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Tuesday, November 08, 2005 

More avian flu news

I've been trying not to concentrate on this too much (there *are* lots of other interesting topics in the news!), but there have been a few updates I'd like to address. One, Vietnam has had another death due to H5N1, bringing the total there to 42 known deaths from the virus. Two, Roche has suspended shipments of Tamiflu to China (as they did previously with the U.S.) Third,

In Geneva, experts at the first major international coordination meeting on bird flu said a human flu pandemic was inevitable and urged countries to draw up plans.

Six months ago, fewer than 40 countries had a pandemic flu plan, said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s director of epidemic and pandemic response. Now, 120 countries, or 60 percent of the WHO member states, have a plan, he said.

Hopefully US officials will be a bit more open to this than they have been in dealing with the U.N. A pandemic is, by definition, a worldwide event, and meeting to work out coordinated efforts across the globe is a great start. An article on the first day of the meeting can be found here.

Finally, Gina Kolata has an article in Today's NY Times regarding where the 1918 virus really came from, and whether we're looking in the wrong places for emergent avian viruses. Recommended reading.

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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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