H5N1 du virus de la grippe aviaire depuis juillet en Indonésie. Le bilan total est de 63 morts, sur... effet averti qu'après la mutation du virus H5N1 de la grippe aviaire – pour devenir transmissible...". Si les spécialistes de l'OMS ne peuvent définir le moment où évoluera le virus H5N1, ils ...

Popol's house Technorati this

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Refreshingly different from global climate change...BlogPulse Search Results for: "avian influenza"

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, while r...[salto mortale] AVIAN INFLUENZA: WHAT TO DO NOW: . Also today, World Health Organization officials confirmed the first case of avianflu in a farmworker in the island n ation of Indonesia..... . on Tamiflu and Relenza, virus inhibitors that could prevent you from contracting avian influenza [Nature....

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WHO on human to human transmission in Indonesia

Two others, both children, have also died but the government is awaiting results to confirm if the H5N1 virus killed them. Despite the cases, there is no evidence the H5N1 strain has mutated into a form that could trigger a pandemic, ...

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Nine H5N1 Admissions Today Including Four Ragunan Zoo Visitors - Recombinomics


Nine H5N1 Admissions Today Including Four Ragunan Zoo Visitors
Recombinomics, PA - 1 hour ago
... More admissions are expected. Clearly the efficiency of H5N1 bird flu infections has increased, as the number of admitted cases doubles daily. ...

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またか…

... 人のウイルスでも耐性急増 インフルエンザ、安価薬に (共同通信) - 9月22日10時46分更新  【ワシントン21日共同】米疾病対策センター(CDC)のチームが21日、人で毎年流行するインフ ルエンザウイルスが、比較的安価な治療薬「アマンタジン」に対する耐性を急速に獲得、中国や香港で耐 性ウイルスの割合が約7割に及ぶ深刻な事態になっていると、英医学誌ランセット(電子版)に発表した 。  アマンタジンへの耐性は、アジアで流行中の鳥インフルエンザ(H5N1型)ウイルスでも報告されて いた。人と鳥のウイルスが交雑し、世界的に大流行する新型インフルエンザが出現する事態が懸念されて いるが ...

Yahoo!ブログ - ワトソン君のつぶやき Technorati this

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Top bird flu scientist warns against antiviral abuse

... A top scientist warned on Thursday against misusing oseltamivir, the antiviral drug that governments are stockpiling to fight a possible human pandemic caused by the H5N1 bird flu, saying that could lead to resistance. The warning from microbiologist Yi Guan, from the University of Hong Kong ...

Your Health Encyclopedia Technorati this

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September 21, 2005

Flu researchers slam US agency for hoarding data - Better sharing of information would help vaccine design.

 
Flu researchers slam US agency for hoarding data - Better sharing of information would help vaccine design. (info)
http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050919/full/437458a.html
"But investigations by Nature have revealed widespread concern that too few of the flu data collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta are made generally available. Experts say research would speed up if the CDC's influenza branch threw open its databases of virus sequences and immunological and epidemiological data."

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WHO | Avian influenza - situation in Viet Nam – update 30

 
WHO | Avian influenza - situation in Viet Nam – update 30 (info)
http://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_09_19/en/index.html
"The Ministry of Health in Viet Nam has retrospectively confirmed an additional fatal case of H5N1 infection that dates back to July. The case, in a 35-year-old male farmer from Ben Tre Province, developed symptoms on 25 July and died on 31 July. The newly confirmed case brings the total in Viet Nam since mid-December 2004 to 64 cases, of which 21 were fatal."
Posted by Declan to Vietnam AvianFlu cases on Wed Sep 21 2005 at 10:08 UTC

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Tamiflu

克流感(Tamiflu)最近獲衛生署核淮上巿,成為社會大眾對抗流行性感冒(流感)的一項新利器。看到‘克流感’讓我聯想到‘克蟑’,很土卻很響亮的名字。克流感是什麼樣的藥?克流感比較有效,還是流感疫苗比較有效?

談克流感之前應該先再認識一下流感。流感(influenza)是由流行性感冒病毒(influenza virus)所引起的傳染性疾病,流行性感冒病毒分為A、B、C三型,會引起人類社會大流行的主要是A型及B型,其中A型又含有各種不同的亞型(如,H1N1、H3N2、H5N1...)。

不同類型的流感有不同的表面抗原,而且變異性很高。流感病毒的表面抗原中含有一種重要的表面蛋白質----神經胺酸脢(應作‘西每’)(neuraminidase)。此神經胺酸脢的活性部位(active site)在不同型的流感病毒株中卻都是相同的。神經胺酸脢是用來促使利用宿主細胞完成複製的病毒從宿主細胞中釋放出來,同時幫助病毒穿透呼吸道的粘膜細胞。一旦此蛋白質的功能遭到抑制,病毒的複製及感染的能力即受到破壞。

克流感的主要成份是 oseltamivir,它是神經胺酸脢的抑制劑,會作用在流感病毒的神經胺酸脢的活性部位,使受感染的宿主細胞所製造出來的新病毒顆粒無法釋放出來,因而阻止了流感病毒的複製與擴散。因為此活性部位在各類型流感病毒皆相同,所以,克流感對A型及B型流感皆有效。它可以使感染到流感的患者提早2-3天恢復到正常體能及活動力。同時使流感病狀減輕約40%。

克流感膠囊一粒含oseltamivir 75mg,用法是早晚各一粒,連吃五天,最好能夠在症狀初現時即開始服用,才能有最佳的療效。目前我們的衛生署只核淮給成年人服用,但此藥在美已上巿已兩年,去年十二月也開始核淮給一歲以上的兒童使用。

克流感也可用來在流感流行時期作為預防性的用藥,用法是在流行時每日服用一粒。不過,想想看,克流感可是超貴的,一盒十粒裝,定價一千一百元!一粒就要一百多元,流行期有時長達1-2月,想想看,你準備花多少錢來預防流感?

就預防層面來說,可能流感疫苗比較經濟。流感疫苗已上巿好幾年,也開始降價了,今年可能六百元就可打得到(去年之前要八百元)。不過流感疫苗是每年依世界衛生組織所預測今年將流行的病毒株所製造出來的,比如,今年的流感疫苗就包含了三個病毒株:A型墨西哥株(Moscow)、A型新卡連德納株(New caledonia)及B型四川株(Sichuan)。因為如前所述,流感的各個病毒株的表面抗原皆不相同,如果今年所發生流行的病毒株恰巧不在疫苗的三個病毒株裡的話,那麼疫苗的效果就要大打折扣了。

打了流感疫苗之後,大約要二個星期後才開始有保護效果。而且,它只有預防效果,沒有治療效果。所以,如果,你沒有在事先打了流感疫苗,卻不幸染上了流感,又剛好在未來幾天有重要的事情需要打拚,或者,你的免疫力很差,容易因流感而發生嚴重的併發症的話,快找醫生處方並自費購買克流感吧!因為,它是處方藥,而且健保不給付!

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CEGAH FLU BURUNG!!!

Keberadaan virus H5N1 di indonesia sudah mulai bikin kita gerah. Gimana enggak? Virus ini sudah memakan korban jiwa. Belum jelas si korban terinfeksi virus ini dari unggas atau tertular antar manusia.


Menurut WHO yang harus dilakukan:

  • Hindari kontak dengan unggas jenis apapun, dengan bulu bulunya, kotoran maupun limbahnya.

  • Jangan memelihara unggas sebagai hewan kesayangan.

  • Cucilah tangan dengan air dan sabun setiap sesudah bersentuhan dengan unggas.

  • Jangan tidur di dekat tempat pemeliharaan unggas.


  • Baca selengkapnya...



    Paling penting adalah tetap menjaga kebugaran tubuh. Usahakan agar kita tidak terkena flu 'manusia'. Dan ingat bahwa Bel' Air adalah produk lengkap yang memiliki kemampuan sebagai:


    PEMBERSIH UDARA yang menggunakan minyak nabati (essential oil) yang mampu MENJERNIHKAN UDARA dengan menghilangkan polusi, bau tak sedap sampai bakteri-virus-jamur di udara dan juga bisa MERINGANKAN PENYAKIT

    k menjaga stamina agar tetap sehat, cukup gunakan Euca atau Thyme oil. Atau tetap gunakan oil yang Anda gunakan untuk terapi.

    materapi (feed)
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    Resistance to anti-flu drugs increases - study. (HEALTH-FLU) 2005-09-21 15:23:02



    (Embargoed for release on Sept 21 at 23:01 GMT)

    LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Resistance to anti-flu drugs has risen by 12 percent worldwide in the past decade, scientists said on Thursday in a finding that could pose problems for health officials trying to avert a pandemic.

    Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta found resistance to a class of drugs used to treat influenza for more than 30 years rose from 0.4 percent in 1994-1995 to 12.3 percent by 2004.

    In some countries in Asia, where scientists suspect the next strain of flu with pandemic potential will originate, drug resistance exceeded 70 percent.

    “Our report has broad implications for agencies and governments planning to stockpile these drugs for epidemic and pandemic strains of influenza,” said Dr Rick Bright of the CDC.

    The findings, which are reported online by The Lancet medical journal, suggest the drugs amantadine and rimantadine will probably no longer be effective for treatment or as a preventive in a pandemic outbreak of flu.

    The drugs, known as adamantane derivatives, inhibit the replication of the influenza A virus. But they do not work against influenza B viruses or the H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed more than 60 people since late 2003.

    Although it is not easily transmitted from person to person, public health officials fear the H5N1 strain could mutate and cause a worldwide pandemic.

    Two other drugs, Roche’s Holding AG’s Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza which belong to another class called neuraminidase inhibitors, have been shown to reduce the severity of a flu infection and prevent it in some cases.

    The World Health Organisation recommends governments build stockpiles of neuraminidase inhibitors in case a pandemic develops.

    The CDC researchers said their study of 7,000 influenza A viruses obtained worldwide is the largest and most comprehensive report on adamantane resistance to date.

    The researchers did not explain why there was an increase in resistance.

    About 5 percent to 20 percent of the population in the United States gets the flu each year, according to the CDC.

    “Our data raise concern about the increasing incidence of adamantane-resistance influenza A viruses circulating throughout the world and draw attention to the importance of tracking the emergence and worldwide spread of drug-resistant viruses,” the scientists said.

    In a separate report that assessed 64 studies of the impact of flu vaccines in the elderly, researchers in Italy found the vaccines were not effective against influenza or pneumonia but prevented up to 30 percent of hospitalisations for pneumonia.

    In people living in long-term care facilities the vaccines prevented up to 42 percent of deaths from the flu and pneumonia.

    REUTERS Reut19:23 09-21-05

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

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    "The evidence for transmission of H5N1 via casual contact is growing"

    Hospitalized H5N1 Zoo Workers Grow to Three From Recombinomics. In Indonesia, a 28-year-old guide and a 39-year-old vendor at a popular zoo in the capital were hospitalized Tuesday with symptoms of bird flu, said I Nyoman Kandun, ...

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Esperando La Mutación


    Publicado en EL CORREO
    Territorios, Ciencia-Futuro
    Miércoles 14 de septiembre de 2005

    La gripe aviar es una enfermedad que puede “dar el salto” a la especie humana. Sólo falta una mutación que le permita quedarse entre nosotros...

    Desde el año pasado, la Organización Mundial de la Salud está alertando de la posible aparición de una nueva pandemia: una enfermedad que se transmite entre humanos y que provoca el SRAS (síndrome respiratorio agudo severo), que fue comenzado a ser detectado en poblaciones de Asia. Aunque hasta el momento no se ha demostrado que algo así exista, los expertos en epidemiología siguen de cerca la trayectoria de esta enfermedad, muy virulenta (se estima una mortalidad del 10%, frente al 2% de las gripes que amenazan a los humanos), porque algunos casos, detectados en el mes de junio en Yakarta (Indonesia) parecían indicar una transmisión entre humanos: ninguno de los enfermos habían tenido contacto con aves, que es la vía habitual de transmisión, aunque en estos casos -ni en otros anteriores- se ha demostrado la temida transmisión entre humanos.

    Se trata así de una zoonosis, es decir, de una enfermedad que llega al hombre desde un animal. Esta variante humana de una enfermedad de las aves, la denominada gripe aviar, es responsable de poco más de un centenar de muertes humanas registradas en todo el mundo en los últimos ocho años. El director del programa de Vigilancia de Enfermedades infecciosas de la OMS, Guenael Rodier, advertía que “la posibilidad de que el virus aviar H5N1 contagie a los humanos está siendo seriamente evaluada: nuevos modelos de predicción indican que un virus así podría dar una vuelta al mundo en tres meses”.

    Los estudios que se han realizado por parte de comités internacionales intentan ahora analizar la situación evitando falsas alarmas, o la creación de una cierta histeria colectiva. Por ejemplo, hace sólo un mes se pensaba que una probable vía de llegada de la gripe aviar a Europa sería la emigración de aves desde Siberia (infectadas allí y con capacidad de transmitir a los humanos la enfermedad). Sin dejar de considerar el proceso como posible (lo que llevó ya el año pasado a países como Holanda a restringir la presencia de aves de consumo humano en el exterior, para evitar el contacto con aves migratorias), las resoluciones europeas son más conservadoras. Pero la OMS ha confirmado la presencia de gripe aviar en Rusia y Kazajistán en agosto (hasta entonces sólo se había confirmado en Siberia), es decir, que el virus de las aves ha roto el confinamiento del sureste asiático, donde provocó (directa o indirectamente, mediante matanzas realizadas para paralizar la epidemia) la muerte de más de 150 millones de aves.

    Un coronavirus
    El agente patógeno de la gripe aviar es un coronavirus parecido al causante de la gripe humana, que se transmite en gotas de saliva, secrecciones nasales y por las heces, que afecta a todo tipo de aves y, según se ha comprobado, a algunos mamíferos (en parte, las transmisiones a humanos en Asia se produjeron por el contacto con civetas infectadas, por ejemplo). Una de los subtipos detectados de este virus, el H5N1, es el identificado en los casos humanos del SRAS, aunque sólo es uno de los muchos existentes. Los subtipos que normalmente afectan a los humanos son tres: H1N1, H1N2 y H3N2. ¿Podría producirse una mutación del H5N1 para conseguir que fuera capaz de usar a los humanos como lo hacen esos subtipos? Este es el gran temor de los expertos, porque el virus de la gripe muestra una gran capacidad de adaptación y mutación.

    El H5N1 fue detectado en 1961 en aves en Sudáfrica, y posteriormente se vio que circulaba por todo el mundo, aunque no afectaba a los humanos. Sin embargo, se observó un primer caso de contagio humano en 1997, durante un brote de la gripe aviar en Hong Kong. Entre 2003 y 2004 se produjo el mayor brote observado, en varios países asiáticos (Camboya, China, Indonesia, Corea del Sur, Tailandia y Vietnam), que se creyó controlado a mediados del año pasado. Aunque existe un tratamiento antiviral para esa gripe, no hay una vacuna que pueda aplicarse, aunque ya en abril se comenzaron a ensayar posibles vacunas, variantes de las que se usan en otros subtipos de gripe que afectan a aves. En los casos de transmisión a humanos, el H5N1 se ha demostrado como muy virulento (una mortalidad cercana al 50% de los casos diagnosticados), pero tiene una transmisibilidad muy baja de aves a humanos.

    La Mutación
    El peligro es que, como los demás subtipos del virus, una mutación del H5N1 le permita dar el salto definitivo entre especies, y convertirse en una enfermedad humana. Los expertos creen que no sería el primer caso, y en las grandes epidemias de gripe sufridas en el siglo XX se ha estudiado una posible conexión con gripes aviares como explicación de la amplia distribución de los brotes. Por ejemplo, la llamada “gripe asiática” de 1957, que causó más de un millón de muertes. E igualmente sucedió en 1914, con la que se denominó “gripe española” durante la Primera Guerra Mundial, responsable de más de veinte millones de muertos.

    Los expertos estiman que el virus de la gripe (virus influenzae) existe desde hace unos 80 millones de años: es un antiguo superviviente entre muchas especies de animales, principalmente aves y mamíferos. Los más de 130 subtipos conocidos atestiguan su gran capacidad de adaptación. Afortunadamente, sólo en contadas ocasiones se han juntado los dos aspectos más peligrosos desde el punto de vista epidemiológico: alta transmisibilidad -que sobreviva en el aire o en el agua bastante tiempo como para facilitar el contagio- y alta virulencia -que provoque un síndrome gripal con alta mortalidad-.

    Salto Entre Especies
    Una de las causas comprobadas de pandemias que han afectado al ser humano es la transmisión de enfermedades que resultan capaces de saltar desde otras especies. Los epidemiólogos alertan que uno de los efectos de la globalización será la aparición de nuevas zoonosis: la mayor movilidad de animales por todo el mundo puede saltar los controles sanitarios habituales el tiempo suficiente (dependiendo de la virulencia de la enfermedad) como para crear una nueva pandemia. Hace unos años se detectó una nueva enfermedad que ha pasado de los caballos a los humanos, el llamado “virus de Hendra”, detectado en Australia. Algunos paramixovirus, hantavirus y de otras familias, como el rabiavirus, están siendo detectados. Igualmente, virus que causan fiebres hemorrágicas (Ebola), saltando de los monos al hombre, crean brotes virulentos en África. En la génesis de la pandemia del sida se cree probable un salto de este tipo desde otros primates.

    Los expertos creen que estos saltos, propiciados por la alta capacidad de mutar que tiene el material genético de algunos tipos de virus, se dan de forma puntual en lugares donde hay un hacinamiento humano y animal con pocas condiciones de higiene. Suelen ser versiones poco activas de virus que existían antes, y que desarrollan una alta latencia, es decir, que pueden permanecer bastante tiempo fuera de su entorno habitual, lo que favorece el contagio. Como consuelo, los virólogos estiman que también la globalización, la de los programas de vigilancia epidemiológica y detección temprana de nuevas enfermedades emergentes, serán elementos que nos irán permitiendo un control de las mismas.


    (Una entrada de hace año y medio sobre zoonosis: Animales peligrosos)


    Posted by dymaxion at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Seventh H5N1 Fatality in Jakarta Denied Treatment - Recombinomics


    Seventh H5N1 Fatality in Jakarta Denied Treatment
    Recombinomics, PA - 8 hours ago
    ... On the three function units were Riska Ardian, who died yesterday, Mutiara Gaytri, who is H5N1 positive and is a contact of an 18 month old, initials RH, and ...

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    World has slim chance to stop flu pandemic

    In a matter of hours, the tone of avian-flu news has darkened. The Jakarta cases look like the real thing: H2H, human-to-human transmission of a virus that kills over half of those it infects. The latest story on ABC News seems fairly typical of the new mood.

    On a beautiful end-of-summer afternoon in Vancouver, with golden sunlight flooding over the flowers in my wife's garden, it seems strange to say: "This could be it." But this could be it.

    I spoke to my colleagues at a faculty-association meeting today, asking that we organize a college-wide emergency-planning committee that would work with municipal, provincial and federal agencies. A little to my surprise, the response was a unanimous vote of support. That's encouraging, but I think we're going to have to work fast.

    Maybe we'll look back on the summer of 2005 the way our grandparents and great-grandparents looked back on the summers of 1939 and 1914: as the last sweet summer before the darkness. I hope I'm mistaken.

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bird flu conventional wisdom?Effect Measure

    As a wise person once said, "It's not what I don't know that scares me. It's what I think I know and I'm wrong about." The current H5N1 outbreak in Indonesia requires we look at our conventional wisdom about transmission and presentation of this disease. In an electronic version of the Clinicians Biosecurity Network Weekly Bulletin yesterday (9/19/05), Borio and Bartlett reviewed a recent article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (J Infect Dis. 2005 Oct 15;192(8):1311-4) by Frederick Hayden and Alice Croisier. Several points are made.

    Conventional wisdom is that transmission of influenza is primarily human-to-human via respiratory droplets, with possibly some transmission via hands (handshakes, etc.) or inanimate objects with viable virus on them. But with many reports of viral particles in bird feces and in one case at least in human feces, the possibility of the fecal - oral route must be considered. This means the gastrointestinal tract is a route of exposure, consistent with reports of infection by consumption of undercooked poultry.If the virus can infect the human intestine (as it does the intestines of birds), then the persistent reports of diarrhea being a common presenting symptom must be clearly recognized, not as a rare presentation but a relatively common one.

    The JID article also reports that a WHO study done this year shows that 30% of the Vietnamese cases do not give a history of contact with infected poultry. This suggests, once again, that there might already be much undetected human-to-human transmission of relatively mild disease in southeast asia. We have already made this point a number of times. The absence of any systematic seroprevalence surveys in the area is to be deplored. We should know the answer to this question by now.

    In past pandemics there have usually been several waves, the first of which is often milder, with the second the most severe. If it is true that we may have already experienced a mild wave in southeast asia last spring, this bodes ill for the coming months. While it is quite possible that the Indonesian episode is a false alarm, alarm is now appropriate, false or otherwise. Time is getting short for individual communities to mobilize and organize themselves to minimize the consequences of what potentially is a much more serious threat than Hurricane Katrina. This is a warning of a global hurricane. And we are no more prepared than were the authorities in New Orleans.

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Avian Flu UpdatePowerpundit

    "Epidemic" in Indonesia:

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia called an outbreak of bird flu in its teeming capital an epidemic on Wednesday as health and agricultural experts from around the world converged on Jakarta to help control the virus.

    iti Fadillah Supari said the emergence of sporadic human cases of bird flu in recent months in and around different parts of Jakarta, home to 12 million people, warranted the epidemic tag.

    She was speaking before announcing that an initial local test on a five-year-old girl who died on Wednesday after suffering from bird flu symptoms was negative for the virus.

    "This can be described as an epidemic. These (cases) will happen again as long as we cannot determine the source," Supari told reporters, but she insisted it would be wrong to label it a "frightening epidemic."

    Four Indonesians are already confirmed to have died since July from the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed a total of 64 people in four Asian countries since late 2003 and has been found in birds in Russia and Europe.

    Six other patients are still in a government-designated hospital in Jakarta suspected of having avian flu.

    The U.N. World Health Organization last week warned bird flu was moving toward a form that could be passed between human beings and the world had no time to waste to prevent a pandemic, an outbreak that spreads far more widely than an epidemic.

    And if it strikes here, we're not even close to being ready to deal with it.

    ***
    Related:

    Other Dangers On The Horizon For America
    Avian Flu Update
    Avian Flu Latest
    Avian Flu Economic Worries
    Avian Flu Vaccine Experimentally Effective
    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

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    ついに卵解禁

    ... 【IDSC20日】ベトナム政府保健省は、本年7月にH5N1亜型鳥インフルエンザウイルス感染による死亡者がさらに一名でていたことを追加して確認した。症例はベンチェ(Ben Tre)州在住の35歳の農夫であり、患者は7月25日に発症し、7月31日に死亡していた。  この患者の確認により、2004年12月中旬以降のベトナムにおける症例数は64例となり、うち21例が死亡している。 「7月に死亡していた」って今さら何言ってるんでしょうか。ベトナムは完璧に報道規制が決まって揉み消し作戦に出たんでしょうか。2月近く経ってどこかから情報が漏れて止む無く公表に至ったのか。真相はよく分かりません。  そん ...

    LeThanhTon Street Journal Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    鳥インフルエンザと食料の安全。

    ... 鳥インフルエンザと食料の安全。 IMG インフルエンザ、インドネシアで被害拡大 2005年 9月21日 (水) 19:29   【ジャカルタ=黒瀬悦成】インドネシアのスパリ保健相は21日、毒性の強い鳥インフルエンザウイルス(H5N1型)に感染の疑いがあるジャカルタ在住の5歳の少女が同日死亡したと発表した。   現在、少女の血液を検査して最終確認を急いでいる。   ジャカルタ首都圏および近郊地域では今年7月以降、鳥インフルエンザウイルスへの感染が確認された4人が死亡したほか、少なくとも9人が感染の疑いで治療を受けるなど、感染被害が急拡大 ...

    一燈照隅 Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Grippe Aviaire : elle devient de plus en plus virulente.

    ... H5N1 du virus de la grippe aviaire depuis juillet en Indonésie. Le bilan total est de 63 morts, sur... effet averti qu'après la mutation du virus H5N1 de la grippe aviaire – pour devenir transmissible...". Si les spécialistes de l'OMS ne peuvent définir le moment où évoluera le virus H5N1, ils ...

    Popol's house Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Indonesia Moves to Contain Bird Flu

    The government imposed "extraordinary" measures Tuesday to contain a bird flu outbreak that has killed four people in Indonesia, including the forced hospitalization of people with symptoms of the disease. In addition to the fatalities, seven patients suspected of having the H5N1 strain of bird flu - two of them zoo employees - have been admitted to Jakarta's infectious diseases hospital, officials said. Blood samples from the patients have been sent to Hong Kong for testing. Health

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Drug resistant bird flu in Southeast Asia

    From Monsters and Critics.com, " MEMPHIS, TN, United States (UPI) -- Resistance to the anti-viral drug amantadine is spreading more rapidly among avian influenza viruses of H5N1 subtype in ... " Full Story

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Comparing National Tamiflu Stockpiles Against Flu Pandemic Threat

    FuturePundit Future technological trends and their likely effects on human society, politics and evolution. Roche's Tamiflu (a.k.a. oseltamivir phosphate) is the most effective known drug against influenza infections. Should an H5N1 avian influenza strain mutate into a form capable of causing a large deadly human pandemic then for those infected Tamiflu might be the only drug that will reduce the odds of dying. With that in mind I've decided to start looking for information on national

    Posted by dymaxion at 05:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 20, 2005

    jakartagirl.jpg


    From flickr/AvianFlu Watch

    Caption: A six-year-old Indonesian girl suspected of carrying bird flu lies on a hospital bed in Jakarta September 18 2005. (Dadang Tri/Reuters)

    After the death of a woman last week from bird flu in Jakarta, Indonesia, there are now at least four children with symptoms of bird flu in hospital. (report and discussion on CurEvents.com)

    Also in Jakarta, authorities have shut down Indonesia's national zoo after discovering that 19 of the 27 samples taken from various birds in the zoo have tested positive for bird flu. (report and discussion on CurEvents.com)
    <-----

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    ForwarnedJust a Bump in the Beltway

    Via Crawfod Killian's invaluable H5N1 Blog: Businesses prepare for bird flu epidemic Corporations make emergency plans, stockpile masks, antivirals WASHINGTON - Global corporations are crafting emergency plans for remote work sites and stockpiles of masks and antiviral medicines in case...

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Flu vaccine stockpile faces delayGavin's Blog

    Why does this not surprise me. I suppose I should be grateful they are doing something.

    The Department of Health is expected to tell the Government’s Working Group on Emergency Planning tomorrow that it will be next year before it has the one million packs of anti-viral drugs which international trends suggest would be best practice for preparing to deal with the emergence of any flu pandemic.

    Separately, Department of Health officials are expected to warn that planning for a global flu pandemic, while aiming to reduce the rates of death and illness, can only mitigate the effects of the outbreak and that the consequences were still likely to be serious.

    The Department of Health is expected to tell the working group that in the event of a pandemic, anti-viral drugs could be used to prevent influenza in the early stages, alleviate symptoms or shorten the duration of the condition, but that the production of a vaccine tailored to a specific strain could take six to nine months.

    The department is also expected to tell the working group that it is also set to procure around 200,000 doses of the H5N1 vaccine against the avian influenza strain implicated in the recent outbreak in Asia.

    The working group, chaired by Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea, is to deal with official preparations for a major international flu pandemic at its meeting tomorrow.

    Willie O’Dea? Is that not like putting Michael Brown in charge of FEMA, or worse?

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    鳥インフルエンザ

    ... ■ジャカルタを警戒地域指定 鳥インフルエンザ疑い続出。 ◎【ジャカルタ19日共同】高病原性の鳥インフルエンザ(H5N1型)で4人が死亡したインドネシアの首都ジャカルタで、鳥インフルエンザに感染の疑いがある子供の入院が相次ぎ、政府は19日までに首都を警戒地域に指定、鳥類と接触しないよう住民に注意を呼び掛けた。 保健省などによると、首都南西郊外バンテン州タンゲラン県で10日死亡した女性(37)が...する首都南部に加え、首都北部にも広がっている。 ◎インドネシアのスパリ保健相は19日、ジャカルタに入院中の幼児3人が鳥インフルエンザウイルス(H5N1型)に感染している可能性があることを明らか ...

    イスラム関係ニュースの倉庫 Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    H5N1 Suspected in Four Hospitalized Children in Jakarta - Recombinomics


    H5N1 Suspected in Four Hospitalized Children in Jakarta
    Recombinomics, PA - 15 hours ago
    Although there are many conflicting media reports, it seems that there are at least four children hospitalized who have tested positive for H5N1 and / or are ...
    Suspected H5N1 Cases in Jakarta Indonesian Children Mounts Recombinomics
    H5N1 Toll in Jakarta Indonesia Contues to Grow Recombinomics
    Fifth H5N1 Case in Jakarta Indonesia Confirmed Recombinomics
    Recombinomics - all 5 related

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    US to Lead Delegation to SE Asia to Increase H5N1 Surveillance - Recombinomics

    US to Lead Delegation to SE Asia to Increase H5N1 Surveillance Recombinomics, - 1 hour ago During the visit to Thailand, Cambodia , Laos and Vietnam, Leavitt said he would be negotiating agreements with the most affected nations to offer assistance ... Sixth Suspect H5N1 Case in Jakarta Causes Concerns Recombinomics all 4 related

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

    More on Indonesia

    Indonesia's government appealed for calm on Tuesday and insisted it was able to handle an outbreak of bird flu that has killed four people in the country. 

    The call came after three more people with flu-like symptoms were admitted to hospital in the capital late on Monday, hours after the government put the country on high alert.

    Read the full story here. This latest news from Indonesia is quite worrisome.  The number of infected people has gone up steadily and, according to Henry Niman, people got the infection following a pattern that may suggest human to human transmission. Stay tuned.

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Reuters AlertNet - EU warns against unilateral moves to fight bird flu

     
    Reuters AlertNet - EU warns against unilateral moves to fight bird flu (info)
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L20519692.htm
    Posted by Declan to AvianFlu EU on Tue Sep 20 2005 at 11:15 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Forced hospitalization for Indonesians with bird flu symptoms - Asia - Pacific - International Herald Tribune

     
    Forced hospitalization for Indonesians with bird flu symptoms - Asia - Pacific - International Herald Tribune (info)
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/20/asia/web.0920flu.php
    Posted by Declan to INDONESIA AvianFlu cases on Tue Sep 20 2005 at 11:13 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    More good news for people who like bad news.

    I read this in The Independent last week; thought I'd share.

    Bird flu could cause global economic catastrophe
    By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
    Published: 18 September 2005
    Bird flu threatens to cause a "catastrophic" economic crash in Britain and around the world, unprecedented in modern times, according to new research.

    Two studies from Nottingham University and the Bank of Montreal in Canada show that a flu pandemic - described by the World Health Organisation last week as inevitable - would slash at least £95bn from British GDP, extinguish at least 900,000 jobs and create a global depression to rival that of the 1930s.

    They come as world leaders attending the United Nations summit last week began to recognise the scale of the potential threat from the influenza virus, codenamed H5N1, which has reached the borders of Europe.

    President George Bush has launched an International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, under which countries - including the US, Britain, Australia, Canada, China and Russia - and UN agencies will pool resources and expertise to try to head it off. His administration announced that health ministers from around the world would shortly meet in Canada to back the initiative.

    Bird flu, which originated in China and South-east Asia, is being spread by migrating wildfowl, infecting domestic poultry. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation warned this month that it will reach every continent. Last week Russia reported a third outbreak among chickens in Chelyabinsk in the Urals, on Europe's doorstep.

    So far about 60 people are known to have died from the virus, about half of those infected. Experts fear that it will mutate to spread rapidly among people, killing tens - perhaps hundreds - of millions worldwide. Last week Dr Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organisation, said the mutation was inevitable and "just an issue of timing". Publicly the Government says that more than 50,000 people are likely to die in Britain, but privately it is preparing for up to 750,000 deaths. Earlier this year Professor Hugh Pennington, one of the country's experts, said that the British death toll could reach two million.

    The Nottingham University study was commissioned for an edition of the ITV programme Tonight with Trevor McDonald, which will be screened tomorrow and features The Independent on Sunday's campaigning coverage of the issue.

    The study used a giant computer model of the British economy. It found that even a relatively mild pandemic, with 50,000 deaths, would cut Britain's GDP by a staggering 8 per cent or £95bn, cost 941,000 jobs, and "affect every aspect of life in Britain".

    Professor Thea Sinclair, who led the research, says that a more serious pandemic, killing hundreds of thousands or millions of Britons, would have "truly catastrophic" effects on the economy.

    'Tonight with Trevor McDonald' is at 8pm on ITV1, tomorrow

    Bird flu threatens to cause a "catastrophic" economic crash in Britain and around the world, unprecedented in modern times, according to new research.

    Two studies from Nottingham University and the Bank of Montreal in Canada show that a flu pandemic - described by the World Health Organisation last week as inevitable - would slash at least £95bn from British GDP, extinguish at least 900,000 jobs and create a global depression to rival that of the 1930s.

    They come as world leaders attending the United Nations summit last week began to recognise the scale of the potential threat from the influenza virus, codenamed H5N1, which has reached the borders of Europe.

    President George Bush has launched an International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, under which countries - including the US, Britain, Australia, Canada, China and Russia - and UN agencies will pool resources and expertise to try to head it off. His administration announced that health ministers from around the world would shortly meet in Canada to back the initiative.

    Bird flu, which originated in China and South-east Asia, is being spread by migrating wildfowl, infecting domestic poultry. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation warned this month that it will reach every continent. Last week Russia reported a third outbreak among chickens in Chelyabinsk in the Urals, on Europe's doorstep.
    So far about 60 people are known to have died from the virus, about half of those infected. Experts fear that it will mutate to spread rapidly among people, killing tens - perhaps hundreds - of millions worldwide. Last week Dr Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organisation, said the mutation was inevitable and "just an issue of timing". Publicly the Government says that more than 50,000 people are likely to die in Britain, but privately it is preparing for up to 750,000 deaths. Earlier this year Professor Hugh Pennington, one of the country's experts, said that the British death toll could reach two million.

    The Nottingham University study was commissioned for an edition of the ITV programme Tonight with Trevor McDonald, which will be screened tomorrow and features The Independent on Sunday's campaigning coverage of the issue.

    The study used a giant computer model of the British economy. It found that even a relatively mild pandemic, with 50,000 deaths, would cut Britain's GDP by a staggering 8 per cent or £95bn, cost 941,000 jobs, and "affect every aspect of life in Britain".

    Professor Thea Sinclair, who led the research, says that a more serious pandemic, killing hundreds of thousands or millions of Britons, would have "truly catastrophic" effects on the economy.



    Sorry for the overlong post.

    From Banality Saves Lives. (feed)
    See also links to this feed and more from this feed

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bird flu conventional wisdom?

    As a wise person once said, "It's not what I don't know that scares me. It's what I think I know and I'm wrong about." The current H5N1 outbreak in Indonesia requires we look at our conventional wisdom about transmission and presentation of this disease. In an electronic version of the Clinicians Biosecurity Network Weekly Bulletin yesterday (9/19/05), Borio and Bartlett reviewed a recent article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (J Infect Dis. 2005 Oct 15;192(8):1311-4) by Frederick Hayden and Alice Croisier. Several points are made.


    Conventional wisdom is that transmission of influenza is primarily human-to-human via respiratory droplets, with possibly some transmission via hands (handshakes, etc.) or inanimate objects with viable virus on them. But with many reports of viral particles in bird feces and in one case at least in human feces, the possibility of the fecal - oral route must be considered. This means the gastrointestinal tract is a route of exposure, consistent with reports of infection by consumption of undercooked poultry.If the virus can infect the human intestine (as it does the intestines of birds), then the persistent reports of diarrhea being a common presenting symptom must be clearly recognized, not as a rare presentation but a relatively common one.


    The JID article also reports that a WHO study done this year shows that 30% of the Vietnamese cases do not give a history of contact with infected poultry. This suggests, once again, that there might already be much undetected human-to-human transmission of relatively mild disease in southeast asia. We have already made this point a number of times. The absence of any systematic seroprevalence surveys in the area is to be deplored. We should know the answer to this question by now.


    In past pandemics there have usually been several waves, the first of which is often milder, with the second the most severe. If it is true that we may have already experienced a mild wave in southeast asia last spring, this bodes ill for the coming months. While it is quite possible that the Indonesian episode is a false alarm, alarm is now appropriate, false or otherwise. Time is getting short for individual communities to mobilize and organize themselves to minimize the consequences of what potentially is a much more serious threat than Hurricane Katrina. This is a warning of a global hurricane. And we are no more prepared than were the authorities in New Orleans.

    Effect Measure (feed)
    See also links to this feed and more from this feed

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    "Indonesia on high alert over avian flu"

    CIDRAP (The University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) news alert September 19, 2005.

    "Indonesia was on high alert over H5N1 avian influenza today, with at least two children hospitalized with suspected cases and Jakarta's zoo closed because of infected birds."

    The question is whether Indonesia will have the will and the administrative capacity to destroy

    "http://stconsultant.blogspot.com/">Thoughts About K4D (feed)
    See also links to this feed and more from this feed

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza: updated

    CIDRAP has updated its list of Laboratory-confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza as of September 19. It also includes "unofficial" cases. I'll try to follow CIDRAP's updates as closely as possible. They may be the first reliable indicator that a pandemic has broken out.

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

    Flu Burung

    ... Indonesia harus mewaspadai dan mengantisipasi kemungkinan terjadinya penularan flu burung(Avian Influenza/AI) fase 5. Pada fase 5, penularan virus terjadi dari manusia ke manusia. Saat ini Indonesia sudah sampai fase 3. FASE PENULARAN FLU BURUNG Fase I Virus H5N1 menjangkiti hewan(kebanyakan ...

    Just a Little Bee Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 19, 2005

    Wilson Center: Avian Flu: The Next Epidemic

    diseased poultry.jpg

    Washington: September 19, 2005. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars presented a webcast panel discussion entitled Avian Flu: The Next Epidemic today at the Center's headquarters in Washington, DC. Featured panelists were Michael Osterholm an epidemiologist based at the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Reasearch and Policy, where he serves as director, and Helen Branswell, a medical writer for the Canadian Press Agency who has written an extensive series of stories on the looming Avian Flu pandemic.

    Osterholm, who also serves as an associate director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Center for Food Protection and Defense, is most widely known for his article published in the July-August edition of Foreign Affairs Magazine entitled Preparing for the Next Pandemic, which raised a number of eyebrows and hackles in this country and around the world. Foreign Affairs Magazine, published by the Council on Foreign Affairs, is known to be followed closely by government policy-makers at the highest levels.

    What distinguishes Osterholm is his complete unwillingness to be less than candid in describing the threat of a pandemic of overwhelming proportions brought on the H5N1 virus that has been circulating mainly in South Asia among the domestic bird population since the late 1990's. In his talk and responses to audience questions today, Osterholm makes it clear that he has little patience for politicians who insist on minimizing the looming problem

    As he has done in prior talks, Osterholm began his presentation at the Wilson Center by saying that an Avian Flu pandemic is "inevitable." He believes that the disease will mutate at some point in time --"it could be this year, it could be five years out"-- in some highly significant way and become readily contagious among humans. Today, the H5N1 virus has mainly stricken in the millions the poultry populations of China, Thailand, Vietnam and most recently Indonesia. Though it is nearly impossible to get complete figures, it is known that the disease has been transmitted to somewhere over a hundred and twenty humans and that about half of those who've contracted it have died from it. But the disease has also made the jump to the migrating bird population, to rodents and swine as well as humans. It is still not known whether the disease has jumped from person to person directly, though there is some evidence of that in the latest outbreak in Indonesia. Once the virus does make the mutation, unless there is enough effective vaccine available and on hand-- it will be impossible to stop. "It is going to happen", Osterholm says.

    In their back to back presentations, Osterholm and Branswell both pointed to some of the enormous challenges that lie ahead for all of us. The H5N1 pandemic has been compared to the Spanish Flu outbreak that occurred right after World War I that killed (Osterholm's figure) 50 to 150 million people. That outbreak occurred when there were many fewer people on earth and no air travel to speed and disperse transmission. For technical reasons the H5N1 strain of the virus is particularly virulent. It is new to humans and therefore will race through a population with little in the way of natural immune defenses. It will also be particularly devastating to the greater societal infrastructure because, in a perverse twist --the various versions of the common H3N2 virus tend to strike the elderly and least healthy hardest each Winter season-- H5N1 will hit hardest young adults at the peak of their physical strength and natural immunity cycles. The phenomenon, which occurred during the Spanish Flu is described by epidemiologists as a W curve. It is clearly worrisome because it means that the very strongest service providers in society, in police, fire and health, will be decimated. As Ms. Branswell, who in no way appeared to disagree with Dr. Osterholm put it: "when pandemic flu hits, there will be no calvary".

    Osterholm, who wears another hat as a food supply specialist for the department of Homeland Security raises a number of extremely important points. He describes a situation in Southeast Asia where there is  now a quick turnover --three generations per year-- of billions of edible fowl, some percentage of which carry the virus, coming into close, daily contact with millions of people. He calls the chance that the virus will mutate into the pandemic form a matter of "genetic roulette" with odds of a mutation, against this dangerous wheel, 100 percent.

    Given that we are probably about to face one of the great disasters of our history, the real questions arise as to what can be done. Both Branswell and Osterholm offered little in the way of palliatives. They were both able to point out the great difficulties involved in the adequate production of antiviral drugs like Tamiflu that may or may not offer much of a defense and, particularly, the primitive state of flu vaccine production not to mention the difficulties of getting it right in the face of a virus that has not yet recombined into its humanly viral state and even the simple availability of effective facemasks now exclusively manufactured in Asia and, for all practical purposes, the last line of defense.

    Both panelists made it clear that it is extremely difficult to project the disastrous impact of a pandemic on the world's economic, political and social fabric given the great differences between today's world and that of 1918-20, the last model available. Osterholm has taken a hard look at the supply chain phenomenon and points out that in a modern on-demand world economy we lack even what would have been natural stockpiles of foods, and manufactured goods in the days of a slower less efficient world where warehouses abounded. Ironically, he points out that the one area where we haven't progressed technically since World War II, is the production of vaccines. He predicts, as do other economists, that there will be a worldwide economic depression as just one in a a chain of dire results. Both panelists fear the impact that a lack of plans even of disposing of the dead will bring onto national psyches.

    It's hard not to take away from one of Branswell's slides the cue of Robert Webster, a professor of infectious disease who is credited with being one of the first persons to recognize the emergence of the H5N1 threat: The Canadian journalist quotes him as saying in an interview her editors toned down: "This is the one that scares us shitless... This is the worst virus I've ever met in my long career."

     

     


    Download the Osterholm Presentation Powerpoint

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 16, 2005

    The Birds

    H5N1 hasn’t gone away:

    The woman, 37, died on Saturday night in a hospital in south Jakarta, after suffering from pneumonia and flu-like respiratory problems since Sept. 6.

    “We had taken samples for tests and one showed it was positive (for the H5N1 strain),” Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told El Shinta radio, adding that more tests were being done.

    The above information on Indonesia’s fourth H5N1 bird flu fatality is cause for concern. Like the H5N1 cases in Cambodia, all confirmed cases have proved to be fatal. This high fatality rate is similar to south Vietnam. Recent sequence data has shown that H5N1 in 2004 was virtually identical in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Malaysia. In 2005, these similarities were clear in southern Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

    The fourth fatality in Indonesia is again in Jakarta, where there have also been reports of H5N1 in swine. The swine sequences were similar to H5N1 in Yunnan China. The three earlier cases formed a familiar cluster with a bimodal distribution of onset dates, provide solid evidence for human-to-human transmission.

    It’s coming. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

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

    Robe da polli (H5N1, questo sconosciuto)

    Questa mattina cercando su Google “Influenza Aviaria” compaiono 149.000 risultati. Cercando il corrispettivo inglese, “Bird Flu”, i risultati sono 8.990.000. Riprovate a fare questa ricerca nei prossimi giorni ed otterrete un termometro fai-da-te sulla gravità della situazione.

    Sul sito del ministero della Salute italiano, invece, il virus dei polli non compare nemmeno fra le notizie in evidenza, in piena sintonia con l’atteggiamento antiallarmistico ostentato dalla politica in questo periodo.

    A proposito di queste facili rassicurazioni Beppe Grillo, così ironizza sul suo blog : «I dinosauri, specie più evoluta di noi, si sono estinti a causa di un meteorite. Noi non avremo neppure questa soddisfazione. Ci estingueremo a causa di una piuma di un galletto russo. Mentre uno storace qualunque ci rassicurerà che tutto è sotto controllo».

    E per chi ad “uno storace qualsiasi” preferisce informarsi,un articolo su Lavoce.info trova un articolo che sintetizza velocemente la storia del virus H5N1 e spiega l’importanza di applicare il principio di precauzione per l’influenza aviaria.

    Per chi mastica l'inglese consiglio infine l’esaustivo l’articolo sull’H5N1 su Wikipedia.

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    ABC News: Avian Flu: Is the Government Ready for an Epidemic?

     
    ABC News: Avian Flu: Is the Government Ready for an Epidemic? (info)
    http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/print?id=1130392
    Posted by Declan to katrina AvianFlu on Fri Sep 16 2005 at 13:04 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Brazil presents WHO with proposal to manufacture vaccine against Asian bird flu virus

     
    Brazil presents WHO with proposal to manufacture vaccine against Asian bird flu virus (info)
    http://internacional.radiobras.gov.br/ingles/materia_i_2004.php?materia=239 839&q=1&editoria=
    Posted by Declan to AvianFlu WHO Brazil vaccine on Thu Sep 15 2005 at 17:44 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    "Positive for H5N1"

    According to an article from Reuters.co.uk, Indonesia has confirmed that avian flu killed a woman who died earlier this week.

    It's positive for H5N1," I Nyoman Kandun, director-general of disease control at the Health Ministry, told Reuters, referring to the virus.Indonesia's health minister is expected to hold a news conference later on Friday to discuss the results, which had been confirmed by a laboratory in Hong Kong.

    "Our task now as the government is to make sure the public do not panic. Just like when we get a bomb threat, we need to avoid panic. Up until now, there is no proof that there is human-to-human transfer," Kandun said.

    ans "so far, there is no proof," instead of "until the previous case, there was no proof...but this case is indeed human-to-human."

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Influenza: The Levee Is Too WeakMike the Mad Biologist

    Regardless of who is to blame in New Orleans, there were two widely recognized facts:
    1. The levees would collapse during a sufficiently strong storm.
    2. Weather forecasters thought that New Orleans was due for a big storm that would breach the levees. It wasn't considered a matter of if, but when.
    Despite all the warnings, nothing was done. The same thing is happening with avian influenza. While some disagree, the experts think that an avian influenza pandemic is a real possibility, and are furiously sounding the alarm (e.g., the NIH is not typically an alarmist organization, and is actually a rather cautious bunch).

    If Bush wants some redemption for New Orleans, he could act on the influenza problem (and many of the solutions in non-pandemic years could be used to reduce the ~36,000 deaths per year in the U.S. from 'regular' influenza). There are several things he could do:
    1. Increase production capacity and stockpiles of antivirals. Lest you think this is the creeping hand of socialism, we already have a Strategic National Stockpile for all sorts of drugs.
    2. Increase the influenza vaccine production capacity. We're going to need a lot more chicken eggs and incubators.
    3. Refine the influenza vaccine. Right now, there is an H5N1 vaccine, but it requires two shots at high doses. Obviously, the more vaccine you need person, the more vaccine you need to produce. We need a better vaccine.
    4. Refine the production process. Currently, vaccine production is a long and laborious process involving innoculating chicken eggs. This means it takes a long time to begin production. The CDC every year makes an educated guess as to what the most likely influenza viruses will be months in advance because it takes so long to actually produce the vaccine. We need to develop the capacity to genetically engineer bacteria that produce parts of the virus that can be recognized by the immune system and stimulate a response (this is not far fetched; it is currently under study). Such a technology would enable producing massive amounts of vaccine quickly (and is also rapidly 'scalable'), as well as rapid shifting of the type of vaccine produced to meet changing threats.
    5. Internationally coordinate the response to influenza. Don't let Bolton near this. Why not get Clinton (Mr., not the Senator) involved in this? Whatever other faults he might have, he's liked internationally and he's a damn quick study. His talents are being wasted on Red Cross fundraising (people were going to do that anyway–a rare moment of optimism from the Mad Biologist).
    Of course, doing all of this would require leadership and courage. He might actually have to spend some of that 'political capital' he was so fond of. He could start by convincing Sen. Stevens (R-Pork Barrel) to stop building bridges from nowhere to nowhere in the middle of nowhere, and instead spend some money on public health. Yeah, that will happen... Maybe if Halliburton went into the vaccine business...

    Anyway, here's what some of the experts think (excerpted from ASM News Sept. 2005; subscription only):
    Antiviral Drug Supplies Remain Thin, Vaccines Not Ready
    “The number of human and animal H5N1 infections has been increasing,” says Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. “Small clusters of cases suggest that the virus may have come close to sustained human-to-human transmission, and H5N1 continues to evolve in the virtual genetic reassortment laboratory provided by the unprecedented number of people, pigs, and poultry in Asia.”
    The chief concern is that H5N1 may be undergoing mutations consistent with an antigenic shift that will make human-to-human transmission efficient and a pandemic highly likely, if not outright inevitable. If those genetic changes occur in the virus, much of the world's population will be vulnerable because they lack immunity-unless an appropriate vaccine can be rapidly developed and made widely available.

    Another deterrent to a pandemic would be to build a sufficient supply of antiviral drugs to treat the sick before such a vaccine is available. But supplies of such drugs are far from adequate . “This is a very real and, in my view, imminent threat that requires urgent action,” says Frederick Hayden, professor of internal medicine and pathology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who soon will join the World Health Organization (WHO) in establishing a research network in Southeast Asia to study avian flu and other emerging pathogens. “ We really need a response that involves building the national stockpile of antivirals, and we need to continue to fast track the development of a vaccine .”

    Virus May Be Shifting to a Human-to-Human Transmission Mode

    While investigators could not prove that human-to-human transmissions are occurring, they expressed concerns--shared by local clinicians--that the pattern of disease changed in a manner consistent with this possibility . These changes further suggest that emerging H5N1 viruses are more infectious for humans.

    Some public health officials say that the impact of a pandemic cannot be overemphasized. Osterholm, for example, thinks such a pandemic will damage the world economy. For instance, trade and travel would slow—in response to the effects of the virus and an effort to curtail its spread--while domestic transportation also would be reduced to contain local outbreaks. “The arrival of pandemic influenza would trigger a reaction that would change the world overnight,” he says. “Even if the U.S. is better prepared, there still will be substantial collateral damage here because of the collapse of the global economy.”

    Influenza pandemics occurred in 1918, 1957, and 1968, with significant morbidity and mortality, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, including more than a half-million in the 1918 pandemic. The mortality rate among patients infected with H5N1 influenza is more than 50%, nearly 10-fold higher than mortality rates during the 1918 pandemic, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that even a “mild” flu pandemic could kill up to 250,000 Americans if the nation is ill prepared.

    Some Experts Urge Stockpiling Drugs, Other Measures

    Recently, IDSA president Walter E. Stamm sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt warning that the growing number of cases in Southeast Asia warrants an urgent and immediate increase in the pace of the U.S. response. “
    Our nation and the world remain unprepared for a pandemic of even modest severity,” he wrote. Moreover, “When the next pandemic hits, antivirals will be our only defense for at least the six to nine months it takes to make new vaccine. But right now, if Asia's bird flu or another strain turns into a pandemic, we'll be caught nearly empty-handed .”...

    So far, the U.S. government has stockpiled only a little more than 2 million treatment courses of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), the neuraminidase inhibitor that has proved effective against H5N1 in tests, and is at least partly protective when administered to H5N1-infected mice. IDSA officials recommend stockpiling up to 84 million courses of this drug to treat the ill and as many as 40 million courses as preventive treatments for essential health care workers and emergency responders.

    NIAID Director Anthony Fauci says there are plans to add to the antiviral drug stockpile, although “I cannot tell you the exact number, since it is under discussion,” he says, adding: “
    The supply of Tamiflu is limited, since there is only one manufacturer (Roche), thus we couldn't get 300 million doses if we wanted to.” He also points out that “the clinical efficacy of Tamiflu in pandemic influenza is still uncertain. It is true that H5N1 is sensitive to Tamiflu, but the clinical experience with Tamiflu is with ordinary seasonal flu where it merely decreases by 1 to 2 days the symptomatic period. We do not know whether it will be a life-saving therapy in serious pandemic flu .”

    Hayden acknowledges that oseltamivir has been used only in a small number of H5N1 patients in Asia--and used late--but says that other evidence from following seasonal human flu outbreaks indicates that a two-day reduction in symptoms among patients suffering from H5N1 flu could make a dramatic difference in the face of a growing pandemic. He estimates its use could cut hospitalizations by half, meaning a significant reduction in flu-related complications and deaths. “We need a much more robust stockpile than we have now, enough to treat at least 25% of the population,” he says. “Unfortunately, we are way behind right now .”

    Stamm from IDSA points out that substantial antiviral stockpiles are being planned in the United Kingdom, France, Germany Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, and other countries.
    He further says that the lag time involved in producing the required volume of such drugs coupled with the high demand from other nations will put the United States at a severe disadvantage unless the federal government acts quickly .

    “We are concerned that resource limitations as well as uncertainties about the evidence are driving policy,” Stamm says. “The cost of a pandemic to the U.S. economy will be several hundred billion dollars, and direct medical care costs alone are likely to exceed $100 billion. In this setting, an antiviral stockpile will almost certainly be cost saving.”

    IDSA estimates that it could cost up to $1 billion to purchase an adequate supply of drugs, “yet we have spent far more to protect Americans against threats such as anthrax or smallpox attack, which are far less likely,” Stamm says. “Measured against tens of thousands of American lives saved the cost of an antiviral response will be a bargain.

    Other Plans, Other Complications Regarding Antiviral Drugs

    Further complicating readiness efforts in the face of this impending shortage of oseltamivir,
    the H5N1 virus appears to be resistant to amantadine and its sister drug rimantadine, two other drugs that ordinarily can be effective against influenza . Chinese farmers, acting in violation of international livestock guidelines, used amantadine widely in recent years to suppress flu outbreaks in poultry--a practice that may have abetted the development of resistance. In any case, the resistance to these lower-priced antiviral drugs means that they likely will not help in treating infected humans in the event of a pandemic...

    H5N1 Vaccine Promising at High Dosages in First Clinical Trial

    ...Fauci points to another problem, namely fragility of the vaccine production industry. “Even with a six-month lead and maximized vaccine production, capacity is currently the limiting step; even at maximal production globally, there would not be enough pandemic vaccine,” he says. “For this reason, scientists, industry, health care workers, government officials, and the public need to address the fragile vaccine enterprise in a global manner--through research resources, industry incentives, and public education. One approach may be to address interpandemic influenza and pandemic influenza as a single challenge--the solutions of one can complement the solutions of the other.”

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 15, 2005

    UN health chief delivers grim message on bird flu - Reuters AlertNet


    UN health chief delivers grim message on bird flu
    Reuters AlertNet, UK - 2 hours ago
    ... Health experts say the greatest worry is that the highly pathogenic strain of the disease known as H5N1 could mutate and become transmissible between people. ...
    US funds Vietnam bird flu surveillance network Reuters AlertNet
    Vietnam starts nationwide poultry vaccination Xinhua
    US Outlines Actions To Prevent Human Flu Pandemic NewsBlaze
    ABC Asia Pacific - The South African Star (subscription) - all 27 related

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    US - Vietnam partnership

    Under the accord, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will give Vietnam's National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology 500,000 dollars.

    "This network focuses on systematic collection of information about influenza, information about what viruses are causing it,

    how they are being spread and how fast," US ambassador Michael Marine said Thursday.

    The initiative was announced hours after a call by President George W. Bush for "new international partnership" aimed at preventing avian influenza and other new strains of flu from becoming a pandemic.

    "This project is anticipated to total 2.5 million dollars over the next five years, subject to funding availability," Marine said, adding the plan had been prepared independently of Bush's call.

    Here is the full story. On the same topic, here is an article on how the World Health Organization reacted to George Bush's speech.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Roche Down On US Order For Sanofi Vaccine | newratings.com

     
    Roche Down On US Order For Sanofi Vaccine | newratings.com (info)
    http://newratings.com/analyst_news/article_1018239.html
    Posted by Declan to roche Tamiflu AvianFlu on Thu Sep 15 2005 at 16:38 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    French PM speaks out on avian flu at UN

     
    French PM speaks out on avian flu at UN (info)
    http://actu.voila.fr/Depeche/ext--francais--ftmms--economie/050914194025.i6 a8om29.html
    " "Nous devons aujourd'hui conjurer le risque de pandémie de grippe aviaire. L'ampleur de la menace nous impose de réagir sans délai", a déclaré M. de Villepin, qui remplace le président français Jacques Chirac au sommet, lors d'une réunion sur le financement du développement."

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Reuters AlertNet - U.S. funds Vietnam bird flu surveillance network

     
    Reuters AlertNet - U.S. funds Vietnam bird flu surveillance network (info)
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/HAN278208.htm
    Posted by Declan to Vietnam AvianFlu US on Thu Sep 15 2005 at 12:10 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Le Monde.fr : La grippe aviaire aux frontières de l'Oural

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Dr. Martin William's map showing dates of bird flu outbreaks and bird migrations [snag for the Avian Flu Watch group]

    Quiplashr has added a photo to the pool:

    Dr. Martin William's map showing dates of bird flu outbreaks and bird migrations [snag for the Avian Flu Watch group]

    Dr Martin Williams, an ornithologist in Hong Kong, is more cautious about the role of wild bird migration in the spread of avian influenza (H5N1 strain). He runs an online forum on this and related bird flu issues at:


    www.drmartinwilliams.com/component/option,com_simpleboard...

    From Avian Flu Watch Photo Pool (feed)
    See also links to this feed and more from this feed

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    GlaxoSmithKline wins $2.8M U.S. avian flu antiviral contract

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that it has awarded GlaxoSmithKline Plc a contract worth $2.8 million to produce 84,300 treatment courses of the antiviral drug zanamivir (Relenza) for treatment of the avian flu. The department said the agreement with GlaxoSmithKline will provide HHS with an initial supply of zanamivir, an antiviral medication that is effective in reducing the severity of symptoms of human seasonal influenza. The H5N1 virus that is circulating in Southeast Asia appears to be sensitive to the antiviral activities of these drugs, the department said. HHS has received the full shipment from this order. HHS also awarded Sanofi-Aventis Group's Sanofi Pasteur unit a contract worth $100 million to produce avian flu vaccine.

    Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

    Copyright: Copyright 2003, MarketWatch, Inc.

    From MarketWatch.com - MarketPulse (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Allarme virus H5N1 anche per l'Italia: "possibili 150 mila morti"

    Il ministero della Salute Storace rassicura: "Siamo primi per numero di vaccini acquistati". Pronto anche un opuscolo informativo dei medici di famiglia. Sedici milioni di italiani sono a rischio. Pronto il piano di emergenza: un commissario in ogni Asl e nuove scorte di farmaci antivirali. Se l'influenza aviaria dovesse trasformarsi da epidemia in pandemia, passando da uomo a uomo anziché soltanto da animale a uomo, una volta arrivata in Italia provocherebbe 16 milioni di contagi, due milioni di ricoveri, 150 mila morti, finendo per mettere in ginocchio il Paese. Sono queste le previsioni diffuse dagli esperti internazionali riuniti in questi giorni a Malta per la II Conferenza europea sulla malattia. Si tratta di una ipotesi possibile, probabile secondo le stime dell'Organizzazione mondiale della sanità, ma non scontata, visto che al momento il virus è stato segnalato solo marginalmente in Europa e non è ancora in grado di passare da essere umano ad essere umano. Le autorità sanitarie italiane sono comunque convinte di essere pronte a fronteggiare l'emergenza nel caso si avverassero le previsioni più cupe. A ribadire le linee guida della nostra politica di profilassi è stato il ministro della Salute Francesco Storace commentando l'allarme giunto da Malta. "E' probabile - ha detto il ministro Storace - che dai luoghi dove adesso si registra, il virus si possa estendere nella Russia meridionale, nelle zone ancora più vicine all'Europa", e occorre capire se poi la diffusione continuerà o meno verso l'Occidente. Contro questo rischio, ha proseguito il ministro, "l'Italia ha puntato più sul vaccino che sui farmaci antivirali, perché è importante agire sulla prevenzione. E da questo punto di vista possiamo vantare un record mondiale: siamo il Paese che si è mosso con straordinaria tempestività. Il 10 agosto, il ministero ha sottoscritto tre contratti di prelazione con aziende farmaceutiche per la sperimentazione e l'immissione sul mercato di questi vaccini, per circa 35 milioni di dosi". Nel corso del prossimo consiglio dei ministri, ha poi sottolineato Storace, il governo "venerdì prossimo sarà approvato un decreto che consentirà l'acquisizione di ulteriori scorte per circa sei milioni di cicli antivirali, in grado di coprire il 10% della popolazione. Un altro 10% - ha poi aggiunto il ministro - riguarderà lo sforzo che dovranno fare le regioni. Da questo punto di vista, quindi ci stiamo rimettendo in carreggiata". Nei giorni scorsi i ritardi italiani nell'opera di prevenzione erano stati denunciati dall'Oms. Il nostro paese al momento può contare infatti su poco più di 185 mila cicli dosi di antivirali, i farmaci indispensabili nella prima fase di contrasto della malattia. Poche rispetto a nazioni che hanno già raggiunto, come l'Olanda, coperture per quasi un terzo dei cittadini: oltre 5 milioni su 16 milioni e mezzo. E anche i nuovi interventi annunciati dal ministro Storace per arrivare al 10 per cento della copertura rischiano secondo l'Oms di rivelarsi insufficienti. Altre nazioni di dimensioni paragonabili all'Italia, come la Gran Bretagna, che conta 60 milioni di abitanti, hanno già incamerato quantità di farmaci per intervenire su quasi il 25% della popolazione. Alla strategia farmacologica si affiancherà comunque quella informativa, impegnando in prima linea i medici di famiglia. La Società italiana di medicina generale (Simg) ha già preparato un libro bianco e un opuscolo, destinati rispettivamente ai medici e ai cittadini per offrire un supporto scientifico e informativo in caso di emergenza. Entrambi saranno a disposizione entro la fine di settembre. Il libro bianco - ha spiegato Aurelio Sessa, membro della Commissione pandemia influenzale del ministero della Salute - vuole essere uno strumento per informare chi gestirà clinicamente l'influenza, dalle strategie ai farmaci, alle varie misure di sorveglianza. L'opuscolo per i cittadini, 16 pagine in tutto, verrà distribuito negli ambulatori dei medici di famiglia. L'invito contenuto sarà quello di evitare il "fai da te" e rivolgersi subito al medico in caso di sintomi sospetti, che saranno indicati. "Nessuno intende creare allarmismo - ha spiegato Ovidio Brignoli, vicepresidente della Simg - è indubbio però che, in caso di pandemia, è necessaria la collaborazione di tutti: l'esperienza della Sars nel 2003 ha dimostrato come l'efficacia del risultato finale dipenda in larga misura dal coordinamento di tutti gli interventi nei singoli paesi". In ogni Asl sarà nominato inoltre un commissario, che, in caso di dichiarazione di pandemia influenzale, avrà il compito di gestire l'emergenza. Non si tratterà di un manager con superpoteri, ma di una figura di collegamento con le regioni, il ministero, gli altri ospedali ed i medici di famiglia, per organizzare al meglio ogni intervento.

    Panorama, 13/09/2005

    From La Eli c'è... (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Information overload, and not a minute too soon

    Google has just set up a Blog Search function, and I recommend you link to it at Google Blog Search - Advanced Options.

    Type in "avian flu" or "bird flu," and you'll be astounded at what's out there—including resources that are entirely new to me, at least. I haven't had a chance to explore any of the new sites, but it's a huge step forward for anyone trying to keep track of events in the blogosphere.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Implementation of the Community Network of Reference Laboratories for Human Influenza in Europe.

    J Clin Virol. 2005 Oct; 34(2): 87-96
    Meijer A, Valette M, Manuguerra JC, Pérez-Breña P, Paget J, Brown C, van der Velden K,

    BACKGROUND:: The increased need for accurate influenza laboratory surveillance data in the European Union required formalisation of the existing network of collaborating national influenza reference laboratories participating in the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS). OBJECTIVE:: To establish a Community Network of Reference Laboratories for Human Influenza in Europe (CNRL). METHODS:: Virologists in EISS defined the objective and tasks of the CNRL. Performance of the laboratories in the tasks was monitored by questionnaire-based inventories and quality control assessments (QCA). Subsequently, actions were defined to improve the performance of the CNRL. RESULTS:: The CNRL started in April 2003 and included as of May 2004 32 laboratories in 24 European countries. The objective is to provide high quality reference services for human influenza surveillance, early warning and pandemic preparedness in Europe. The defined basic tasks are direct detection, culture, typing, subtyping and strain characterisation of influenza virus, diagnostic influenza serology and storage of clinical specimens and virus isolates. The questionnaire-based inventories and QCAs revealed that the majority of CNRL laboratories perform well in most of the basic tasks, although improvements are needed in certain areas of virus testing. Therefore, task groups have been established to further improve the methods used in the network. The CNRL has proven its usefulness during the 2003-2004 season by the reporting of accurate data concerning the flu epidemic caused by A/Fujian/411/2002 (H3N2)-like viruses and by the rapid sharing of information, protocols and reagents during the A(H5N1) and A(H7N3) epizootics in Asia and Canada. CONCLUSION:: EISS has established a functioning Community Network of Reference Laboratories for Human Influenza in Europe and laid the foundation for further enhancement and collaborations. Important next steps include improving the laboratories to carry out all basic tasks and collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Adenovirus Vaccine May Be Key To Beating Bird FluAvian Flu

    Adenovirus Vaccine May Be Key To Beating Bird Flu 14 September 2005Adenovirus Vaccine May Be Key To Beating Bird Flu While the World Health Organization nervously waits for the first confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 "bird flu" virus, researchers are ramping up their efforts to design more efficient vaccines. Molecular virologist Suresh Mittal, [...]

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    HHS Buys Vaccine and Antivirals in Preparation for a Potential Influenza PandemicPR Newswire

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced the purchase of vaccine and antiviral medications that could be used in the event of a potential influenza pandemic.

    The department has awarded a $100 million contract to sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group, to manufacture avian influenza vaccine designed to protect against the H5N1 influenza virus strain, which has caused an epidemic of avian flu in Asia. The number of individuals who could be protected by the newly contracted vaccine is still to be determined by ongoing clinical studies. In addition, HHS has awarded a $2.8 million contract to GlaxoSmithKline for 84,300 treatment courses of the antiviral drug zanamivir (Relenza(R)).

    These purchases build on the department's plans to buy enough vaccine for 20 million people and enough antivirals for another 20 million people. These supplies of vaccine and antiviral treatment will be placed in the nation's Strategic National Stockpile where they will be available for use should an influenza pandemic occur.

    "These countermeasures provide us with tools that we have never had prior to previous influenza pandemics," Secretary Leavitt said. "Never before have we possessed the wealth of knowledge on the problem and the ability to prepare for it. These new contracts are part of our aggressive, multi-pronged approach to planning for pandemic influenza."

    Initial clinical studies of the sanofi pasteur vaccine in humans have shown that two 90-microgram doses of the vaccine are required to stimulate a level of immune response that researchers anticipate would provide protection for an individual against the H5N1 strain that has been spreading among birds in Asia. However, further clinical testing is underway, including the evaluation of techniques that may reduce the amount of antigen (active ingredient) per dose needed to achieve effective individual protection. The H5N1 strain is considered a potential threat that could lead to a global human influenza pandemic.

    The agreement with GlaxoSmithKline will provide HHS with an initial supply of zanamivir, an antiviral medication that is effective in reducing the severity of symptoms of human seasonal influenza. This antiviral purchase builds upon HHS' efforts to stockpile oseltamivir (Tamiflu(R)), another antiviral medication that is effective in treating the symptoms of human seasonal influenza. The H5N1 virus that is circulating in Southeast Asia appears to be sensitive to the antiviral activities of these drugs. HHS has received the full shipment from this order.

    Earlier this year, Secretary Leavitt established an HHS-wide Influenza Task Force to coordinate all HHS activities affecting the public health preparedness for seasonal influenza outbreaks and an influenza pandemic. Long-term objectives include an effective and efficient global surveillance network for outbreaks of influenza-like illness in humans and animals, and interoperable local, state, and federal government response plans for influenza outbreaks within the United States - including strategies and plans for effective coordination with response partners, public and private and timely communication with the public.

    These investments are part of a comprehensive U.S. approach to prepare for an influenza pandemic. HHS supports pandemic influenza preparedness in several other areas such as enhanced surveillance in Southeast Asia and improved vaccine production methods and capacity. These measures can provide early warning and additional time for vaccine production should a pandemic emerge.

    HHS' Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, which oversees research and procurement efforts through its Office of Research and Development Coordination, will manage the two contracts.

    Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

    CONTACT: HHS Press Office, +1-202-690-6343

    Web site: http://www.hhs.gov/http://www.hhs.gov/news/

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

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Avian Influenza

    ... Avian Influenza The U.S. Government remains concerned that the ongoing foreign outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in infected poultry has the potential to turn into a human influenza pandemic that would have significant international political, economic and social consequences ...

    Fed Blog | Federal Government News Blog Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Wild Bird Deaths in Buryatia Signal H5N1 Move to Japan? - Recombinomics


    Wild Bird Deaths in Buryatia Signal H5N1 Move to Japan?
    Recombinomics, PA - 7 hours ago
    ... Confirmation of H5N1 in Chelyabinsk has also just been announced suggesting migration to the southwest may have also begun in that region of southern Russia. ...
    H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Chelyabinsk Signals Move to Caspian Sea? Recombinomics
    all 2 related

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 14, 2005

    EU to co-fund national surveillance programs

    A European Commission proposal to approve member states' individual surveillance plans for avian influenza, and to provide up to 50% co-funding for the programmes, has been endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

    The EU will contribute an initial €884,000 (US$1.1m) towards the costs of these surveillance programmes for the period July 2005 to January 2006, and further funds will be made available as necessary. The approved programmes outline the number of samples that will be taken from both wild and domestic birds in each member state, and the type and number of tests that will be done. In certain cases, the type of birds that will be tested is also detailed.

    Link.

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bush's speech on avian flu

    Read it here.  Here is the relevant bit:

    As we strengthen our commitments to fighting malaria and AIDS, we must also remain on the offensive against new threats to public health such as the Avian Influenza. If left unchallenged, this virus could become the first pandemic of the 21st century. We must not allow that to happen. Today I am announcing a new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The Partnership requires countries that face an outbreak to immediately share information and provide samples to the World Health Organization. By requiring transparency, we can respond more rapidly to dangerous outbreaks and stop them on time. Many nations have already joined this partnership; we invite all nations to participate. It's essential we work together, and as we do so, we will fulfill a moral duty to protect our citizens, and heal the sick, and comfort the afflicted.

    Stay tuned for more...Thanks to Carrie Conko for the pointer.

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Slate on avian flu

    Here is today's Slate piece on why you should not be very worried about avian flu.  I found this not to be very convincing.  Here is the main argument:

    Yet the science behind all the worry is questionable. It rests on the unproven claim that the avian flu will develop exactly like the strain that caused the flu pandemic of 1918. A March 2004 article in Science showed that the 1918 flu—which infected close to a billion people and killed 50 million or more—made the jump from birds to humans through a slight change in the structure of its hemagglutinins, the molecules by which the virus attaches itself to body cells. This mutation allowed the virus to kill more World War I soldiers than weapons did, effectively ending the war when forces on both sides became too sick to fight.

    The current bird flu, however, has a different molecular structure than the 1918 bug. And though it has infected millions of birds, there is no direct evidence that it is about to mutate into a form that would transmit from human to human. In isolated cases, food handlers in Asia have gotten sick, but that doesn't mean that a wildly lethal mutation is about to occur.

    There is no direct confrontation with two facts.  First, flu pandemics seem to happen, very roughly, every thirty years or so.  Second, the pools for breeding such a virus -- through either mutation or recombination -- are now more numerous and diverse than ever before.

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bring Back the OTA

     
    Bring Back the OTA (info)
    http://sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=0009024F-089F-1289-BC20 83414B7F0000
    "More than ever, those elected to govern are in need of timely, high-quality, impartial advice on matters of science and technology. Yet for nearly a decade now, one of the most successful agencies for providing just such advice--the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)--has been defunct. Scrapped in September 1995 to save a paltry $22 million from the $2 billion spent each year on congressional operations, the OTA had produced widely hailed reports on an extraordinarily broad range of topics"
    Posted by Declan to science AvianFlu US on Tue Sep 13 2005 at 20:22 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Grippe Aviaire : journal le Monde d'aujourd'hui

    Le docteur Klaus Stohr, responsable du nouveau département de l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) chargé de la lutte contre la future pandémie grippale d'origine aviaire, a, mercredi 14 septembre, dénoncé l'incurie de nombreux gouvernements vis-à-vis de ce risque émergent et d'ampleur planétaire.

    rimant dans le cadre de la deuxième conférence européenne sur la grippe, le docteur Stohr a lancé un appel pour que les responsables gouvernementaux et sanitaires de chaque pays élaborent des plans nationaux visant à prévenir au mieux les principales conséquences que provoquerait le passage dans l'espèce humaine du virus ong>, responsable de l'épizootie qui sévit chez des oiseaux dans 12 pays asiatiques.

    que ce nouveau risque n'a, depuis 1997 et la flambée épidémique de "grippe du poulet" survenue à Hongkong, jamais pu être contrôlé, le docteur Stohr a souligné que la menace ne cessait de croître. Après celle de 1918 ("grippe espagnole") et celle de 1958 ("grippe asiatique"), la dernière pandémie ("grippe de Hongkong") date de 1968.

    INDICATEURS SCIENTIFIQUES

    "Tous les indicateurs scientifiques nous disent que la prochaine pandémie peut sévir dans les prochains mois ou les prochaines années , explique le docteur Stohr. Ce type d'événement peut provoquer, en très peu de temps, des dizaines de millions de morts. Il y a urgence à ce que chaque pays bâtisse des plans permettant de réduire les possibilités de contagion interhumaine (notamment grâce au port systématique de masque), d'organiser la prise en charge des personnes infectées et de maintenir coûte que coûte les activités indispensables à la survie de la collectivité."

    "On ne compte qu'une cinquantaine de pays à avoir réfléchi à cette question et à avoir défini une série de mesures concrètes ", souligne le responsable de l'OMS. Les pays a priori les mieux préparés sont la Grande-Bretagne, l'Australie, les Etats-Unis, le Canada, l'Allemagne, la Slovénie, l'Autriche et la France.

    L'OMS estime à environ 550 millions de dollars la somme nécessaire pour aider les pays les plus pauvres à bâtir de tels plans. "Nous avons bien conscience que le risque de passage à l'espèce humaine du virus de la grippe aviaire n'est pas une priorité sanitaire pour la plupart des pays en développement , confie le docteur Stohr. Ainsi, au Vietnam, l'un des pays aujourd'hui les plus touchés par la maladie animale ­ et donc a priori les plus exposés ­, on recense chaque année 32 000 décès dus à la circulation automobile. Pour autant, la menace est d'une telle ampleur qu'elle impose, de manière urgente, une nouvelle prise de conscience, à la fois nationale et planétaire."

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Canada to stage international anti-flu conference

    A Canadian Press story (no doubt by Helen Branswell) reports that Canada will stage an international meeting to advance flu pandemic preparations.

    Health ministers from 20-plus developed and developing countries will meet in Canada next month to work on ways to enhance global capacity to respond to an influenza pandemic, federal government sources revealed Tuesday.

    A critical element of the meeting will be identifying ways to help developing countries shore up their responses to a flu pandemic, said a senior government official, who asked not to be identified.

    like an important event, and of course I'll try to follow it as closely as possible.

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

    The rich and the poor

    The News, a Pakistani news source, has an excellent article about the economic obstacles that poor nations face in trying to prepare for a pandemic. You can read the story here.

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

    Alaskan ducks tested for avian flu

    National Geographic reports that Alaskan ducks are being tested for avian flu—especially the northern pintail, which sometimes summers in Russia.

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

    FEATURE-HK hunter hot on the trail of deadly bird flu virus - Reuters AlertNet



    CNN
    FEATURE-HK hunter hot on the trail of deadly bird flu virus
    Reuters AlertNet, UK - 4 hours ago
    By Tan Ee Lyn. HONG KONG, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Very few people are as intimate with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus as Hong Kong-based scientist Yi Guan. ...
    Alaskan Ducks Tested for Bird Flu National Geographic
    FEATURE-S. China: perfect incubator for bird flu pandemic Reuters AlertNet
    HK hunter hot on the trail of deadly bird flu virus Boston Globe
    all 40 related

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

    Minimal H5N1 Monitoring in Jakarta Indonesia Raises Concerns - Recombinomics


    Minimal H5N1 Monitoring in Jakarta Indonesia Raises Concerns
    Recombinomics, PA - 16 hours ago
    ... Indonesia filed an OIE report in August showing that H5N1 infections were widespread in the area. This was demonstrated even though testing was very limited. ...

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

    Low-pathogenic avian flu can infect humansAvian Flu - What we need to know

    European researchers have reported what they call the first evidence that low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses—not just highly pathogenic (HPAI) strains like H5N1—can infect humans.

    The finding in a study of Italian poultry workers suggests that avian flu viruses have more chances than previously suspected to mix with human flu viruses, potentially creating hybrids that could trigger a human flu pandemic, according to the report published online by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

    The researchers, led by Isabella Donatelli of the Instituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome, took serum samples from 983 workers at several farms in northern Italy from August 1999 until July 2003. Several avian flu outbreaks occurred there during that period, including both LPAI and HPAI strains of H7N1 and an LPAI H7N3 strain. (LPAI viruses cause mild illness and few deaths in poultry, while HPAI viruses cause severe illness with high death rates.)

    The serum samples were tested for antibodies to the avian viruses. To ensure accuracy, the researchers tested each sample with hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and microneutralization (MN) assays. If either of these came back positive, a Western blot analysis was done.

    None of the 798 serum samples collected during or after the first four outbreaks tested positive for antibodies to H7N1 or H7N3 viruses. However, 7 of 185 samples (3.8%) taken during an H7N3 outbreak in 2002 and 2003 tested positive for both viruses in the HI assay, and 4 of those 7 tested positive for both viruses in the HI assay. Both tests showed higher titers of antibodies to the H7N3 (LPAI) strain. In the Western blot testing, all seven samples showed clear reactivity, unlike control samples (which had tested negative in the HI and MN assays).

    All the workers who tested positive had had close contact with turkeys or chickens in dusty poultry houses, the authors report. None of the workers reported any flu-like illness at the time of the avian flu outbreaks, and only one reported symptoms of conjunctivitis, an ailment seen in some Dutch poultry workers during an HPAI outbreak in 2003.

    That important story from CIDRAP.

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

    The BirdsWeapon of Mass Distraction

    H5N1 hasn’t gone away:

    The woman, 37, died on Saturday night in a hospital in south Jakarta, after suffering from pneumonia and flu-like respiratory problems since Sept. 6.

    “We had taken samples for tests and one showed it was positive (for the H5N1 strain),” Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told El Shinta radio, adding that more tests were being done.

    The above information on Indonesia’s fourth H5N1 bird flu fatality is cause for concern. Like the H5N1 cases in Cambodia, all confirmed cases have proved to be fatal. This high fatality rate is similar to south Vietnam. Recent sequence data has shown that H5N1 in 2004 was virtually identical in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Malaysia. In 2005, these similarities were clear in southern Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

    The fourth fatality in Indonesia is again in Jakarta, where there have also been reports of H5N1 in swine. The swine sequences were similar to H5N1 in Yunnan China. The three earlier cases formed a familiar cluster with a bimodal distribution of onset dates, provide solid evidence for human-to-human transmission.

    It’s coming. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

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

    EnergeticNeurons.bloghorn.com

    ... Avian Flu and "assumed" diagnoses The fourth death from H5N1 in Jakarta, Indonesia, seems like... Encephalitis.  Meanwhile, no tests for H5N1 even though some Indian people have been found to have antibodies to H5N1 and H5N1 has been shown to have neurological effects. — But, 977 victims of the outbreak ...

    EnergeticNeurons.bloghorn.com Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Low-pathogenic avian flu viruses can infect humans (CIDRAP)

    ... Sep 13, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – European researchers have reported what they call the first evidence that low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses—not just highly pathogenic (HPAI) strains like H5N1—can infect humans. ...

    MyCambodiaNews Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 13, 2005

    ancora sul Virus in arrivo

    ... ’influenza aviaria, e questo sarebbe un errore. La minaccia del virus H5N1 e’ assolutamente reale. Potrebbe non accadere ora, potrebbe non accadere quest’anno. E potrebbe anche non essere il virus H5N1 che... di vita. ...Ma PERCHE’ il virus H5N1 e’ DIVERSO? *Dei tre tipi di virus che conosciamo e’ il tipo ...

    Anilina Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    FEATURE-Drugs plug gap as world awaits bird flu vaccine. (BIRDFLU-VACCINE) 2005-09-13 08:00:08



    By Ben Hirschler

    LONDON, (Reuters) - Scientists believe they have the know-how to make an effective vaccine against pandemic bird flu; the problem is how to make enough of it.

    As avian flu spreads from Asia into Siberia and Kazakhstan, health experts are increasingly focused on the medical challenge of fighting the disease should it “go human” and start to spread easily from person to person.

    A vaccine is the best hope to prevent millions of deaths.

    But current global manufacturing capacity, at around 300 million regular flu doses a year, is simply insufficient to meet global needs during a pandemic.

    “If you need to vaccinate the whole world, you are not going to do that with existing capacity, which is basically aimed at the over-65s in the West,” said Tony Colegate of Chiron Corp , who coordinates production issues for the Influenza Vaccine Supply Task Force, an international industry group.

    Adding new production will take time, raising fears that many poor parts of the world are likely to go without.

    At present, 90 percent of capacity is concentrated in Europe and North America, and the World Health Organization (WHO) says past experience suggests governments will be reluctant to release supplies for export before domestic demand is fully met.

    There will also be a hiatus of four to six months while factories switch to making a pandemic version, once a new strain of humanized bird flu is identified.



    BUYING TIME

    In the absence of a vaccine, the job of holding pandemic flu at bay will rest largely on a limited stockpile of antiviral drugs, called neuraminidase inhibitors, that can reduce the severity of flu infection and can speed patients’ recovery.

    This could buy valuable time to produce a vaccine and introduce other emergency measures, according to the WHO, which accepted a donation of 3 million doses of Swiss drug firm Roche’s Tamiflu medicine in August.

    Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline says it may make a similar, but smaller, donation of its drug Relenza.

    The hope is that intensive use of neuraminidase inhibitors in an area where a pandemic is emerging will delay its spread, or even nip it in the bud altogether.

    In the meantime, scientists will be working overtime on vaccine development.

    The good news is that some of the technical issues surrounding bird flu vaccine are being resolved.

    Although a specific vaccine against pandemic virus cannot be made until the final strain emerges, most experts think the H5N1 strain now circulating is the one they need to target.

    As with seasonal flu, the vaccine can be adjusted as the virus changes but the hope is that it will not mutate so much as to escape protection offered by the vaccines now in development.

    The most advanced H5N1 vaccine, from France’s Sanofi-Aventis SA , has already proved effective at stimulating an immune system response in healthy adults and others are in the pipeline.

    U.S.-based Chiron aims to test its H5N1 vaccine in the fall and GlaxoSmithKline plans large-scale clinical trials in 2006.

    Even so, Nomura pharmaceuticals analyst Michael Leacock estimates only 75 million doses can be made within a year -- equal to just one-quarter of current seasonal flu vaccine output.

    And that would require abandoning production of vaccine for seasonal flu, which regularly kills 250,000 to 500,000 people a year.

    The H5N1 strain has so far killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003, but experts fear it will mutate into a mass killer of millions if it becomes more infectious.



    CHICKEN AND EGG

    Much of the problem lies in the tricky nature of flu vaccine production, which involves cultivation in embryonated chicken eggs and yields only limited amounts of antigen -- the key component of a vaccine that triggers an immune response.

    Stretching antigen supplies is therefore crucial.

    The problem is particularly acute because the quantity of antigen needed to get a response to a bird flu vaccine is much greater than normal.

    One way round this may be to use adjuvants -- compounds added to a vaccine to boost the immune response -- or else to inject vaccine under the skin rather than into muscle.

    The long-term answer is to adopt better technology and move away from chicken egg production, which could in any case be at risk if bird flu leads to mass slaughter of poultry.

    Cultivating antigen in stainless steel vats of cell culture is widely seen as the way of the future.

    But David Fedson, a leading expert on flu vaccines and a former senior executive at Sanofi-Aventis, says cell culture will have little effect on capacity within the next five years. REUTERS Reut08:00 09-13-05

    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

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    FEATURE-Rich-poor divide hobbles Asia’s bird flu plans. (BIRDFLU-ASIA) 2005-09-13 08:00:13





    BC-BIRDFLU-ASIA (GENERAL FEATURE, PICTURE, GRAPHIC)

    FEATURE-Rich-poor divide hobbles Asia’s bird flu plans

    By Stuart Grudgings

    MANILA, (Reuters) - A few people in a poor farming village come down with what they think is a bad case of winter flu and try to sweat it out without calling for medical treatment that they can barely afford.

    Weeks later, millions are infected and markets are crashing as the first human avian flu pandemic races around the world.

    It is the scenario that health officials are dreading as Asia makes only patchy progress in plans for dealing with an outbreak, held back mostly by a lack of resources.

    Asia, seen as the most likely epicenter of a human bird flu pandemic, had a wake-up call with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 that raised standards of government preparedness and border control.

    But a human outbreak of the more deadly bird flu would pose far bigger logistical and financial challenges in a region where millions live on a few dollars a day, health officials say.

    “All the will in the world might be there, but they don’t have the manpower, they don’t have the expertise, they don’t have the funds,” the World Health Organization’s (WHO) spokesman in Manila, Peter Cordingley, said of Asia’s poorer nations.

    “There are enormous differences all across Asia between who’s prepared and who’s not, and it’s not going to be difficult to predict who’s better prepared.”

    The H5N1 bird flu virus, which surfaced in southern China and Hong Kong eight years ago, has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003 and forced the culling of millions of birds.

    The risk is rising that it will mutate into a form that is easily transmittable between humans, triggering a pandemic that could kill millions and play havoc with the global economy.

    The WHO’s Plan A in Asia is to stamp out an initial outbreak by rushing in medical experts and anti-viral drugs.

    Officials estimate there would be a 21-day window of opportunity to stop the outbreak before it spreads too widely.

    But in a country such as China, where reporting lines are slowed by poverty, bureaucracy and vast distances, that window may have passed long before the outbreak becomes apparent.

    “I trust and believe the central government has very good intentions, but unfortunately, it is a very big country,” said Lo Wing-lok, an infectious diseases expert in Hong Kong.

    “At the district, regional levels, the failure to communicate continues.”

    China failed to inform Hong Kong about an outbreak of SARS in its southern province of Guangdong in late 2002 that later spread to about 30 other countries, killing around 800 people.



    MASSIVE SCALE

    In an example of how SARS changed attitudes, outbreaks of bird flu this year in remote western China were widely covered in domestic media and reported quickly by the health ministry.

    Officials say SARS forced governments to tighten lax infection control procedures and also helped draw doctors and researchers back to the previously unfashionable field of infectious diseases.

    “Public health systems now, where there’s the money, are much, much better,” said Cordingley.

    Yet the sheer scale of a bird flu pandemic could overwhelm even the best-prepared governments.

    The WHO estimates that a full-blown pandemic could put two-thirds of a country’s work force out of action, raising questions such as how to maintain transport, policing and food supply.

    The heat-sensing equipment at airports that enabled officials to detect suspected SARS cases would be mostly useless in preventing the spread of bird flu because the virus can be spread by patients before they display symptoms.

    A dozen Asian nations agreed last month to build a regional stockpile of anti-viral drugs, which relieve the symptoms of flu and save lives but only have a limited effect in slowing the spread of an outbreak. There is no vaccine for human bird flu, although scientists believe they have the knowledge necessary to make one.

    No timeframe for the stockpile was agreed, however, and supplies of the main drugs are getting tighter as bird flu spreads towards European nations.



    RICH-POOR GAP

    Relatively wealthy countries such as Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore have begun stockpiling drugs and have comprehensive pandemic plans in place.

    But some poor Asian nations, such as the Philippines, still have no stockpile of antiviral drugs and are unlikely to be able to afford one at prices of up to $180 per person.

    “In other parts of the Asia-Pacific region the resources aren’t there, and I think we need to look at how we can address all of those issues on a region-wide basis more effectively than we’re doing at the moment,” Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told reporters last month.

    Vietnam, where bird flu has killed more than 40 people since late 2003, is working on an emergency plan with foreign agencies but lacks skills and resources, said Anton Rychener, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization representative there.

    In Indonesia, which suffered its first human fatalities from the H5N1 virus in July, officials are still working on a preparedness plan and face a daunting surveillance task in the huge archipelago dotted with small farms.

    Thai officials say they have a response plan in place that complies with international standards and the country has stockpiled several hundred thousand doses of anti-viral drugs.

    Like many Asian countries, however, they are struggling to change centuries-old farming practices that raise bird flu risks.

    Free-range birds are believed to contribute to the spread of the virus as they move around unchecked.

    Even in wealthy South Korea, officials say more needs to be done. The government recently set out new plans to deal with a pandemic and will test preparedness by rushing 100 mock patients to selected hospitals without prior notice.

    “There is a clear shortage of resources needed to tackle a major outbreak, ranging from medication to space at intensive care units and ventilators,” said Young Z. Hur, director of Epidemic Intelligence Services at the South Korean Center for Disease Control.

    (Additional reporting by Jack Kim in Seoul, Tan Ee Lyn in Hong Kong, Karima Anjani in Jakarta, James Grubel in Canberra, Ho Binh Minh in Hanoi and Vissuta Pothong in Bangkok)

    REUTERS Reut08:00 09-13-05

    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

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

    H5N1 Investigation Concerns in Jakarta Indonesia - Recombinomics


    H5N1 Investigation Concerns in Jakarta Indonesia
    Recombinomics, PA - 2 hours ago
    ... Thus far the three fatal H5N1 cases independently confirmed are from the same family, but have different disease onset dates. This ...

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Crying fowl: A talk with 'City of Quartz' author Mike Davis3quarksdaily

    Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow in The Village Voice:

    TuhusdubrowAs Hurricane Katrina revealed, these days natural disasters have plenty of human accomplices. Before Katrina flooded the Gulf Coast and the headlines, another "natural" menace—avian flu—had begun to surface in the media. Since 1997, the influenza strain H5N1 has killed dozens in Asia and forced the mass slaughter of chickens. The virus is, as urban-theory star Mike Davis tells the Voice, "the chief bioterrorist in our midst," poised to explode into a sequel to the 1918–1919 flu epidemic that wiped out up to 5 percent of humanity. In The Monster at Our Door, Davis provides an ominous account of the threat and advises against chalking it up to the whims of Mother Nature. Through dense urban poverty, the Tysonization of poultry farms, and the dithering of government, he argues, we have created this monster.

    More here.

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

    Virus dei polli, «colpirà 16 milioni di italiani»

    ... SAN GIULIANO (Malta) - Sedici milioni di infetti, due milioni di ricoveri, 150 mila morti solo in Italia: è la previsione degli esperti per la prossima annunciata pandemia di influenza, quella che potrebbe essere innescata dall’ormai noto virus dei polli H5N1, isolato per la prima volta a Hong Kong ...

    AVICOLTURA Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bird flu spreads among Java's pigs

    From Nature.com (subscription), " ... Chairul Nidom, a virologist at Airlangga University's tropical-disease centre in Surabaya, Java , found the H5N1 virus in five of ten pigs tested from Banten in ... " Full Story Similar Stories

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    WHO?s Chan aims to prepare world for bird flu outbreak

    GENEVA (Reuters) - Margaret Chan, responsible for helping defend the world against an influenza pandemic that could kill millions, says an outbreak of bird flu among humans may be imminent, but there is still time to act. We have a window of opportunity to prevent a pandemic or at least delay the spread of a pandemic, Chan, chief of pandemic influenza preparedness at the World Health Organization (WHO), told Reuters. The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, which returned late last year, has killed

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    South East Asia coverage

    Reuters runs a good story on the preparedness status of countries in the region. The main conclusion of the authors seems to be that while much progress has been made since the 2002 SARS outbreak, we are still far from prepared for a flu pandemic.

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Social Factors in Indonesian Cull Policy

    Link: IOL: Indonesia takes tough stance on bird flu. The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) says mass culling is the best approach. The virus has spread to 22 of the 33 provinces in this sprawling archipelago, killing more than...

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Italians to order 35 million bird flu shots

    Link: Xinhua - English. The Italian cabinet will earmark funds to acquire enough avian flu vaccine to protect the Italian population, Italian Health Minister Francesco Storace announced here on Monday. In Italy we have focused our efforts more on preventive...

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Vaccine breakthrough?

    Link: BIO.COM: Purdue molecular virologist Suresh Mittal and his collaborators are investigating a new way to provide immunity against avian influenza viruses, or bird flu, the most lethal of which, H5N1, has a 50 percent fatality rate in humans. Under...

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 12, 2005

    Indonesia Probes Possible Case Of Bird Flu

    (AP) JAKARTA, Indonesia Indonesia is investigating a possible human case of the bird flu virus after a 37-year-old woman died showing symptoms of the disease, the health minister said Sunday. If confirmed, this would be Indonesia's fourth human fatality from avian influenza. In July, Indonesia became the fourth country in Asia to record human cases, when a man and his two daughters died after contracting the H5N1 strain of the virus. Health Minister Siti Fadila Supari said blood samples

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Optical biosensors help spot bird-flu

    Link: optics.org. More detail at the link above A low-cost and portable optical waveguide sensor could help control avian influenza during an outbreak. An optical waveguide sensor being developed by scientists at Georgia Tech Research Institute, US, could offer a...

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    U.S. military in Pacific uses conciliatory tone with Beijing - Business - International Herald Tribune

     
    U.S. military in Pacific uses conciliatory tone with Beijing - Business - International Herald Tribune (info)
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/11/business/pacific.php
    "Fallon said that he wanted the United States and Chinese militaries to start discussing avian influenza as well. The American military has been concerned about the possible effect on soldiers if avian influenza, now found mainly in birds, were to start spreading quickly among people."
    Posted by Declan to China US Military AvianFlu on Sun Sep 11 2005 at 15:24 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    LAS CONSECUENCIAS DE UN POSIBLE FOCO DE GRIPE AVIAR EN EUROPA SE ANALIZAN HOY EN LA CUMBRE DE MINISTROS DE SANIDAD DE LA OMS EN BUCAREST, CON UNA NUEVA VÍCTIMA EN INDONESIA DE TELÓN DE FONDO

    Los ministros de sanidad de 52 países europeos celebran hoy en Bucarest la 55 sesión del Comité Regional para Europa de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS),con el tema de la gripe aviar en el centro de la reunión, coincidiendo con un nuevo caso detectado en Indonesia.
    Las autoridades sanitarias de este país del sureste asiático está investigando un posible nuevo caso de la también conocida como “gripe del pollo”, tras la muerte el sábado de una mujer de 37 años, según anunció oficialmente la ministra de Sanidad, Siti Fadila Supari.
    De confirmarse este supuesto, la mujer fallecida sería la cuarta víctima en el archipiélago indonésico. En julio pasado, Indonesia se convirtió en el cuarto país asiático con casos humanos de esta enfermedad, cuando un hombre y sus dos hijas fallecieron tras contraer el virus identificado con la nomenclatura clínica “H5N1”.
    El virus de la gripe aviar ha causado la muerte a 62 personas en Asia desde 2003, la mayoría en Vietnam y Tailandia. Por el momento, casi todos contrajeron el virus por estar en contacto con aves de corral, pero los expertos temen que el virus pueda mutar a una variante más mortífera y que pueda contagiarse entre humanos.
    La ministra española de Sanidad y Consumo, Elena Salgado, estará presente hoy en la reunión de Bucarest, junto al director regional para Europa de la OMS, Marc Danzon.
    En la cumbre de la OMS participan 200 delegados representantes de salud y especialistas de todos los países europeos miembros de la organización internacional.
    La sesión del Comité Regional para Europa de la OMS abordará asimismo hasta la clausura, el próximo día 15, los efectos por el consumo del alcohol, la obesidad y la salud de los niños y los adolescentes.
    Pese a que la gripe aviar no ha sido detectada fuera de las fronteras de la región asiática, los países occidentales han empezado a tomar medidas cautelares para prevenir un posible brote de la epidemia.
    El gobierno norteamericano confirmó hace dos meses la compra de 2 millones de vacunas contra este virus a los laboratorios franceses "Sanofi-Pasteur".
    Tras comprobar si este antídoto inmuniza a los niños y ancianos, la administración estadounidense está dispuesta a comprar hasta 20 millones de unidades de la misma vacuna, según las previsiones que adelantó el director del Instituto Nacional de enfermedades alérgicas e infecciosas, Anthony Fauci.
    A escala transnacional, los países miembros del llamado G-7 para la lucha contra el bio-terrorismo celebró a puerta cerrada, a principios de diciembre de 2004 en París, una reunión para estudiar la situación mundial y los puntos de mayor crisis, con un especial interés por los imprevisibles efectos de la neumonía asiática y la gripe aviar, en caso de que se extendieran a otras zonas mundiales.
    Estados-Unidos, Canadá, Japón, Alemania, Gran-Bretaña, Francia y México crearon está plataforma
    intergubernamental, tras los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001, con el objetivo de elaborar dispositivos de actuación conjunta frente a una situación de crisis.

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Village Voice reviews Davis book

    The Voice has a review by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow of Mike Davis's The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu. No doubt we'll all be reading it before long.

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Another flu scenario

    Business Week Online describes the onset of an avian-flu pandemic brought to the US by a businessman returning from Vietnam. A Hot Zone In The Heartland is pretty well researched, and if anything it understates the likely impact.

    Right now, the U.S. has no national pandemic preparedness plan, either for treating large numbers of patients or for dealing with the resulting economic and social disruptions. "We can't handle a pandemic flu," asserts Dr. Redlener of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. "We don't have enough capacity in our health care system. We can't handle hundreds of people a day dying." His dire assessment is based on the fact that U.S. public health authorities have been woefully underfunded for decades.

    Scary as such scenarios are, I find them encouraging—especially when they appear in the US business press. We can't expect much leadership from the political hacks who are nominally in charge of American disaster preparedness. But if US business can get over its sentimental attachment to George W. Bush, and can start thinking beyond the next quarter's profits, we might see some constructive action.

    Wal-Mart was better prepared to respond to Katrina than FEMA, and the big-box companies, with their superb communications and transportation systems, might help get us through a pandemic. They just have to believe it's real, and a threat to their shareholders.

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Vogelgrippe - weiteres Todesoper in IndonesienSide Effects

    In Indonesien gibt es höchstwahrscheinlich einen vierten Todesfall wegen Vogelgrippe. Eine 37-Jährige starb, nachdem sie entsprechende Symptome gezeigt hatte, wie das Gesundheitsministerium am Montag mitteilte. Es sei «extrem wahrscheinlich», dass sich die Frau mit dem tödlichen H5N1-Virus infiziert hatte, sagte Gesundheitsminister Siti Fadila Supari.

    Quelle AP

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    H5N1Hootsbuddy's Place

    If you don't know what that title means, you better start learning. This time I hyperlinked the title. Book mark it. Keep checking.
    Avian flu is slowly but surely getting headlines. Last weeks catastrophe could be a wake-up call.
    ****
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    BusinessWeek.com offers an Online Extra: The "Horrific" Economics of Avian Flu. It's an interview with the authors of An Investor's Guide to Avian Flu,
    ****
    **
    *
    Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health has published a report that concludes "Healthcare workers in New York may be unable or unwilling to report to work during cerain catastrophes."...In a way, this isn't news. In 1918-19, a lot of doctors and nurses just disappeared. They were either scared for themselves, or desperately stressed by what they witnessed. A lot of New Orleans cops walked away from their jobs last week, and we can expect the same kind of response from people in the front lines of the pandemic.

    Hello, Cassandra here! Here's the link.

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    More from investing firm BMO Nesbitt BurnsAvian Flu - What we need to know

    H5N1 posts this link to a short interview with two of the authors of the Investor's Guide to Avian Flu. Worth the quick read. For a different take on the costs of an flu pandemic read Alex Tabarrok here.

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Evolution of H5N1 Avian Influenza Viruses in AsiaMedscape Pulmonary Medicine Headlines

    This group reports a phylogenetic, phenotypic, and antigenic analysis of H5N1 viruses from the 2004-2005 outbreak in order to address questions relevant to the public health response to the outbreak.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    SouthWesternOntario.ca: Town and Health officials prepare for flu pandemicBlogPulse Search Results for: influenza pandemic

    Influenza pandemics are worldwide events that have taken place three to four times per century....We do believe that we will need volunteers during the pandemic. ... " The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned since an outbreak of avian influenza occurred in Hong Kong in 1997 which infected eighteen people, six of t hem dying because of the H5N1 strain....They occur when a new influenza A virus appears that is capable of causing widespread illness and death in a susceptible world population. ... In the Medical Officer’s presentation to council, it was explained how representatives of the health care sector are planning and preparing for the pandemic t...

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Thai newspaper: pandemic phase 4?Effect Measure

    The Nation, a national newspaper in Thailand, is quoting Dr Kamnuan Ungchusak, the director of Thailand's Disease Control Department, Bureau of Epidemiology, as saying the bird flu virus has changed in a way as to alter the pandemic disease status from WHO's phase 3 ("Human infection(s) with a new subtype, but no human-to-human spread, or at most rare instances of spread to a close contact") to phase 4 ("Small cluster(s) with limited human-to-human transmission but spread is highly localized, suggesting that the virus is not well adapted to humans").
    “It’s apparent to us insiders that [the virus] has already moved from phase 3 to phase 4 [in terms of the World Health Organisations’pandemic alert levels],” said Dr Kamnuan Ungchusak whose work on human-to-human H5N1 strain of avian flu was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January.

    Reports of the infection spreading among humans in four countries including Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam have suggested to scientists that the virus has become more pathogenic than ever, the doctor said.

    “The virus remains virulent enough to sicken or kill another victim who is in close contact with the infected person, said Kamnuan who is the director of the Disease Control Department’s Beureau of Epidemiology.

    Reports of human-to-human infection have been most recently documented in a cluster of infections in Indonesia, he said, adding that all of the infected people were in the same family and had not been in contact with any poultry or other sources of disease, aside from infected family members.
    Dr. Kamnuan is indeed a "flu insider," having reported the first widely accepted case of human to human transmission in the medical literature. The Nation records him as deploring his government's continued insistence that human to human transmission has not been demonstrated, characterizing it as "false information."

    Thailand has been more diligent of late in surveillance and prompt reporting of poultry infections to the OIE (the international agency that keeps track of animal disease outbreaks). But they need to face the facts they report. Whether this is obfuscation to avoid alarming their citizenry or just plain denial is unclear, but Dr. Kamnuan is right on the mark here.

    This virus is Hurricane Katrina a thousand times over.

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

    【インドネシア】鳥インフルエンザで4人目の死者か[09/11]

    ... 【インドネシア】鳥インフルエンザで4人目の死者か 09/11 インドネシア、鳥インフルエンザで4人目の死者か --  【ジャカルタ11日共同】インドネシアのスパリ保健相は11日、ジャカルタ郊外の病院 で10日に死亡した女性(37)が鳥インフルエンザに感染していた疑いが強いと述べた。 香港で最終的な検査をする。確認されれば同国では4人目の鳥インフルエンザの死者となる。  同国では7月にジャカルタ郊外で死亡した父娘3人が、高病原性鳥インフルエンザ ウイルス(H5N1型)による初の死者と確認された。 ソース:日経新聞 http://www.nikkei.co.jp/news ...

    News Scrap from 2ch Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Crappy Reporting

    ... There is a boatload of bad data in this Businessweek story, but the US media are finally starting to notice the real risk of avian influenza. A Hot Zo ...

    Just a Bump in the Beltway Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Tamiflu e vacina contra a meningite C

    ... A problemática de uma pandemia de gripe, excepcionalmente virulenta, está a preocupar as autoridades de saúde e os governos de vários países. A razão não é para menos. Portugal adoptou um plano de contingência que será aplicado assim que o vírus da gripe H5N1 for detectado em aves ou em seres ...

    4R - Quarta República Technorati this

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

    想飛的心

    ... ,但後來想想這只是把細菌從臉轉移到手上,感冒看來只是時間上的問題 男子跟我說了聲抱歉,但他媽的,此時抱歉有何用?如果你身上帶有禽流感H5N1病毒,我就得等死了,你知道嗎啊!?!?我心裡在咆哮,但嘴巴卻說了聲沒關係 ...

    我決定把它講出來 Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Crappy Reporting

    a week later do they learn he was infected with H5N1, the deadly virus that causes avian flu... reporters, since there is so much wrong in this article. The lethality (pathogenicity) of H5N1 in humans

    Posted by dymaxion at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 09, 2005

    Gripe das Aves Ria de Aveiro é área de risco, se...Notícias de Ovar

    Gripe das Aves
    Ria de Aveiro é área de risco,
    segundo Bastonário dos Veterinários


    O bastonário dos Médicos Veterinários considera que os estuários do Tejo e Sado, a ria de Aveiro e a albufeira do Alqueva são as áreas de maior risco de contaminação do vírus da gripe das aves em Portugal.
    Em declarações ao Diário de Notícias, Cardoso Resende defende que Portugal precisa de definir as áreas de maior risco de contaminação do vírus da gripe das aves para as poder vigiar.
    O bastonário diz que só através da definição dessas áreas será possível fazer uma monitorização "activa e sistemática" do alegado perigo das espécies migratórias na transmissão da doença.
    "As zonas a vigiar de forma mais permanente são as que têm maior superfície de água e onde chegam as aves migratórias em abundância", explicou ao jornal.
    Cardoso Resende considera ainda que a União Europeia deve financiar a monitorização das áreas de maior risco, por essa ser uma medida que acarreta muita despesa para os Estados.
    "A cobertura da monitorização da UE faz todo o sentido e não se pode olhar aos gastos necessários para a montagem de um sistema, face aos benefícios extraordinários que pode trazer", defendeu.
    Se não o fizer, o responsável acredita que "a Europa lamentar-se- á dessa avareza na distribuição de recursos".
    O bastonário da Ordem dos Médicos Veterinários alertou que a gripe das aves "é uma doença que pode trazer avultadas consequências económicas e que encerra o perigo da sua transmissão para o homem".
    Em Portugal, o sistema de vigilância da gripe das aves realizou este ano mil análises em explorações avícolas, que deram todas negativas, e vai intensificar a amostragem em aves aquáticas migratórias segundo dados da Agência Portuguesa de Segurança Alimentar (APSA) a que a Agência Lusa teve acesso.
    A APSA esclareceu entretanto que os consumidores de aves não correm risco de contaminação da doença porque o vírus não resiste a temperaturas superiores a 70ºC, pelo que "a transmissão através por ingestão de alimentos cozinhados acima desta temperatura é improvável".
    A gripe das aves é uma doença de origem animal (zoonose) provocada por um subtipo de vírus influenza (H5N1), tendo sido desta forma baptizado por ter sido inicialmente registado apenas em espécies de aves, como galinhas.
    Também os patos e gansos são afectados, sendo os principais reservatórios do vírus H5N1.

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    H5N1 Influenza Virus Outbreaks Since January 2005: non-sustained human-to-human bird flu transmission in four countriesQuiplashr's Photos

    Quiplashr posted a photo:

    H5N1 Influenza Virus Outbreaks Since January 2005: non-sustained human-to-human bird flu transmission in four countries

    "It’s apparent to us insiders that [the virus] has already moved from phase 3 to phase 4 [in terms of the World Health Organisations’pandemic alert levels],” said Dr Kamnuan Ungchusak whose work on human-to-human H5N1 strain of avian flu was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January.

    Reports of the infection spreading among humans in four countries including Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam have suggested to scientists that the virus has become more pathogenic than ever, the doctor said."

    commentary and source (The Nation is one of Thailand's national newspapers).
    -----

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

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Avian influenza in Mongolia

    From Promed: "The Mongolian case provides the best evidence to date for wild birds in the trans-boundary spread of H5N1 avian influenza ..."

    This is a snippet of a longer post by Les Sims, Asia Pacific Veterinary Information Services. I totally agree - without large numbers of poultry in Mongolia, these isolations demonstrate that a wild bird population can host H5N1 in the absence of affected

    Notes from the world of wildlife disease (feed)
    See also links to this feed and more from this feed

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Drug Resistant Avian Influenza Viruses More Common in Southeast Asia Than North AmericaPR Newswire

    MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Resistance to the antiviral drug amantadine is spreading more rapidly among avian influenza viruses of H5N1 subtype in Southeast Asia than in North America, according to the study done by investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

    The St. Jude team reached this conclusion by analyzing sequence data of the so-called M2 protein of avian influenza viruses of different subtypes isolated in North America and Southeast Asia during 1991-2004; and by evaluating the frequency of drug-resistant strains. Sequence data refers to the makeup of a gene coding for a particular protein, in this case, the M2 protein. A properly functioning M2 protein is key to the virus' ability to replicate. The St. Jude researchers demonstrated that the largest proportion of Asian drug-resistant H5 and H9 avian influenza viruses occurred in China. A report on these findings appears in the current online edition of Virology.

    H5 influenza viruses concern world health officials because H5N1 subtype has been spreading throughout chicken flocks and wild birds in Southeast Asia since it emerged in 1997. Between late 2003 and early 2004, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza occurred among poultry in eight Asian countries, causing the death or destruction of tens of millions of birds. As of August 5, 2005, 112 cases of human H5N1 infection have been confirmed in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, of which 57 were fatal, according to the World Health Organization. Humans contract H5N1 only from close contact with infected birds and only one probable human-to-human transmission was reported in Vietnam. This has so far prevented H5N1 from becoming a major threat to humans.

    "However, if H5N1 variants acquire the capacity for sustained human-to- human transmission, the world will face the threat of a serious pandemic," said Robert G. Webster, Ph.D., a member of the Infectious Diseases department and holder of the Rose Marie Thomas Chair at St. Jude. "Humans don't have resistance to H5N1, and currently vaccines to H5N1 are still being developed. And, the available evidence shows that the most recent strains isolated from humans in Asia are no longer sensitive to inhibition by the amantadine family of drugs."

    Resistance to the antiviral drug amantadine is caused by substitutions of one of five amino acids in the part of the M2 protein called the transmembrane domain-the part of M2 located within the coat of the influenza virus. The M2 protein is an ion channel located in the envelope of the virus that permits hydrogen ions (protons) to enter the flu virion. This influx of protons allows the virus to shed its coat after it enters a cell-an essential step in the replication of the virus. Amantadine inhibits the function of the M2 protein and thus stops viral replication.

    "By analyzing the sequence of the transmembrane part of the M2 gene we were able to determine how frequently amantadine resistance occurs in avian influenza A subtypes isolated in various parts of the world-especially among those subtypes that had the potential to cause a pandemic," said Natalia A. Ilyushina, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude. First author of the Virology paper, Ilyushina did much of the work on this project.

    The St. Jude researchers analyzed the M2 gene sequences from 60 influenza viruses isolated in Southeast Asia and 74 viruses from North America that represented the H5, H6, H7 and H9 subtypes. The scientists also examined information from the National Library of Medicine's GenBank database on 408 viruses isolated from avian hosts worldwide.

    Based on the study, the St. Jude team reported that there were no avian amantadine-resistant strains isolated from 1979-83 in the northeastern United States and Southeast Asia. However, 31 percent of H5 and 11 percent of H9 influenza viruses from Southeast Asia isolated in 2000-04 carried M2 mutations. Isolates of H5 and H9 subtypes from North America during that time remained sensitive to amantadine, while 16 percent of H7 isolates were resistant to this drug.

    "These data are clear and convincing," said Elena A. Govorkova, Ph.D., of the St. Jude Infectious Diseases department, a co-author of the paper. "The specific amantadine-resistance mutations in M2 that we identified can occur randomly throughout the world. But we now have solid proof that in Southeast Asia, and especially in China, these mutations are undergoing strong selective pressure."

    Selective pressure refers to the extent to which an organism has acquired either a beneficial genetic trait that gives it a survival advantage in a particular environment and therefore makes the organism more likely to survive and multiply; or a trait that makes it vulnerable to something in the environment, and therefore more likely to become extinct.

    The increasing incidence of amantadine-resistant H5N1 viruses in China indicates that these variants appear to have survival advantages over the wild, drug-sensitive strains. In addition, the infected birds die so rapidly there is no time for the virus to acquire a large number of mutations, among which could be changes in the M2 protein. Therefore, the high rate of M2 mutations in China probably arises from some human activity that encourages selection of such changes, the researchers said. For example, treating chickens with amantadine to prevent infection with H5N1 would put selective pressure on the M2 gene to acquire mutations that made it resistant to this antiviral drug.

    "H5N1 is now endemic -- a permanent resident -- in Southeast Asia, including China," Webster said. "Therefore, any selective pressure on this virus ensures plenty of opportunity for H5N1 to acquire amantadine resistance, which would bring additional difficulties in controlling the pandemic."

    This concern over activities in China that might increase selective pressure for amantadine resistance in H5N1 has been voiced on the postings of ProMED over the past several months. ProMED (Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases) is an electronic outbreak reporting system established by the International Society for Infectious Diseases to permit rapid and accurate monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks globally; and to serve as a central location for news, updates, and discussions of infectious disease outbreaks that threaten humans. For example, a ProMED transmission on July 6, 2005 noted that Joseph Domenech, the chief veterinary officer for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization commented that the use of human flu drugs by Chinese farmers is "a big concern."

    This work was supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease of the National Institutes of Health and ALSAC.

    St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

    St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization. For more information, please visit http://www.stjude.org.

    St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

    CONTACT: Carrie Strehlau of St. Jude Public Relations, +1-901-495-2295, orcarrie.strehlau@stjude.org, or Marc Kusinitz of St. Jude ScientificCommunications, +1-901-495-5020, or marc.kusinitz@stjude.org

    Web site: http://www.stjude.org//

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

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    2004 human cases more virulent than 1997 isolates

    Link: The Journal of Virology. Click the link above for more from this academic abstract Rapid disease progression and high lethality rates in ferrets distinguished the highly virulent 2004 H5N1 viruses from the 1997 H5N1 viruses. A pair of viruses...

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Labor seeks Asia region bird flu forum

    The Labor opposition party in Australia seems to think avian flu is a real political issue. An ABC News Online story reports that Labor seeks Asia region bird flu forum.

    Labor's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd has outlined a five-point plan to combat a potential Avian flu pandemic.

    Mr Rudd says there can be no "Fortress Australia" in regard to the threat of the Avian flu virus.
    By next month he says ASEAN, China, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand should convene a regional ministerial meeting on the virus and they should establish cross-border and community-based methods to report control and treat outbreaks.


    Posted by dymaxion at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Rumbles

    I don't think I've had occasion before this to cite an opinion piece from OpinionJournal, the editorial section of the Wall Street Journal. But Mark Helprin's comments on the present state of American disarray include failure to prepare for pandemic (my bolding):

    The war in Iraq has been poorly planned and executed from the beginning, and now, like a hurricane over warm water, the insurgency is in a position to take immense energy from the fundamental divisions in that nation. The rise of Chinese military power, although lately noted, has met with no response. America's borders are open, its cities vulnerable, its civil defense nonexistent, its armies stretched thin. We have taken only deeply inadequate steps to prepare for and forestall a viral pandemic that by the testimony of experts is a high probability and could kill scores of millions in this country alone. That we do not see relatively simple and necessary courses of action, and are not led and inspired to them, represents a catastrophic failure of leadership that bridges party lines.

    I find this encouraging rather than the reverse. It appears that some of the greatest backers of the Bush administration are less than pleased, and may start demanding competence if not leadership. And simple competence could save lives.

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in the commercial domestic ducks of South Korea.

    Avian Pathol. 2005 Aug; 34(4): 367-70
    Kwon YK, Joh SJ, Kim MC, Sung HW, Lee YJ, Choi JG, Lee EK, Kim JH

    The present study reports the clinical, virological and pathological findings observed in a natural outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in farmed commercial ducks. The ducks developed clinical signs, including mild respiratory distress, depression, mild diarrhoea, loss of appetite and increasing mortality (up to 12%). At necropsy, multifocal mottled necrosis was commonly found in the pancreas with splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, and swollen kidneys. Microscopically, there was necrotized pancreatitis and hepatitis, and lymphocytic meningoencephalitis and myocarditis. Influenza viral antigen was demonstrated in areas closely associated with histopathological lesion. Avian influenza virus was isolated from the caecal tonsil, faeces, and kidney of the domestic ducks. The isolated virus was identified as a highly pathogenic H5N1, with a haemagglutinin proteolytic cleavage site deduced amino acid sequence of ... QREKRKKR/GLFGAIAG ... In order to determine the pathogenicity of the isolate, eight 6-week-old specific pathogen free chickens were inoculated intravenously with the virus, and all birds died within 24 h after inoculation. This is the first report of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza with clinical signs in commercial domestic ducks in South Korea.

    Posted by dymaxion at 06:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 08, 2005

    Vietnam's vaccination programs behind schedule

    "The poultry inoculation program against bird flu is slipping behind. The trial programs, scheduled to end within a month, have failed. We will review them before expanding the vaccination to other localities," said Hoang Van Nam, one of the directors in veterinary department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    In June, officials launched two pilot vaccination programs in Tien Giang province in the south and Nam Dinh in the north. Lessons drawn from the trials were supposed to help officials extend the vaccinations on a nationwide scale.

    In Tien Giang, rains and floods slowed down the pilot program and only 38 out of 127 communes have gotten their flocks vaccinated. In Nam Dinh, the results were better, with 3.1 million fowls out of 4.3 million having been vaccinated.

    Local newspapers have, however, pointed out that the sheer number of fowls to be vaccinated was far bigger than expected and the supply of vaccines slow.

    Health officials planned to vaccinate some 3 million birds, but preliminary checks showed that actual number population of domestic birds at around 6 million. The country had only set aside about 30 million U.S. dollars for the nationwide campaign, and many experts think the funding was not enough.

    "No fear of vaccine shortage. They will be sent shortly," assured Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, director of the Tien Giang veterinary center. But Nga acknowledged a problem with range fowl. "We could not take into account all the ducks raised in the open fields."

    In the Mekong delta, farmers raise ducks in the open, driving them from place to place to feed, including into harvested rice fields to feed on fallen grain. Fattened, the ducks are taken to markets in big cities like Can Tho and HCM City.

    Red Nova has the full story.

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

    Bird flu concern in Europe

    With images of the Katrina debacle still vivid, many are looking at the threat of an influenza pandemic with fresh eyes. As with a major hurricane hitting New Orleans, the consequences of a pandemic have been envisioned, gamed and supposedly planned for. But after Katrina, no one I know has any confidence in the perfunctory statements of the US government that it is prepared.

    Europe is taking the matter far more seriously after bird flu (influenza /H5N1) appeared on its very doorstep, infecting poultry in Siberia and Kazakhstan. The main concern is that wild aquatic waterfowl will carry the virus to the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that
    . . . birds flying from Siberia could carry the disease to the Caspian and Black Sea regions, which along with the Balkans, would form the "gateway to central Europe for the virus".

    It said bird migration routes also ran across Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine and some Mediterranean countries, where outbreaks were possible.

    The FAO urged countries at risk, particularly along migration routes, to step up surveillance of domestic poultry and wild birds, and to prepare national emergency plans.

    "FAO is concerned that poor countries in southeast Europe, where wild birds mingle with others from northern Europe, may lack the capacity to detect and deal with outbreaks of bird flu," FAO's chief veterinary officer Joseph Domenech said. (Reuters).
    The Europeans, at least, are listening. The Dutch had a grievous outbreak of an avian flu virus (subtype H7N7) in 2003, losing 30 million birds and suffering hundreds of human infections and one death. Cost: almost $200 million (150 million Euros). They are putting their birds inside, to minimize contact with wild migratory birds. So far other European countries have not followed suit, but most have beefed up their surveillance and other defenses and put their public health and medical systems into action. The British are distributing detailed technical information to their doctors and the French are stocking up on antiviral drugs, notably oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and intensifying airport checks. The human and economic costs of the "mad cow" episode in mind, they are calling for more effort internationally:
    "Would our citizens forgive us, after the mad cow crisis, if we did not learn the lessons from that painful experience and if we could not show we were capable of mounting an effective response?" said French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.
    Ignoring clear warnings and not responding would be unforgiveable. I guess we can agree on that.

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Threat of pandemic brings flu drug back to life

     
    Threat of pandemic brings flu drug back to life (info)
    David Cyranoski
    Nat Med 11 (9), 909 (Sep 2005)
    Posted by Declan and 1 other to relenza AvianFlu drugs on Wed Sep 07 2005 at 14:55 UTC

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

    Flu drug holds promise.(Briefly Noted)(Brief Article)

    FLU DRUG HOLDS PROMISE. Experiments in mice show that the drug oseltamivir, currently used against annual influenza strains, can also suppress the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus that has spread from birds to humans (EPN, March 8, p. 33). Oseltamivir inhibits the protein necessary for the avian flu

    Publication: Emergency Preparedness News

    From HighBeam RSS: Emergency Preparedness News (feed)
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    GlaxoSmithKline purchases ID Biomedical

    If you live in Canada, you need to know about this.

    ID Biomedical is (or was, as the case may be) the only domestic manufacturer of flu vaccine in Canada. It was just sold to British based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

    I'm undecided about whether this is good news or bad... but I'm not overly pessemistic about the implications regarding flu vaccine for an avian flu pandemic. Here's why... [as usual, my emphasis]

    **********
    Global giant's purchase of Canadian flu vaccine maker secures supply

    TORONTO (CP) - The sale of Canada's only domestic flu vaccine maker to British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline should strengthen the security of the country's flu vaccine supply, both year to year and during an influenza pandemic, a variety of sources said Wednesday following announcement of the sale.

    Government officials will hold discussions with the new owners and review GSK's capacity to meet ID Biomedical's federal contracts. But Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said he is confident GlaxoSmithKline can and will fulfil the obligations entered into by ID Biomedical.

    "It's a very big player, well known," the health minister said of GSK.

    "It's been around for a long time. They haven't gotten here by not respecting international obligations that they've entered into."

    The president and CEO of GSK Canada said the company fully intends to live up to the contracts ID Biomedical has with Canada and to seek renewal of them once they expire.

    "Our commitments are very clear. We have a commitment to supply annual vaccine to Canada, which we'll continue to do, of course. And ID has the 10-year agreement on pandemic preparedness which we will honour as well," Paul Lucas said.

    The first contract, which expires in March 2008, is to provide 75 per cent of the vaccine needed for the annual publicly financed flu shot programs across the country. (Sanofi Pasteur provides the remaining 25 per cent.) This year that amounts to eight million doses from ID Biomedical.

    The second is a 10-year, $323 million contract to be at the ready to make enough flu vaccine to protect every Canadian in the event of an influenza pandemic. That contract expires in 2011.

    Federal negotiators are in the final stages of negotiating an additional contract with ID Biomedical to make trial batches of a vaccine against the H5N1 flu strain experts worry may be poised to spark a pandemic.

    The intent is to test the "mock vaccine" to determine the optimal dosing regime and whether an additive called an adjuvant could be used to stretch limited supplies.

    "We're very close to concluding the negotiations. I don't believe they would be impacted," Dosanjh said.

    "We would make sure that we raised that issue at the earliest possible (opportunity) as the takeover happens."

    An industry watcher said the sale signifies GSK is intent on claiming a major share of the global flu vaccine market, which had been languishing but which has exploded due to concerns over the possibility of a flu pandemic.

    "The single most important thing about GSK and IDB is the fact that it reflects a very distinct corporate interest in the growth of the international flu (vaccine) market," said Dr. David Fedson, a retired vaccine industry executive who avidly follows flu vaccine production issues.
    GSK's purchase of ID Biomedical will significantly increase its vaccine production capacity. The company's existing plant in Dresden, Germany, produced 30 million doses of its trivalent vaccine, Fluarix, last year.

    ID Biomedical is already well on the way to completing a major expansion of its Quebec City facility, which expects to hit annual production of 75 million trivalent doses per year by 2007. And that capacity could be further increased, said Tony Holler, the company's CEO.

    "I think this acquisition really speaks to the fact that they want to be No. 1 in flu vaccine on a worldwide basis. And this plant is what's going to get them there," Holler said.

    "This is going to be probably their beachhead in the (global) flu vaccine business."

    GSK received fast-track approval to enter the U.S. market for this flu season as that country attempts to diversify its flu vaccine sources. Last fall Chiron Corp., one of only two companies to provide injectible vaccine to the U.S. market, had to junk its entire output due to contamination problems in its Liverpool, England, plant.

    ID Biomedical is also in the process of bringing its product to the U.S. market; it expects to begin selling vaccine there next flu season.

    Fluarix is packaged in a single-dose syringe format whereas ID Biomedical's Fluviral is packaged in multi-dose vials, the format more commonly used in the North American market. GSK intends to continue to produce both products, Lucas said.
    **********

    Personally, I don't think Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh could negotiate a booze up in a brewery... but I'm hopeful that he's just the figure-head who wants to take credit for any efforts to protect us from H5N1. Frankly, I don't care if he does get the credit - as long as we get an H5N1 vaccine! But they've been negotiating this contract for quite a while... and if you read this blog regularly, you'll know that developing a vaccine (even one of marginal effectiveness) will take considerable time. So I'm not holding my breath.

    At least GSK will live up to the contractual obligations to provide sufficient vaccine for all Canadians in the event of a pandemic... at least I hope they'll live up to the commitment. Saying it and doing it, particulalry when their own domestic (British) market will be clamouring for vaccines too, are two very different things.

    I also like the way this story snuck in the line about the US diversifying its sources of flu vaccine. Fast-track approval by the FDA... impressive. But also telling. I'm under no illussions about how our neighbours to the south will act and react once this pandemic breaks. Their borders will shut so tight so fast it'll make your head spin. And they'll use every tool at their disposal to secure sufficient vaccine for their population... I believe at the expence of anyone and everyone else.

    From Not the PHB (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 12:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Sauna to keep bird flu at bay - News24



    BBC News
    Sauna to keep bird flu at bay
    News24, South Africa - Sep 6, 2005
    ... The agriculture ministry emphasized however that sauna disinfection does not guarantee total immunity from the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus that began ...
    Europe races to shore up bird flu defences Reuters AlertNet
    Bird flu risks spreading to Europe and beyond after ravaging Asia ... TODAYonline
    all 21 related

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    FAO Warns of H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Spread - Recombinomics


    FAO Warns of H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Spread
    Recombinomics, PA - Aug 31, 2005
    Birds flying from Siberia, where the H5N1 virus has been recently detected, may carry the virus to the Caspian and Black Sea in the foreseeable future. ...

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    2005 H5N1 Sequences in Thailand Similar to 2004 - Recombinomics


    2005 H5N1 Sequences in Thailand Similar to 2004
    Recombinomics, PA - Sep 1, 2005
    Two HA sequences from 2005 H5N1 isolates (A/chicken/Thailand/Kamphaengphet-3-01/2005 and A/chicken/Thailand/Kamphaengphet-3-02/2005) from Thailand have become ...

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Pandemic a question of when, not if

    A story on ABC News quotes a World Health Organization official as saying that a bird flu pandemic is a question of when, not if.

    "We may be at almost the last stage before the pandemic virus may emerge," Dr. Jai P. Narain, Director of WHO's communicable diseases department told a news conference on the sidelines of a Southeast Asia health summit in the Sri Lankan capital.

    "Whether the avian influenza pandemic will occur, that is not the question any more, (but) as to when the pandemic will occur," he added.

    "So far there is only one country in Southeast Asia with a pandemic preparedness plan ... Thailand... They have a stockpile of anti-viral drugs," Narain said. "At the same time we are in dialogue with our member countries. We are in the process of preparing this pandemic preparedness plan."

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Scaring ourselves into crouching inactivity

    Jackie Ashley in the Guardian warns that we are scaring ourselves into crouching inactivity.

    Avian flu... seems organisationally impossible to stop; at least, unless birds change their ways and stop flying about the globe. The mutation of viruses and the routes of infection provided by modern life have caused scientists to warn about global pandemics for years.

    And of course it's not just avian flu: it's terrorism, the global warming probably at the root of Katrina, and a host of other threats. They all seem even scarier because we're told we have to wait, as passively as patients awaiting the anesthetic, for whatever is in store for us.

    This passivity is both a cause of alienation and a reflection of it: We feel out of control of our lives already, and then these threats only exacerbate the problem. We wait for "them" to produce the vaccine, or not. We wait for the news report that announces the pandemic; but maybe the pandemic's already under way in China or Vietnam, and we're going to be deceived first and killed second.

    Small steps: Talking to the neighbours, to the Health & Safety Committee at work, to the union executive, to the employers' associations. Building up a reasonable stock of emergency supplies. And laughing a lot. It's hard to crouch when you're laughing.

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Thirteen/WNET New York’s WIDE ANGLE Reports on the Race to Contain the Deadly Avian Influenza Virus in H5N1 - Killer Flu, Pre

    ... Thirteen/WNET New York’s WIDE ANGLE Reports on the Race to Contain the Deadly Avian Influenza Virus in H5N1 - Killer Flu, Premiering September 20 on PBS Thirteen/WNET New York’s WIDE ANGLE Reports on the Race to Contain the Deadly Avian Influenza Virus in H5N1 - Killer Flu, Premiering September 20 ...

    Avian Flu Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Diehard Duck Hunter

    ... WHO | Laboratory study of H5N1 viruses in domestic ducks: main findings This site only. Communicable Disease Surveillance & Response (CSR) … intestinal tracts of experimentally infected domestic ducks and contact ducks. Large amounts of virus (103.5 … observed in the majority of ducks ...

    Diehard Duck Hunter Technorati this

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 06, 2005

    Japan update

    The weak strain of avian influenza recently detected at more than a dozen farms in Ibaraki Prefecture may have been brought about by artificial contamination, including by the use of vaccines, a farm ministry panel said Friday.

    The use of vaccines to prevent bird flu is currently banned by law, and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said it would probe the matter further.

    According to panel head Hiroshi Kida, a professor at Hokkaido University, the genetic makeup of the virus found at the Ibaraki farms was strikingly similar to that of a bird flu virus found in Guatemala and Mexico, too far for a migrating bird to carry into Japan. It is also different from other Central American strains of the virus previously found in other parts of Asia.

    This led the panel to suspect that a vaccine developed using the Central American virus was brought into Japan and used on some birds, infecting the animals around them, he said.

    Read the entire piece here.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Flu virus in Russia sensitive to amantadine?

    As we scramble to buy Tamiflu, there are signs that the highly infectious form of bird flu moving across Russia towards Europe may be sensitive to the older, cheaper drug amantadine (symmetrel), according to Chemistry & Industry magazine.

    If the virus does prove to be sensitive to amantadine, this could overcome potential shortages of Tamiflu and Relenza on which many countries have pinned their hopes of combating a possible pandemic.

    Henry Niman founder of US biotechnology company Recombinomics says preliminary sequence data suggest that the Russian virus does not exhibit any of the changes in the M2 ion channel that would make it resistant to amantadine. Early work on the Russian virus also suggests that it is related to the Qinghai virus. Yi Guan of the University of Hong Kong who sequenced the Qinghai strain earlier this year says Qinghai sequence data suggest it is amantadine sensitive.

    The story comes from Medical News Today.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Probable Person-to-Person Transmission of Avian Influenza A (H5N1)

     
    Probable Person-to-Person Transmission of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) (info)
    Kumnuan Ungchusak et al.
    The New England Journal of Medicine 352 (4), 333-40 (27 Jan 2005)
    Posted by Declan to AvianFlu papers on Sun Sep 04 2005 at 22:53 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Artificial infection suspected in Ibaraki bird flu outbreak : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

     
    Artificial infection suspected in Ibaraki bird flu outbreak : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri) (info)
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20050904TDY02002.htm
    Posted by Declan to AvianFlu Japan on Sun Sep 04 2005 at 22:54 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Italy prepares for possible bird flu outbreak

     
    Italy prepares for possible bird flu outbreak (info)
    http://www.terra.net.lb/wp/Articles/DesktopArticle.aspx?ArticleID=242789&Ch annelId=1
    More reassurances. about vaccines that don't exist. "The Italian government also has ordered 36 million doses of vaccine against the virus, costing about 5.4 million euros (6.8 million dollars). It expects to spend an additional 40 million euros to be able to quickly vaccinate 10 percent of the population, Storace said."
    Posted by Declan to pandemic plans Italy AvianFlu EU on Sun Sep 04 2005 at 23:22 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    The lure of a free sandwich

    We now have more evidence that government authorities are not to be counted on in a major disaster, including a pandemic. The evidence, comes, I am sorry to say, from the American Red Cross FAQ Page:

    Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

    •Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

    •The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

    st see those folks wading through liquid sewage to the Superdome in search of a free sandwich?

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Mixed signals from Russia

    We've been told that avian flu is fading out in Russia. But now The Russia Journal Daily tells us that 45 villages have confirmed cases of the flu, and 80 more are still being tested as of today.

    I recall my father's sage advice: "Always assume the worst. When it happens, you'll be expecting it. If it's not as bad as you assumed, however bad it is, you'll be pleasantly surprised."

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    UK Tories make flu a political issue

    The home page of the British Conservative Party has an excerpt from a speech by Tory MP Andrew Lansley, criticizing Tony Blair's failure to deal with avian flu. Whatever the merits of the Tory argument, it's interesting to see that flu is becoming a political issue in the UK.

    Here in North America, it's nothing of the sort—least of all after Katrina. And speaking as a member of Canada's New Democratic Party, I don't blame the politicians for that. I blame myself, for not raising a ruckus about it in my own constituency association and among my own NDP elected representatives.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Evidence for More H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Recombination - Recombinomics


    Evidence for More H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Recombination
    Recombinomics, PA - Aug 30, 2005
    ... The machine translation above indicates Russian scientists are traveling to Mongolia to study the H5N1 outbreak in the Altai Lakes region. ...

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Victims of the Evil Empire - Recombinomics


    H5N1 Wild Bird Flu Victims of the Evil Empire
    Recombinomics, PA - Sep 2, 2005
    ... Characterizing migratory birds as "victims" because of H5N1 infections is not very precise or scientific. Any organism that is fatally ...

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Avian Influenza (H5N1) Viruses Isolated from Humans in Asia in 2004 Exhibit Increased Virulence in Mammals.

    J Virol. 2005 Sep; 79(18): 11788-11800
    Maines TR, Lu XH, Erb SM, Edwards L, Guarner J, Greer PW, Nguyen DC, Szretter KJ, Chen LM, Thawatsupha P, Chittaganpitch M, Waicharoen S, Nguyen DT, Nguyen T, Nguyen HH, Kim JH, Hoang LT, Kang C, Phuong LS, Lim W, Zaki S, Donis RO, Cox NJ, Katz JM, Tumpey TM

    The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses across Asia in 2003 and 2004 devastated domestic poultry populations and resulted in the largest and most lethal H5N1 virus outbreak in humans to date. To better understand the potential of H5N1 viruses isolated during this epizootic event to cause disease in mammals, we used the mouse and ferret models to evaluate the relative virulence of selected 2003 and 2004 H5N1 viruses representing multiple genetic and geographical groups and compared them to earlier H5N1 strains isolated from humans. Four of five human isolates tested were highly lethal for both mice and ferrets and exhibited a substantially greater level of virulence in ferrets than other H5N1 viruses isolated from humans since 1997. One human isolate and all four avian isolates tested were found to be of low virulence in either animal. The highly virulent viruses replicated to high titers in the mouse and ferret respiratory tracts and spread to multiple organs, including the brain. Rapid disease progression and high lethality rates in ferrets distinguished the highly virulent 2004 H5N1 viruses from the 1997 H5N1 viruses. A pair of viruses isolated from the same patient differed by eight amino acids, including a Lys/Glu disparity at 627 of PB2, previously identified as an H5N1 virulence factor in mice. The virus possessing Glu at 627 of PB2 exhibited only a modest decrease in virulence in mice and was highly virulent in ferrets, indicating that for this virus pair, the K627E PB2 difference did not have a prevailing effect on virulence in mice or ferrets. Our results demonstrate the general equivalence of mouse and ferret models for assessment of the virulence of 2003 and 2004 H5N1 viruses. However, the apparent enhancement of virulence of these viruses in humans in 2004 was better reflected in the ferret.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Molecular Basis of Replication of Duck H5N1 Influenza Viruses in a Mammalian Mouse Model.

    J Virol. 2005 Sep; 79(18): 12058-12064
    Li Z, Chen H, Jiao P, Deng G, Tian G, Li Y, Hoffmann E, Webster RG, Matsuoka Y, Yu K

    We recently analyzed a series of H5N1 viruses isolated from healthy ducks in southern China since 1999 and found that these viruses had progressively acquired the ability to replicate and cause disease in mice. In the present study, we explored the genetic basis of this change in host range by comparing two of the viruses that are genetically similar but differ in their ability to infect mice and have different pathogenicity in mice. A/duck/Guangxi/22/2001 (DKGX/22) is nonpathogenic in mice, whereas A/duck/Guangxi/35/2001 (DKGX/35) is highly pathogenic. We used reverse genetics to create a series of single-gene recombinants that contained one gene from DKGX/22 and the remaining seven gene segments from DKGX/35. We find that the PA, NA, and NS genes of DKGX/22 could attenuate DKGX/35 virus to some extent, but PB2 of DKGX/22 virus attenuated the DKGX/35 virus dramatically, and an Asn-to-Asp substitution at position 701 of PB2 plays a key role in this function. Conversely, of the recombinant viruses in the DKGX/22 background, only the one that contains the PB2 gene of DKGX/35 was able to replicate in mice. A single amino acid substitution (Asp to Asn) at position 701 of PB2 enabled DKGX/22 to infect and become lethal for mice. These results demonstrate that amino acid Asn 701 of PB2 is one of the important determinants for this avian influenza virus to cross the host species barrier and infect mice, though the replication and lethality of H5N1 influenza viruses involve multiple genes and may result from a constellation of genes. Our findings may help to explain the expansion of the host range and lethality of the H5N1 influenza viruses to humans.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bird flu response: you gotta believeEffect Measure

    Maybe they blew it for the hurricane, but there has been plenty of warning about bird flu. So we can trust them on this one. And of course I do.

    The source is unimpeachable. Dr. Chuck Lambert, Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), says the US government has a broad-based, integrated program to respond to the spread of H5N1 in Asia. That's a relief, because it didn't seem like they were doing much, but when the Secretary for Marketing tells us, well . . . .

    In April, the State Department announced that the United States was offering bilateral technical and epidemiological assistance to individual countries through USDA, HHS, and USAID.
    In 2004, HHS provided over $5.5 million in technical assistance and grants for pandemic preparedness to countries in the Asia-Pacific region and directly to WHO. Experts from CDC provided emergency support and USAID sent stockpiles of personal protective equipment to the region for use in the event of a rapidly spreading outbreak.

    According to Lambert, USDA's initial rapid response activities in the animal health area include technical assistance, training, and long-term capacity building for five targeted countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia and China.

    Congress appropriated $25 million in May as part of a supplemental bill for tsunami relief. The appropriation is intended to address short-term needs over the next 14 months for controlling bird flu and increasing pandemic preparedness in Asia. (Washington File, website of the US State Department).
    Let's see. $5.5 million. Almost the cost of a house in many affluent suburbs. But that was 2004. How about 2005? Five times as much: $25 million. Almost 3 hours and 40 minutes of a day's expenditure in the Iraq mistake.

    Seems like maybe the US government's broad-based integrated response could be just teeny bit broader still. But who am I to argue with USDA's Secretary of Marketing?

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Probable Person-to-Person Transmission of Avian Influenza A (H5N1)Connotea: Bookmarks matching tag AvianFlu

     
    Probable Person-to-Person Transmission of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) (info)
    Kumnuan Ungchusak et al.
    The New England Journal of Medicine 352 (4), 333-40 (27 Jan 2005)
    Posted by Declan to AvianFlu papers on Sun Sep 04 2005 at 22:53 UTC

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bird flu ebbs in Kazakhstan and RussiaFlu Information and News

    By Raushan Nurshayeva and Aleksandras Budrys

    ASTANA/MOSCOW (Reuters) - The outbreak of the bird flu strain dangerous to humans is dying out in sprawling ex-Soviet neighbours Kazakhstan and Russia thanks to quarantine and cold weather in border regions, officials said on Friday.

    But Russia's chief veterinary inspector warned the disease could surface elsewhere in the world next spring and asked the United States and Europe to help monitor the routes of migratory wild fowl that may carry the virus from Russia.

    "Such a programme could give information about the spread of the virus in Europe, Asia and the Americas in 2006 and to work out measures aimed at preventing domestic poultry from being infected," Yevgeny Nepoklonov said in a letter to his counterparts abroad.

    Many nations worldwide have banned imports of poultry and animal feed from Russia and Kazakhstan, which share the world's longest land border, after the virulent H5N1 strain dangerous to humans was detected and started to spread last month. "One can say with certainty that the peak of the bird flu is over in Kazakhstan now," Talgat Abulgazin, the head of Kazakhstan's Agriculture Ministry's veterinary disease monitoring department, told a news conference.

    Veterinary and emergencies ministry officials in both countries said not a single human had contracted the infection.

    "August, when the disease was at its peak, was the hottest month," Abulgazin said. "But right now we have a cold spell which makes the bird flu strain less virulent."

    for more info: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20050902/sc_nm/bird_flu_dc_1

    for Flu Information and News including the bird flu

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    WHO cảnh báo dịch cúm gia cầm có thể lan mạnh trên tòan thế giớiRFA Vietnamese

    Việt Nam tiêm vaccine cho gia cầm đề ngăn ngừa dịch cúm lây lan. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam/FILES Ông Peter Horby, nhà dịch tễ học của WHO ở Hà Nội, cho biết dù nhà cầm quyền Việt Nam chưa thông báo và không thử nghiệm thêm để biết nạn nhân mới chết hôm 24 tháng 8 vừa qua có đúng là do virút H5N1 gây ra hay không, nhưng theo ông thì ở Việt Nam chỉ có một loại virút là H5N1 mà thôi.

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Ampligen (R) Enhances the Effectiveness of Tamiflu Against Avian Influenza; Second Independent Preclinical Study Confirms dsRNA Increases Flu Vaccine EffectivenessBusiness Wire

    Ampligen (R) Enhances the Effectiveness of Tamiflu Against Avian Influenza; Second Independent Preclinical Study Confirms dsRNA Increases Flu Vaccine Effectiveness

    PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 6, 2005--Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (AMEX: HEB) today reported two new preclinical studies on double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), including Ampligen(R), one of its flagship experimental immunomodulators. Both preclinical studies suggest a new, and potentially pivotal, role of dsRNA therapeutics in improving the efficacy of the present standards of care in both influenza prevention and treatment of acute disease.

    The first preclinical report, conducted by research affiliates of the National Institutes of Health at Utah State University, compared the relative protection conveyed by Tamiflu (oseltamivir, Roche) and Ampligen(R) (dsRNA, Hemispherx), alone and in combination against the avian flu virus (H5N1). Cell destruction was measured in vitro using different drug combinations. Both drugs, given alone, were effective in inhibiting cell destruction by avian influenza, but viral "suppression with the combination was greater than either drug alone". The researchers reported, in summary; "The overall assessment is that there was improvement in cell protection when Ampligen(R) was combined with oseltamivir carboxylate" (Tamiflu). Further immediate experimental tests are planned.

    At present, a narrow window of opportunity (approximately 48 hours) exists for effective utilization of Tamiflu after exposure to influenza. By providing a new mechanism of inhibition of avian flu, (i.e. immunologic/host defensive immune cascades), Ampligen(R), an experimental immunotherapeutic, may afford a new approach to help combat influenza virus.

    Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), such as Ampligen(R), are also specific inducers of broad-spectrum antiviral/immune response. Recently, Japanese researchers (Journal of Virology page 2910, 2005) have also found that dsRNA's increase the effectiveness of influenza vaccine by more than 300% and may also convey "cross-protection ability against variant viruses" (mutated strains of influenza virus). Ampligen(R) recently completed Phase III testing in the chronic disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

    Hemispherx Biopharma recently disclosed in a letter to shareholders (September 1, 2005) that it has increased the capacity of its facility in New Brunswick, NJ to manufacture Ampligen(R) , as well as advancements in the application of Alferon LDO for potential treatment of avian flu.

    About Hemispherx Biopharma

    Hemispherx Biopharma, based in Philadelphia, is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the manufacture and clinical development of new drug entities for treatment of viral and immune-based chronic disorders. Hemispherx's flagship products include Alferon and the experimental immunotherapeutics/antivirals Ampligen(R) and Oragens(TM). Alferon is approved for a category of STD infection, and Ampligen(R) and Oragens(TM) represent experimental nucleic acids being developed for globally important chronic viral diseases and disorders of the immune system including HPV, HIV, CFS, Hepatitis. Hemispherx's platform technology includes large and small agent components for potential treatment of various chronic viral infections. Hemispherx has in excess of 140 patents comprising its core intellectual property estate, a fully commercialized product (Alferon N) and GMP certified manufacturing facilities for its novel pharma products. For more information please visit www.hemispherx.net

    Information contained in this news release other than historical information, should be considered forward-looking and is subject to various risk factors and uncertainties. For instance, the strategies and operations of Hemispherx involve risk of competition, changing market conditions, change in laws and regulations affecting these industries and numerous other factors discussed in this release and in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any specifically referenced investigational drugs and associated technologies of the company (including Ampligen(R) and Oragens(TM)) are experimental in nature and as such are not designated safe and effective by a regulatory authority for general use and are legally available only through clinical trials with the referenced disorders. The forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this release. The Company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Clinical trials for other potential indications of the approved biologic Alferon(R) do not imply that the product will ever be specifically approved commercially for these other treatment indications.

    Contacts:
    Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc.
    Investor Relations
    Dianne Will, 518-398-6222
    ir@hemispherx.net
    www.hemispherx.net
    or
    Investors:
    Investor Relations Group
    Erik Lux/ Adam Holdsworth/ John Nesbett, 212-825-3210
    or
    Media:
    Investor Relations Group
    Stephanie Schroeder, 212-825-3210

    Posted by dymaxion at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    World News

    are refuting the theory that the H5N1 virus is spread by wild birds Two Asia-based British ornithologists are ruffling feathers in the international health community over an issue

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

    Lansley speech to Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

    also purchasing stocks of a generic H5N1 vaccine, capable of offering some protection against a flu derived from the existing avian flu virus. I support these measures, but they do

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

    September 02, 2005

    Bloggers react to Katrina

    Hurricane Katrina highlighted the poor response from US officials in the face of a serious emergency. Bloggers who follow the spread of bird flu were quick to point out that Katrina showed just how unprepared we are to deal with a flu pandemic. Lots of interesting observations, here are a few posts from the sites I read daily: Tyler's reaction at Marginarevolution, Effect Measure on the preparedness of the public health system, and  Crawford Killian from H5N1 sharing his thoughts on the events in New Orleans.

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

    defensa de los gallos


    [Charles Piller] De gallos. Estrella del rock tailandés dice que prohibir las peleas y matar a las aves no eliminará los problemas.
    iv align=justify>Bangkok, Tailandia. No es un tema muy probable para una canción popular: "¡Jeringa, jeringa, jeringa. ¡Pon una inyección a tus pollos! Jeringa, jeringa, jeringa. Protege al pueblo tailandés!", brama la vivificante melodía del trovador tailandés Ad Carabao.
    La banda de Ad subió a las primeras posiciones de las listas de éxito aquí cantando sobre las luchas de la gente corriente. Sus letras giran sobre la explotación de los trabajadores con salarios bajos, los derechos de los homosexuales y, últimamente, sobre los méritos de su popular bebida energética, Carabao Dang.
    Pero rara vez ha tratado un tema tan caro para el corazón de sus compatriotas.
    "Vacune a los gallos para protegerlos de la extinción", canta Ad en ‘Vacuna de vida', una canción de su último CD, Big Mouth 5: Bird Flu, del que se han vendido 100.000 ejemplares.
    "Matar a los pollos -¡es una política demente y estúpida!"
    El objeto de la cólera de Ad es un intento del gobierno para sofocar la diseminación de la mortífera influenza aviar, prohibiendo las peleas de gallo y exterminando a algunos de las apreciadas aves.
    La influenza aviar ha matado a 12 personas en Tailanda, el 20 por ciento de las víctimas mortales. En al menos 2 de las muertes, las peleas de gallo han tenido algo que ver.
    "Tienes que tratar de convencer a la gente de que cooperen, de que cambien su modo de vida", dijo Chaturon Chaisang, ministro de Educación, que presidió un comité federal encargado de parar la difusión de la peste aviar. "Lo esencial es impedir que se contagie la gente".
    Pero pedir a los tailandeses que renuncien a las peleas de gallo es lo mismo que pedir a los americanos que renuncien al béisbol.
    Millones de tailandeses crían aves de pelea, que se venden hasta por 20.000 dólares. Antes de la peste aviar, unos 30 millones de personas asistían cada año a peleas de gallo.
    Ad, que calcula que ha criado 1.000 gallos de pelea en 50 años, se ha dedicado a la defensa del deporte. Posa para las cubiertas de revistas de peleas de gallo y organiza conciertos para espolonear a los fieles.
    Preside la Associaiton of Thai Fighting Cocks Career Promotion, que reclama contar con 100.000 miembros.
    "Es un modo de vida", dijo Ad desde su rancho de gallos en Bangkok mientras mecía a North Star, un campeón de peso medio de 3.6 kilos con una brillante cresta roja sobre una plumas azabachadas -como el logo de la banda Carabao.
    Antes de que Ad Carabao se convirtiese en una estrella del rock, era Yuenyong Opakul, un serio niño que creció rodeado de arrozales y templos antiguos en Suphan Buri, a unos 95 kilómetros al noroeste de Bangkok.
    Como otros niños en la Tailandia rural, tenía una sola, perdurable pasión.
    "Cuando volvía de la escuela, había peleas de gallo en todas partes", dijo el nervudo cantante de pelo largo, parecido a Carlos Santana.
    De joven, se despertaba a menudo temprano y pasaba días enteros con sus aves.
    El padre de Ad era maestro y periodista en un periódico que también cantaba en fiestas locales. "Mi padre era el vocalista... como Tom Jones", dijo.
    Enseñado por su papá, Ad formó una banda en la secundaria y, después de la graduación, se mudó a Bangkok a principios de los años setenta, tocando la guitarra y armónica en clubes y restaurantes para mantenerse a sí mismo durante la universidad.
    Después de una temporada estudiando arquitectura en Filipinas, Ad volvió a Bangkok a trabajar en proyectos de desarrollo del gobierno y tocar en su nueva banda, llamada Carabao, en honor a la bestia de carga de Asia: el búfalo de agua.
    Ad, vocalista, guitarrista y libretista, era un poeta con un mensaje. La banda escupía melodías sobre injusticias del gobierno, la explotación forestal de la selva y las miserias de las niñas prostitutas.
    Carabao se disparó a la fama a principios de los años ochenta con el éxito ‘Made in Thailand', sobre la exportación de productos locales que eran luego revendidos a consumidores tailandeses a un considerable precio.
    El grupo se convirtió en el mayor éxito del género pleng phua cheewit: canciones por la vida.
    Hoy, Ad es el tranquilo estadista del rock ‘n' roll tailandés. Vive en el centro de un laberinto de calles pobremente pavimentadas, salpicadas de puestos de frutas y refrescos, en el nordeste de la enorme Bangkok. El rancho de campo de Ad incluye una lujosa casa, un estudio de grabaciones e hileras de jaulas de gallos. Recorre su vecindario en una Harley-Davidson.
    Poco después de la influenza aviar de 2003 -y de que el gobierno empezara su campaña para acabar con o restringir los gallos de pelea-, Ad reconoció una pleng phua cheewit.
    Bebiendo una lata de cerveza en el vaporoso calor de la mañana de Bangkok, explicó: "No me gustan las mentiras del gobierno".
    "Como los americanos toman Viagra cuando su pajarito deja de arrullar, toma la medicina cuando tengas dolor de cabeza", canta Ad en ‘Vacuna de vida'.

    ¿Por Qué Tener Miedo de la Peste Aviar?nas razones para temerla.
    Desde que apareciera en Hong Kong en 1997, la variedad H5N1 del virus de la influenza aviar se ha extendido por todo el sudeste asiático.
    Cada vez que un humano es infectado, aumentan las posibilidades de que el virus se transforme en una forma fácilmente transmitida entre personas.
    Desde 2003 han muerto 57 personas por peste aviar, de acuerdo a la Organización Mundial de la Salud.
    Las densas poblaciones asiáticas de personas, pájaros y otros animales han transformado al continente en el invernadero genético perfecto para la cría del letal virus.
    "Ni Charles Darwin podría haber montado un laboratorio de reabastecimiento genético, si hubiese tratado", dijo Michael Osterholm, que dirige un centro de investigación de enfermedades infecciosas de la Universidad de Minnesota.
    Se ha matado a millones de aves de granja, pero debido a que el virus es transmitido por especies migratorias silvestres, continúa esparciéndose. Este años se han reportado serios estallidos en el oeste de China, Siberia y Mongolia, y los expertos creen que el virus se extenderá a India y Europa.
    Tailandia, antes el cuarto exportador de pollos del mundo, se encuentra en el epicentro de la epidemia. Después de subestimar inicialmente el problema, el gobierno tailandés respondió con una venganza.
    Se exterminó a más de 40 millones de pollos y aves acuáticas. Se montaron equipos de vigilancia para controlar a los pollos en todo el país. La policía fronteriza reprimió el contrabando de aves desde Camboya.
    "Esto tiene nada que ver con la peste", dijo Ad. "Tiene que ver con el gobierno, con la gente que sólo piensa en el dinero".
    Los gallos de pelea, que son llevados de estadio en estadio, han sido el principal blanco del gobierno.
    En la arena de Khonlehodai, en Suphan Buri, está a unos kilómetros de donde creció Ad. Es el corazón de las peleas de gallo del país. Es también el corazón del estallido de peste aviar, y ha perdido más aves a la enfermedad que cualquier otra región.
    En la arena del tamaño de un hangar, los adiestradores restriegan a los gallos con un refrescante té de hierbalimón.
    Los gallos en el cuadrilátero brillaban con sus plumajes y lanzaban espolonazos y picotazos.
    El público de unas 250 personas animaba ansiosa. "¡Ped-si! ¡Ped-si!", aulló la multitud, imitando el sonido de las patas de un gallo cuando golpea su objetivo.
    Los asientos en torno al ring están ocupados por aficionados que pagan 1 dólar 25 por la entrada. Un asiento junto al ring, donde suelen caer en los regazos de los espectadores los gallos asustadizos, cuesta 2 dólares 50.
    "Nos volvemos locos con la gente que tiene coraje, la gente dura", dijo Chai Wacharonke, presidente adjunto de la asociación de gallos de pelea de Ad. "Esto es como una guerra por encargo".
    Entre las rondas, un niño cosió una sangrienta cuchillada en la cabeza de su pájaro, como un apoderado cuidando a un boxeador con un corte. Después de clavarse él mismo con la aguja, hizo una mueca de dolor y se chupó el dedo.
    Otro niño, con pantalones cortos de mezclilla manchados por excrementos de pájaro, se esforzaba por sujetar a su nervioso gallo. Tenía que usar las dos manos para lograrlo, así que agarró con la boca el trapo usado para secar la sangre y mucosidades de los gallos.
    En otoño pasado, un joven limpió la tráquea de su ave chupando con su boca los mocos a través de la nariz del gallo.Murió de peste aviar.
    El gobierno tailandés ha intentado varios métodos de sofocar la epidemia, excepto simplemente sacrificar a todos los pollos y patos del país.
    Los funcionarios proponen seguir la huella de los gallos con microchips debajo de la piel para ver si los estallidos de peste coinciden con sus desplazamientos. Las autoridades han empezado a exigir documentación que certifique que los gallos de pelea no portan el virus de la peste.
    Pero es inútil.
    "Hay millones y millones de pollos", dijo Kloy Mahoran, funcionario público jubilado, mientras esperaba una pelea en Suphan Buri con su púgil principal, Greeny. "No hay modo alguno de controlarlos a todos".
    Las autoridades prohibieron en otoño pasado las peleas de gallos, pero han surgido los combates ilegales. El gobierno cedió y permitió este año las peleas de gallo.
    Ad sigue pidiendo en su campaña la vacunación de los pollos, cantando con pasión sobre el tema.
    "Vacuna a los gallos para protegerlos de la extinción", canta en ‘Vacuna de vida'.
    "Es mejor que usar un cuchillo para cercenar las relaciones entre el gobierno y la gente". Pero hay un problema. Las vacunas no protegen contra todos los tipos de peste aviar. Y aunque una inyección puede salvar la vida de un gallo, también podría convertirlo en un portador de la enfermedad.
    Japón, un importante importador de pollos, rechaza las aves de países que permiten la vacunación de las aves.
    En otoño pasado, el gobierno tailandés prohibió las vacunas e impuso una condena de hasta cinco años de prisión para los infractores.
    Desafiante como siempre, Ad vacunó a sus gallos y llamó a los otros a hacer lo mismo.
    En parte debido a su provocadora campaña, se reunió el año pasado dos veces con el primer ministro Thaksin Shinawatra.
    "Thaksin quería dejar que la gente usara medicinas... pero discretamente", dijo Ad, sellando sus labios con el dedo índica. "Así que ganamos".
    Agregó, con una sonrisa: "Así que gané".
    Pero se apresuró demasiado.
    En agosto, el gobierno prohibió nuevamente las peleas de gallo.
    Ad picotea, y el gobierno se rasca.
    Entretanto, los pájaros migratorios están volando a miles de kilómetros por el sudeste asiático en ruta a China y más allá.
    Nadie los puede parar.
    En unos meses, las aves volverán a Tailandia.
    "Todos sabemos que nos enfrentamos a la enfermedad y al peligro", canta Ad en ‘Vacuna de vida'. "Todos necesitamos aprender a sobrevivir".

    1 de septiembre de 2005
    ©los angeles times
    ©traducción mQh


    Etiquetas:

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    تايمز: آنفولانزاي مرغي ايران را تهديد مي‌كند

    آنفولانزاي مرغي كه از آسياي جنوب شرقي به سيبري روسيه رسيده است، به تدريج به سمت خاورميانه و اروپا پيش مي‌رود و حتي اين احتمال وجود دارد كه يك فاجعه انساني را در جهان به راه بيندازد.

    يكي از كارشناسان بهداشتي روسيه هشدار داده است كه با فرارسيدن فصل سرما، آنفولانزاي مرغي از سيبري روسيه به سمت مناطق كشاورزي جنوب روسيه و از آنجا به سمت خاورميانه و كشورهاي مديترانه‌اي گسترش پيدا مي‌كند.

    «گنادي انيشچنكو» در گزارشي به وزارت بهداشت روسيه نوشته است: با تجزيه و تحليل مسير مهاجرت پرندگان وحشي مشخص گرديده كه ممكن است ويروس آنفولانزاي مرغي در فصل پاييز از سيبري غربي به درياي خزر و درياي سياه انتقال يابد.

    وي در اين گزارش افزوده است: پرندگان مهاجر ممكن است اين ويروس را به كشورهاي همسايه روسيه يعني ايران، عراق، آذربايجان، گرجستان، اوكراين و كشورهاي مديترانه‌اي انتقال دهند و اين بدان علت است كه پرندگان وحشي در فصل پاييز از سيبري به اين مناطق مهاجرت مي‌كنند.

    بنا بر اين گزارش در چند روز گذاشته، اولين مورد از آنفولانزاي مرغي در منطقه «چليابينك» سيبري، نزديك كوه‌هاي اورال، مشاهده شده و اين امر، نگراني‌ها در مورد انتشار ويروس آنفولانزاي مرغي به داخل اروپا را افزايش داده است.

    كوه‌هاي اورال، جداكننده آسيا و اروپا از يكديگر مي‌باشند.

    آنفولانزاي مرغي نوع H5N1، تاكنون موجب مرگ ده‌ها ميليون پرنده در آسياي جنوب شرقي شده است و همچنين 112 نفر در تايلند، ويتنام، كامبوج و اندونزي به اين ويروس مبتلا شده‌اند كه از اين تعداد، 57 نفر به كام مرگ كشيده‌ شده‌اند.

    تاكنون در روسيه هيچ فردي به اين ويروس مبتلا نشده است.

    بنا بر اين گزارش، آنچه دانشمندان را نگران كرده است آن است كه ويروس آنفولانزاي مرغي جهش پيدا كرده و بتواند به آساني از فردي به فرد ديگر منتقل شود. در اين صورت بيم آن مي‌رود وضعيتي شبيه سال‌هاي 1918 تا 1919 پديد آيد كه در طي آن 20 تا 40 ميليون نفر در اثر آنفولانزاي اسپانيايي جان خود را از دست دادند.

    From پزشکان بدون مرز (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    [no title]

    To Model or Not to Model ... THAT is the Question!

    Janine Burbage, IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences, Business Development

    There isn't a day that goes by that I don't get at least 36 Google alerts on "avian flu", "pandemic", or "bird flu". Finding out how IBM services and solutions could help prevent such pandemics is part my responsibilities. I'll be blogging on this and other important public health issues in the months ahead. But incase your summer vaca left you a little behind on the subject of pandemics, let me give you the low down…

    It has been 36 years since our last pandemic, (the last one was the Hong Kong Flu in 1968-1969) and many scientists believe that it’s only a matter of time until the next one occurs. Its severity cannot be precisely predicted, but modeling studies show that the effect in the United States could be severe: potentially affecting 66M Americans, hospitalizing two million people in the U.S. alone, and causing over 500,000 deaths. With a little over 965,000 staffed hospital beds in registered American hospitals, imagine how stressed and overwhelmed the U.S. healthcare system would be! The economic impact could be between $71.3 billion and $166.5 billion due to death and lost productivity, excluding other disruptions to commerce and society.

    So how likely is it that the Avian Influenza will be the next pandemic? No one knows. The Avian Influenza (H5N1) was first identified in 1961 in South Africa, but it mainly affected birds and animals. H5N1 is zoonotic which means it is capable of jumping from animals to humans. The real danger is if the virus mutates to become contagious from person to person. In 1997, the Avian Flu emerged in Hong Kong killing 6 out of 18 infected. The outbreak was halted until 2003. As of August 5, 2005, the WHO has reported 112 confirmed cases with 57 deaths. The Avian Flu has made its way to Russia, and a few "unconfirmed" cases are being reported in Finland.

    Let's talk a little bit about modeling... modeling tools and techniques that not only predict how and where the disease will spread, but will also quantitatively evaluate different response strategies. IBM doesn’t develop epidemiological models per se, but we have the expertise in building modeling frameworks for the kinds of activities mentioned above. For example, IBM Research has developed Spatial-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler, a public health forecasting tool that aids policy makers and planners in evaluating appropriate response strategies to natural or biologic threat of emerging infectious diseases.

    But how useful are models? Some skeptics of modeling feel that regardless of how much modeling one performs, the results are only as good as the data used to run the model. Point taken. So I ask you, how do we improve modeling and simulation technologies so that they become trusted and valuable tools for the advisors and decision makers in state, local, and national governments and public health departments?

    From HealthNex (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 01:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Cassandras

    Those of us who foresee a pandemic and hope to mitigate it by timely warnings will not be encouraged by Washing Away. It's a series of articles about the consequences of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans, and it was published in the Times-Picayune in June, 2002.

    The authors called it pretty accurately, apart from the social breakdown we've witnessed, and it appears to have had very little impact on the decision-makers—who in 2002 were already more interested in moving Americans into Baghdad rather than out of New Orleans.

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 01, 2005

    Bird flu kills a Vietnamese, emergency plan at work

    showed the H5 component of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in the body, the Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan as saying. The victim was from Soc Son,

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Wild Bird Flu

    Como se esperava a epidemia da Gripe das Aves continua a espalhar-se pelo mundo através da migração das aves.
    A Fao avisou ontem que a pandemia da Gripe das Aves é uma questão de meses.
    Entretanto obteve-se a confirmação de mais uma morte humana, no Vietname, devido ao H5N1.

    From Gripe das Aves - Bird Flu (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Vogelgrippe fordert ein weiteres Opfer

    Sie hat wieder zugeschlagen. Diesmal starb ein Mensch in Vietnam an dieser Grippe.

    Insgesamt sind in diesem Jahr 62 Tote zu beklagen; sie sind an einem A Virus, gepaart mit H5N1 gestorben.


    Agenturmeldung

    From Side Effects (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    H5N1 Avian Influenza Viruses in Asia | CDC EID

    H5N1 Avian Influenza Viruses in Asia | CDC EID (info)
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol11no10/05-0644.htm
    "An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) has recently spread to poultry in 9 Asian countries. H5N1 infections have caused >52 human deaths in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia from January 2004 to April 2005. Genomic analyses of H5N1 isolates from birds and humans showed 2 distinct clades with a nonoverlapping geographic distribution. All the viral genes were of avian influenza origin, which indicates absence of reassortment with human influenza viruses. All human H5N1 isolates tested belonged to a single clade and were resistant to the adamantane drugs but sensitive to neuraminidase inhibitors. Most H5N1 isolates from humans were antigenically homogeneous and distinct from avian viruses circulating before the end of 2003. Some 2005 isolates showed evidence of antigenic drift. An updated nonpathogenic H5N1 reference virus, lacking the polybasic cleavage site in the hemagglutinin gene, was produced by reverse genetics in anticipation of the possible need to vaccinate humans."
    Posted by Declan and 1 other to AvianFlu papers on Thu Sep 01 2005 at 09:30 UTC

    From Connotea: Bookmarks matching tag AvianFlu (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Gần 1 tháng không ghi nhận ca H5N1 mới

    Từ đầu tháng 8 đến nay VN không ghi nhận thêm trường hợp nào nhiễm cúm A/H5N1. Hiện cũng không còn trường hợp nào nghi ngờ điều trị tại các bệnh viện.

    Cho đến nay, tại Việt Nam cũng chưa xác định trường hợp cúm nào lây từ người sang người. Còn đối với cúm trên gia cầm, từ đầu tháng 8 đến nay chưa phát hiện thêm ổ dịch nào mới, hiện nay công tác tiêm phòng vắc-xin cho gia cầm đàn cầm trên phạm vi cả nước.

    Thông tin đáng mừng trên được Thứ trưởng Bộ Y tế Trịnh Quân Huấn thông báo tại cuộc họp Ban chỉ đạo quốc gia phòng chống SARS và cúm gia cầm chiều 31/8.

    Tuy nhiên, đề phòng nguy cơ tái phát dịch cúm gia cầm, Bộ Y tế, Bộ NN&PTNT đang phối hợp với các bộ ngành liên quan hoàn thiện kế hoạch hành động khẩn cấp của quốc gia về phòng chống đại dịch cúm gia cầm. 4 phương án bùng phát đại dịch được đưa ra là: dịch xảy ra ngoài Việt Nam, xảy ra bắt đầu ở một số tỉnh nhưng lây lan nhanh, xảy ra mở một số thành phố lớn, xảy ra đồng thời ở nhiều tỉnh thành và lây lan rất nhanh. Kế hoạch này đã phân tuyến cụ thể nhiệm vụ thực hiện cho từng bộ ngành, địa phương trong cả 4 trường hợp trên.

    Bộ Y tế cũng khuyến cáo, dù dịch cúm gia cầm cũng như các trường hợp người nhiễm cúm A/H5N1 đã được khống chế tốt, tuy nhiên hiện Việt Nam đang tiến hành tiêm vaccine cho gia cầm nên nguy cơ lây nhiễm cúm A/H5N1 từ gia cầm sang người là rất lớn. Vì vậy, các địa phương cần bám sát chặt chẽ lực lượng tiêm phòng, để kịp thời phát hiện sớm những trường hợp bị mắc.

    Bộ Y tế cũng cho hay, Đài Loan đã viện trợ cho Việt Nam 600.000 viên tamiflu dùng để điều trị cho người nhiễm cúm A/H5N1. Hiện số thuốc này đã về tới Việt Nam.

    Liên quan đến tình hình bệnh dịch, Bộ Y tế cũng cảnh báo về các bệnh đường ruột đang nổi lên dữ dội ở nhiều nước trên thế giới, đồng thời khuyến cáo người dân giữ gìn vệ sinh sạch sẽ; thực hiện an toàn vệ sinh thực phẩm nhất là trong những ngày nắng nóng, thời điểm lũ lụt để tránh các bệnh như tả, tiêu chảy…

    From Tin tức Việt Nam hàng ngày - Daily Viet Nam News (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Thailand monitoring two provinces after bird flu detected in poultry (Associated Press)

    Thai livestock officials were monitoring two provinces for bird flu on Thursday after samples taken in recent months tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain and 144,000 poultry were culled, an official said. Copyright: Copyright (c) 2005 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

    From Yahoo! Australia & NZ Health: News (feed)
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    Posted by dymaxion at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    2005 H5N1 Sequences in Thailand Similar to 2004 - Recombinomics


    2005 H5N1 Sequences in Thailand Similar to 2004
    Recombinomics, PA - 5 hours ago
    Two HA sequences from 2005 H5N1 isolates (A/chicken/Thailand/Kamphaengphet-3-01/2005 and A/chicken/Thailand/Kamphaengphet-3-02/2005) from Thailand have become ...
    H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Thailand? Recombinomics
    all 2 related

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Falling dominoes

    It's probably sensible that Iran bans animal feeds from bird flu countries. Contamination by wild or domestic birds might make such items dangerous, or at least politically unacceptable to purchasers. But who knew that such a ban, imposed August 22, would depress grain prices in Russia? Apparently the grain trade around the Caspian basin is an important part of local economies.

    So now it's not just bans on suspect poultry, but anything that might be contaminated and then consumed by birds or mammals that might contract avian flu. This little trade contraction is just a foreshock of what would happen to trade with any country where human-to-human H5N1 is confirmed—or even suspected.

    Posted by dymaxion at 01:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Bird flu kills another victim in VietnamRTHK On Internet - Instant News

    The bird flu virus has killed another person in Vietnam, taking the number of deaths in Asia from the disease to 63. This comes as the United Nations food agency warns that migrating birds are posing a serious risk of spreading avian flu around the world, including western Europe and the Middle East. The spread into central Asia and towards eastern Europe has fuelled fears about the mobility of the H5N1 strain.

    Posted by dymaxion at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack