Schools told to prepare for bird flu
A pandemic will strike New Zealand and schools need to be preparing for it now, the Ministry of Education's pandemic planning manager said today. ...Graeme Marshall told the annual meeting of the New Zealand Education Institute there was a high risk of bird flu becoming a pandemic that would strike New Zealand, and it could kill between 30-50,000 people.
"We will get a pandemic at some stage. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. However, there's no need to panic because an awful lot of us won't die. Something over four million (New Zealanders) won't die."
Not panicking was imperative. People needed to remember the pandemic would pass and life would go on, Mr Marshall said.
Bird Flu Claims Indonesia's 52nd Victim
The 23-year-old man was the 52nd victim of bird flu in Indonesia. "According to the symptoms, we suspect that they are a new cluster (of the bird flu virus)," said the head of environmental health department at West Java office. ...If it is proved to be a new cluster, there are at least three clusters of bird flu as it continues its spread across Indonesia. The first case was in Tangerang and the second in Tanah Karo, North Sumatra. ...Although a laboratory test has not yet been conducted, the symptoms indicate that the two brothers suffered from pneumonia and a high fever.
The country's 51st victim is a 9-year-old boy, Fajarianto, from South Jakarta. He spent three days being treated at Sulianti Saroso Hospital. A health ministry official has confirmed that Fajar was positive for bird flu and died after he first revealed the symptoms of the virus nine days before. ...Meanwhile in North Sumatra, five members of a family were sent to the Adam Malik Hospital in Medan after all of them were suspected of having the bird flu virus. Two of them were released on Monday but another died on the same day. ...The ministry officials could not record the victim because the cause of the death remains unclear. Reports showed that unusual chicken deaths had hit within one kilometer of the family's house.
As the dry season is still running in Indonesia it is difficult to detect bird flu because many victims are children, and they often suffer from high fevers and breathing difficulties at this time of year. The doctors have often missed the diagnosis as happened in the case of the 23-year-old man. ...Initially, the doctors who gave medical treatment believed that this man was just suffering from ordinary flu. For this reason the adequate medical treatment for the bird flu virus was not given.
Health officials said Tuesday they were examining [www.thejakartapost.com...]possible intra-human transmission of bird flu in West Java[/url], where a hospitalized 20-year-old male resident of Bandung tested positive for the virus.
His 23-year-old brother had died Sunday afternoon before he could be taken to hospital for testing. Their sister, aged 15, was admitted to the hospital Monday night after developing a fever and cough.
Ministry of Health officials and World Health Organisation (WHO) staff said on Wednesday that a case of H5N1 (avian flu) in birds was detected in a house near Aswan, in Upper Egypt.
This year, Egypt suffered the worst outbreak of avian flu outside Asia. The disease was largely brought under control, although fears remained of a new outbreak. ...Fourteen human cases of bird flu have been found in Egypt since mid-March, al-Bushra said. Of these, six have died. The last was a 75-year-old woman who died on 18 May.
"Until the last virus is eradicated, the risk continues to exist," said al-Bushra.
Bracing for Bird Flu: Putnam authorities strategizing for possibility of pandemic
State and federal health officials are offering different opinions on the potential of the most deadly form of “bird flu” reaching the United States, according to Palatka General Services Director Ken Venables. ...“It depends on whom you ask,” Venables said. “Some are saying it might come and it might not. Others are saying ‘it’s coming,’ we just don’t know where and how hard it’s going to hit.”
Now that Venables has his own phone, he might be better able to prepare Palatka for a possible pandemic. ...The city’s general services director since this spring, Venables shared an office until last week in the City Hall Annex Building, where he now he has his own space. ...Venables is also the city safety officer and risk manager, and says he can coordinate those duties better now that he has private space.
“Experts are saying to expect to lose up to half of your employees, either by being incapacitated or dying,” Venables said.
EU on bird flu alert
Europe is on alert to protect poultry from bird flu this autumn but must work harder to avoid another slump in meat sales should the virus strike, a top veterinary official said on Wednesday.
Over the next month, billions of birds will begin their seasonal migration to African wintering grounds, raising fears the deadly Asian H5N1 bird flu strain could return to Europe.
eGene says they now have a sensitive mass screening test, to test chickens
for H5N1 bird flu.
the sample analysis rate in the HDA system is approximately two samples per minute, so a total of 96 samples in a 96-well plate can be analyzed in 50 minutes.
Research into 1918 virus can help bird flu fight
The outbreak of the 1918 virus - which was described as Spanish flu and is known to scientists as H1N1 - resulted in the deaths of up to 25 million people around the world. ...(The results of a new) study, published in the science journal Nature... suggest the deaths were the result of an immune system overreaction. ... Previously, it had been believed that the scale of mortality in 1918 had been due to a second wave of infection that struck those already hit by flu. ...However, the new findings indicate that deadly inflammation, triggered by an out of control immune response, could have been the real cause.
Ordinary seasonal flu typically hits children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems the hardest, but the 1918 virus infected many young and healthy adults. ...Scientists have long questioned why the 1918 flu strain proved so deadly and why so many victims were people not normally vulnerable to flu. ...Similar patterns of mortality have been observed in those infected by (H5N1) bird flu...
Dr Christopher Basler, a co-author of the study from Mont Sinai School of Medicine, in New York, said the findings "could help us develop more targeted therapies to combat pathogenic infections, including different types of influenzas or perhaps avian influenza". ...Professor Karl Nicholson, the professor of infectious diseases at the University of Leicester, said learning more about "the cause of the high morbidity of H1N1 ... might then open the way for alternative methods of treatment".
Protecting Tourism and the Agri-business Industry
A 20-year-old Indonesian man who health officials thought had been part of a family cluster of bird flu cases died of the disease on Thursday, a hospital official said. ...The man's 25-year-old brother died on Sunday after displaying bird flu symptoms but there has been no positive confirmation he had the disease because no samples were taken for testing.
A third sibling, a 15-year old girl, is being treated at Hasan Sadikin hospital. Tests for her have been negative.
"There is no H5N1 virus in her body. She is only suffering from the common flu," he said, adding that no more tests would be carried out on her.
Nine tests failed to detect H5N1, doctors reveal
...the virus was still not detected until an autopsy was conducted on tissue taken from his lungs and faeces...
Future Fabrics Made of Chicken Feathers
...in a lab at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, chicken feathers and rice straw are being turned into fabric fibers that resemble wool, linen and cotton. ...The textiles may help reduce not only agricultural waste but also our reliance on petroleum-based synthetic fabrics.
"Fifty percent of all fibers are from petroleum, and we have an oil issue," said Yiqi Yang, a professor of textile science at the university, who is collaborating on the research with Narendra Reddy, a doctoral candidate at the school.
Yang and his colleagues think that agricultural waste could offer an alternative source. ...The biggest hurdle may be getting the textile industry to accept chicken and rice fibers. Yang expects the driving force to come from the apparel industry, where people are always on the look for durable, inexpensive, natural textiles.
Scientists Say Better Diagnostics for Bird Flu Needed
Leading avian influenza scientists from around the world say more research is needed to understand the H5N1 bird flu virus to be able to effectively diagnose and treat the disease. That's the conclusion of scientists attending a two-day World Health Organization (WHO) meeting...
The avian flu experts agree, better diagnostic tests must be developed to identify those people who are carrying the H5N1 virus, but do not show symptoms. They note the virus is not stable and keeps changing its form.
The head of WHO's Animal and Human Influenza Program, Mike Perdue, says the same is true for anti-viral drugs. He says hospital and clinical studies have discovered some resistance to the two primary anti-viral drugs used to treat human cases of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. These are Tamiflu and Amantadine.
WHO: New drugs needed to deal with deadly bird flu virus
GENEVA (AP): New drugs are needed to treat the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed at least 148 people, because of the possibility that it could mutate and develop resistance to the most effective anti-viral medicines, a WHO scientist said Thursday.
"We know that there are (H5N1) viruses that are circulating that are resistant to these drugs, and so there is an urgent need to look at other anti-viral avenues," ..."We know from surveillance studies and from hospital clinical studies that resistance to the two primary anti-viral drugs, the Tamiflu and amantadine drugs, has already occurred," said Perdue.
...tests on viral strains collected from different countries have shown that H5N1 is splitting into genetically different groups, Perdue said. As a result, new vaccines will need to be produced for every significant mutation... "We are going to have to come to the realization that these viruses are genetically variable," Perdue said. "The vaccines that we have predicted to be protective today may not be protective a year from now." ...The areas on which research needs to focus, according to the WHO experts, are developing better tests for the virus, producing vaccines and anti-viral drugs, improving H5N1 surveillance among bird populations and understanding why the strain causes such serious illness in humans.
New family cluster
WHO: Deadly bird flu virus mutating
The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu which has killed at least 148 people is showing signs of being able to mutate and develop resistance to the most effective anti-viral drugs and any possible vaccines yet to be produced, a WHO scientist said Thursday.
The H5N1 virus is splitting into genetically different groups, said Mike Perdue, a team leader with WHO's influenza program who took part in a two-day bird flu conference earlier this week sponsored by the U.N. health body. ...No vaccine for the H5N1 virus has been produced yet, but scientists are confident they will develop one in future.
The two most effective anti-viral drugs currently in use are also in danger of losing their potency, according to influenza experts. ..."We know from surveillance studies and from hospital clinical studies that resistance to the two primary anti-viral drugs, the Tamiflu and Amantadine drugs, have already occurred," Perdue said.
Winter bird flu mutation risk: WHO
THE risk of a mutation of the bird flu virus increases in winter, the season of normal human flu, the World Health Organisation said today.
Health Experts Urge EU to Prepare for More Bird Flu Cases
Previous outbreaks have been contained in Europe, but more are predicted. ...Health professionals meeting at the 2006 European Congress on Disaster Management in Bonn all agreed that it is not a question if an outbreak of bird flu will happen, but when.
Fatalities are inevitable, and that the key to limiting the number of deaths is planning for an outbreak and having enough vaccinations for the whole population, said Reinhard Kurth, the president of Germany's Robert Koch Institute. Kurth added that priority for vaccinations should be given to health workers and infants "who are more susceptible to death.'
"There are ...substantial differences across different countries with demographics, geography and available services and health systems," he said. "Now there is free movement across borders. This means there will be free movement of diseases."
New inroads made in battling the Avian flu and Dengue fever
‘The latest discovery we have made in our studies is that the virus, after an outbreak will stay in a region for some time, and then diversify. It will cause a lot of trouble if we have different viruses in different regions,’ says Dr Guan.
‘We’re keeping an eye on virus behaviour and how they’re changing. It is impossible to eradicate the virus from nature but we can reduce the activity, reduce the prevalence and reduce endemic occurrences’.
...the possibility of it mutating into a form that can be readily transmitted from one person to another is very real, which is why the work of scientists such as Dr Guan who focuses on prevention and preparedness against a bird flu pandemic, has become a global priority. ...‘One time, or some time, human-to-human transmission – there is a chance to develop in that direction, but we also have a chance to limit that too’, says Dr Guan. ...‘...Our job is to coordinate the ability for the whole world to fight against a pandemic’.
U.S.: Drug Profiteering, Bird Flu and Navajo Hantavirus
Rumsfeld’s rise in wealth from the sales of Tamiflu was recently revealed and resulted in questions about the pandemic scare. ...Fortune magazine reported that after the bird flu scare, stocks rose and Rumsfeld, already one of the richest men in the Bush cabinet, benefited by at least $1 million in 2005, with profits continuing. ...In July, the Pentagon ordered $58 million worth of Tamiflu for the treatment for U.S. troops. Then, the U.S. signed a two-year deal to help states buy more than half a billion dollars worth of Tamiflu, with states in the U.S. required to pay three-quarters of it. Tamiflu is the primary drug of treatment for the strain of bird flu, H5N1. ...Some states are now beginning the costly stockpile of Tamiflu. The states’ share will be $447 million, and the federal share will be $149 million. ...However, Tamiflu has not been successful in the treatment of all bird flu cases around the world.
On the Navajo Nation, tribal members still question another deadly outbreak, the hantavirus. ...After the 1993 hantavirus outbreak on the Navajo Nation, the Centers for Disease Control said the hantavirus here was carried by field mice. ...However, Navajos pointed out that the field mice have always been present on the Navajo Nation. Further, Navajos point out that the area with the heaviest concentration of field mice was not hit by the hantavirus. ...The Army Depot site was the actual center point of the radius of the first outbreak of Navajo hantavirus deaths in 1993, according to a map of the initial deaths compiled by Navajo Indian Health Service in Window Rock, which was not made public at the time of the outbreak. ...Jackson questioned the origin of the hantavirus outbreak and possible corporate drug profiteering from the tragedy.
...watchdog groups in Washington have documented the “revolving door”, between politicians, lobbyists and pharmaceutical companies. ...Companies that manufacture both Tamiflu and ribavirin have been linked to elected leaders in Washington.
Bird flu fears: Why prepare now for bird flu?
Is the current bird flu threat really serious?
Influenza pandemics have occurred at approximately 25- to 30-year intervals. A flu pandemic occurs when a virus mutates so drastically from previous strains that people have little natural immunity, and so large numbers of people get sick or die. Because the last pandemic took place in 1968, the thinking is that we're due for another one. And because there would be little natural immunity to H5N1, the effects could conceivably be devastating.
How long might it take for the bird flu to mutate into a serious human threat?
That's the question of the hour, and the truth is, no one knows. We do know a few important things about H5N1. First, it's particularly virulent. Second, the virus appears to be spreading among birds. Third, it seems to be affecting more species, including cats, which usually aren't susceptible to bird flu. But whether this virus will ever make the genetic changes needed to infect humans on a mass scale, or how long that might take — there's just no way of knowing.
If bird flu were to become transmissible from human to human, how likely is it to spread rapidly worldwide?
Right now, there's no evidence of sustained, efficient, human-to-human transmission. However, if the virus mutates so that it spreads quickly among people, the great worry is modern transportation. Theoretically, infected people could board a plane and unwittingly carry the virus to the other side of the world in a matter of hours.
Russia Produces Bird Flu Vaccine
Russia can produce (up to) 2 million doses of anti-avian flu vaccine a week, a source from the National Institute of the Flu Research reported to a TV news program Wednesday.
Oleg Kiseliov, director of that scientific institution, said that immunization tests to fight the H5N1 virus concluded successfully.
The anti-avian flu vaccine was developed by the institute headquartered in San Petersburg, (from) a strain of the virus got by British microbiologists through the reverse genetic method.
Also see: Flu Vaccine Technology: Who's Blocking Its Use?
Cholesterol drugs: Best way to treat bird flu
The report in Nature describing the increased host immune response caused by the 1918 pandemic influenza virus (report, Sept 29) is the latest in a series of studies suggesting it is the host response (the “cytokine storm”) that is probably responsible for most deaths now being seen with H5N1 infections. If the H5N1 virus leads to the next human pandemic, and if the situation is similar to that in 1918, there could be 350 million deaths worldwide.
Conventional vaccines will be too little too late, and limited supplies of antiviral medications will be available in only a few countries. However, we have recently learnt that statins (the drugs used to treat high cholesterol) decrease mortality due to pneumonia by 40-60 per cent, suggesting that, by modifying the influenza “cytokine storm”, statins could be life-saving.
The scientific rationale for considering statins for pandemic use is persuasive, but the public health rationale is hugely compelling. Unlike vaccines and antivirals, generic statins are available in almost all countries, and treating an individual patient would probably cost less than £1.
Also see: Daily Mail: Cholesterol drugs 'could beat bird flu'
Treatment 'to neutralise all flu'
Scientists say they are developing an entirely new way of providing instant protection against flu. ...In preliminary tests, it was found to protect animals against various strains of the virus - and may also protect against future pandemic strains.
University of Warwick researchers used a flu virus naturally stripped of some genetic material to compete with other invading flu viruses. ...This slowed the rate of infection so much the body could fight it off. ...In effect, the invading virus became its own vaccine by triggering an immune response sufficiently powerful to neutralise it before it could gain a strong enough foothold.
The Warwick team plan to develop the treatment as a nasal spray. ...Professor Nigel Dimmock has spent more than two decades developing the new approach. ...Experiments so far show that a single dose of protecting virus can be given six weeks before, and 24 hours after an infection with flu virus and be effective. ...The Warwick research team has now filed a patent on the protecting virus and is exploring ways of taking it through human clinical trials and testing on birds. ...Professor John Oxford, a virologist at Queen Mary College School of Medicine, London, said: "This is cutting edge science, but there is a lot that could still go wrong.
U.S. Researchers Discovering What Makes Flu Viruses Lethal
In an animal study, none of a group of younger adult mice infected with a mild strain of a common virus died, but 14 percent of older infected mice did. The scientists then isolated and studied the mild virus from the infected older mice.
The mild viral strain did not affect young adult mice in previous tests, but the scientists found that after it had cycled through an older mouse host, it killed 43 percent of other younger mice later infected and 71 percent of other older mice later infected.
The scientists do not know how the viral strain mutated to mimic its virulent cousin in the older mouse hosts, but concluded that because of the world’s increasingly older population, the potential impact of age-associated viral evolution on public health warrants further investigation.
Experts believe there has been significant under-reporting of the H5N1 bird flu virus in poultry in parts of Asia and Africa, largely because farmers fear heavy losses if they notify the authorities and are then forced into widespread culling.
"If there is not an absolute guarantee that the farmer will be reimbursed in a fair, equitable and rapid way, there is a tendency towards very dangerous behaviour," Vallat said, adding this could mean selling birds on at local open-air markets.
"This could be a powerful vector in circulating the virus."
Bird flu pandemic 'not if, but when'
The West Australian, Australia - Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia - Daily Telegraph, Australia - The Australian, Australia - Courier Mail, Australia - Advertiser Adelaide, Australia - NEWS.com.au, Australia - Sunday Times.au, Australia. (Partial list)
Stock up to fight flu
Every Queensland household will be urged to stock up on canned food, cereals and dried fruit as well as basic medicines in case of a sudden outbreak of bird flu.
As part of the State Government's new detailed plan to tackle bird flu, to be released today, people will be asked to prepare their homes if they are forced to stay indoors.
In the event of an outbreak, Queenslanders will be told to avoid other people where possible and regularly disinfect common surfaces, such as doorknobs and taps. ..."If you need to use public transport, it will be sensible to wear a surgical mask or other form of nose and mouth covering," the plan states. ...As well as non-perishable food stuffs, people will be told to prepare by buying vitamins, plastic bags, soaps and a thermometer. ...Business will be told to identify staff who can work from home and core people required for work, cross train staff and assess the feasibility of bulk purchasing.
BUSINESSES and households need to prepare now if they are going to survive a bird flu pandemic, a new Queensland Government plan warns.
Bird flu vaccine may hit many strains
Human trials indicate an H5N1 bird flu vaccine developed using a virus isolated in Vietnam can neutralize antibodies from H5N1 viruses found in other countries, the vaccine's manufacturer said Wednesday.
Swiss to stockpile bird flu vaccine
Switzerland announced Wednesday it will stockpile enough H5N1 vaccine to give each of its citizens a first priming dose of vaccine quickly, should an H5N1 pandemic occur. The vaccine will be made in Canada by GlaxoSmithKline.
Experts: Prepare For Pandemic Threat
A pandemic comes about when a totally new strain of the influenza virus erupts, such as the Avian Flu or H5N1. Avian flu is spread directly from birds, from an intermediate host (other animal) that contracted the disease from a bird or from an intermediate host that has caught both the bird flu and the common human flu. ..."That last scenario is the scariest," Hansen said. "Say, for instance, a pig catches the bird flu and then also catches the human flu, and those cells mutate within the pig and are then passed back to a human. The combination may make a new virus that could easily be spread from human to human." ...Currently, the Avian flu cannot be spread human to human, Hansen said, but if that were to happen, it would cause a widespread pandemic within days.
Hansen said a pandemic would cause serious social and economic disruption. ..."That is probably the largest understatement in this presentation," he said. "In South Dakota alone there would be 250,000 sick people and half of them would need hospitalization. There are currently no vaccines for the bird flu, because we won't know what strain would be needed until the pandemic has already hit. It will take six months after the first cases to get the vaccine developed and out to people." ...Hansen listed a number of effects a pandemic flu would have on the nation including:
# inadequate amount of antiviral medication and no vaccine for a period;
# high mortality, especially among young adults who's immune systems will be healthier and will fight more vigorously against the virus causing the person to become sicker
# people working at home, taking paid or unpaid leave
# under-staffed, under-supplied hospitals filled beyond capacity
# huge economic losses from closed businesses and disrupted global supply chain
# school closings, events canceled and businesses shut down because of large numbers of people sick
# businesses/workers upset by loss of income
# shortage of fuel, food, essential supplies and skyrocketing prices
# utility outages because of staff shortages
Hansen said it is up to each individual and each business to begin planning now for a pandemic flu. ..."Avian flu may or may not turn into a pandemic, but I guarantee there will be a pandemic at some point," he said. "The planning we do now is not a waste."
Deadly bird flu not forgotten by U.S health officials
Health officials also hope to have 26 million courses of the antivirals Tamiflu and Relenza by year's end, and 81 million courses - enough to treat more than 25 percent of the U.S. population - by the end of 2008. Antivirals lessen the effects of the flu. Viruses eventually can develop resistance to widely used antivirals, and that's already occurred in isolated instances with Tamiflu.
Gellin said it was unclear whether the development was clinically significant, but added, "it does raise the issue of the need to look at other antiviral candidates." HHS will issue $200 million in contracts to develop more antivirals. The agency is evaluating proposals, Gellin said.
UK: Public urged to prepare for flu pandemic
(Bruce Mann, the head of the Cabinet Office's civil contingencies secretariat) ...has told the public to be ready for a possible flu pandemic. ...(He) yesterday urged people to consider how their families would be likely to be affected by an outbreak, which scientists believe is likely to happen in the near future. ...People need to think about what they would do in the most likely circumstances," he said, adding that there was a "remote possibility" power outages could be a consequence of worker shortages. ...He said people should think how their ability to go to work would be affected by school closures or other restrictions likely to be introduced in the event of a pandemic.
Bird flu hard to detect until too late - studies
Quick tests that can tell if patients have influenza do not detect bird flu, so ...they can die before anyone knows what killed them, doctors reported on Wednesday. ...The H5N1 bird flu virus also causes a range of symptoms in people, making it that much harder to diagnose, experts said in two separate reports from Indonesia and Turkey. ...In Turkey, repeated testing failed to diagnose H5N1 avian influenza in eight patients, one team of doctors reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
They said 32 separate tests failed to detect the virus - not only quick tests, but time-consuming polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests and ELISA tests, which look for specific proteins from viruses or bacteria. ...Eventually, eight patients were diagnosed using real-time PCR, the researchers said. Four died.
"There is no question that there will be another influenza pandemic someday. We simply don't know when it will occur or whether it will be caused by the H5N1 avian influenza virus," Dr. Robert Webster and Dr. Elena Govorkova of the Memphis, Tennessee-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital wrote in a commentary on the two reports. ..."It's important that as these viruses evolve from one clade to another that we get a good, clear description of the type of disease, the transmission of the disease and ability of diagnostics to pick it up," Fauci said in a telephone interview. ...Last week, a team at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the CDC reported they had developed an inexpensive and quick "gene chip" test that might identify flu viruses, including H5N1. Fauci said that test would have helped in Turkey and Indonesia.
New England Journal of Medicine
H5N1, which causes a spectrum of illnesses in humans, including severe and fatal respiratory disease, can be difficult to diagnose.
H5N1 Influenza - Continuing Evolution and Spread
Infections rise in deadly flu outbreak
HEALTH officials in Canberra suspect another person has been infected in an influenza outbreak which has swept through a nursing home and already killed six elderly residents.
The powerful strain has infected 57 people, including at least seven nursing home staff.
Visitation remains limited at Grand Falls hospital: A rash of cases of Norwalk virus at a hospital has prompted health officials in central Newfoundland to keep visitors away from the institution and an adjoining nursing home.
Some 17 cases have been confirmed confirmed at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor.
The Central Health regional authority says the virus - which attacks the gastrointestinal system, causes severe diarrhea and easily spreads...
A journal editorial notes that the H5N1 virus appears to spread more easily "among chickens, and consequently to humans, during the cooler months."
Bird Flu Symptoms
"In our series, fever was a major symptom, and most of our patients had pneumonia on admission," ... Most had cough and sore throat, but only half reported muscle aches and only one had a runny nose. About a third had diarrhea.
Certain blood enzyme levels were elevated in most of the patients and that may be an important clue, they said.
The clusters "included mild, severe, and fatal cases among family members," they wrote. Despite the use of multiple antibiotics, breathing assistance and other care, half the patients died.
(Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine) ...stressed that,
"here, in the U.S., we as yet have no birds that have this virus. We don't even have a problem yet, except for fear."
CDC seeks community input about flu pandemic
Nebraska Preparing for a pandemic
THE THREAT OF PANDEMIC INFLUENZA
The 1918 influenza pandemic also has much to teach, by negative example, about public communication in times of crisis (see Barry in Chapter 1). Because the pandemic struck when the world was caught up in its first global war, public officials and the media were particularly reluctant to diminish public morale by announcing the arrival of a plague. Indeed, the pandemic’s nickname, “Spanish flu,” is unlikely to reflect the origin of the pandemic, but rather the fact that it was first announced in the relatively uncensored press of Spain, a noncombatant nation.
In the United States (and probably in other Western countries as well), public officials and the media played down—and in some cases, lied about—the pandemic’s approach, its severity, and its probable course. The public responded to this breach of trust with inaction: uncharacteristically, throughout the United States, calls for public assistance and sacrifice for the sake of the common good went unheeded. As the credibility of public authorities crumbled, so did social order. There is no more powerful demonstration of the need for clear and truthful communications in a public health emergency (the subject of additional discussion below) than the social chaos visited on the United States during the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Scientists have identified a small family of lab-made proteins that neutralize a broad range of influenza A viruses, including the H5N1 avian virus, the 1918 pandemic influenza virus and seasonal H1N1 flu viruses. These human monoclonal antibodies, identical infection-fighting proteins derived from the same cell lineage, also were found to protect mice from illness caused by H5N1 and other influenza A viruses. Because large quantities of monoclonal antibodies can be made relatively quickly, after more testing, these influenza-specific monoclonal antibodies potentially could be used in combination with antiviral drugs to prevent or treat the flu during an influenza outbreak or pandemic.
...The scientists also identified a new mechanism of antibody action against influenza: Once the antibody binds, the virus cannot change its shape, a step required before it can fuse with and enter the cell it is attempting to infect.
...detailed picture shows one arm of the antibody inserted into a genetically stable pocket in the neck of the HA protein, an interaction that blocks the shape change required for membrane fusion and virus entry into the cell.
Panasonic Corporation has ordered Japanese employees in some foreign countries to send their families home to Japan in preparation for a possible bird flu pandemic, a spokesman said.
Family members of Japanese employees in parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, former Soviet states and Latin America will fly back to Japan by the end of September, Panasonic spokesman Akira Kadota said.
The firm decided to take the rare measure “well ahead of possible confusion at the outbreak of a global pandemic.”
Originally posted by soficrow
Not sure what I think but 3 questions dominate:
1. Is it just a damage control promise because things are getting scary again?
2. Will the "antibodies" trigger even worse mutations? [a. The antibodies are proteins, and b. Disease is all about proteins and their propensity to misfold, and thus, change their capacities and effects on cells.]
3. Mainly, methinks we're in this pickle because of dicking with proteins, and thus, triggering/accelerating the evolutionary process... So - Is it wise to keep messing with things we don't really understand?
Originally posted by soficrow
Note that they're planning ahead - the schedule calls for removal next September...
...we may as well try and understand the damage we are doing to ourselves...
Originally posted by soficrow
BTW - Did you notice that Panasonic says employee's families in Indonesia "will not be affected" by the recall.
William Raisch, executive director of the New York University International Center for Enterprise Preparedness, told CIDRAP News that Panasonic's action shows that some of the largest corporations still see a pandemic as a continuing and real threat.
"Further, this announcement by Panasonic indicates that they are actively monitoring the prevalence of bird flu and have begun to assess the capability and access to healthcare in key elements of their supply and distribution networks," said Raisch, who is an editorial board member of the CIDRAP Business Source.
Earlier this month, Japan's defense ministry said it had developed a plan to fly Japanese citizens in foreign lands home in government-chartered jets in the event of an influenza pandemic, the Yomiuri Shimbun, an English-language newspaper in Japan, reported on Feb 4.
Originally posted by MemoryShock
Perhaps...but will they trigger benign mutations?
I think there are way too many variables for us to jump towards the conclusion of a mutation equaling an epidemic. Modern day hygiene goes a long way and I am of the opinion that flu epidemics are a thing of the past.
The team also plans to test the stalk antibody as a vaccine, so that people produce more of these antibodies themselves. They suspect haemagglutinin's big head is a decoy aimed to attract the immune system's attention and to stop us making many antibodies to the stalk – a delicate bit of molecular machinery that not be so easy to change to evade our immune attacks. In tests on mice, they found that the flu viruses did not evolve to escape the treatment.