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It's stories like this that keep me up at night

This morning, I was scanning my inbox, and happened upon a proMED email that had lodged itself in my SPAM filter.  It was from yesterday and concerned a suspected H5N1 bird flu infection in Vietnam.

From the proMED report:

The deputy director of the Department of Preventive Health in the central province of Ha Tinh, Nguyen Luong Tam, confirmed on 26 Jul 2009 that a 30-year-old man died of bird flu at the General Hospital.

The man had been rushed to hospital the previous day with pneumonia, high fever, headache, muscular and joint pain, cough, breathing difficulty, and vomiting. Doctors diagnosed him as having avian influenza and isolated him. They found his lung to be seriously damaged. He died on 26 Jul 2009. Health workers later found diseased poultry at the man's house. He also had contact with a female relative, a teacher at Ngo Thoi Nhiem private High School in District 9, where 73 students and 5 teachers have contracted swine flu [that is, influenza pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection]. (bold mine)

So there we have it:  The first reported instance where H5N1 bird flu is in very close physical proximity with H1N1 swine flu.  A dead man with confirmed H5N1 had contact with a female relative, a teacher at a school that itself is overrun with swine H1N1v.

It is precisely this type of elbow-rubbing between H5N1 and H1N1v that has everyone from Atlanta to Memphis to Geneva to Tokyo very, very alarmed.  You can bet the WHO has Boots On The Ground in that district as we speak.  Ditto the Vietnamese government, which does the best it can do to quell bird flu (among other things, to be sure).

It is only a matter of time before we get similar stories out of Indonesia, Egypt and China.

Reader Comments (7)

I can understand how dangerous it is for people that don't have proper lung capacity or an "underlying condition." That's bad enough. But what keeps me awake are the stories of healthy people dying within days. That bothers me a lot. Especially when the doctor says, stay home and rest. They did and they died.

Don't mind me. Just freaking out a little bit.
A lot.

July 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphytosleuth

alarming yes. one can only hope the report is inaccurate.

July 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphoenix

Lieb,J."The immunostimulating and antimicrobial properties of lithium and antidepressants." J Infection(2004)49 88-93
The eighth of nine reviews I have published since 1981. Immunostimulation, propagandized as unavailable, has been available for 28 years, but suppressed by the infectious disorders cartel. Let me know should you wish to correspond.


July 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulian Lieb,M.D

Well. Chances are things will be OK.

It seems that catastrophes of whatever sort follow a power law in terms of frequency and severity. Minor events are more common than major (earthquakes fit this pattern, asteroid strikes, and perhaps pandemics). The problem is that impacts of big problems are nonlinear, so that a really major pandemic, even though it may be 10X less likely than a "moderate" pandemic, may be 100X as disruptive.

All of this makes my head spin in terms of what it means for policy and managing risks.

July 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNarmer

I also am keep up nights because i have been waiting for just this type story.I read this story.Than read one that said it was not H5N1 or H1N1.Than read a retraction that said they had tested negative.Than a story that said birds were dead and to late to back.So here are two more with numbers track.http://pandemicinformationnews.blogspot.com/2009/07/rwanda-fao-warns-on-regional-presence.html http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php?issue=13971&article=18069

July 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRufree

If that keeps you up, Scott, check this out.


The San Paolo sequence change.
Added another remnant of 1918.

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy in Nerstrand, MN

How about being on a plane heading to South America only to have someone on the plane die? while also taking tamiflu? I think this would keep most awake or maybe its all dream

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrady

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