Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dr. Kiselyov sells a bridge in Brooklyn

There are people you have so much confidence in that when they say, "Don't worry" you start to relax.

And then there is Oleg Kiselyov, the director of the influenza research institute of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. Last Wednesday he said H5N1 wouldn't pose a threat to Russian citizens for at least another two years (Itar-Tass News Agency). But his track record as a flu prognosticator isn't exactly sterling (see previous post here). Some Kiselyov gems from late August:
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."(Eircomnet)
And via Interfax (again August):
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.
Maybe things are different now. Here's a second opinion:
MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian scientist warned Wednesday that slaughtering domestic fowl with avian flu might not prevent the disease from reappearing in the future.

Anatoly Smirnov, director of the Research Institute on Veterinary Sanitation, Hygiene and Environment, said the virus could remain in the yards where infected fowl had been kept.

He also said some farmers kept slaughtered domestic birds in their freezers.

"They could well send them to their children living in town," Smirnov said, adding the virus lived 447 days in frozen birds, 300 days in eggs and 240 days in chicken plume in indoor temperatures.

This warning echoes forecasts of new bird flu outbreaks in Russia next spring made by Dmitry Lvov, the head of the Virology Institute of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

Lvov said bodies of water near nesting sites and bird migration routes could be infected with the flu.
He said infected water bodies were like "delay action mines" that could explode when healthy birds returned.
I guess Dr. Kiselyov thinks the delayed action fuse is set for two years.

As of November 22 there were five bird flu infected areas in Russia.

Paging Dr. Kiselyov, paging Dr. Kiselyov.