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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

WHO's Controlling What?

What to our wondering eyes should appear? WHO:
Africa's most serious outbreak of the Ebola-like Marburg virus has been brought under control after killing more than 300 people, a senior World Health Organization official said Tuesday.

"The epidemic's peak has passed and the trend is very favorable," Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, told reporters.

However, WHO has warned that while the number of infections is tailing off, new cases are still emerging and any one of them could spark a new crisis.
So it's under control unless it isn't? As of May 26th they were reporting 399 cases, with 62 of those added in the previous 8 or 9 days. We'll see.

In the meantime, Recombinomics continues to chronicle the advance of H5N1 (bird flu). It is now in China, brought by migrating birds. After a big die-off among wild birds at a nature preserve, there appear to have been more than 100 human deaths in the area. China is saying nothing about the human deaths:
The continued blanket denials of human H5N1 cases will not dispell reports of deaths of 6 tourists and 121 others in 18 communities in Gangcha County in Qinghai Province. The reports on the deaths were quite specific, and included names of four of the tourists.

Government statements that there were no H5N1 human cases require test results on the patients with high fever and vomiting, especially those who died. The deaths of six tourists in the same location and at the same time as the over 1000 bird deaths, which have been confirmed to be H5N1 positive, create a high level of suspicion, as does the 121 other deaths.
China doesn't have a good record with infectious diseases like this. Think SARS. Indonesia has been added to the list of countries with widely spread H5N1 infection (mostly among the bird population). In 2004 India reported dead birds which tested positive for H5N1. How widely spread the disease is there is not clear. Recombinomics would like WHO to implement their new regulations and investigate the human deaths in China.

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