Friday, January 04, 2008

Health leaders discuss avian, pandemic flu in India

Avian flu and pandemic flu are both issues of high concern to countries around the world, but the degree to which nations are prepared varies widely, according to discussions at a recent international conference in India.

During the New Delhi International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, held Dec. 2-4, speakers noted that some countries are prepared and have supplies if a pandemic occurs. However, many countries are already having trouble dealing with birds that have avian influenza. Other countries need help learning about influenza and how to better protect people and animals. Poverty remains an important barrier to progress on avian flu, noted Margaret Chan, MD, director-general of the World Health Organization, during her meeting remarks.

"The countries with recurring epidemics in poultry and recurring sporadic human cases are largely poor countries," Chan said. "Wealthy countries have been able to contain poultry outbreaks fairly quickly. Not a single human case has occurred in a wealthy country."

To help less wealthy countries prepare for a pandemic, nine countries pledged more than $400 million in aid during the conference.

While avian flu and pandemic flu are similar, in many ways the two are separate problems, according to conference participants. About 750 people from 11 nations attended the conference. Countries need to work to address avian influenza, which is already a problem around the world, but also prepare for pandemic influenza, which could develop at any time. Conference participants encouraged governments to continue working together, share information on viruses and stay alert.

"Avian influenza...is today a global threat and we must all work together to find a global solution," said Manmohan Singh, India's prime minister. "Each of our governments will have to act locally, but think globally in dealing with this massive problem."

2 comments:

Dipl.-Ing. Wilfried Soddemann said...

H5N1 avian flu: Spread by drinking water

There is a widespread link between avian flu and water, e.g. in Egypt to the Nile delta or Indonesia to residential districts of less prosperous humans with backyard flocks and without central water supply as in Vietnam: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no12/06-0829.htm. See also the WHO webside: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/emerging/h5n1background.pdf and http://www.umwelt-medizin-gesellschaft.de/ abstract in English “Influenza: Initial introduction of influenza viruses to the population via abiotic water supply versus biotic human viral respirated droplet shedding” and http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473309907700294/abstract?iseop=true “Transmission of influenza A in human beings”.
Avian flu infections may increase in consequence to increase of virus circulation. Transmission of avian flu by direct contact to infected poultry is an unproved assumption from the WHO. Infected poultry can everywhere contaminate the drinking water. All humans have contact to drinking water. Special in cases of decentral water supplies this pathway can explain small cluster in households. In hot climates/tropics the flood-related influenza is typical after extreme weather and natural after floods. Virulence of Influenza virus depends on temperature and time. If young and fresh H5N1 contaminated water from low local wells, cisterns, tanks, rain barrels or rice fields is used for water supply water temperature for infection may be higher (24°C: virulence of influenza viruses 2 days) as in temperate climates with older water from central water supplies (7°C: virulence of influenza viruses 14 days).
Human to human and contact transmission of influenza occur - but are overvalued immense. In the course of influenza epidemics in Germany, recognized cluster are rare, accounting for just 9 percent of cases in the 2005 season. In temperate climates the lethal H5N1 virus will be transferred to humans via cold drinking water, as with the birds in February and March 2006, strong seasonal at the time when drinking water has its temperature minimum.
Recent research must cause concern: So far the virus has had to reach the bronchi and the lungs to infect humans. Now it infects the upper respiratory system (the mucous membranes of the throat such as through drinking, and the mucous membranes of the nose and probably also the conjunctival of the eyes as well as the eardrum, such as through showering). In a few cases (Vietnam, Thailand) the stomach and intestines were stricken by the H5N1 virus but not the bronchi and the lungs. The virus might been orally taken, such as through drinking contaminated water.
The performance to eliminate viruses from the drinking water processing plants in Germany regularly does not meet the requirements of the WHO and the USA/USEPA. Conventional disinfection procedures are poor, because microorganisms in the water are not in suspension, but embedded in particles. Even ground water used for drinking water is not free from viruses.
In temperate climates strong seasonal waterborne infections like the norovirus, rotavirus, salmonella, campylobacter and - differing from the usual dogma - influenza are mainly triggered by drinking water, dependent on the water's temperature (in Germany it is at a minimum in February and March and at a maximum in August). There is no evidence that influenza primarily is transmitted by saliva droplets. In temperate climates the strong interdependence between influenza infections and environmental temperatures can't be explained by the primary biotic transmission by saliva droplets from human to human at temperatures of 37.5°C. There must be an abiotic vehicle like cold drinking water. There is no other appropriate abiotic vehicle. In Germany about 98 percent of inhabitants have a central public water supply with older and better protected water. Therefore, in Germany cold water is decisive to the virulence of viruses.
In hot climates and the tropics flood-related influenza is typical after extreme weather and natural after floods. The virulence of the influenza virus depends on temperature and time. If young and fresh H5N1 contaminated water from low local wells, cisterns, tanks, rain barrels or rice fields is used for water supply the water temperature for infection may be higher (at 24°C the virulence of influenza viruses amount to 2 days) as in temperate climates (for “older” water from central water supplies cold water is decisive to virulence of viruses: at 7°C the virulence of influenza viruses amount to 14 days).

Dipl.-Ing. Wilfried Soddemann - Free science journalist - soddemann-aachen@t-online.de - http://www.dugi-ev.de/information.html - Epidemiological Analysis: http://www.dugi-ev.de/TW_INFEKTIONEN_H5N1_20071019.pdf

Anonymous said...

Wilfried, you appear to be claiming that humans are involved in secondary transmission and that water is the key player here. I thought Pasteur killed the "spontaneous generation" idea. Where do these viruses in the water come from in the first place? All viruses need a living host in order to replicate; they don't replicate in the water. In addition, all infectious agents have a minimum infectious dose. Do you know what they are for the diseases in question here when ingested? By the way what are your credentials in the fields of virology/microbiology? Where have you published your findings (I am talking scientific journals here and not blog comments boxes)? - A Virologist