The BBC reports:
A French woman who recently returned from Turkey is being tested in a Montpellier hospital for possible bird flu, the health ministry has announced.
A first test was negative, but the results of further examinations are due later on Sunday, the ministry said.
I have been raving about the Wall Street Journal Avian Flu New Tracker, but the BBC has been providing outstanding updates as well. The BBC also provides a helpful In Depth look (take advantage of the RSS feeds).
[S]ome of the early measures basically are to shut down transportation systems, close schools and public meeting places . . . in order to minimize the possibility of transmission . . . . So there are things clearly that would have significant economic consequences were there to be such a pandemic.
Developing an effective vaccine and the capacity to manufacture it in sufficient quantities must form the centerpiece of our preparations.
I cannot disagree, but what do we do until then?
Businesses need to develop contingency plans immediately that will allow–and encourage–their employees to work from home.
What’s most important is for disaster recovery specialists within companies to take a hard look at the national pandemic plan and form a corporate response. . . . And it is absolutely essential for businesses–especially multinational corporations–to meet with their local and state health departments and begin a dialogue. Too often there is a disconnect between private business and public health departments, and we need to bridge that gap as soon as possible so we are prepared if and when the pandemic strikes.
Hugh also highlights two interesting pieces regarding the mutation of H5N1 to a form which enables human to human transmission. Effect Measure provides the science and notes a recent article in the journal Nature which conveys this bad news:
Scientists studying virus samples from the human outbreak of avian flu in Turkey have identified three mutations in the virus’s sequence. They say that at least two of these look likely to make the virus better adapted to humans.
We should all be asking our local officials and companies what their plans are.
How will they keep water, sewage, electricity and natural gas flowing?
Avian Flu Update XIII
Avian Flu Update XII
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Avian Flu Update X
Avian Flu Update IX
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Avian Flu Update VI
Avian Flu Update V
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Avian Flu Update III
Avian Flu Update II
Avian Flu Update
Avian Bird Flu Pandemic