Saturday, January 22, 2005

H5N1 Follies

I've tried to stay abreast of the H5N1 avian flu situation ever since starting this blog. Now, we seem to be close enough to zero hour that I don't really see the point of blogging about it anymore. Accordingly, I'm turning things over to the experts; anyone who's interested in keeping tabs on this approaching disaster can bookmark these sites:

Effect Measure offers frequent updates on the situation, from the point of view of public-health professionals. Their latest comments are fairly blunt:

Somebody needs to tell President Bush that it's not democracy and freedom that is likely to spread around the world under his "leadership." Instead of cavorting at obscenely costly inaugural events he should be instructing his public health establishment to sound the alarm that we may soon come under attack by a Virus of Mass Destruction.

Unfortunately the response to the Viet Nam wake-up call seems to be to hit the snooze alarm once again. Just a few more minutes sleep, please.

Many people voted for Bush because they thought he would "keep us safe." Now that's irony.

Recombinomics has daily updates by Dr. Henry Niman, the virologist who developed the flu monoclonal antibody. Here's a recent comment from him:
This season, the case fatality rate is running at 90% assuming the earlier reports of confirmation of the 8th and 9th fatalities are accurate and the middle (42M) brother in the north continues to recover. So far this season, no confirmed case of avian influenza in Vietnam has been discharged from the hospital, so technically the case fatality rate for confirmed cases with outcomes remains at 100%.
So far, the words "flu pandemic" have not crossed George W. Bush's lips. It'll be interesting to see how many people die before he holds a press conference. Anyone want to make a prediction?


Anonymous said...

I've been trying to catch up on all the posts here I missed in recent weeks when I went into hibernation, and I want to thank you for your continued great writing. This topic is frightening, although it just adds one more layer (or is it the icing?) to the apocalyptic cake the US is baking. Dubya is just baking the cake higher, to go with that pie he famously wanted to elevate ("make the pie higher!").

So what shall we mere peons do? Wash our hands even more frequently?

By the way, I hope you received my email responses recently, and that they didn't get lost in the ether somewhere...

Thanks again for a great blog.


Revere said...

Thanks for the link. We like your blog and have added you to our blogroll. We have just posted a bird flu update (1/23/05, 3 pm).

Anonymous said...

It would seem that Bush has hit on the best plan yet to save Social Security, so he can spend it on war: if only everyone will agree to die without running up the medical bills.

I just wish it were transmitted only in the least useful avian species: chickenhawks.

The American Street

Anonymous said...

"The World Health Organization
warned that the bird flu virus endemic in Asia was mutating
in such a way that it could cause a major, overdue human
influenza outbreak with a "best case scenario" of 2 million
to 7 million deaths. "


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