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News Reports for December 16

by: AlohaOR

Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 00:50:53 AM EST

New Stories for Today
  (Open this Diary to read more on these postings)

  • WHO praises swift bird flu reporting (Pakistan & Myanmar)
  • Pakistan - WHO bird flu experts to investigate if outbreak was spread through human contact
  • Pakistan - All eyes on Pakistan as H5N1 H2H transmission grows more probable
  • H5N1: Another country... (or two) heard from (DemFromCT on Daily Kos)
  • UK - Al-Qaida threat 'overemphasised', need more attention on other global issues such as bird flu
  • Saudi Arabia - Al Kharj residents voice concerns over proximity of poultry farms
  • Pakistan - Time line
  • USDA -  Biosecurity for the Birds Campaign
  • Saudi Arabia - Ostrich meat banned in Riyadh
Summary of News for December 15, 2007
•   CIDRAP: A bit of historical overview of H5N1 (Link)
•   Bird flu does not threaten Armenia (Link)
•   2,000 affected as Mai Po (nature reserve) closes on bird flu fears (Link)
•   Monitoring of pneumonia cases at hospitals (Link)
•   H5N1 in chickens (Link)
•   Trying to "gear up"? (Link)
•   Bird flu infects 5 people; cases rise (Link to Bloomberg story and link to update)
•   One dead, 6 infected with bird flu (Link to Reuters story)
•   6 Pakistanis infected, one fatally, with H5N1 bird flu, government says (Link to AP story)
•   Pakistan reports first avian flu in humans (Link to CTV/Helen Branswell story)
•   WHO update (Link)
•   Family cluster infected in Pakistan's 1st reported bird flu cases (Link)
•   Three more bird flu victims detected in NWFP (Link to Pakistani press story)
Saudi Arabia
•   New bird flu outbreak (Link)
AlohaOR :: News Reports for December 16
Usual disclaimer about may not have captured everything. Feel free to add your own 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 December 15

WHO-confirmed total cumulative human cases worldwide as of December 14, 2007: 340 cases with 208 deaths
2007 WHO-confirmed cases: 77 cases with 50 deaths

Link to most recent WHO report

Indonesia Summary - Updated as of 12/15/07

  2006 2007
Cases Discussed Jun-Dec  Jan-JunJul-SepOctNovDec Total
Died, no test results  24   19 3 2 3 0 27
Died, tested positive   18   23 7 3 0 2 35
Other tested positive   5   4 0 1 0 0 5
Symptoms, tests pending   146   346 33 20 10 2 411
Tested negative   99   173 19 16 5 1 214
Totals   292   565 62 42 18 5 692

Link to Current Indonesia Diary
Influenza Viruses Isolated by WHO/NREVSS Collaborating Laboratories (U.S.)
2007 - 2008 Season (most recent 8 weeks)
WeekA(H1) A(H3)A(Unk)BTotal # Tested% Positive
Data source:
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary

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 Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report
CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch
European CDC Influenza News
Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Wiki Main Page
Tags: , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

WHO praises swift bird flu reporting
HONG KONG (AFP) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Sunday praised Asian countries for swiftly reporting the latest bird flu cases after Pakistan and Myanmar were hit by a resurgence of the disease.

Asia-Pacific spokesman Peter Cordingley said prompt notification was helping keep the virus in check after Pakistan announced its first human death and Myanmar revealed its first human case.

"People have learned that hiding cases just makes things worse," Cordingley told AFP.

This month China, which has previously been accused of withholding information, reported its 27th bird flu death and Indonesia, the worst hit country, reached 93.

Outbreaks have also been reported among poultry in Germany and Russia as bird flu, which has killed more than 200 people worldwide since late 2003, re-emerges.

Cordingley warned bird flu was likely to become more prevalent with the onset of the northern hemisphere winter.

"At this time of year, we do expect the virus to be more active in poultry and humans," said Cordingley, who is based in Manila."In the same way that you and I are picking up flus, so will birds." Continued... http://afp.google.com/article/...

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


WHO bird flu experts to investigate
if Pakistan outbreak was spread through human contact
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: International health experts have been dispatched to Pakistan to help investigate the cause of South Asia's first outbreak of bird flu in people and determine if the virus could have been transmitted through human contact, officials said Sunday.

Four brothers - two of whom died - and two cousins from Abbotabad, a small city about 30 miles north of Islamabad, were suspected of being infected by the H5N1 virus, said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl in Geneva. A man and his niece from the same area who had slaughtered chickens were also suspected of having the virus.

Another person in a separate case who slaughtered poultry in nearby Mansehra, 15 miles away, also tested positive for the disease, he said.

Details surrounding the cases remained confusing, with Pakistan's Health Ministry issuing a statement Saturday saying six people had initially tested positive for the virus last month, while the WHO said eight had been reported. Hartl said the discrepancy was likely linked to a technicality since six patients had tested positive using an internationally recommended method while a less reliable test was used on the others.

Specimens were never collected from one of the brothers who died, and many of those who tested positive experienced only mild symptoms and were not hospitalized, Hartl said.

He added a team of WHO experts have been sent to Pakistan to help determine the cause. He said all four brothers were believed to have worked on a farm and poultry outbreaks had earlier been reported in the area. But one brothers, Mohammed Tariq, said only one sibling worked on the farm.

Hartl said WHO has not ruled out limited human-to-human transmission. "We can't answer that yet," he said. "It's possible." Continued... http://www.iht.com/articles/ap...

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


All eyes on Pakistan
as H5N1 H2H transmission grows more probable

The confused jumble of media and medical reports coming out of Mansera, Pakistan is beginning to stabilize.  With that stabilization, we are beginning to get a picture of activity that is much more serious than originally assumed.
First, massive tips of the cap: The Flusites are absolutely nuclear with activity on this topic right now, with Flu Wiki and Flutrackers leading the way. Dr. Henry Niman at recombinomics.com is doing his usual excellent job of sorting through the maze and reading between the lines.  Plus, all the A-list flubloggers -- Mike Coston, Crawford Kilian, SophiaZoe and others (just a click away via this site) -- are maintaining excellent lines of communication.

Distilled from all these sites and opinions and translations, here is what apparently has happened:

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


a teachable moment - if it is happening or about to happen - how do we make the most of it?
we can't be sure it's happening - how do we make the most of it?

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
can't be sure but have to press on
IMVHO, we make the most of it by not being afraid thinking "what if we are wrong". That thinking just keeps us mired in inaction when dealing with the public. I guess it comes down to how confident you are in your own message.

The more people who speak up now the less we will be denied. But, for me, the toughest part is "taking it to the public". It is much easier holding a stakeholder meeting with a captive audience than being a street prophet of doom...just my 2c.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
I'm sending a link to the McPherson summary to local, county and state officials as well as the Board of Education.
That along with my usual recommendation for community based and school based prepping and planning. Hopefully the new clusters will get their attention.

Always have a plan B.

[ Parent ]
And the great piece from Dem from CT in daily kos, just posted below by bird dog...great summary source! n/t

Always have a plan B.

[ Parent ]
just so you are aware
the McPherson summary does make some pretty big leaps in interpretation.

It is not at all clear that the brother who returned to the US was the same brother who was supposed to have been tested positive in Pakistan.  It looks like it could be a different brother.

The implications are enormous here, and I would recommend for your benefit to err on the side of caution in sending them out to those who know very little about the nuances and difficulties of case tracking.

Credibility is hard to build up and easy to lose, especially with skeptics.

Just my 2 cents, for your benefit.  ;-)

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

[ Parent ]
McPherson summary
Hey there.  The first reports coming out of Pakistan were sketchy.  I attributed this to the "fog of war" jumble that accompanied the initial press reports.  There were a few press accounts that initially identified the "fourth brother" as being H5N1-positive when in Pakistan but negative when he arrived home in the US.  Some of those reports also mentioned the CDC waiting for the "fourth brother" on the tarmac on Long Island.

Better news reporting now discloses that the US brother apparently never tested positive.  If true, he would be the only one in the family who did not test positive (of the brothers tested).  Only Brother D's comment to his physician set the alarms off in Atlanta.  Of course, CDC was not aware of the Pakistan situation until D was back in the USA.  You don't know what you don't know.  And I don't think any of us knew of the existence of a "fifth brother" until the photos of the two survivors came out in today's global news and the two brothers spoke out. Doing the math, we all said:  Two dead brothers + two surviving brothers in photo + one US live brother = five brothers.

Still, all in all, it is amazing that we are getting these stories in some semblance of real-time, considering where this location is.  I think now we are getting much more solid info from various sources.  I totally agree that we need to tread more quietly on the numbers of infected until NAMRU-3 completes testing and analysis.  For example, I have been reluctant to go into any real detail regarding the presence of a "third cluster" until we could be sure it was not an amalgam of the other two clusters.  Now, we need to see just how many people tested positive.  

[ Parent ]
yep, I agree on the fog of war
and that there was a bit of uncertainty as to how many brothers we were talking about.  The problem, as far as I'm concerned, is that there is often a need to take what sketchy information we have, and still make some tentative assessment, but bearing in mind the whole time the uncertainties.  

Where my original concern in my above remark laid was with sending it out to those who are less clued up to the nuances and uncertainties, and representing it to any degree of certainty.  THAT is where the biggest danger lies, cos once your (not yours in particular, but for everyone in general) credibility is damaged, good luck trying to get anyone to listen to you after that!

Another caveat, for those who are not familiar with the background, Arabic names have complex constructions which are often shortened in various ways that do not necessarily reflect their relationship to a family name in the western convention, and mistaken identity is frequent.  Something to keep in mind for future reference.

Here's a good explanation from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

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

[ Parent ]
MUCH agreed on the cred issue.  People need to be careful moving blog posts and forum discussions as gospel, no matter how hard we try to make sense of the issue.  Those at the policy level will dismiss well-intentioned people and, I believe, look for fodder sometimes to dismiss all of us.

If those decision-makers performed a quarter of the surveillance that the bloggers and posters did, we would be much better off, much further along in panflu preps and have far greater confidence in our leaders.  Note the NY Times' tip o' the cap to webfluland in today's article.  Nicely done by the Times, and if anything it built our collective credibility as able to distill information from disparate sources and come up with something that is resembling, I would guess, about 85% accuracy.

I enjoy your work very much, by the way, and the work of Greg and the Wiki.

[ Parent ]
ggod points
our question of your material was to separate "hard fact" from "seems like a fact", not as a criticism.

Your answering points are well taken.

[ Parent ]
you might enjoy this, which salutes us both. ;-)


[ Parent ]
Pakistan: the waiting game
Effect Measure- Since this is not a breaking news site, I am waiting to see what is going on in Pakistan. I'll likely sum up tomorrow afternoon what I find by then (I hope with some value added). Here are some places you can keep checking for breaking news. They are the usual suspects:

Helen Branswell's reports (natch). Latest here.
Flu Wiki Forum
Crof's Blog
Avian Flu Diary
Scott McPherson
Sophia Zoe
Flu Trackers

There are plenty of others, most accessible from one of the above sites. I'll be checking along with you.
Go here for links to the above listed sites: http://scienceblogs.com/effect...

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


H5N1 : Another Country...
(Or Two) Heard From

as linked from NewsNow


Oh, and 'thanks' Dem (as always) n/t

[ Parent ]
meant for a general audience
and featuring the Flu Wiki Forum players. ;-P

[ Parent ]
it's a great post
thank you for keeping up the attention towards this.  We need it!

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

[ Parent ]
for our UK members

Al-Qaida threat 'overemphasised'
Sunday, 16 Dec 2007 11:25

  The UK's outgoing intelligence chief says the threat of global warming is just as pressing

   The former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee has warned of the danger of overemphasising the threat posed by al-Qaida to the country.

   The Observer reports that Sir Richard Mottram, who recently stepped down as the head of Intelligence Security and Resilience, the group that advises the prime minister on dealing with emergencies, will say that the risks posed by global warming and increasing globalisation are just as pressing.

   Mr Mottram is expected to tell an audience at a lecture at think tank Demos' headquarters on Tuesday that an excessive fear of terrorism could divert attention from other important issues and result in harmful effects such as alienating our own communities, according to the paper.

   During his speech he is expected to call for greater public involvement in dealing with emergencies and for greater attention on other global issues such as the spread of diseases such as bird flu, poverty, rogue states and nuclear proliferation.

your link didn't work for me...
here's another one that did.

[ Parent ]
SAUDI ARABIA - Al Kharj residents voice concerns over proximity of poultry farms
Al Kharj residents voice concern about the health risks -- including bird flu -- of having poultry farms in/near their residential areas.  They want the poultry farms moved.

Google-translated from Arabic:

They injured children asthma, sensitive and voiced fears (avian influenza)
Prime residents Center Alrvaya Bakherj CALL dimensions projects poultry from their homes

Dec 16, 2007

The number of the population Alrvaya talk of the "Riyadh"

Al-Kharj - achieving and photography - Rahman Almkrn:

The effects of the spread of avian influenza significantly Al-Kharj Governorate panicking people, particularly near population centers of these projects infected Doajnha this serious disease such as Alrvaya, where many people contacted the office "Riyadh" Bakherj to lift the suffering and fear of this disease, which has struck poultry projects Balrvaya, where this project is not separated from homes only 3 - 4 kilometers, "Where we go, and not only that obese raise us to God and then to the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Royal Highness Crown custody of the Secretary God save them, who are the poorest of the interests of the health of citizens.

She met "Riyadh", the President of the Center Alrvaya Bakherj and a number of citizens who spoke about his country Alrvaya damage and diseases they suffer from the presence of poultry projects and some factories near residential homes and said n these projects caused us in many diseases, and our children, as many of our children are living with asthma disease conjunctivitis, sensitivities and other diseases because of the presence of these projects and factories emitting perfume smells.

In the beginning, the president Alrvaya governorate of Al-Kharj Center Professor Mohammed bin Khalid Alamaj said that the presence of poultry project located in Alrvaya caused us many problems and damages, which proliferated insects and mosquitoes, perfume smells emitted from the project and caused us and our children, many of the diseases, such as asthma and sensitivities.  He submitted numerous complaints to officials, but not in that order something, as we have addressed dimensions draft poultry us is standing still and call so especially after he contracted the bird flu, where we raised our speech to maintain output, which in turn sent a letter to the branch of the Ministry of Agriculture Bakherj, But the matter has not been anything so far and the project was contracted avian influenza and executed, and officials hope the dimensions of the people Alrvaya especially that the project had increased gravity after the emergence of this dangerous disease, as the project not far from his Alrvaya only 4 km.  Although the Minister of Agriculture stated that the draft poultry must be after 10 km from the regions and neighborhoods.

He said citizen Hamad Khalidi of the population Alrvaya Bakherj that the draft poultry disease avian influenza injured caused us in many diseases such as asthma and sensitivity and sediment in the chest, as well as insects such as mosquito proliferated and flies and other said that the project not far from his Alrvaya only 4 km, causing damage and problems Awaelna us and as well as for the elderly Balrvaya For this call, we call on the officials and the dimensions of the projects removed from its place and all private enterprises such as poultry farming project, which avoids the 4 kilometers and 900 and the project away 9 km and 400 m and the project was contracted avian influenza, which has recently been executed and buried near our homes, which is located east of Alrvaya away our close range and there bags fertilizer residues found in poultry within a large quantity of the project became perfume emits a continuous basis and the project away 5 km and 850 m and there is a new project set up at Hinniyah not far from Alrvaya only 9 km and 850 m and this new project call remove and not allow doing and dimensions of the housing and turned to the places and projects far Khalidi added that these projects take Balrvaya making them again of stagnant water and the focus of migratory birds and therefore call for their elimination even enjoy clean air and health also appeal to His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz Emir of Riyadh region, and His Royal Highness Prince Abdel Rahman bin Nasser bin Abdul-Aziz governor Al-Kharj action to remove these projects and Araanna and which caused us from disease and damage, especially after the emergence of the disease and its dimensions and our only return once again to this place near our homes.

He said citizen Masfar Bin Al-Qahtani Gevin I Alrvaya residents for more than 40 years and this project and other projects did not arise only from the early and caused many of the diseases and health problems for us, and especially perfume smells and disturbing caught up in our homes and in mosques, schools and added to our already the number of complaints and letters to the municipality of Al-Kharj province and the Ministry of Agriculture and the project remained in place until noon by the disease avian influenza serious and we fear transmission to our children and stated that the Ministry of Agriculture is that giving licenses for these projects does not heed regulations as the system confirms the establishment of such a

Project after 10 km from the suburbs and residential areas, we do not exclude us Alrvaya projects only 3 - 4 km not constitute a threat to our health from these projects and in its aftermath, and we Alrvaya surrounded these projects, which emit fragrances such annoying and harmful to human health and we saw the burial of chickens infected within projects , which cause us more disturbing how satisfied owners of these projects and some officials harm us to call remove and keep it away from the population center Alrvaya to places far from the dwellings.

He added that the Governorate of Al-Kharj already sent some factories located in Alrvaya which were closed down and some of them moved to a place away from the population center Alrvaya where some are only 2 km away and said that there were decisions issued by the ministries of Interior and of Municipal and Rural Affairs on the factories and projects near poultry residential areas on the population Alrvaya dimensions.

Speaking citizen Saad bin Hadi Al-Qahtani residents Alrvaya saying: that the draft poultry away from Alrvaya different distances and close to us and we at the Center for Alrvaya affected him the most damage, including damage caused to us and our children from diseases and asthma and other sensitivities and said that some citizens asthma sufferers wear respirators from this perfume and are reviewing the hospital every day because of this perfume smells and annoying, Al-Qahtani said that there are some factories and projects have been established next to poultry Alrvaya Al-Kharj Governorate and the increased number of complaints because of the damage caused, said that the licensed factories in industrial areas, but here his place inside the farms Balrvaya This causes many problems health and disease because they place next to residential neighborhoods and Balrvaya We have a number of stakeholders and many said that they had not granted permits, why not remove them and dimensions of us.


Proud FAF-er.

time line
OK, so I got parts from other sites, and it may not be completly correct.
If you know of more info or corrections- make corrections and repost here

Oct. 21-23... culling in Abbotadad.
Oct. 24... 40 people involved with culling tested.
Oct. 25... Ishtiaq D. in hospital, where two brothers visit him.
Oct. 27... first positives found (4 total).
Nov. 19... one brother dies.
Nov. 29... second brother dies.
Dec. 5... last confirmed case found by Pakistani PTB.
Dec. 7... CDC becomes aware of US brother who returned from Pakistan.
Dec. 12... Pakistan finally reports human cases to WHO.
Dec. 16... WHO arrives in Pakistan.

veterinarian, Dr. Ishtiaq Durrani recovered
brothers, Mohammad Ilyas Durrani died untested
Mohammad Owais died tested positive
Mohammed Tariq recovered
one  other brother returned to US (Nassau Country, New York) and tested negative, (his sone also negative)

Notice the time difference between the culling, hospital of vet and brother's (who attended him death).  Sure looks like it was H2H and not the brothers' contact with the same culled birds (notice the two that died worked in the ag department)

OK that is the best I can do for now- make corrections and let's keep a running update

Be Prepared

USDA - Biosecurity for the Birds Campaign
USDA Wants Chicken Farmers In Ark., Elsewhere To Take Precautions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants not only big poultry producers like Tyson Foods but also the small farmers and hobbyists to guard against the spread of disease among flocks.

The federal agency began sending free 2008 calendars this month as part of its Biosecurity for the Birds campaign. The calendars provide tips on keeping chicken flocks safe from avian influenza and exotic Newcastle disease.


Most importantly, the Agriculture Department says poultry owners should report sick birds. Symptoms of sick birds include nasal discharge and discoloration in the wattles.


Saudi Arabia: Ostrich Meat Banned in Riyadh
 Municipal officials in Riyadh have instructed poultry sellers and restaurants not to sell ostrich meat following the discovery of bird flu among ostriches a couple of days ago.

"Municipal inspectors are currently conducting raids on shops and dining outlets in Riyadh that sell ostrich birds and ostrich meat," said Suliman Hamad Al-Buthi, chief of the Environmental Health Department at the municipality....

...So far four million birds have been culled following 14 separate outbreaks of bird flu...


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

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