Effect Measure

Archives for August, 2006

Border state flu planning

The headline — U.S. border states preparing for pandemic flu threat — sounded weird, but this is about some good ideas. The weird part was expecting this was about hardening the borders to keep bird flu out. In fact, however, it is about something much more sensible: the clear understanding that this virus doesn’t care…

Wanted: leadership in public health

An excellent story from Bloomberg News by John Lauerman brings us up to date on an issue we raised yesterday concerning giving breaks on biologicals (like vaccines) to countries who deposit sequence data in publicly accessible databases like Genbank:

Important new initiative on sequences

A new initiative on sharing avian influenza data has just been announced, called the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID). This is the latest in a series of developments that have opened up influenza sequence data to the world scientific community to an unprecedented extent, a dawning recognition that the usual rules of…

H5N1 and animal health

If you confront other people who think bird flu has gone away as a concern or read news articles to that effect, consider this. In April of this year there were 45 countries reporting infections in their bird or poultry populations. Now, four months later, there are 55. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)…

CDC unfreezes US flu isolates

Good news from CDC. Yesterday they announced immediate public release of some 650 influenza gene sequences. The new openness is part of a collaboration with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL): Through the new collaboration, CDC expects to provide genetic information for several hundred influenza viruses per year as a way to encourage more…

Careful. Men Not Working.

Recently we posted about pending legislation that would have gutted hundreds of state and local food safety laws. The argument was that the federal government could do this more consistently and eliminate the confusion of a patchwork of different laws. The patchwork would be eliminated all right. And the replacement would be all one color:…

Flies

With all the talk about non avian reservoirs for H5N1, a little talk about flies might be in order, not because we think they are vectors for H5N1 (so far no evidence of that), but just because we like to talk about them. The subject came up recently in a New Zealand Medical Journal article…

Lung damage from air fresheners?

The “fresh air” smell of a lot of air fresheners is really the smell of pollution according to a paper from scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. That’s because 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB), found in air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, mothballs and various “deodorizing” products, also causes modest decreases in lung function.

Cluster in Indonesia still unresolved

We had hoped to have better information about the possible cluster of bird flu cases in remote West Java, but the situation remains murky and unresolved. Nothing especially reassuring has yet happened to ease the discomfort of health authorities regarding whatever is happening there, at any rate. Reporting by The Jakarta Post is typical:

Americans talk Turkey about evolution

Sometimes on Sunday I catch up on my backed up journal reading. High profile journals like Nature and Science are great except for one major defect: they come once a week, every week. They tend to pile up. So I browse them, looking for interesting articles or just satisfying my somewhat eclectic scientific interests. No…