Bird Flu - Archives
July 1st - July 31st,
It's Your Fault
Laos for the re-appearance of the H5N1 virus.
July 31st, 2006
Reappears to Haunt Indochina
Needed 500 million
dollars to fight bird flu
India to claim bird flu-free status next month
Indonesian sleuths go after bird flu
Asian officials make pact to tackle bird flu
July 29th, 2006
Thai Death Confirmed
The World Health Organization has confirmed the
Thailand of a 17-year-old youth from bird flu. It is Thailand's first
reported case of bird flu human infection in 2006. Thailand has now reported
a total of 23 cases of human infection, of which 15 have been fatal. Reuters
timeline of 2006 bird flu developments.
July 27th, 2006
Inexplicable Flu-Like Symptoms
Tiffani Thiessen and Faye Dunaway will try to save the world in
"Pandemic," a four-hour mini-series set to air on the Hallmark Channel next
After inexplicable flu-like symptoms kill a young man aboard an airliner en
route to Los Angeles from Australia, Thiessen's character, a doctor at the
Centers for Disease Control, must race against the clock and across the
globe to find Patient Zero as the virus spreads.
July 26th, 2006
Tamiflu Vs Relenza - Is It All In The Packaging?
BCP Confidential writes:
I can find no clinical evidence that Tamiflu--one of the two main
pharmaceutical weapons against an epidemic or pandemic of Type A
influenza--is substantially more effective than its competitor Relenza.
I can find abundant evidence, however, that Switzerland's Roche has much
better packaging for Tamiflu, and that it is therefore (a lot) more
expensive than GlaxoSmithKline's Relenza. If this isn't a business school
case study in the importance of packaging, it surely will be.
July 26th, 2006
This Is Unfortunate
Thailand has been struck again by bird flu. It's still not clear if it's
H5N1. If it is, it'll be the first outbreak in the country in nearly nine
July 25th, 2006
Indonesia a "miracle" survivor of bird flu has been released from
July 25th, 2006
Indonesia - Getting Worse, and Apathetic
This report in the New York Times says it all:
Indonesia is about to surpass Vietnam as the country hardest hit by avian
flu. And while Vietnam has not had a single human case or poultry outbreak
this year, public health officials and experts say the situation in
Indonesia is likely to get worse.
here's the Jakarta Post:
News that Indonesia has surpassed Vietnam in its number of bird flu
deaths is receiving an indifferent response from the public, as
international agencies scramble to find ways to contain the disease.
...Eka Faradhila, a 27-year-old who regularly patronizes an American fried
chicken chain restaurant, said she did not care whether the country's bird
flu toll ranked the lowest or the highest in the world.
"All I'm wondering is when we'll stop talking about it," Eka said Wednesday.
"There are other diseases that are more life-threatening, like dengue and
typhoid. The government cannot stop even these illnesses, so why worry about
bird flu, which has killed 42 people?" she added.
July 22nd, 2006
W. Smith Chandler, an occupational medicine physician, advises employers on
steps to take in preparing for a
bird flu pandemic:
- Social distancing (that is, staying away from other people in the
workplace). Chandler recommends that at least six feet of separation be
maintained among employees. The federal government recommends at least 3
- Social isolation (that is, staying at home). Chandler said social
isolation is more effective than social distancing.
- Promote thorough and correct hand washing. He said employers may have to
require hand washing.
- Purchasing alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Decontaminate surfaces with commercial disinfectants that kill other
July 19th, 2006
Grim Milestone Approaches for Indonesia
WHO has confirmed Indonesia's
bird flu death. This is just one less than the total for Vietnam, which
currently is the country with the most deaths. And reports from Indonesia
say the country's
42nd death has occurred, though this has yet to be confirmed by WHO.
July 17th, 2006
U.S. inspectors are probing the disappearance of four boxes of goose
intestines smuggled from China, where bird flu is spreading.
July 15th, 2006
Not Before Time
Indonesian authorities have
the official in charge of animal health.
An agriculture ministry spokesman said Sjamsul Bahri's departure was part
of a routine rotation of personnel.
But because Mr Bahri was closely involved in handling the outbreak, there is
speculation that the worsening crisis contributed to his transfer.
Indonesia has been accused of not doing enough to stop bird flu spreading.
Meanwhile, an Indonesian official has called for
more international aid to
help fight bird flu in his country. But the country does not seem to be
helping its cause with its
tardiness in releasing a WHO report into the recent "cluster" cases of
bird flu within a family group.
July 14th, 2006
China - A Long History of Cover-Ups
A strange story from China. A goose farmer has been jailed after - correctly
reporting a bird flu outbreak. Full details are not clear, but Reuters
"The defendant used measures such as fabricating facts and hiding truth
to swindle public and personal property ... so he should be punished for two
crimes," Xinhua quoted the prosecution as saying.
Chinese media reported last month that China was considering fines for media
outlets that report emergencies, such as riots, natural disasters and
outbreaks of disease such as SARS or bird flu, without authorization.
China has a long history of covering up emergency incidents, and news
blackout are regularly imposed by sensitive propaganda officials nervous
about the effects of news reports on the image of the ruling party.
July 12th, 2006
Expanding in Africa
Bird flu springs many surprises. Usually they're unpleasant, but a happy
surprise - confounding many experts - has been the paucity of H5N1 outbreaks
in Africa. This could change.
While avian influenza has been successfully checked in Western Europe and
much of Southeast Asia apart from Indonesia, it is still expanding in Africa
and will remain a threat for years to come, FAO Deputy Director-General
David Harcharik told a high- level meeting of the United Nations Economic
and Social Council in Geneva today.
...Mr. Harcharik cited difficulties in enforcing appropriate control
measures such as culling, farmer compensation and checks on animal movements
in African countries. Another complication was illegal trade in poultry.
"Until such trade is effectively checked by stronger official veterinary
authorities, and until better surveillance, alert-response, diagnostics and
reporting is achieved, the risk will remain with us," Mr. Harcharik said.
July 11th, 2006
Bird Flu - Get Used to It
Europeans should get used to a seasonal pattern of bird flu affecting
poultry as the lethal H5N1 strain of the disease is highly likely to
reappear in the near future, a senior EU health official said on Friday.
Meanwhile, bird flu is confirmed in
July 8th, 2006
Lessons from Bird Flu
The Discover website offers
lessons from bird flu:
1. New pathogens can incubate slowly, then change rapidly.
2. Diseases spread in ways researchers don't fully understand.
3. Countries most vulnerable to outbreaks are often the ones least able to
deal with them.
4. We need better surveillance.
5. We are at the mercy of viral evolution.
July 6th, 2006
Another Tamiflu Suicide in Japan?
Tamiflu is widely prescribed in Japan for flu sufferers, and some months
back came reports of a
series of mystery deaths - including several suicides - from patients
who had taken the drug. Now, we have
A junior high school boy plunged to his death on Monday evening after
taking the controversial "tamiflu" drug, which has been blamed for producing
dangerous side-effects, police said.
At around 5:50 p.m. on Monday, a passer-by found a boy lying face-down in
the parking lot of a prefectural apartment complex in the Onaga district of
Tomigusuku, local police said. He was rushed to hospital where he was
The boy has been confirmed to be a 12-year-old, first-year junior high
school student living in a sixth-floor condominium in the complex.
His family said the boy took tamiflu at around noon on Monday because he had
a high fever. However, after his fever did not decline, he took an
anti-febrile drug later in the day.
Some people who have taken tamiflu have shown irregular behavior such as
sleep-walking. However, the causal relationship between the drug and such
behavior has not been proven.
July 5th, 2006
Ostriches Culled in South Africa
South African authorities have
culled 60 ostriches on bird flu concerns. However, H5N1 is not
July 4th, 2006
Biota Shares Jump
Shares in local Melbourne company
Biota have surged on reports that US authorities will boost holdings of
the company's Relenza flu drug.
July 4th, 2006
China - More H5N1
A new wave of bird flu has hit
as experts grapple with reports that a man died of the virus in 2003, two
years earlier than any human infections had officially been reported.
July 3rd, 2006
Bird Flu Vaccine - 10 Years Away
vaccine could be 10 years away, according to experts at a bird flu
summit in Paris.
Vaccine researcher Dr. David Fedson, a former professor of medicine at
the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said H5N1 was proving very
difficult to grow in culture, according to a BBC report. Researchers were
also finding it tough to stimulate an immune system response in humans that
would be strong enough to defend against the virus, he said.
"H5N1 is so poorly immunogenic and replicates so poorly that we could
immunize globally, with six months of production, about 100 million people,"
Fedson told the BBC. Compared to the 300 million doses of seasonal flu
manufactured each year, the number would be far too small. "From a public
health point of view this is catastrophic," he said.
July 3rd, 2006
Bird Flu - Dying Young
latest study from WHO is not encouraging. Some key points:
- Bird flu tends to kill younger people, mirroring the pattern of the 1918
Spanish flu pandemic. The median age of confirmed cases is 20 years. The
fatality rate is 56%, but among patients aged 10 to 19 years it is 73%.
- The virus is now considered endemic in poultry in some parts of the world,
while continuing to spread to birds in new areas.
- Fatalities from H5N1 have almost tripled this year.
- While cases have occurred all year round, the epidemiological curve of
H5N1 cases has peaked during the cooler periods in the Northern Hemisphere,
suggesting an upsurge in cases in late 2006 or early 2007.
- The risk of the virus evolving into a more transmissible agent in humans
July 1st, 2006