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Pandemic Bird Flu Preparedness - Too Little Too Late?

Recombinomics Commentary
January 11, 2005

>> Due to the possibility of the outbreak of flu pandemic, Onishchenko ordered to set up committees in all regions to coordinate actions to rebuff the lethal infection. He also recommended to reserve hospital beds for possible victims.
The sanitary chief also ordered to tighten control over poultry farms. The document underlined that a number of countries had reported a higher mortality rate among people who had contacts with infected birds. For example, in Thailand and Vietnam, it reached 70 percent, which shows "a change in the biological properties of bird viruses toward stronger pathogenicity for humans." <<

A pandemic bird flu with efficienct human to human transmission and a case fatality rate approaching 70% would kill many more than the 2-7 million best case estimate of WHO.  Such a lethal combination could even surpass the WHO's worst case scenario of 100 million, since they have estimated that 1/4 to 1/2 of the world's population could be infected.

The current case fatality rate for the H5N1 avian influenza infections in Vietnam may be even higher than last season's 70% because thus far none of the confirmed or suspect cases have recovered this season.

The situation in the Philippines is confusing.  Initially diagnosed as meningococcemia, the easily transmissible disease has generated a case fatality rate of 58%, which is close to the H5N1 rate for last season in Vietnam and Thailand for both official confirmed cases as well as unofficial confirmed cases.

The infectious agent in and around Baguio City in The Philippines is serious because the organism has combined a high case fatality ratio with efficient human to human transmission. 

If this is not quickly contained, the pandemic flu preparedness being discussed by many nations may be too little, too late.

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