Thursday, June 22, 2006

Influenza news

Some things I have noticed recently:

An editorial in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, by Kamran Abbasi, the editor, entitled "Bird flu: one dead swan, one billion items of information". This is on open access at He suggests that the "scare" includes an element of distrust created by the quality of information. There is a link to an article in the same issue by Liam Donaldson (which I have not read yet). I would hope that our avian and pandemic flu webpage is one way through all these items of information.

The Guardian recently carried an article by Joanna Blythman arguing that bird flu was caused by intensive farming, and not brought to farming by wild migrating birds. She points to research that suggests that the infection routes are closer to routes travelled by infected material from one farm to another, rather than routes taken by migrating birds. Read the article at,,1791954,00.html Later note: Science has reported a meeting in Rome that concluded that although wild birds do play a role in spreading avian flu, the main culprit is commercial poultry.

EurekAlert (a news service from the AAAS) reports that Blackwell is launching a new journal called Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, which is to be edited by Alan Hampson, a member of the WHO Pandemic Influenza Taskforce. Read their news piece at

Finally, Karl Nicholson of this University is involved in a human clinical trial of an influenza vaccine. There is more about this in the University's eBulletin.

I am always adding new links to our avian and pandemic influenza webpage, so please bookmark it if it is of interest.

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