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Thursday, October 20, 2005 

Update on avian influenza

New reports from Indonesia, Russia, and China, so I'm going to do them in one meta-post. (Hat tip to H5N1 for several of the links).

First, The Guardian has a nice cliff notes version of the infections, deaths, and other issues on a country-by-country basis here. One revelation about China I'd not seen yet:

The authorities revealed in August 2004 that the H5N1 virus had been found in pigs but denied claims that they had kept an outbreak of bid flu secret for over a year.

Yikes. You'd think they would have learned their lesson from SARS...

Note that the situation in China, Vietnam, and Russia are all new. In Russia, avian flu has been found in 2 additional Siberian villages (warning: commercial audio on that site) and 19 more are being investigated. In China, H5N1 is back as well. In Vietnam, more ducks are dead, but the report lists it currently as just an "influenza A" strain. All of the countries claim the outbreaks are local, and have taken measures to stem the spread.

Thailand also has a new death, a 48-year-old man who apparently cooked and ate an infected chicken. His son is currently ill with flu-like symptoms.

Finally, the UK appears to be planning an ambitious project: buying enough H5N1 vaccine to cover every citizen. Best of luck to 'em.


About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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