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This is an international website intended to remain accessible to as many people as possible. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual posters who remain solely responsible for the content of their messages.
The use of good judgement during the discussion of controversial issues would be greatly appreciated.

News Reports For October 7

by: MaMa

Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 21:06:52 PM EDT

Summary of News for October 6, 2007
    •   Bird flu fight drafts holidaymakers (Link)
    •   Azerbaijan releases results of bf monitoring (Link)
    •   Seminar discusses plan on avian influenza in humans (Link)
United States
    •   Oregon: Free flu shots in pandemic prep exercise(Link)
    •   Clifton, New Jersey- Volunteers sought for emergency unit (Link)
    •   "Pandemic: Bird Flu" - Science Channel
(Sunday, 9 PM -TV Program examines possible scenarios for widespread influenza) (Link)and (schedule Link)
    •   Effect Measure- Paper on mutation that enhances infection of upper airways (Link)
MaMa :: News Reports For October 7
Usual disclaimer that I may not have captured everything. Feel free to add news where omissions have occurred. Please note that I copy the links directly from the prior day's news thread so if they don't work you may need to re-visit the thread:
News Reports for October 6

WHO-confirmed total cumulative human cases worldwide as of October 2, 2007: 329 cases with 201 deaths
2007 WHO-confirmed cases: 66 cases with 43 deaths

Link to most recent WHO report

  Indonesia Summary 09/29/07

    2006  2007
Cases Discussed   Jun-Dec   Jan-Jun JulyAug SeptTotal
Died, no test results   24   18 3 00 22
Died, tested positive   18 23 0 40 28
Other tested positive  5   40004
Symptoms, tests pending   146  3465 1413 380
Tested negative   99  173 312 3 191
Totals 292 564113016625
Link to Current Indonesia Diary

  Egypt Summary 07/25/07

    2006  2007 YTD
Tested positive, died 10 5
Tested positive, survived  8  15
Total positive cases 18  20
Data source: WHO
Link to Current Egypt Diary

Vietnam Summary 08/31/07

 20032004200520062007 YTD
Tested positive, died3201904
Tested positive, survived094203
Total positive cases3296107
Data source: WHO

Thanks to all of the newshounds!  Special thanks to the Indonesia & Egypt newshounds for their excellent work with the summary tables - thanks for keeping us all informed!

Other useful links:
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary

CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report

CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch

Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Wiki Main Page
Tags: , , (All Tags)
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Hygienic lab scientist to do bird flu training [in India], blog for GazetteOnline
Oct 6, 2007
The Gazette

IOWA CITY - Trisha Kreman, a public health microbiologist at University Hygienic Laboratory, is traveling to India as one of five scientists selected to train laboratory technicians to test for bird flu.

Kreman will be writing about her three-week trip, which is coordinated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a blog here at gazetteonline.com

The disease, also known as H5N1 avian influenza, has killed nearly 200 people worldwide. Scientists fear it could mutate and spread easily from person-to-person, leading to a worldwide outbreak.

Kreman is using her laboratory skills, and own vacation time, to make the trip.  [Yay, Trisha Kreman!]

Chris Atchison, who directs the lab based at the University of Iowa's Oakdale Campus, said Kreman's experience benefits Iowa, "as she sees firsthand how public health workers can prevent the spread of this disease."


Proud FAF-er.

'Bouncy castle mortuaries' planned for bird flu dead
SCOTTISH Government officials are preparing to buy hundreds of inflatable body storage tents in preparation for mass deaths in a flu pandemic.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal officials and police have been in talks with a major manufacturer of the tents, known as "bouncy castle mortuaries", in an attempt to cope with the death of 64,000 Scots from the virus.

The documents also reveal funeral services would have to be cut short because of sheer demand. An investigation of mortuaries across the country has revealed a shortage of body storage space if a pandemic should occur, with a maximum of 2,513 spaces.

Experts say Scotland's crematoriums could not cope with the demand of disposing of thousands of dead and temporary body storage would be essential.

Health experts predict a global epidemic of a deadly new strain of bird flu in humans will strike at some point in the future.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


Grandma's not dead, she's just gone to the big bouncy castle in the sky. :-( n/t

[ Parent ]
I am glad you made me laugh this morning because when I was reading and posting this story it sent chills up my spine just picturing the real possibility of this.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


[ Parent ]
I had the same feeling while reading it. n/t

I am not like other birds of prey....

[ Parent ]
The Scottish have a dry sense of humour.
If I have to die I think I would prefer a bouncy castle as my place of rest over a gloomy old mortuary.

[ Parent ]
See Ivor Cutler "Life in a Scotch Sitting Room'

[ Parent ]
Risk of a bird flu outbreak remains on high alert
VietNam - Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is temporarily under control in Viet Nam, however the risk of a bird flu outbreak is still on high alert. 

This was announced by the Director of the Preventive Health Department, Nguyen Huy Nga at a conference yesterday in Hanoi. 

The focus of this conference was the modification and supplementation of plans made to protect humans from avian influenza. Those in attendance included the Ministry of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the Ministry of Health, relevant departments, organizations and individuals have to join nation-wide campaigns to curb the spread of bird flu.  To halt the spread of bird flu to humans, the Government needs to put in place the structural framework and provide education about bird flu transmission and prevention to all farms and households. (To bad the government in the US and other governments around the world aren't this smart!)

  The ministry will also establish 15 influenza management offices in the North and South.  These offices will collect and study samples for monitoring purposes, as well as provide guidance and quarantine control to bird flu affected areas. http://english.vietn...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


Williamsburg, VA pandemic forum...
Forum to Address Pandemic Flu Threat

Area residents are urged to attend a town hall-style meeting to be held at 7pm on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg. Local Physicians and public health experts will offer insight as to the looming reality of a pandemic flu, be it of avian origin or another type, and how residents can  prepare for such an event. This event has been organized through members of the Ford's Colony Home Owners' Association and is open to the public.

Williamsburg Health Journal

Cross-posted in Community Open Thread Sept 20 to...

the looming reality of pandemic flu
Now that's a line thazt might get some people to show up.

As opposed to "Bird Flu: is it all Fluff 'n Feathers?" kind of ads we've been seeing elsewhere...

Pandemics are "Wicked Problems". - Average Concerned Mom

[ Parent ]
Indonesia: Mass Holiday Exdous
Indonesians to celebrate end of Ramadan, start cramming bus and train stations
The Associated PressPublished: October 7, 2007


  JARKTA, Indonesia: Indonesia began its annual mass exodus Sunday when millions of people pour out of the major cities to return to their home villages to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Thousands have started crowding bus and train stations in the capital, Jakarta six days before Eid al-Fitr to beat the mass exodus later in the week when buses, cars and motorcycles create massive traffic jams on roads across the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Transport officials estimate that nearly 15 million people will head to their home villages - up 6 percent from last year - for the two day celebration next weekend.

"The exodus through land transportation is expected to reach its peak three days before the Eid al-Fitr," said senior transportation ministry official Iskandar Abubakar.

Every year, families form long lines at train and bus stations and tens of thousands wait for ferries at seaports around the country that is spread across more than 17,000 islands.

  "I have to go to my home village early this year, because my mother is sick," Wanto, who like many Indonesians has only one name, told the state news agency Antara as he boarded a bus heading to Yogyakarta on Sunday.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia's 235 million people are Muslims.

During the four weeks of Ramadan, Muslims are not supposed to eat, drink or have sex during daylight hours. On the first day of Eid al-Fitr, people flock to early morning prayers and families later gather to eat specially prepared snacks and offer them to friends and neighbors.

United we stand: Divided we fall

So during last 4 weeks of Ramadan social contact has decreased
"During the four weeks of Ramadan, Muslims are not supposed to eat, drink or have sex during daylight hours."

Would that possibly lead to a decrease in the cases/spread of bf at this time of year? Did last year's stats show a decrease in mid Sept-Oct and a subsequent surge in the following weeks?

Always have a plan B.

[ Parent ]
Mary, my thought
was the increased in crowded traveling.

United we stand: Divided we fall

[ Parent ]
I agree, but the increase would come after the end of Ramadan.
My idea was that during Ramadan itself there might be less contact and thus less cases. Then when it ends and everyone packs together in trains and buses and goes home for family and neighborhood feasting, you would probably get an upsurge.

  However I went to the WHO maps after posting this, and didn't really see any dramatic changes in number of cases. September was a low point for indo the past two years, and then there was a little increase in October and November, but not huge.

I also wonder if there is much travel from Indonesians living abroad...is there a tendency for them to travel home to indonesia to celebrate the end of Ramadan, much as say people in the US travel to be with family during Thanksgiving?

Always have a plan B.

[ Parent ]
Travel after Ramadan
I would imagine quite a few of them travel back to the islands to visit family and friends after at this time of year. Remember, there have been millions of Muslims who have traveled to Mecca, which I believe has lasted for the past 30 days, for Ramadan and now they are returing to their countries also.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


[ Parent ]
Dates of Ramadan vs onset of cases
You're right, Mary.  I don't see a clear upsurge of cases, either.

Ramadan is based on a lunar calendar.  The dates for Ramadan in the past 2 years were:

2005 October 2- November 1
2006 September 23 - October 22

Indonesia (2005)
Cases with onset in the month before Ramadan = 4
Cases with onset during Ramadan = 4
Cases with onset in the month after Ramadan = 6

Indonesia (2006)
Cases with onset in the month before Ramadan = 4
Cases with onset during Ramadan = 3
Cases with onset in the month after Ramadan = 3

In Egypt in 2006, there was 1 case during Ramadan and none in the 30 days before or after Ramadan.  This year there have been no cases during the same period.

[ Parent ]
But they do go to work during the day,
then at night they get together more than usual.

  Since Ramadan emphasizes community aspects and since everyone eats dinner at the same time, Muslims often invite one another to share in the Ramadan evening meal.


"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
Oh, well..didn't even think of that.
Since statistically in prior years there hasn't been any increase in cases after Ramadan (due to the celebratory get togethers and crowded travel at the end)it is interesting that the local ptb are expressing such concern this year. I don't think they did in years past. Would it be they consider H2H spread more possible now? 

Always have a plan B.

[ Parent ]
How do you plan for a nightmare?
Businesses ponder how to operate in case of bird flu pandemic. When Patricia Buckley came to work on Monday, her company was in crisis mode. About 90 people were out sick or caring for family members - nearly half of the work force - so she and her team mobilized fast.

Just two weeks earlier, a global bird flu pandemic had struck several U.S. cities and swept quickly across the country, overwhelming emergency rooms. Nationwide, half of U.S. workers were ill or otherwise not at work. Full distribution of a vaccine was three months away.

Mail delivery was down to once a week. Two-hour rolling blackouts and brownouts were common as demand surged and repairs could not be made.

The supply of goods was falling, and some businesses had either closed or were being run from homes. And the crisis was hammering Buckley's company, Merchants Mutual Insurance Co., along with its customers and independent agents.
"If it gets a lot worse, it's going to get a lot worse throughout the entire United States," she said. "A disaster that affects only our company, we're very confident in our ability to recover. This is far-reaching. It's making us think." Wait. Stop. Relax.

This scenario is just an emergency planning exercise. There's no pandemic and the avian flu hasn't spread in large numbers to humans.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


The Country's Financial Services Leaders Take Pandemic Threat Seriously
That's why more than 2,725 banks, insurers and brokerage firms around the country - including Merchants, M&T, Bank of America and Citi - are currently participating in a three week exercise aimed at testing disaster plans in the event of a pandemic. The test began Sept. 24, and ends Thursday.

The exercise - the largest ever of this type in the United States - is designed to simulate as best as possible the conditions that companies would face when the virus hits America. That's based on the estimates and predictions of scientists and medical researchers at Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

It's sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

At its core, the test expects about 25 percent of a company's staff to be absent the first week, and almost half the second.

It then presents a series of changing conditions affecting travel, the stock market, and other factors, and poses an array of specific worst-case scenarios to see whether the companies have a plan, and how they would respond.

It would be really interesting to know what estimates and predictions they are using - especially when they come from WHO and CDC, both of which have used very low-end worst case scenerios pretty consistently.

One thing you have to take note of is that these are over 2700 entities (it does not say how many employees) that make up the green eye-shade folk who are not known for their precipitousness or willingness to jump on the trend du jour.  Yet here they are doing a three week excercise that is the largest ever done.  What does that tell you about their assessment of both probability and severity?

Some of the issues have certainly appeared here before:

Many companies like M&T, Citi and KeyBank are considering whether employees can do work from home to avoid exposure, and are assessing whether they have enough Internet "bandwidth" to handle such an increase in Web traffic. Indeed, that's become a major question.

"It's such a great unknown," said M&T's Shaw. "We've never pushed the limit of the Internet to this point where we know what this would do to us."

KeyBank officials are looking at whether they could handle more activity through call centers, online banking, and ATMs, since many routine activities can be done remotely, said spokesman William Murschel.

Billittier said some banks have talked of closing branch lobbies to minimize physical contact.

And Citi is making sure its human resources policies consider "situations that we haven't thought of before," Gist said, such as the need for a single parent to stay home with children if schools are closed.

Or the need for that family to be able to survive on what it has at home or risk exposing its members to the virus?

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]
I wonder to what degree they take into account missed payments
from people too sick or dead to work and make payments on their credit card debt, mortgages or car loans?

If they were both wise and kind, they would have a plan to allow people to miss 3 payments during a pandemic wave without penalty. This would enable people to SIP without fear of economic consequences. In the long run, more would survive to begin working again when the bf wave passed, and thus resume making those payments.

Always have a plan B.

[ Parent ]
Most banks will likely be generous. Credit card companies?
Given even the existing climate, my guess is that most banks will extend every possible extension they can to avoid default and forclosure on mortgages.  (They already have enough of both and the price/value of their collateral (the house) is under some serious downward pressure.)

For those reasons, at least for mortgages, my guess is most banks and other mortgage holders will be generous.

On the other hand, credit card companies may not have the same incentives.  They may jump folks up to those loan-shark level of default rates (20-28%) they are so fond of and then collect (or try) later.  Of course, that may also be the time we finally take the torches and pitchforks after the credit card companies but that's another (non FW) discussion.

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]
IRAN - No 'bird flu' found in north Iran
Hat-tip, AlaskaDenise!

No 'bird flu' found in north Iran
Fri, 05 Oct 2007 15:11:49

Photo caption: Official rejects bird flu case in North Iran

Iran's Veterinary Organization chief says that no acute 'bird flu' sample has been registered in Mazandaran, northern Iran, so far.

"Iran has taken serious steps to prevent the bird flu outbreak," Veterinary Organization chief Mojtaba Norouzi said.

Iran's vet chief has shed light on the importance of education for preventing H5N1 virus infection, a virus which causes illness or eventual death.

Iran has scheduled a special program to train the medics and veterinarians and those who are in direct contact with the illness. The program which is an attempt to harness the disease also includes courses for public education.

Majority of Iranian cities are equipped with PRT- PCR laboratories used to diagnose the fatal respiratory disease.


Proud FAF-er.

Saying It is Not There Does Not Make It Go Away.
There seems to be a trend developing here. 

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]
Syria takes precautions against deadly disease
- "Syrian authorities have taken special precautions during the current season of birds migration against possible spillover of the deadly bird flu virus, an official said on Sunday.
Health Assistant Jamil Uwaiyed affirmed at the opening of a workshop on combating the bird flu disease that the authorities were taking all possible precautions against the disease considering the passing of many birds at this time of the year across Syrian air space.
These passing birds land on cultivated fields and water-rich areas while migrating across Syria..."


Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little- Edmund Burke

Dialy Kos-Pandemic Flu Preparation and the Role of Internet Communities
blog post by one of our own awesome mods, DemFromCT.

..."The only way to deal with a catastrophic natural disaster like a pandemic is to plan for it in advance. Natural disasters can not be stopped but they can be mitigated. That effort to do so is at the core of this paper. The preparations required are so vast that they exceed what any public health agency can do alone. Recognizing this, The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended two weeks of food and water  be  stockpiled by every American in the event that the projected 30-40% pandemic flu attack rate means that key deliveries and services are disrupted (easily done in our "just in time" economic system). In addition, recruitment from the virtual community that this paper represents (see below) for ideas about, and support of, personal preparation efforts is an ongoing and integral effort by HHS, crystallized by the Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog, an  effort to increase dialogue amongst community leaders about this important issue. From the Leadership Blog :

  That's where the grassroots approach comes in. A vibrant and engaged  community of concerned citizens has developed over time in various places online, such as the Flu Wiki and the Pandemic Flu Information Forum. On their own, they have come together to share news and preparedness tips, and many participants have tasked themselves with educating their community leaders and neighbors.

The internet has become a commonly used tool for political discourse , discussion and opinion. The rapid response and interaction have become trademarks of a 'Web 2.0 approach' ,  meaning that the interactivity of the reader and author is integral to the process of dialog and information exchange. One of the most interactive of the social software tools available is the wiki . While it is now in 2007 a common enough application of social software , the use of  wikis to advance public health goals was unique in 2005

As a front page author and contributing editor at the Daily Kos, writing under the pseudonym DemFromCT , I first wrote about the threat of an influenza pandemic in November , 2004 ,  just after the election.  In June of that year, the Flu Wiki  was launched. This was the brainchild of several bloggers, including myself, Melanie Mattson from Just A Bump in the Beltway , and the Reveres from Effect Measure , all of whom felt that there was not enough information currently available on the internet to help in influenza pandemic preparation. We felt that if a clearinghouse for pandemic planning could be established, and the collective wisdom of the public could be harnessed, planning for a catastrophic pandemic event could be enhanced. Since much of the planning would be beyond that of traditional public health services, the public's experience would be needed for everything from trash collection to water resources to advice about law enforcement, ethics and economic impact.

From the humble beginnings of a simple collection of pandemic plans from around the world ,  the Flu Wiki has grown to include a conversation community using blog software , as well as the 'wiki proper'. Since its inception in June of 2005, the Flu Wiki web sites have had 2.5 million unique visitors, and over 12.5 million page views, representing an unusually robust reading experience online (many websites, including Daily Kos, average 2 page views per visit). At the height of pandemic influenza media interest, in September 2005 (coinciding with the release of the White House's National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza ), the traffic to Flu Wiki was equal to that of the Department of Health and Human Services' official site, pandemicflu.gov.

Currently, the Flu Wiki community prepares for the possibility of a flu pandemic at the individual and community level by sharing information,  resources, ideas and materials generated from within the community and collected from around the world. In doing so, we assist public health authorities by reaching a public that officials would otherwise have difficulty reaching..."

more... http://www.dailykos....

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little- Edmund Burke

Daily Kos, not Dialy:-)
- I either need more coffee or more brain cells
maybe both:-)

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little- Edmund Burke

[ Parent ]
You expected us to notice? I'd need a vat of coffee to be that alert ;-) n/t

[ Parent ]
LOL and thanks:-)

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little- Edmund Burke

[ Parent ]
thank you
This is an attempt to reach a wider community. I've posted the last 3 Sundays, and interestingly many of the commenters are disaster managers

[ Parent ]
Great piece, Dem!
and interestingly many of the commenters are disaster managers

Well, one by one, sector by sector, they're going to come on board.  That's what I think is happening.  We've (the online community) created the perfect space for more interaction between different sectors.  I know they plan together etc, but there's a difference in just doing stuff at work, and personally being connected to others and exchanging ideas.

Keep up the good work!  And thank you.

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

[ Parent ]
crawford kilian covers it here
with interesting commentary.


[ Parent ]
you're welcome
The more people that can be reached the better.

Excellent work as usual.

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little- Edmund Burke

[ Parent ]
S'pore - To build a top public hospital, ...
To build a top public hospital, take 11 entrepreneurs and stir

New Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun will have its own board - business leaders given free rein to innovate, says Health Minister
By Lee Hui Chieh 

A HIGH-POWERED board and a mandate to 'think out of the box' - such is the good start the new Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is getting even before its buildings are up.
Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Sunday he wants the hospital, in Yishun, to defy convention and try new ideas to benefit patients.

For a start, the hospital's board of directors include private sector veterans like Ms Jennie Chua, 63, president and chief executive officer of the Ascott Group, which operates service apartments.

Also, it will be the only public hospital to have its own board of directors, who will be given free rein to test their ideas.


He said his ministry will give the new hospital's board flexibility to 'think out of the box' and 'stretch the boundaries and try what may sometimes look to be crazy ideas'.

more (and comments): http://www.straitsti...


I sure can think of a few ideas out of the box for these pioneering spirits!

Let me be blind to wicked text, deaf to wicked words, mute to wicked comments.

8 Residents Sumut Suspected AI
8 Residents Sumut Suspected AI

(It says they entered at different times. Makes me think they went in on their own accord.  Full Story at the Indo Diary).

Monday, 08/10/07
Medan - Eight residents Regency Deliserdang Sumut indicated suspect bird flu (avian influenza/AI). Eight residents now add to list cases AI in Sumut.

When these eight residents aforementioned to be looked after intensive in isolation Rumah Sakit Umum Pusat (RSUP) Haji Adam Malik, Medan. From eight people that are to be looked after, seven among them residents Dusun 6 Desa Telaga 7, Kec. Labuhan, Kab Deliserdang.

They are MR (7); SU (3); SUK (52); S (43); HEN (15); SUR (23) and WA (46). One more is resident Pasar VIII Kel Tembung, Kec Percut Sei sir, who has the initials SI (42). Representative Director servicing Medical and Education RSUP Haji Adam Malik Medan Dr M Nur Rasyid Lubis said eight patients aforementioned enter in time which different.

I am not like other birds of prey....

This does not sound good.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


[ Parent ]
This sounds even worse
after just reading the two articles you posted this evening on the Indo site concerning the 23 suspect cases in August in Riau. Good job Commonground on finding all the information for us. Thank you!

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


[ Parent ]

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