Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"I've looked at flu from both sides now . . . " (hum along)

No problem with bird flu in Russia? Big problem with bird flu in Russia? Take your pick:

No Problem

Reuters: Russian bird flu epidemic to fade soon -WHO
A bird flu epidemic in Russia is subsiding and should disappear by late August, a World Health Organisation official said on Tuesday.


"Things are quietening down. The (epidemic) will vanish in 10-15 days," Oleg Kiselyov, head of a research institute operating under the WHO's auspices, told reporters in Russia's second city of St Petersburg.

"It won't spread further because of changing weather conditions. It's never warm enough in Siberia in late August."
Interfax, Russian News Agency: Bird flu epidemic in Russia to end in 10-15 days
A senior World Health Organization official said the bird flu epidemic in Russia will "die
down completely in 10 to 15 days," and that bird flu vaccine for humans will start being tested in September and might come into use in October.

"Anti-epidemic measures have localized the [bird flu] outbreak," and recent weather changes will help localize the disease, Oleg Kiselyov, head of the WHO National Influenza Center, told a news conference in St. Petersburg.

"The vaccine and strain have been handed over under an agreement to Mikrogen - this is a state consortium for the manufacture of vaccines," he said.

"In September we will start testing the vaccine on 20 volunteers," Kiselyov said.
Big Problem

Reuters again: Russian bird flu outbreak yet to be contained
A bird flu epidemic in Russia's Siberia could be spreading to new regions and there are no immediate signs that the outbreak has been contained, emergency and health officials said on Tuesday.

"The (epidemic) is being localised. Its spread is currently limited to five regions, but that does not mean that birds could not be dying somewhere else," said Gennady Onishchenko, Russia's chief epidemiologist.

"We would've been drinking champagne by now if it had been pinned down," he was quoted by Interfax news agency in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.


In a sign the outbreak had yet to be contained, Russian officials said on Monday the virus may have spread to two more districts of the Kurgan region in Siberia where bird flu was confirmed in wildfowl last week.

There was no word on Tuesday on the situation in other affected Russian regions -- including Altai, Omsk and Tyumen -- and the adjacent areas of Central Asia's Kazakhstan.
Interfax again: Humans may contract bird flu in 3 Siberian regions - official
NOVOSIBIRSK. Aug 9 (Interfax-Siberia) - Three regions in Siberia - Novosibirsk and Omsk regions and the Altai territory - are in pandemic phase two with regard to bird flu. This means that there is a high probability that humans may contract the disease, head of Rospotrebnadzor consumers' rights oversight authority Gennady Onishchenko told a conference in Novosibirsk on Tuesday.

"There is every indication in Novosibirsk and Omsk regions and the Altai territory that they are in interpandemic phase two, according to the classification of the World Health Organization," he said.
Onishchenko said that the phase means the absence of registered cases of sickness in humans but a sufficient probability that the virus circulating among birds may cause such a sickness.
Tie Breaker or Tie Maker?

Agence France Presse: Bird flu found in Siberia
August 09, 2005. RUSSIA'S chief sanitary doctor said overnight that bird flu of the H5N1 strain that can be transmitted to humans had been found in three Siberian regions, with sickness also observed among birds in two other Siberian regions.

"There is every reason to believe that... the H5N1 strain of bird flu has been transferred by wild birds from Southeast Asia to the three above-mentioned areas," RIA-Novosti quoted Gennady Onishchenko as saying, referring to the Siberian regions of Novosibirsk, Altai and Omsk.
"The sub-type circulating among animals can reasonably be expected to cause sickness among humans," Onishchenko said.


"It is not spreading and will disappear when weather conditions change," said Oleg Kiselyov, head of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences's flu institute at a press conference in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

"There are absolutely no cases of contamination of people in Russia and if there have been no cases so far that means there will not be any," Kiselyov said.
The Envelope Please . . .
  • Two contradictory reports from Reuters.
  • Two contradictory reports from Interfax.
  • One self-contradictory report from AFP.
AFP gets the efficiency award.