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April 28, 2006


The Globe and Mail reports on a new computer model of an H5N1 pandemic: No stopping bird flu, studies conclude.

The story describes a study led by Dr. Neil Ferguson that estimates one-third of Americans would be infected by avian flu—but if enough antivirals were available, the infection rate could drop to 28 percent.

The US population is expected to reach 300,000,000 in October 2006. So the Ferguson model predicts 100 million infected if nothing is done, and 84 million if enough antivirals miraculously appear from nowhere. Sixteen million spared the infection would be a goal worth achieving, but from what we're told it's not likely.

So here's a little speculation, based on a crude analogy with 1918-19: A three-wave pandemic, spring-fall-spring. Twenty-five million Americans sick in the first wave, fifty million in the second, and twenty-five million more in the last waves. Assume a comparable 33 percent infection rate around the world: two billion cases, in the same proportions as in the US.

In the fall wave, one in six Americans is sick. A billion other people are sick at the same time. The global infrastructure is held together by a coalition of saints, heroes, and lunatics, many of whom fall ill and die on the job.

Assume that the case fatality rate around the world is 2.5 percent, about the toll the US suffered in 1918-19 (other countries seem to have suffered much higher rates). So the US loses 625,000 people in the first spring wave, tries to recover over the summer, and then loses 1,250,000 between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

In the final wave, another 625,000 Americans die. Meanwhile 50 million more die worldwide in the three waves. Collateral damage is on top of that: deaths due to untreated medical conditions and injuries, malnutrition, and so on.

Please don't take these numbers as firm predictions. This is a very crude extrapolation, the kind of thing we SF writers like to fool around with (and we couldn't even predict the personal computer, so what do we know?). And as awful as it sounds, it's no worse, proportionally, than the Spanish flu. Two-thirds of us won't catch even a mild form of H5N1.

To infect just a third of us, H5N1 may have to give up so much virulence that only a fraction of 1 percent actually die. Or it may keep its 55 percent mortality and kill so many people, so fast, that it smothers itself by running out of victims. The worst-case scenario, of course, is that it stays lethal while spreading easily and swiftly around the world.

But we still have no idea which scenario, if any, will come true.

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Pakistan: Nine farms now have B2B

Via Reuters: Bird flu cases multiply around Pakistani capital.

Pakistan reported mounting cases of the deadly H5NI bird flu virus in poultry on Monday after discovering more infected farms near the capital.

"Now, we have total nine poultry farms where H5N1 virus has been confirmed," Mohammad Afzal, the agriculture ministry's livestock commissioner, told Reuters.

He said more than 40,000 chickens had been culled after new outbreaks were discovered in the past week at eight farms located in Tarlai and Sihala, two areas near the capital Islamabad where poultry farms are concentrated.

"Checking each vehicle carrying birds or eggs (from the affected areas) is not possible, but we test samples from each farm," said Rana Ikhlaq, an assistant commissioner.

Pakistan's first reported cases were found in February at two farms in North West Frontier Province, but a third was discovered close to the capital earlier this month.

None of the workers at the farms have contracted the disease.

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Vietnam says it will need more than $400 million for bird flu, pandemic preparednessThe Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) Vietnam needs more than $400 million to fight bird flu and prepare for a potential pandemic over the next five years, and expects about half to come from international donors, an official said Friday.

Vietnam would use the money for improvements in human and animal health care, Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said. The country has been examining how to better monitor human cases, strengthen border controls to block smuggling of potentially infected birds and improve laboratory facilities inside Vietnam, among other measures.

``We realize this is a very dangerous disease, but if we can do it in a concerted way with our best effort, then we can surely prevent it (from spreading),'' Cao said.

More than 30 experts from 12 organizations, including the World Health Organization, the European Commission and the World Bank, have spent the past two weeks taking stock of Vietnam's progress and helping the country finalize its five-year plan to battle the H5N1 bird flu virus.

Vietnam will present its draft plan next week at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation bird flu meeting in Danang. The meeting will be attended by health and agricultural ministers of the 21-nation group and other agencies, such as the WHO.

The Vietnamese government and private sector would contribute about $225 million to help restructure Vietnam's poultry industry, which has been hit hard by the spread of the virus. Vietnam has been seeking to reduce the number of backyard farms and improve sanitary measures in slaughterhouses, among other measures.

Vietnam has not reported any flu outbreaks in poultry since December and no human bird flu cases since November. Experts have attributed that success to a mass poultry vaccination campaign that began last year, combined with increased surveillance and awareness.

But Hans Troedsson, WHO representative in Vietnam, said Vietnam must remain on alert.

``If there would be complacency now, Vietnam would be facing imminent risk,'' he said. ``What's important is that we are not having a false security thinking that the threat is over from avian influenza in Vietnam.''

Bird flu has killed at least 113 people since it began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in 2003. The virus remains hard for people to catch, but health experts fear it could eventually mutate into a form that spreads easily from person to person, potentially sparking a pandemic.

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Govt Minister, OIE Report First Case of Bird FluAllAfrica News: Côte d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire has reported its first outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in a poor residential district of the main city Abidjan, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday.

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Iraq confirms second death in bird flu outbreak (Flu vaccine)aboutflu.net

Iraq confirms second death in bird flu outbreak
Kurdish Media - Sulaimanyya, Iraq: A second Iraqi Kurd was confirmed Monday to have died from the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain as international teams arrived to combat the spread of the virus in the country’s north. Hamma Sur Abdullah, 40, who died of flu-like

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Reuters AlertNet - China reports 18th human bird flu caseConnotea: Bookmarks matching tag AvianFlu

Reuters AlertNet - China reports 18th human bird flu case (info)
China announced on Thursday that an eight-year-old girl had caught H5N1 bird flu, reporting its second human case this month a day after a top WHO official warned the world to prepare for a long fight against the virus.
Posted by ojcius to avian flu AvianFlu China H5N1 on Fri Apr 28 2006 at 02:25 UTC

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Bird Flu Another Death in Indonesia

... Indonesia reported its 25th death from the H5N1 strain of bird flu on Friday and China said an 8-year-old girl had contracted the disease ...
Bird Flu Protection Tips and News Blog View Technorati URL search

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April 24, 2006

Malawi hosts preparedness conference

Via IOL, a South African news source: African countries probe bird flu preparedness.

Lilongwe, Malawi - Agriculture scientists from 19 African countries gathered Monday to discuss how vulnerable countries should prepare themselves for a possible deadly bird flu outbreak.

Mazlan Jusoh, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation country representative for Malawi, said although most countries in Africa were still free of bird flu there was an urgent need to increase surveillance and early detection.

"In Malawi, as is the case in many African countries, inadequate medical, veterinary and laboratory services, limited animal and human health education and the high levels of poverty make more people vulnerable," he said.

He urged African nations to step up public awareness campaigns and put in place rapid response measure to reduce the impact of an outbreak.

The five-day conference has attracted veterinary, wildlife and agriculture scientists from English-speaking countries including Nigeria, which is one of five African countries to have confirmed the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

The other four affected countries in Africa are Niger, Cameroon, Egypt and Burkina Faso.

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Deadly bird flu found at 5 Pakistani poultry farmsCTV News RSS Feed

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been confirmed at five more poultry farms near the Pakistani capital and some 25,000 chickens were culled there, an agriculture ministry official said Friday.

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Media campaign to quell panic over bird flu ready to airThe Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State health officials are ready to air a media campaign upon the first reports of avian flu in New York to extinguish any flare-up of public panic.

The ads stress that the appearance of a bird infected with the H5N1 virus does not mean an outbreak in humans is looming, officials at the state Health Department said.

``The important, No. 1 message is that just because infection appears in the animal population, it doesn't mean there's a higher chance it will move into the human population,'' said Dennis Whalen, the state's deputy health commissioner.

The campaign, which includes print, radio and TV spots, will run in the late summer or early fall as a precursor to the regular flu season regardless of whether avian flu surfaces in the state. The ads will run sooner if reports of avian flu surface before then.

``Education leads to informed individuals, and that will reduce the panic,'' Whalen said.

Despite the ads, fear is nevertheless certain to spread if the virus is found in the United States an occurrence federal health officials predict could happen within the next couple of weeks.

Half those surveyed in an AP-Ipsos survey last week said they thought the bird flu would kill them if they contracted it. About half also said they weren't confident the government would properly handle an outbreak among humans.

Health experts fear the H5N1 virus will eventually mutate into a form that spreads easily among people, potentially sparking a global pandemic. So far, most cases have been traced to close contact with infected birds. The virus remains hard for humans to catch and spread among each other.

At least 109 people worldwide have died from bird flu since outbreaks of H5N1 swept through Asian poultry populations in late 2003, according to the World Health Organization.

``It's important to stress that the transmission to humans may not even ever happen. There are many parts of the world where avian flu has been around for years, but humans were never infected,'' said Rob Kenny, spokesman for the Health Department.

The ads by the state Health Department will highlight basic measures that can prevent the spread of flu, including hand washing and not going to work when infected.

``People have a tendency to focus on anti-viral vaccines. But the most effective methods to prevent the spread of disease are well known,'' Whalen said.

Funding has not been set aside for the media campaign; most media outlets will run the ads as a public service as they did when fears of West Nile virus were rampant. The Health Department also will work with private institutions like utilities and chain groceries to distribute educational materials on avian and pandemic flu. The department also is hosting a media seminar Friday to educate journalists.

Birds infected with H5N1 will be reported to either the Department of Environmental Conservation or the Department of Agriculture and Markets, depending on whether the infected bird is a wild or domestic.

^ =

^On the Net:

New York State Department of Health, www.health.state.ny.us

New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, www.agmkt.state.ny.us/

New York State Department of Environment Conservation, www.dec.state.ny.us/

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Germany extends lock-up rule for fowl to fight bird flu  (Avian flu)

... Germany extends lock-up rule for fowl to fight bird flu Germany has indefinitely extended a lock-up order for domestic fowl in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. Easing of avian influenza restrictions With no further cases of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 having been found, the Wild Bird Protection Zone ...
Home (aboutflu.net) View Technorati URL search

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Bird Flu Snatched the 12th Human Life in China

... Bird Flu Snatched the 12th Human Life in China April 24th, 2006 A peasant worker (surnamed Lai, a 21-year-old) has become the 12th Chinese person to die of the bird flu virus. The official Xinhua news agency says he died in the central city of Wuhan on wednesday. It’s still unknown how he contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus. Read the rest of ...
Entirely Pets View Technorati URL search

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Human Bird Flu Cases Top 200 After Egypt Confirms 12 Infections

... April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Bird flu cases worldwide topped 200 after a dozen people were confirmed to have been infected with the virus in Egypt, the World Health Organization said. ``Of the 12 cases in Egypt, four patients have died and one remains hospitalized in stable condition,'' the Geneva-based United Nations agency said in an April 21 ...
quickstep View Technorati URL search

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Strategies for distributing limited supplies of avian flu vaccine

... One of the most difficult public health and ethical questions a potential flu pandemic raises is how best to allocate limited supplies of vaccine (which will only be of limited effectiveness at first, as we've written previously). There's general consensus that first responders or other 'essential personnel' (the definition of which varies widely) ...
Ethics of Vaccines View Technorati URL search

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April 19, 2006

Tick. Tick. Tick.Hugh Hewitt

From the WSJ.com's Avian Flu News Tracker:

9:55 a.m.: Five members of an Indonesian family were admitted to a hospital with symptoms of bird flu, the Jakarta Post reported, raising concerns about potential human transmission of the disease. Three other children were already diagnosed with bird flu; two died. "This is serious bad news," Crawford Kilian wrote on his H5N1 blog. "If this really is H5N1, it's the worst single cluster since the Kocyigit family in eastern Turkey in the week after Christmas."

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New human bird flu case confirmed in HubeiShanghai Daily: China news blog

THE Ministry of Health today confirmed a new human case of bird flu in central China’s Hubei Province, bringing the total number of people infected to 17 in the country, including 11 deaths.

The man surnamed Lai was identified as a migrant worker in Wuhan City, capital of Hubei. He was still in a local hospital for treatment, but in a critical condition, the ministry said.

Lai, 21, began running a fever and experiencing pneumonia symptoms on April 1.

After a test conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday, Lai’s sample was positive for the virulent H5N1 strain of the disease.

People who had come in close contact with Lai were put under medical observation by province health authorities. No abnormal symptoms had been found, according to the ministry’s statement.

The Health Ministry has reported the case to the World Health Organization.

In the country’s latest human case, a 29-year-old female migrant worker in Shanghai died from bird flu last month.

China has agreed to share virus samples from bird flu outbreaks in poultry with the WHO to help develop treatment drugs and vaccines.

Experts have been worrying that the bird flu virus could mutate into a form that could spread easily among people, causing a global pandemic.

A total of 35 outbreaks of bird flu have been reported in China since 2005, involving 194,000 fowl, with 186,000 killed by the flu. Nearly 23 million birds were culled to prevent the disease from spreading.


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Chron.com | World Bank Earmarks $500M for Bird Flu

Chron.com | World Bank Earmarks $500M for Bird Flu (info)
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, working with poor countries on programs to thwart bird flu, said Tuesday a worldwide outbreak would disrupt the global economy in addition to causing a devastating loss of life.

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Influenza Report 2006

Influenza Report 2006 (info)
Kamps-Hoffman-Preiser text on flu and H5N1 epidemic - Amedeo free text
Posted by Zeus1 to AvianFlu H5N1 on Wed Apr 19 2006 at 11:55 UTC

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If you are or headed to Asia, guidelines update from CDC regarding Avian flu

Outbreak Notice Guidelines and RecommendationsInterim Guidance about Avian Influenza A (H5N1) for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad This information is current as of today,
April 18, 2006, 11:24:54 AM
This notice initially released: March 24, 2005
Avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses usually affect wild birds but have infected and caused serious disease among poultry, such as chickens. Human infections with H5N1 viruses are rare, but have also occurred in several countries since 2003. For a current list of countries reporting outbreaks of H5N1 infection among poultry and other birds and a list of countries reporting laboratory-confirmed human infections with H5N1 viruses, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/outbreaks/current.htm
Situation updates and cumulative reports can also be found on the World Health Organization (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/.
Most cases of H5N1 influenza in humans are thought to have occurred from direct contact with infected poultry in affected countries. Contact with sick or dead poultry as well as with poultry that have no apparent symptoms should be avoided. Contact with surfaces that may have been contaminated by poultry feces or secretions should also be avoided. Transmission of H5N1 viruses to two persons through consumption of uncooked duck blood may also have occurred in Vietnam in 2005. Therefore, uncooked poultry or poultry products, including blood, should not be consumed.
The public health threat of novel influenza subtypes such as influenza A (H5N1) will be greatly increased if the virus gains the ability for sustained spread from one human to another. Such transmission has not yet been observed. However, a few cases of probable person-to-person spread of H5N1 viruses have been reported, with no instances of transmission continuing beyond one person. For example, one case of probable person-to-person transmission associated with close contact between an ill child and her mother is thought to have occurred in Thailand in September 2004.
H5N1 infections in humans can cause serious disease and death. A vaccine to protect humans against influenza A (H5N1) is not yet available, but a candidate vaccine is undergoing human clinical trials in the United States. The H5N1 viruses currently infecting birds and some humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, two antiviral medications commonly used to treat influenza. Most of the H5N1 viruses tested have been susceptible to the antiviral medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®), but resistance has been reported. The effectiveness of these drugs when used for treatment of H5N1 virus infection is unknown. For more information about influenza antiviral drugs, see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/avian-flu-humans.htm#antiviral.
The U.S. Department of State has decided to provide oseltamivir at its embassies and consulates for eligible U.S. government employees and their families serving abroad who become ill with avian influenza. For more information about this policy, see http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html. Other Americans living in affected areas or planning long-term travel to these areas may wish to discuss antiviral medication with their health-care providers.
CDC Recommendations
Surveillance and travel: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend surveillance, diagnostic evaluation, and infection control guidance for suspected H5N1 cases in travelers to the United States, as detailed in a health advisory update (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/professional/han020405.htm). CDC remains in communication with WHO and continues to closely monitor the H5N1 situation. Situational updates can be found on CDC's avian influenza (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm) and Travelers' Health websites (http://www.cdc.gov/travel). Information also is available on the WHO website (http://www.who.int/en/).
To reduce the risk of infection, Americans living in areas where outbreaks of H5N1 among poultry or human H5N1 cases have been reported should observe the following measures to help avoid illness:
Precautions: The following recommendations are directed to U.S. embassies and consulates, their personnel, and U.S. citizens living abroad in areas where avian influenza A (H5N1) outbreaks among poultry or wild birds have occurred or where human H5N1 cases have been reported. These recommendations may be revised as more information becomes available. Embassies and consulates should recommend the following precautions to U.S. expatriates living in an area with avian influenza:
Travelers should avoid all contact with poultry (e.g., chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, turkeys, and quail) or any wild birds, and avoid settings where H5N1-infected poultry may be present, such as commercial or backyard poultry farms and live poultry markets. Do not eat uncooked or undercooked poultry or poultry products, including dishes made with uncooked poultry blood.
As with other infectious illnesses, one of the most important preventive practices is careful and frequent handwashing. Clean your hands often, using either soap and water (or waterless, alcohol-based hand gels when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled) to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
CDC does not recommend the routine use of masks or other personal protective equipment while in public areas.
See Seeking Health Care Abroad in Health Information for International Travel for more information about what to do if you become ill while abroad.
When Preparing Food
Separate raw meat from cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Do not use the same chopping board or the same knife for preparing raw meat and cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
Do not handle either raw or cooked foods without washing your hands in between.
Do not place cooked meat back on the same plate or surface it was on before it was cooked.
All foods from poultry, including eggs and poultry blood should be cooked thoroughly. Egg yolks should not be runny or liquid. Because influenza viruses are destroyed by heat, the cooking temperature for poultry meat should be 74°C (165°F)
Wash egg shells in soapy water before handling and cooking, and wash your hands afterwards.
Do not use raw or soft-boiled eggs in foods that will not be cooked.
After handling raw poultry or eggs, wash your hands and all surfaces and utensils thoroughly with soap and water.
If you believe you might have been exposed to avian influenza, take the following precautions:
Monitor your health for 10 days.
If you become ill with fever and develop a cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing or if you develop any illness with fever during this 10-day period, consult a health-care provider. Before you visit a health-care setting, tell the provider the following: 1) your symptoms, 2) where you traveled, and 3) if you have had direct poultry contact with poultry. The U.S. embassy or consulate also can provide names and addresses of local physicians.
Do not travel while ill, unless traveling locally for medical care. Limiting contact with others as much as possible can help prevent the spread of an infectious illness.
For more information about avian influenza, see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm.

Date: April 4, 2006
Content Source: National Center for Infectious Diseases, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine


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H5N1 detected in central Parwan - Pajhwok Afghan News

H5N1 detected in central Parwan
Pajhwok Afghan News, Afghanistan - 5 hours ago
... News): Delegation of agriculture, food and livestock ministry in its visit to central Parwan has confirmed the presence of the deadly strain of H5N1 virus in ...

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US: Flocks will be slaughtered on suspicion

Via Forbes.com: Flock-Killing Planned if Bird Flu Found.

Most of America's chickens come from big commercial farms that are well-protected against the spread of disease. Yet there are many small backyard and free-range flocks - as many as 60,000 in Los Angeles alone - where birds are outdoors and are harder to protect.

Officials encourage those producers to bring flocks inside and watch for signs of flu - dead birds, lack of appetite, purple wattles and legs, coughing and sneezing, diarrhea - and report them to state or federal authorities.

"We can't afford for this virus to be smoldering six months before we find it," DeHaven said in an interview with The Associated Press.

ve question about those LA flocks is this: Where is "inside" going to be? A well-shielded coop, or just a fenced-off patio? Second naive question: Whoever thought Los Angeles would have 60,000 flocks of chickens?

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Biologists in Alaska waiting for bird flu

... Biologists in Alaska waiting for bird flu Biologists in Alaska waiting for bird flu Lexington Herald-Leader - WASHINGTON - In about three weeks, waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds will start arriving in the Alaska Peninsula, the Yukon Delta and the westernmost Aleutian Islands to begin mating. That’s when and where government scientists expect ...
Information and news about the flu (including Avian Flu H5N1) | Flu Information Updates View Technorati URL search

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WHO assesses Sudan’s avian flu, confirms 2 cases elsewhere (CIDRAP)

... Apr 19, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A World Health Organization (WHO) team is reported to be in Sudan today to help the impoverished country respond to H5N1 avian influenza, which was confirmed there for the first time yesterday. ...
Bird Cause Flu View Technorati URL search

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Avian influenza – situation in China

... The Ministry of Health in China has confirmed the country’s 17th case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case occurred in a 21-year-old male migrant worker employed in Wuhan City, Hubei Province. He developed symptoms on 1 April. He is presently hospitalized in critical condition. The man’s source of exposure is under ...
Enflu View Technorati URL search

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April 17, 2006

The Washington Post on US pandemic plan

President Bush is expected to approve soon a national pandemic influenza response plan that identifies more than 300 specific tasks for federal agencies, including determining which frontline workers should be the first vaccinated and expanding Internet capacity to handle what would probably be a flood of people working from their home computers.

The Treasury Department is poised to sign agreements with other nations to produce currency if U.S. mints cannot operate. The Pentagon, anticipating difficulties acquiring supplies from the Far East, is considering stockpiling millions of latex gloves. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a drive-through medical exam to quickly assess patients who suspect they have been infected.

The document is the first attempt to spell out in some detail how the government would detect and respond to an outbreak, and continue functioning through what could be an 18-month crisis, which in a worst-case scenario could kill 1.9 million Americans. Bush was briefed on a draft of the implementation plan on March 17. He is expected to approve the plan within the week, but it continues to evolve, said several administration officials who have been working on it.

[...] To keep the 1.8 million federal workers healthy and productive through a pandemic, the Bush administration would tap into its secure stash of medications, cancel large gatherings, encourage schools to close and shift air traffic controllers to the busier hubs -- probably where flu had not yet struck. Retired federal employees would be summoned back to work, and National Guard troops could be dispatched to cities facing possible "insurrection," said Jeffrey W. Runge, chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security.

The administration hopes to help contain the first cases overseas by rushing in medical teams and supplies. "If there is a small outbreak in a country, it may behoove us to introduce travel restrictions," Runge said, "to help stamp out that spark."

Read the full article here.

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Bird flu spreads to the enterprise

MIT simulation shows the deadly H5N1 bird flu might cripple the supply chain, and the global economy

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Pakistan reports second outbreak of H5N1 - Montreal Gazette (subscription)

Pakistan reports second outbreak of H5N1
Montreal Gazette (subscription), Canada - 16 hours ago
Pakistan's second outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain was confirmed yesterday at a poultry farm near the capital, the agriculture ministry said. ...

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US poultry industry already in trouble

Via delawareonline.com: Industry fears even one bird flu case. It's mostly about the efforts of one Delaware poultry farmer to protect his chickens, but I've bolded the real news, near the end of the story:

Economists said consumer reaction will vary depending on severity of the avian flu and where it is found: an isolated forest far away from commercial flocks or inside the heart of a poultry-growing region like Delmarva.

In a worst-case scenario, discovery of the highly dangerous H5N1 form of the virus would almost certainly result in an immediate ban on exports by various nations, dragging down already lagging consumption abroad.

The industry is expected to lose more than $1 billion in sales this year compared with last year because of declining exports and poultry prices associated with avian flu, said Paul Aho, a poultry economist and consultant based in Storrs, Conn. That doesn't even take into consideration what would happen to the industry if bird flu is found in the United States.

"The situation is bad now, the only thing worse than we have now is if the hot bird flu got into the U.S.," said Aho. "If the bird flu should come to the United States, there may be some consumers that might eat less chicken even though there is no reason to eat less chicken."

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Wherein I don a tinfoil hatEffect Measure

I was unfair to Dr. Julie Gerberding, the CDC Director when I said some almost-nice things about her the other day. So let me correct it by taking it back.

I said then I at least gave her high marks for being a good, relatively spin-free communicator, even if she is a Katrina-sized management disaster at CDC. But then she went ahead and made a lier out of me in an appearance last week in Tacoma, Washington:
Federal health officials at a meeting Friday in Tacoma downplayed the risk bird flu poses to humans, contrasting earlier warnings from the federal government. “There is no evidence it will be the next pandemic,” Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said of avian flu. There is “no evidence it is evolving in a direction that is becoming more transmissible to people.”

Gerberding spoke at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center at a pandemic flu conference that drew 1,200 people from across the state, mostly health department officials and others involved in emergency planning.


Audience questions Friday about buying surgical masks and stockpiling food showed the concern Bush’s comments and others have raised.

But Gerberding noted that, though the disease has killed “gazillions of birds,” it has killed about 100 people out of about 200 sickened worldwide. The victims were in intense, daily contact with sick flocks, often sharing the same living space. Two people have become infected from person-to-person contact.

She did not say what had changed the thinking of health care officials about bird flu, but said that, at this point, there is “no reason to think it ever will” pass easily between people.

Given those facts, bird flu, like SARS, swine flu and other once widely publicized health threats, might never become a significant human illness.


She and other federal officials said H5N1 bird flu likely will reach the United States, because bird flu and its many strains occur naturally in migratory birds.

When that happens, “it does not signal the start of a pandemic” or a threat to the food supply, said Richard Raymond, an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cooking meat to 160 degrees will destroy the virus, he said – in addition to destroying salmonella, “which sickens more people than H5N1 ever will even if there is a pandemic.”

Gerberding cautioned that when H5N1 is detected in the United States, “there will be temptation for the press to make this into something it is not. We will need responsible journalism” to prevent irrational panic. (Tacoma News Tribune)
There's no reason to think it ever will become easily transmissible? On the contrary, there are many reasons. Good, sound, plausible, scientific reasons. No conclusive reasons, perhaps. But comparing "gazillions of birds" to 100 human deaths has only one function here, to trivialize the issue. Responsible journalism? Irrational panic?

This is now the second Administration spokesperson to start to ratchet back on bird flu. I reported the other day that Tony Fauci had granted an interview to AP in which he did the same thing, although not so flagrantly and irresponsibly as Gerberding. One reader pointed out to me there was no news hook in the Fauci interview. It seemed to come out of the blue. Meanwhile rumors are circulating that Gerberding is reorganizing again at CDC and the Flu Branch is going to be shifted around. It is now part of the National Center for Infectious Disease (NCID) but may move to the National Immunization Program. Last year the Flu branch lost some of its key personnel. Look for more with this reorganization. No one knows from day to day what their new job is going to be in the Alice in Wonderland of the New CDC. As one state epidemiologist said to me recently, "It's like a Repertory Company. Everybody you deal with now at CDC is Acting Something or Other."

This is a ridiculous time to be screwing around with CDC organization, especially considering the enormous upset and morale plunge Gerberding's previous management mishaps caused. By every account she doesn't listen, is arrogant toward the professional scientists, and is an Administration toady. Heck of a job, Julie.

Carrying water for the Bushies also made her extremely tardy in alerting the states to the bird flu problem, preferring instead to parrot Administration messages about bioterrorism (talk about unreal threats!). She never strayed from the "message," which was terrorism and the Iraq debacle. Given the new vibes coming out of Washington about plans to bomb Iran, it makes me wonder whether there is no room in that message for bird flu, once again . . .

Oh, oh. Please hand me my tinfoil hat.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2006

Egypt: Fourth woman dies of B2H

Via Reuters: Fourth Egyptian woman dies of bird flu.

Egypt said on Thursday a fourth woman had died after being infected with the bird flu virus, the state MENA news agency said.

The latest victim was an 18-year-old woman from a province north of Cairo, who was admitted to hospital on Monday. Egypt has so far reported 12 human bird flu cases.

"An 18-year-old woman from Ashmoun in Monoufiya has died of bird flu, bringing the number of deaths to four from the 12 people who have been infected," MENA quoted Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali as saying.

The woman had been admitted to hospital after handling domestically kept birds infected with bird flu, he added.

She had been on an artificial respirator since she was admitted, and had died despite receiving Tamiflu, an anti-viral medication thought to be the best method of fighting bird flu in humans.

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

In the Nile Delta, Bird Flu Preys on Ignorance and Poverty

In the Nile Delta, Bird Flu Preys on Ignorance and Poverty (info)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/14/world/africa/14egypt.html?_r=1&oref=slogi n
Posted by Declan to egypt AvianFlu on Fri Apr 14 2006 at 10:58 UTC

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

Fears of bird flu in Ivory Coast - Independent Online

Fears of bird flu in Ivory Coast
Independent Online, South Africa - 5 hours ago
... the two sides. Nigeria reported Africa's first case of the lethal H5N1 strain of the bird-flu virus on February 26. It has since ...
Bird flu in Ivory Coast? News24
all 3 related

Posted by dymaxion at 01:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

News Roundup - Monsters and Critics.com

Newstalk ZB
News Roundup
Monsters and Critics.com, UK - 33 minutes ago
... The latest person to die in Egypt from the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza was Iman Mohamed Abdel-Gawwad, a 16-year-old from Menoufiya. ...
Bird flu deaths increase Al-Ahram Weekly
all 17 related

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

Seven tested for bird flu

... Seven person from Khandwa district, in India, suspected to be suffering from bird flu were brought to the Manorama Raje Chest Centre today. Khandwa adjoins Burhanpur where bird flu was detected, but no outbreak was reported in Khandwa district. Primary tests were conducted on the suspected patients and their blood samples were sent to the ...
Pandemic Flu from Europe View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 01:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Japan to designate H5N1 bird flu as infectious disease+

... The designation will enable authorities to force infected persons to be hospitalized for treatment and impose restrictions on their work activities, the officials of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said. The plan was approved at the day’s meeting of the ministry’s Health Sciences Council and will be implemented this summer, the officials ...
Pandemic Virus Facts and Information View Technorati URL search

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

Indonesia is bird flu 'time-bomb': animal health expert

... Indonesia has become a bird flu "time-bomb" because of its failure to eradicate high numbers of deadly H5N1 sites, the head of the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health told AFP on Friday. "Indonesia is a time-bomb for the region," said organisation head Bernard Vallat, calling the situation a cause for "great concern". "It is ...
Pandemic Flu from Europe View Technorati URL search

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

April 11, 2006

Egyptian Human and Bird HA H5N1 Sequences Are Similar - Recombinomics

Egyptian Human and Bird HA H5N1 Sequences Are Similar Recombinomics, PA - 9 hours ago The HA sequence of a human H5N1 isolate from Egypt, A/Egypt/2782-NAMRU3/2006(H5N1), has been released. The description of a 30 year ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Britain's bird flu testing method questioned - Reuters.uk

Britain's bird flu testing method questioned
Reuters.uk, UK - 7 hours ago
LONDON (Reuters) - Tests done in Britain to determine the extent of avian flu after the H5N1 virus was found in a dead swan may have been flawed, a science ...
Bird flu tests in Britain 'flawed' Times Online
UK's bird tests may be missing flu virus New Scientist (subscription)
New Scientist Magazine Press Release - Issue 15 Apr 06 Newswise (press release)
ABC News - all 16 related

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Indonesia's Bird Flu Cases Indicate Virus Control Isn't Working - Bloomberg

Indonesia's Bird Flu Cases Indicate Virus Control Isn't Working
Bloomberg - 37 minutes ago
... Indonesia, the world's fourth-most-populous nation, has had outbreaks of the H5N1 avian flu strain in 26 of its 33 provinces, and so far 32 people have become ...
UN envoy to brief Asian leaders on influenza pandemic threat Jakarta Post
UN official praises Thai efforts to control bird flu Viet Nam News Agency
Burma battles 100-plus bird flu outbreaks Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post - NewKerala.com - all 16 related

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Czech veterinary chiefs confirm H5N1 cases - Independent Online

Czech veterinary chiefs confirm H5N1 cases
Independent Online, South Africa - 23 hours ago
Prague - A second and third case of the H5N1 form of bird flu have been detected by the Czech Republic's national laboratory, the Czech veterinary office said ...
H5N1 confirmed in three cases of bird flu in Czech Republic Xinhua
More bird flu found in Czech Republic Seattle Post Intelligencer
Czechs Seek Chicken Import Limits As 10th Bird Flu Case Found Playfuls.com
Prague Daily Monitor - CRI - all 48 related

Posted by dymaxion at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vietnam reports bird flu outbreaks near China

Via Reuters: Vietnam reports bird flu outbreaks near China.

Vietnam has detected bird flu on three farms near the Chinese border, the second such finding in the past few days, an animal health official said on Saturday.

Health workers slaughtered 157 chickens and ducks after farmers said 30 birds died on March 19 on three farms in Cao Bang province, said Dang Quang Binh, head of the provincial Animal Health Department.

"We sent samples for testing and on March 25 the results showed H5 was found in poultry samples from the three farms," Binh told Reuters by telephone from Cao Bang, 270 km (167 miles) north of Hanoi.

He was referring to the H5 subtype avian flu virus. No further tests were likely be done to confirm if the strain was H5N1, which has killed 42 people in Vietnam since late 2003.

Vietnam usually tests for the N component of the strain when a sample comes from a suspected human case. With poultry, the finding of H5 is enough to carry out preventive measures such as slaughter and disinfection of birds.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

H5N1 widespread in Azerbaijan

Via APA, the Azeri Press Information Agency: Diagnostic examinations on 4464 samples.

The examinations revealed separate forms of bird flu in 14 poultries, 20 wild birds, and 1 dog. As a result of the examinations, H5N1 form of the virus was detected in 7 wild birds among 1236 birds, and H5 form in 1 dog taken from Baku city...

And that was just in Baku. Tests revealed H5N1 and H5 all over the country.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

H5N1 B2H confirmed in Indonesia, suspected in Guangzhou

Via BBC News Online: New bird flu case in Indonesia. The story is about the confirmation of a suspected case, a 23-year-old man in Sumatra who's been under care since late March. The story also reports on a suspected case (mentioned here last night), a 41-year-old woman in Guangzhou.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

News ban for Guangzhou's suspected second bird flu case

Thanks to the commenter who provided the link to this AsiaMedia story: News ban for Guangzhou's suspected second bird flu case, sources say.

A suspected second human case of bird flu has emerged in Guangzhou but authorities have imposed a news ban on reporting the case, sources said yesterday.

A source at the Guangzhou No1 People's Hospital said a 41-year-old woman, identified as Ms Li, was admitted on March 25 with unexplained pneumonia. The source said experts confirmed two days later that Ms Li had the H5N1 virus but the case had yet to be reported by official media. The woman lived in the Xihua area of Guangzhou's Yuexiu district.

Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, the World Health Organisation's China spokeswoman, said the WHO was informed of the case by the Ministry of Health on March 30.

"Right now, she is not a confirmed case of H5N1. She is considered to have pneumonia of an unknown cause," she said.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Over 100 Bird Flu H5N1 Outbreaks In BurmaPublic Health News From Medical News Today

According to He Changchui, who works for the United Nation's Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), the bird flu situation in Burma (Myanmar) is much more serious than agencies had imagined. There are over 100 outbreaks in the country, mainly in Mandalay and Sagaing. The recent outbreaks started on March 13, the first one officially confirmed in Burma since 2004... click link for more info.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GEN ID Lab Services, Inc. to Clone Entire H5N1 Influenza Virus Genome to Develop New Human Vaccine CandidatesPrimeZone Media Network

FONTANA, Calif., April 11, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- GEN ID Lab Services Inc. ("GEN ID") (Pink Sheets:GDLB), announced that, in association with its news this morning on the testing for the H5N1 virus (or Bird Flu), S2 Biosciences, contracted by GEN ID, will also be cloning the entire H5N1 influenza virus genome (all three RNA segments). The clones and/or selected regions thereof will be used to develop new human vaccine candidates.

Hector A. Veron, President of GEN ID, stated, "We are extremely excited with the developments of the past few days. Our contract with S2 not only gives us the capability to perform testing for the H5N1 virus, it also places GEN ID at the forefront of developing a human vaccine."

As announced earlier today, GEN ID has contracted S2 Biosciences, Inc. ("S2"), a privately held company, to perform testing of biological samples (from birds and/or human origin) for the presence of the H5N1 virus commonly known as the Bird Flu. Using S2's proprietary H5N1 amplification probes and modified PCR reactions, the system will amplify several regions of the H5N1 genome, thereby providing positive proof for the presence or absence of the deadly virus.

Furthermore, S2 will be cloning the entire H5N1 influenza virus genome (all three RNA segments). The clones and/or selected regions thereof will be used to develop new human vaccine candidates.

As of February 13, 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 169 cases of the Bird Flu, of which 91 resulted in death, since 1997. All cases, except 12 in Turkey and 1 in Iraq, occurred in Asia. Recent cases in Turkey and Iraq suggests the disease is moving west from Asia. Recently the H5N1 virus has been confirmed in wild swan populations in Greece, Italy and the Balkan States.

GEN ID shall retain title and full ownership to the technologies of the business and intends to brand its test results under the "IdentiFlu" name. Furthermore, GEN ID will retain all rights to the commercial usage of the intellectual property.

About GEN ID

GEN ID is a diversified medical testing company that seeks to provide physicians with more necessary and personalized treatment data, individualized towards patients and based on genetic screening technologies, such as SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) testing. This analysis will provide information on genetic predisposition to varies diseases, such as different forms of cancer, cardiovascular abnormalities, dermatological deceases, predicting pharmacodynamic pattern pertinent to individual drugs for individual patients. GEN ID plans to leverage its strong relationships within the genomics community to maximize its presence in the market.

About S2 Biosciences

S2 BioSciences, Inc. is a privately held, Montreal-based company providing preclinical contract research services to the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. S2 also conducts molecular biology and biotechnology research and development and has specific expertise in virology and communicable diseases. S2 has developed several technologies which it has licensed to companies in the US and Canada.

This news release may include "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical fact included or incorporated herein may constitute forward-looking statements. Although GEN ID believes that the forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. The forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may affect GEN ID's operations and financial performance. Among the factors that could cause results to differ materially are those risks discussed in GEN ID's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Reports on Form 10-KSB.

CONTACT: GEN ID Lab Services Inc.
         Public Relations
         (909) 574-6470
         (909) 609-4571 IR

Posted by dymaxion at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Egypt: With Third Bird-Flu Death, Govt. Steps Up Calls for Prevention MeasuresAllAfrica News: North Africa

The government has intensified its calls to the public to follow specific instructions and strategies aimed at combating the spread of the potentially pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Egyptian reports new human case of bird fluYahoo! World News

AFP Journal Internet - Egypt has reported another human case of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, bringing to 12 the total number of Egyptians infected by the virus, the official MENA news agency said.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Bird Flu Cases in Turkey

... Yozgat. Bird flu virus was found in samples taken from dead hens in Turkish province of Yozgat, Anadolu Agency informs. The case was registered in a village after 10 hens belonging to two different people died. The lab tests confirmed the poultry died from bird flu virus. 720 poultry were destroyed in the village and their import and export was ...
Pandemic Flu from Europe View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 09:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird flu tests in Britain questioned

... Tests for bird flu in Britain may fail to detect cases because of the way samples are collected. Scientists abroad are puzzled that so few of the tests carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs prove positive for the usual forms of flu commonly carried by birds. International experience indicates that about 10 percent ...
Pandemic Flu from Europe View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Two million dozens of TAMIFLU to be handed over to WHO

... The giant Basel based pharmaceutical company Roche announced Tuesday that the Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Jong Wook Lee will be handed over 3 million dozes of Tamiflu by ROCHE CEO and Chairman Franz B. Humer. The three million dozes of Tamiflu designed as a medication for the Bird Flu will be handed on April 19 at ...
Pandemic Flu from Europe View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2006

Poll of how well US medics think we are prepared for a pandemic

Poll of how well US medics think we are prepared for a pandemic (info)
Posted by Declan to pandemic plans AvianFlu on Wed Apr 05 2006 at 10:25 UTC

Posted by dymaxion at 10:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LiveScience.com - Virtual Pandemic: 90 Days to Infect Entire U.S.

A new computer model reveals how a pandemic like the avian flu might spread quickly across the United States

Posted by dymaxion at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Albania Confirms Second Case of H5N1 Near Tirana

Albania confirmed a second case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu was found in domestic poultry on 22 March, in a village near Tirana. This is the second outbreak of the deadly virus strain in Albania this month. "Final test results from ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Germany confirms 1st case of H5N1 in domestic fowl

“This is the first case of H5N1 in domestic fowl (in Germany) and this makes it somewhat explosive,” Saxony’s Minister of Social Affairs, Helma Orosz, told a news conference. “Tonight we will start to kill all the birds.” ...

Posted by dymaxion at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Azerbaijan tests 43 for bird flu in British lab

“The Health Ministry decided to send blood samples (of the 43) to London to test for H5N1, since we don’t have the necessary equipment for this in Azerbaijan,” said Health Ministry spokeswoman Samaya Mamedova. ...

Posted by dymaxion at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Egyptian Human and Bird HA H5N1 Sequences Are Similar - Recombinomics

Egyptian Human and Bird HA H5N1 Sequences Are Similar
Recombinomics, PA - 9 hours ago
The HA sequence of a human H5N1 isolate from Egypt, A/Egypt/2782-NAMRU3/2006(H5N1), has been released. The description of a 30 year ...

Posted by dymaxion at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four Human Cases Of Bird Flu H5N1 Infection In Egypt - Medical News Today

Medical News Today
Four Human Cases Of Bird Flu H5N1 Infection In Egypt
Medical News Today, UK - 9 hours ago
Authorities in Egypt have confirmed that a fourth human is infected with bird flu (H5N1). So far, two of them have died. A 30-year ...

Posted by dymaxion at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesia records 24th bird flu death

Via Yahoo News, an appalling story: Indonesia records 24th bird flu death.

What's appalling is that this eight-year-old girl died last July; so did her father and her one-year-old sister, but only the father was confirmed as having H5N1. Only recently did anyone get around to sending samples from the dead girl to Hong Kong for testing.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another B2H death in Cambodia

Via Reuters: Bird flu kills 12-year-old in Cambodia.

Bird flu has killed a 12-year-old boy in Cambodia, the impoverished Southeast Asian nation's sixth victim, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

The boy, from the southeastern province of Prey Veng, abutting Vietnam, died on Tuesday night, said Michael O'Leary, the WHO representative in Phnom Penh.

He said a laboratory in the capital confirmed the boy was infected with the H5N1 avian flu virus.

Six Cambodians have died of bird flu since the H5N1 virus first emerged in Southeast Asia in late 2003. The 12-year-old's death is the second this year.

Last month, a 3-year-old girl died of the disease. The girl lived in a village in Kampong Speu province about 40 miles (60 km) west of Phnom Penh.

Most Cambodian outbreaks have occurred in provinces abutting Vietnam, which remains the hardest hit country in terms of human deaths, but Kampong Speu is in the middle of the country, showing the virus was spreading.

know, every confirmed B2H case in Cambodia has been fatal.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

U.N. Notes Quick Spread Of Bird FluCBS4 Boston - New England's Source For Breaking News, Weather, and Sports for Boston, Worcester, Cape Cod, Nashua and More: Health

(AP) BEIJING The deadly bird flu virus has spread at lightning speed over the past three months, infecting birds in 30 new countries — double the number previously stricken since 2003, the U.N.'s bird flu point man said Tuesday.

"This is a really serious global situation," Dr. David Nabarro the U.N.'s chief coordinator for avian influenza, told reporters in Beijing. "During the last three months globally, there has been an enormous and rapid spread of H5N1."

Thirty new countries and territories in Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East have reported H5N1 infections in birds this year, he said. That rapid acceleration compares with the previous two and half years, when only 15 countries — mostly in Asia — reported bird flu.

China was Nabarro's first stop on a tour that includes Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia — countries where the H5N1 virus is considered endemic in poultry stocks.

In Beijing, he met with Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, who heads the country's bird flu command center, along with officials from the ministries of health and agriculture. He said China has pledged full cooperation in working with the international community to help control the spread of the disease.

Nabarro added that some of the $1.9 billion pledged by the international community in January for bird flu and pandemic preparedness has started reaching countries hit hard by the virus.

"A lot of that money is now being spent in Indonesia, Vietnam Cambodia, countries in central and eastern Europe, Turkey, Nigeria and Central Asia," he said.

In addition, the World Bank recently signed off on a record-fast $50 million loan for Nigeria to battle bird flu, he said. Bank official Jacques Baudouy said earlier Tuesday that the funding came from money earmarked for the disease prior to the $1.9 billion pledge.

Meanwhile, a U.S. health expert attending a Beijing health conference called for more infectious disease research in Asian countries, and scientists need to more closely track changes in the H5N1 virus to prepare for a potential pandemic.

"I think of it as the earthquake in San Francisco. You know it's on the fault. You know it's going to occur, but you can't tell if it's going to occur this year or next year or the year after," said Dr. Roger Glass, the new director of the Fogarty International Center at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"But it's clearly going to happen and the only way you can prepare is to build your houses with structure," he said on the sidelines of a four-day conference launching the Disease Control Priorities Project, which includes three books focusing on cost-effective strategies for improving global health.

Also Tuesday, regional officials met at a separate symposium to discuss new infectious diseases as a follow-up to talks during last fall's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Bird flu resurfaced in Asia in 2003 and has killed at least 108 people. It remains hard for humans to catch, but health experts fear it will mutate into a form easily spread among people, potentially sparking a pandemic.

06 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Posted by dymaxion at 09:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

La grippe aviaire se propage à grande vitesse, selon l'ONU [04/04/2006 18:51]International : actualité internationale - NouvelObs.com

PEKIN (AP) -- La souche H5N1 de la grippe aviaire se propage rapidement, contaminant des oiseaux dans 30 nouveaux pays depuis janvier 2006, a déclaré mardi à Pékin le coordinateur des Nations unies pour la question, le Dr David Nabarro.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Burkina Faso gets deadly bird fluBBC News | World | Africa | UK Edition

Burkina Faso becomes the fifth African country to confirm an outbreak of the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bird Flu in UK

... Bird Flu in UK April 6th, 2006 The BBC are reporting that bird flu has now arrived in the UK. The most alarming thing is the swan was found a few miles away. Here’s hoping it isn’t the deadly H5N1 strain. A videocast is also available to watch if you’ve missed the TV reports. I’ll be watching this one with interest as it could have some ...
Grumbling Tummy View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 09:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 03, 2006

Egypt reports two more B2H cases

Via China Daily: Egypt reports two more human bird flu infections.

Two more Egyptians have been infected with the bird flu virus, Egyptian Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali said on Sunday, taking to eight the number of reported human cases in the country.

The two were sisters, one aged 18 months and the other six years, from Kafr el-Sheikh province north of Cairo. The pair, who had handled dead birds, were in a stable condition. Blood tests on their immediate family were negative for the virus.

An Egyptian labourer working in Jordan was diagnosed with the disease on Friday.

A World Health Organisation spokesman said only five cases had been confirmed by the organisation. Of the five, two have died, two have recovered and one is still in hospital. Bird flu has killed at least 105 people worldwide.

story say they were sisters? The poor kids aren't dead yet, and we can hope for their full recovery.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New York Times articles

Two contrasting pieces in the NYT yesterday, one by Elisabeth Rosenthal - The Skeptic, and another by Donald McNeil - The Worrier. If you like the worrier/skeptic debates you may also enjoy Revere's Effect Measure post taking on an article by Marc Siegel.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

India fears new bird flu cases as latest slaughter ends - AFP

India fears new bird flu cases as latest slaughter ends - AFP (info)
A senior Indian official said he expected more confirmed cases of bird flu in chickens this week despite hundreds of workers completing the latest slaughter of 225,000 birds.

Posted by dymaxion at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Indonesian positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus

Indonesian health officials say local tests have confirmed a man has tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus. Authorities say the man, in his 20s, is in stable condition at a hospital in West Sumatra province. ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Experts say bird flu can no longer be controlled

This year alone the H5N1 virus has accounted for 29 lives and is responsible for the unfettered culling of tens of thousands of poultry animals. "We expected it to move, but not any of us thought it would move quite like this," said Dr. ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Afghanistan investigates children’s deaths after H5N1 outbreak ...

Afghan government veterinary surgeons wearing protective suits catch a chicken during a culling operation in Dasht AFP - Afghan authorities are investigating the suspicious deaths of three children after the deadly H5N1 strain of bird ...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pessimistic bird flu predictions coming true - chief doctor - RIA Novosti

Pessimistic bird flu predictions coming true - chief doctor
RIA Novosti, Russia - 12 hours ago
... Onishchenko said the H5N1 strain virus had been identified in seven southern regions: the republics of Daghestan, Kalmykia, Adygea, Chechnya, and Kabardino ...
Bird flu test shooting announced in Russia's Far East RIA Novosti
all 11 related

Posted by dymaxion at 09:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Avian flu stock index

Trend Macroanalytics, a research firm serving institutional investors, has taken its analysis a step further and created an "avian-flu index" comprising 17 stocks in the health-care sector that can be expected to see a surge in demand for their products should the flu become a threat to humans.

[...] Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at Trend Macro, said the index has gained 105% since its inception last Aug. 31 and is up 40.5% so far in 2006.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reply to H5N1 Live Feeds 24X7Avian Flu Watch

ScrewDriver posted a reply:

Britain plans mass human graves in case of bird flu


Sun Apr 2, 5:12 AM ET

Britain is considering mass human burials should a bird flu pandemic break out, The Sunday Times newspaper says.

A "prudent" worst-case assessment suggested 320,000 people could die in Britain if the H5N1 virus mutated into a form contagious to humans, according to a confidential Home Office report seen by the weekly.

Titled Managing Excess Deaths in an Influenza Pandemic and dated March 22, the document reportedly says that such a large number of deaths could lead to delays of up to 17 weeks in burying or cremating victims.

It warned that "common burial" would stir up images of the mass burial pits used during the Great Plague of 1665.

But in fact it "might involve a large number of coffins buried in the same place at the same time, in such a way that allowed for individual graves to be marked".

The Sunday Times weekly said the report had been discussed last week in a cabinet subcommittee chaired by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

Avian influenza is lethal to poultry and dangerous for humans in close proximity to infected fowl. It has claimed more than 100 lives, according to a World Health Organisation toll.

But, apart from a few anecdotal cases, the mortality has occurred exclusively by direct transmission from birds to humans and not among humans themselves. To acquire that contagiousness would open the way to a pandemic.

The report suggests that local authorities could cope with a "base case" of 48,000 deaths in England and Wales in a 15-week pandemic.

But it warned: "Even with ramping local management capacity by 100 percent, the prudent worst case of 320,000 excess deaths is projected to lead to a delay of some 17 weeks from death to burial or cremation."

Should the outbreak kill 2.5 percent of those who contract the flu, it added, "no matter what emergency arrangements are put in place there are likely to be substantially more deaths than can be managed within current timescales".

It said vaccines would not be available in the first wave of a pandemic, and possibly longer, and should not be seen as a "silver bullet".

The report suggests schools would have to close for up to 10 weeks because children would be "super-spreaders" of bird flu.

The Home Office said it did not comment on leaked documents.

A spokesman added: "The government is taking seriously the possible threat of an influenza pandemic in the light of the global situation and the possibility that a novel strain of the influenza virus could emerge.

"Prudent precautionary planning is under way across all elements of the response, including the health service, other essential services and local authorities."

The H5N1 virus has been detected in nearby France.

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Bird flu's human-attack pathway revealed

Two separate research groups have independently discovered why the H5N1 bird flu virus causes lethal pneumonia in people, but is – so far – hard for people to catch. In the process, they have found a way to predict which mutations might make the virus more contagious, and potentially become a pandemic strain. To date, confirmed human deaths from the disease stand at 103 worldwide

The H5N1 virus binds to sugars on the surface of cells deep in human lungs, but not to cells lining the human nose and throat. So report the two research teams, led by Thijs Kuiken at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the Universities of Tokyo, Japan and Wisconsin at Madison, US.

This fits the few autopsies that have been performed on H5N1 victims, who had damage to the alveoli – the delicate sacs deep in the lungs, where oxygen enters the blood.

Flu normally travels between people by being sneezed out and breathed in through the nose and throat. Both groups concluded that poor binding of the H5N1 high in the respiratory tract might be why the virus has so far not been able to spread easily between people – a major factor keeping it from becoming pandemic.

Deep inside

The Wisconsin team used lectins – plant molecules that bind to the same complex sugars on the cell surface where the flu virus attaches to cells – to identify how different versions of the sugar molecule vary in humans. They used one lectin specific to the "2,3 form" of the sugar common in birds – which H5N1 is known to prefer, and another specific to the "2,6 form" more common in people.

Testing tissue slices from the human respiratory tract, they found that 2,6 receptors were common in the nose and throat, but 2,3 receptors – H5N1’s preferred site – were common in the alveoli.

The Dutch group used the killed H5N1 virus itself, and saw the same pattern as the Wisconsin team, with binding in the deep lungs but not the nose and throat.

Repair hijack

Both groups found these receptors, or viral binding, especially in cells called type 2 alveolar cells. These actively dividing cells repair and maintain the tiny lung sacs, so H5N1’s binding of these particular cells might explain why H5N1 pneumonia is so severe. The virus can also hijack the machinery it needs to replicate more easily in these active cells than in neighbouring, non-dividing cells.

The Dutch team also found binding to alveolar macrophages – white blood cells which can trigger the inflammatory immune reaction, which often kills in pneumonia cases.

Their technique might allow scientists to predict what H5N1 could do next. “We will now try to look at what mutations in the virus improve binding in the upper respiratory tract,” Kuiken told New Scientist. That could show what mutations to watch for as H5N1 continues to spread around the globe.

They will also study which other human tissues H5N1 can bind to. Cases so far suggest it might affect the gut and most worryingly, the brain.

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CIDRAP >> H5N1 vaccine trial shows limited benefit

H5N1 vaccine trial shows limited benefit

Robert Roos * News Editor

Mar 30, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The first experimental US vaccine for H5N1 avian influenza yielded only modest results in its first clinical trial, generating an adequate immune response in slightly more than half of participants who received a heavy dose, scientists report.

Fifty-four percent of volunteers who received two doses totaling a dozen times the standard dose of seasonal flu vaccine had an immune response that was considered protective, according to the report in today’s New England Journal of Medicine. Those who received smaller doses were less likely to show an adequate immune response.

On the positive side, the vaccine triggered almost no serious side effects, even at the highest doses. The results are in line with some preliminary findings reported last summer.

But the findings underscore the huge gap between existing vaccine production capacity and the likely need for vaccine in a pandemic. In an editorial accompanying the report, vaccine expert Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic writes that all the world’s vaccine producers could make only enough of the vaccine for about 75 million people if the high dose that yielded best results in the study were used.

“We have a long way to go,” commented Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as quoted by the Associated Press. The NIAID funded the vaccine trial.

The trial was conducted last year at NIAID-supported centers at the University of Rochester in New York state, the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and Harbor–University of California–Los Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles. John J. Treanor, MD, of the University of Rochester was the first author.

The vaccine is based on an H5N1 virus isolated from a Vietnamese patient in 2004. The hemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes from that virus were spliced together with genes from another flu virus strain commonly used in vaccines, the report says. In addition, the hemagglutinin gene was modified to make it harmless to birds so the virus could be grown in eggs. The vaccine was made by Sanofi Pasteur, but the company was not involved in the study.

The researchers recruited a total of 451 healthy adult volunteers. They were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or one of four doses of the vaccine: 7.5, 15, 45, or 90 micrograms (mcg). Each volunteer received two doses, the second one 28 days after the first.

The study was done in two stages, the first one involving 118 volunteers. After they received their two doses and monitoring showed no safety concerns, the other 333 volunteers were vaccinated in the second stage.

The researchers used a neutralizing antibody titer of 1:40 (signaling a fourfold or greater increase in antibody titer) as the criterion for an adequate immune response. Of the 99 volunteers who received the 90-mcg dose, 54% reached this level (95% confidence level, 43% to 64%). Smaller percentages of volunteers in the lower dose-groups had this level of immune response: 43% in the 45-mcg group, 22% in the 15-mcg group, and 9% in the 7.5-mcg group.

The volunteers reported few significant side effects, according to the report. They described 84% of symptoms as mild, and there were no serious allergic reactions. Systemic symptoms such as fever and headache were not significantly more common in the vaccine groups than the placebo group. One volunteer suffered a rash, which faded after a few weeks.

The results indicate that two 90-mcg doses of the vaccine “would probably have an acceptable tolerability profile and could be effective in preventing H5 influenza in healthy adult recipients,” the authors write. “Elderly people, persons with impaired immunity, or children may have a different response, and trials of the vaccine in these populations are in progress.

“Production of the vaccine and this clinical trial are important steps toward control of a pandemic, and the current vaccine would probably be acceptable for licensure, if needed. However, the need for a vaccine with a total dose of 180 micrograms would pose a considerable barrier to rapid production of a supply that would be adequate to meet the world’s requirements should a pandemic occur. Therefore, dose-sparing approaches should be pursued aggressively.”

In the editorial, Poland says the results show that the immunogenicity of the vaccine is “poor to moderate at best.” He adds that current annual global production capacity for flu vaccine is estimated at 900 million 15-mcg doses. This means that, at a dose level of 180 mcg, only 75 million people, or 1.25% of the world population, could be fully immunized with the H5N1 vaccine, and only about half of them would actually have protection.

In addition, Poland comments that the vaccine might not be effective against more recent strains of H5N1 virus. Researchers have identified an Indonesian clade, or subgroup, of H5N1 viruses that differs antigenically from the Vietnamese clade on which the vaccine is based. The US government recently announced plans to develop a vaccine based on the Indonesian strain of H5N1 virus, called clade 2.

Infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said the study was well-designed and yielded important information. “Unfortunately, that information supports our earlier concerns that both the antigen requirements and the immunogenicity of an H5N1 vaccine mean that if H5N1 becomes the next pandemic strain in the next several years, vaccine will play a limited or almost nonexistent role in such a pandemic worldwide,” Osterholm told CIDRAP News.

As he has before, Osterholm called for a “Manhattan Project–like investment” to develop a flu vaccine that could be produced before the emergence of a pandemic train. He is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site.

Poland comments in his editorial that the government has funded studies of more than 30 candidate vaccines for potential pandemic flu strains. These include vaccines with adjuvants (immune-boosting chemicals) to increase potency and live, attenuated vaccines, which could provide cross-protection against different viral subtypes.

The study authors write that other possible dose-sparing approaches under consideration include injecting vaccine just under the skin (intradermally) instead of into muscle and “prepriming” the immune system by including an H5 component in the annual flu vaccine.

Despite the limitations revealed by the study, flu vaccine expert Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University said the vaccine represents progress. “My impression is we are better off having stockpiled this vaccine than none,” he told the Associated Press. He added that the vaccine should be viewed as “the first strong step in a long journey.”

Treanor JJ, Campbell JD, Zangwill KM. Safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated subvirion influenza A (H5N1) vaccine. N Engl J Med 2006 Mar 30;354(13):1343-51 [Full text]

Poland GA. Vaccines against avian influenza—a race against time (editorial). N Engl J Med 2006 Mar 30;354(13):1411-13 [Full text]


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U.N. Raises Bird Flu Deaths to 107

... GENEVA (AP) -- The U.N. health agency on Monday raised to 107 the confirmed number of people who have died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu, adding two Egyptian women who died last month.... ...
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