Effect Measure

The beach in Indonesia may look nice, but don’t let that distract you:

There is an English word for deliberately neglecting to tell people something they have asked you about. It’s called lying. On that basis, the Indonesian government, primarily in the person of their Minister of Health, Siti Fadillah Supari, are liars. They have publicly declared their intention to lie by announcing they will no longer notify the world promptly about new human cases of bird flu. The acknowledged motive is to improve the reputation of Indonesia in the eyes of the world. Currently the country is the world’s hotspot for human bird flu. Whether they announce new cases or not, it will continue to be the world’s hot spot for bird flu. And frankly, anyone who doesn’t absolutely have to travel there would be crazy to do so. I know there are some beautiful vacation spots in Indonesia, but there are beautiful vacation spots in lots of places. Why go somewhere where the government has announced its willingness to cover up a deadly danger that could take your life? As for investing there? Sure. If you want to lose everything when rumors sweep the world that bird flu is running amok there and no credible source is available to refute the stories. Because the Indonesian government is most definitely not a credible source.

Whether the Indonesians will carry through with their threat to batch announcements at 6 month intervals is unclear. They have just announced two deaths, one after an interval of two weeks, one at least a month old. How many more were there? WHO suspects at least one other not yet admitted by the Indonesian authorities, but WHO is putting an optimistic face on the announcement of the latest deaths:

The latest infections are the first since Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari declared two weeks ago that Jakarta had changed its policy on reporting human cases and would only announce the death toll every six months.

The WHO, a United Nations agency, has been seeking clarification on her remarks amid concerns that that the decision could lead to delays in containing outbreaks.

International health regulations (IHR) require the WHO’s 193 member states to report human cases of bird flu within 24 hours.

‘The minister has told WHO they will not continue to share publicly whenever there is a new case but they will inform the WHO in conformity with IHR,’ said Mr David Heymann, WHO assistant director-general for health security and environment.

‘We anticipate that promise will be honoured,’ he said. (Reuters)

Yeah, right. Meanwhile Reuters reports an Indonesian flu expert has said many bird flu cases there are misdiagnosed as dengue, typhoid or bacterial pneumonia and their treatment delayed. This is not surprising, since the innate immune response to these diseases is similar to flu. But one wonders how much misdiagnosis is being encouraged by government policy. It’s a lot easier to classify a flu death as dengue than just cover up the death altogether. The flu will get lost in the noise, since there is a lot of dengue around.

Government lying isn’t unusual. The US government does it all the time. As a result much of the world doesn’t believe a thing the government says. I also don’t believe a thing the Indonesian government says. Next they’ll be telling us they don’t torture people.


  1. #1 newore
    June 21, 2008

    You Go!

    Notice how most of the headlines from Dr. Gerberding’s press interview stop at “bird flu fatigue’.

    just a bit more from reuters india…

    more on Indonesia, in the linked article.

    “We are a long way from being fully prepared. We do not have a vaccine that will provide universal protection. We don’t have surveillance in every country. We don’t have control of the virus in animal reservoirs,” said Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “We have huge gaps in our basic understanding of influenza and what will be the trigger that allows it to move onto its next host and potentially become more transmissible to humans,” she told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur on the sidelines of an infectious diseases conference.


  2. #2 Goju
    June 21, 2008

    The also don’t have 3 months of food stored in everyones homes.

  3. #3 Lea
    June 21, 2008

    It’s fairly interesting the direction our globe has taken in all areas revere.
    “As a result much of the world doesn’t believe a thing the government says.”

    According to Antara News on 06/17/08:

    Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian government will submit a proposal for the eighth tranche of funds from the Global Fund to control AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, a health ministry official said.

    “The proposal for funding for the next five years will be sent to the Technical Review Panel on June 19 for evaluation,” director general for disease control and environmental health at the Health Ministry I Nyoman Kandun said here Tuesday.

    The total amount of funds Indonesia would request in its proposal for AIDS, TB and malaria control was US$200 million, he said.

    “The proposal is for the provision of grants, not loans,” he said after the launching of an ASEAN+3 website on infectious diseases, http://www.ASEANplus3-eid.info.

    He admitted the Fund`s decision to suspend its aid to Indonesia in April 2007 for suspected misapppropriation of its aid could affect the Fund`s evaluation of Indonesia`s new proposal.

    However, the government had improved the management of the funds. “Our performance has improved and they are expected to restore the funding,” he said.

    Also, in August 2007, the Fund again provided Indonesia with Rp2 trillion in funds to control AIDS, TB and malaria, he noted.

  4. #4 Magpie
    June 21, 2008

    And frankly, anyone who doesn’t absolutely have to travel there would be crazy to do so.

    I think I can safely say that the chances of you being killed by H5N1 during a visit to Indonesia is several orders of magnitude less than your chances of dying in a road accident in pretty much any tourist destination on earth. Not that the government proptly reporting cases makes the tiniest bit of difference to the chances of a tourist catching bird flu – were you safer in Indonesia last month?

    And the chances of PI breaking out while you’re there, combined with the chance that lack of reporting was a significant contributor, and the chance that you’ll actually contract and then die from the disease… well I’m pretty sure the chances of all of that occurring in a two-week visit is still pretty damn minimal.

    They’re being idiots, they are hindering efforts to avoid or mitigate PI, and it’s worth being angry about, but let’s not get hysterical. A lot of quite poor people’s livings depend on tourism.

  5. #5 revere
    June 21, 2008

    Magpie: Yes, tourism is important to many people in Indonesia who are poor. That is just as true elsewhere. If you go to Indonesia and help those people you don’t go elsewhere and help the other people.

    At the moment, according to all the information we have (and we don’t have it all), the threat of H5N1 is very low in Indonesia, although if you go certain places and do certain things it might not be. But you assume that will always be the case and that H5N1 is the only infectious disease the Indon authorities want to hush up to burnish their image. You are more optimistic than I am and when a government tells the rest of the world it is going to keep quiet about something that is important to everyone on the globe because it doesn’t want to sully their reputation and commerce, I think it’s fair to say that this is an unacceptable policy and we aren’t going to advise anyone going there as long as they are using it to attract people who would not otherwise come. That’s not hysterical. In fact there is nothing in the post you could fairly characterize as hysterical.

  6. #6 paiwan
    June 21, 2008

    “They’re being idiots, they are hindering efforts to avoid or mitigate PI, and it’s worth being angry about, but let’s not get hysterical.”


    Good advice!

    Take holidays here and relaxed a bit sometimes. If Revere and EM friends pass Phuket, Thailand; I would be more than happy to treat you.

    I also think that H2H in cold region is much dangerous than BF. So, in winter to migrate to tropical places perhaps is not a bad idea.

  7. #7 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 21, 2008

    Magpie-A lot of poor and rich peoples childrens lives depends on what Indon does. The West and Big Pharma will not build Siti Supari a vaccine facility. Not going to happen because we are still so far in the real world where profits and board rooms and decisions are made in it. That decision is that those samples and information that she in particular are withholding out of spite are nothing more than a card in the big world game. She wants to be able to cash it in. Its only valuable as long as H5N1 is in play but the game is not over. Everyone wants her card and like a small child she is full in the knowledge she holds it, full in the knowledge that the only reason she is in the game is because she does hold it.

    She is basking in the light of the world being shone upon her…. That light could get suddenly very warm.

    Then one day..soon, it will come time for everyone to show their cards as it goes high path into humans. I say that because every novel flu virus that I have been able to check into with some certainty HAS done this. It has done this each and every time across history. Only one that I was able to determine that just died out. But even then it may have given rise to other flu. Revere, Supari, Baxter, Sinovac, the Chinese etc. all know this. The stakes of the game are tremendous even if they are only able to field a vax to 5% of the world that works is a huge number at 100 bucks for 3 part injections per is a load of money. Plus, they also know that Supari sits not on the pandemic version, but the pre-pandemic version. They can make a boxload of money off of their prepandemic injections too.

    It gets down to intransigence. She wants her cake and eat it too. Like Mussolini she is screwing not with world politics and health, but with her own people. As the game is played and finally unfolds there is going to be FIRST the word among those people as true democratic news is finally pumped into the place from all sides. That word would contain a message that this was preventable and that she and the government are responsible. Then SECOND the government will need a scapegoat to slay. THIRD and at a minimum she might just be tried and imprisoned, at the max she will go the way of the light pole from which she will hang like so much carrion food. In the meantime if the arguable numbers are even the 5% right there is going to be a human cull on this planet never seen before. If they are wrong and its 30% then all things we know will end. End of days? Different argument, different day.

    Call this one bad day at black rock and we all should remember that old saying that even Supari signed on to: “Doctor first do no harm.”

    I think she forgot that on the way to the groundbreaking of her new house in Thailand.

  8. #8 MAinVA
    June 21, 2008

    Somthing Pixie at PFI mentioned really had me sitting up and taking notice: That both the old and new WHO levels refer to [u]cases[/u], which means those diagnosed as positive for H5N1. In some minds “cases” only refers to those who have died, which is much more limited. It is the number and relationship between cases that determines what phase we are in. By refusing to inform the world of the actual number of cases [infected persons,] either because they subsequently test negative after receiving timely doeses of Tamiflu, or because their diagnosis has been knowingly shifted to something else, Indonesia is hiding the truth from the rest of the world. WHO is clearly supporting this behavior.

    If the new 4 is the old 6, and we are at 3, doesn’t that mean we are in truth only 1 step away from pandemic? Not only that, we have been assured that that next step, if it happens in Indonesia, will be hidden … until it is too late.

  9. #9 pft
    June 21, 2008

    Does anyone really believe any country is being completely honest. Our country won’t even allow farmers to test their own cattle for BSE. China is definitley not reporting every thing, they report a few cases now and then to pretend to be playing along. Indonesia at least is being honest an telling people they won’t terrorize people with case by case reports.

    When a significant outbreak happens, you will know it. Hospital workers will be wearing masks. People will be lining up at hospitals. People you know will be getting sick. Thats a pandemic. Air travel being what it is today, an influenza pandemic will spready rapidly. Knowing a train is coming while you are tied to the tracks just makes you anxious until it arrives. The outcome will be the same.

    The biggest danger anyone will face in Indonesia is on the plane, will it land safely or not, and on the road. H5N1 is the least of your worries at this point.

  10. #10 AnnieRN
    June 21, 2008

    Magpie: Had to chuckle at your analogy. Almost bled to death with a compund comminuted femur fracture after our car hit a semi-trailer in Mexico on the way to the beautiful city of Veracruz. (I’ll have to go there someday–we never arrived, obviously…)

    I guess I’m not in such a hurry to see Indonesia, either. AnnieRN

  11. #11 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 21, 2008

    Main-Yes, you are right. But it gives them cover while they make determinations about the clusterings if they are happening. Clusters so far havent gone on to be highly pathogenic pandemic types. This works for the flu, but likely not for the other diseases out there.

    Its kind of stupid when you consider it. Its masturbation as far as I am concerned and there are people who are just now getting used to the idea of Pan Level 3 and the graphs. Now they get to re do that. But take a look at the leadership there. Could it be any other way?

    Jeez Annie…. you were in Mexico and you survived it? This is kind of a first. Most of the time I am sending air ambulances all the way down there to pick up the Americans who get racked up. Always buy the Mexican insurance policy too else you might be stuck there. Never drive at night either.

  12. #12 Jonathon Singleton
    June 22, 2008

    Revere: “Government lying isn’t unusual. The [AmericanOz] government does it all the time. As a result much of the world doesn’t believe a thing the government says…”

    Revere, onya to the nth degree! There seemingly is a “sanity disconnect” happening at the moment within many governments vis a vis the evolutionary direction of bird flu. I feel like an actor who has studied the transgenic pathogen script and is cruising through with an increasing sense of agitation at the movie director (government) for not allowing me to freestyle — you know that growl-filled over it “fuck you to hell, braindead zombies” feeling!?!

    Take a quick squizz at two of my recent emails:

    To: “Martyn Pearce, Australian National University Media Officer (Media Liaison)”

    To: Jim-McGinty

    To: “Dr. Ron Spielman, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst. Private Practice, Paddington, NSW, Australia.”

    To: “Dr. Ric Chaney”

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Re: eurekalert.org/pub_releases — Flu pandemic medical help left in the waiting room (Public release date: 27-May-2008) uncredited author

    Excerpt: “GPs are not an integral part of Australian influenza planning, despite the important role they will play in limiting deaths in the event of a pandemic hitting the country, according to research from The Australian National University…”

    Howdy all,

    Intelligent, work-based adult relationships continue to be forged via the internet in spite of government interference. There appears to be a two pronged problem with Australian government — 1. a lack of creative intelligence in career public servants and 2. Oz public servant “turf control” issues.

    I know this somewhat intimately, as a homosexual person who has, for more than eleven years, been viscerally attacked and almost destroyed by “taxpayer funded psychopaths” (aka Oz public servants).

    Martyn, I’m wondering if Professor Patel’s ANU research team are aware of recent research in drug combo treatments for transgenic pathogen infections in humans (see below)? I ‘d also like to publicly advertise the lack of Oz governmental consultation and strategising with GPs vis a vis their important clinical care community role midst a transgenic pandemic.

    A freelance transgenic pathogen research analyst since around 2000, I sat drinking coffee with my GP’s (Ric Chaney) gay male partner, Chris, and described — to his disbelief — a narrative script of future probabilities approximating contemporary A/H5N1 events…

    Why is it so difficult for Australians to accept I know what I’m talking about!?! Why is it so difficult for Australians to accept I know what I’m doing!?! I online dialogue with other educated folk (eg. see my conversation with K in H5N1 Blog — Tyson on the H7 outbreak) but I am constantly mistreated like an “abused child” by Oz government public servant “parents”. WA politician Jim McGinty has at least acknowledged my personal history at the hands of WA public servants (see below). But he suggests I continue interacting with the psychopathic homophobes who’ve refused to play fair for eleven years. Like schoolyard bullies, WA public servants are a law unto themselves. They set the agendas. They stonewall… Censoring and witholding FOI documents, etc. They refuse to communicate with me online via email, etc.

    Cheers:*) Jonathon

    H5N1 Blog — Tyson on the H7 outbreak (June 04, 2008)

    Reader response posted by: K (June 05, 2008)

    Jonathon – exactly. And since H5N1 has hit England before and H7N7 is there now, the possibility of the two getting together is increasing



    2 8 MAY 2008

    Dear Mr Singleton

    Thank you for your e-mail dated 22 May 2008.

    I have noted the matters in your e-mail, including your reference to our previous correspondence; namely, my e-mail to you of 18 January 2006 (Ref: 22-3366) as well as your concerns regarding the treatment of yourself and other gay men in Western Australia. In relation to those matters, the following comments are provided.

    First, as I trust you will be aware, I have (both as a Minister and a parliamentarian) consistently supported endeavours to strengthen and extend the rights and protection of gay and lesbian persons in our community…

    Third, your e-mail appears to indicate that you may have been the victim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. For example, your e-mail states that you “used to have a home but [were] forced out of it”…

    Finally, your letter appears to allege that you have also been sexually assaulted. For example, your e-mail refers to a “violent medico-legal rape” and that you were “‘raped’ by taxpayer funded cops”. As you may be aware, such assaults may constitute serious criminal offences. If you have any supporting evidence, you should make that evidence available to the appropriate prosecution authorities, for example, the WA Police Service and the WA Director of Public Prosecutions. If the allegation concerns WA Police then you may wish to provide that evidence (including any written statement that you may have prepared outlining the relevant facts and circumstances) to the internal investigation section of the police service.

    Thank you for informing me of your views and concerns and I trust that the above is of assistance to you.

    Yours sincerely, Jim McGinty


    To: “Dr Jennifer McKimm-Breschkin (BSc(Hons1) PhD) Chief Research Scientist, Project Leader CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies”

    Thursday 19th June, 2008

    Howdy Jenny,

    Hope you don’t mind me contacting you in this manner, but in all honesty I’ve got no-one else to voice my vocational concerns re: The Great Oz Gov/WHO Prepandemic H5 Vaccine Swindle (K.I.S.S = keep it simple stoopid)…

    As a freelance transgenic pathogen research analyst, I’ve been digesting the truly wonderful news our families now have access to a prepandemic vaccine, Panvax (developed by CSL with Oz taxpayer backing of more than $7 million).

    Jenny, do you believe Panvax to be a prepandemic vaccine!?! I’ve been re-reading the oblique official info thus far released and am somewhat disturbed by the federal government’s decision to make complex the very simple. This “disquiet” has been diplomatically expressed by science folk living outside Australia who remind us about timeline production logistics of a precisely matched pandemic vaccine (refer to CIDRAP excerpt below). Robert Roos, CIDRAP’s news editor, firmly places Panvax in the same H5N1 category as Sanofi Pasteur’s non-commercial ’07 vaccine and GSK’s commercial ’08 Prepandrix — vaccines based on one or several currently circulating A/H5N1 strains, offering early first wave protection against the eventual recombined H2H-H?N? pandemic serotype which will chaos-theory spread around the world in a matter of weeks.

    CIDRAP News — Australia approves CSL’s H5N1 vaccine (Jun 17, 2008)


    Excerpt: “The CSL statement listed no details about the composition of the vaccine. But a chart of clinical trials on the Web site of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations says it is a split-virus vaccine that is produced in eggs and is used with an adjuvant. Experts say that with egg-based production, it will take 4 to 6 months after the identification of a pandemic flu strain to develop and launch mass production of a precisely matched vaccine…”

    Jenny, please… As a head honcho Aussie virologist, let me know if the following analogy is based on common sense: A prepandemic H5N1 vaccine — there’s a crazy sniper running loose in the city (the impending H2H-H?N? pandemic virus), but you’ve gotta get on with the routine of life… So, you think, “Bugger that for a joke, I’m bloody well putting on bullet-proof body armor, which will 50+ percent protect me from sniper-fire!” Jenny, is this analogy correct — protective body armor, but not a 100 percent cure against a real time H2H-H?N? pandemic virus?

    For the record, my concerns and criticisms are directed solely at the federal government and CSL’s general manager, Mary Sontrop. CSL scientists out doing the grunt work have always, in the past, been technically transparent and helpful via email correspondence (see below).

    In the following online timestamped versions of June 17’s AGE news article “Australia has bird flu vaccine: govt”, Mary Sontrop ceases working for the good of Oz public health and acts more like a spendthrift PR consultant. And Chief Medical Officer John Horvath? Well, he ought to think outside the proverbial box when reading science data — if he actually does? — eg. U.S. CDC’s Belser JA, et al’s, “Contemporary North American influenza H7 viruses possess human receptor specificity: implications for virus transmissibility” (May 27, 2008).

    2:52PM: “CSL general manager mary Sontrop said it was a registration requirement that the vaccine could only be supplied when WHO declared a pandemic. ‘There wouldn’t be any benefit to people having the vaccine now if a pandemic hasn’t been declared’, she told reporters.”

    8:13PM: “Chief Medical Officer John Horvath said there was no evidence of human-to-human [H2H] transmission of bird flu, and the WHO and the United Nation’s flu group rank the likelihood of such an occurrence at 10 percent.”

    Jenny, thank you for reading this… Cheers:*) Jonathon


    RE: CSL Media Release (17 February, 2006)
    Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 8:24 PM
    From:”Dr. Rachel David”
    To: “Jon Singleton” photoniqueer@yahoo.com

    Yes. We use reverse genetics technology to render the virus non-lethal prior to inoculating eggs for the growth phase. If we did not do this, the virus would simply kill the eggs and we would be unable to produce sufficient antigen to make the vaccine. This is a commonly used process in vaccine manufacturing, but because it does involve a degress of voral
    gene modification, it comes under the remit of the OGTR as regulator, rather than the TGA,

    Hope this makes sense,

    Original question from moi dated Tuesday February 21, 2006: Re: CSL Media Release (17 February, 2006) — “CSL REVEALS ENCOURAGING RESULTS FROM AUSTRALIAN BIRD FLU VACCINE TRIAL”


    Could you please send details as to how this vaccine is manufactured — does the process utilize a genetic modification paradigm!?! And if this is so, what is that particular technical process!?!

  13. #13 paiwan
    June 22, 2008

    Magpie/ Annie/Revere:

    When I read the naughty Supari’s damaging Indonesia image and also think of Indonesian beautiful natural resources for seafood production, amidst the perspectives from you three; I am reminded of an old Jewish joke: Two men come before a rabbi with an argument. After the first person presents his arguments, the rabbi says, ” You’re right.” When he hears the second man’s side, he again says, ” you are right.” The rabbi’s wife challenges him: ” How can you tell one man he’s right, then tell his opponent that he’s right?” The rabbi ponders a moment, then turns to his wife, ” You are also right.”

    Have a good time, I just came back from my catholic Mass.

  14. #14 Magpie
    June 22, 2008

    Revere (et al): the main meme about bird flu I hear from people around here (I’m in emergency management) is something along the lines of “well obviously scientists are being alarmist idiots because this apparently civilisation-threatening disease has killed approximately no-one”.

    To which I have to explain yet again (or send people to yet another seminar which explains) the risk of mutation to allow easy human-to-human transmission, the animal origin of most human epidemic disease, the likely consequences of this one getting out, the inevitability of some pandemic disease coming along even if not this one, etc.

    The point is, RIGHT NOW the risk is vastly lower than, as I mentioned, lots of normal, day to day risks. By saying people shouldn’t go to Indonesia, and at least implying that there is a significant risk from H5N1, it just adds to people’s anecdotal certainty that the big-heads are a bunch of hand-wringing pansies who are blowing a tiny threat into a huge one. Which is wrong, but posts like this don’t help. Too many people already think that this is as bad as it gets, that this low-level death rate is what everyone is worried about.

    The danger, as you well know, is not the present rate of infection, but the possibility, every time it gets to a human, that it will go BOOM. A lack of response by Indonesian authorities makes the risk global. It does little to alter the risk for tourists in the countryside.

    Indonesia isn’t “covering up” with this move (at least, they’re not covering up any more than they were before the announcement). If anything, bi-annual reporting will have a much larger impact in the media – the present incremental additions to the toll have had pretty much zero coverage here, while bi-annual chunks will give enough of a human cost to justify a news segment. If they think this will reduce attention, they (and by “they” I mean whichever suit made this silly pitch to another suit) simply don’t understand how the world’s media works. Yeah, every case is worthy of comment in your own domestic media and you might think everyone is cancelling their plane tickets, but the rest of the planet wants something more dramatic to get air time. Cases here and there are largely sub-care. Biannual scare-fests are much more likely to exceed threshold.

    And you don’t “announce” that you’re covering something up. Suspicious and spectacular drops in H5N1 reporting in other countries in the region are, IMO, far more cause for concern than bi-annual reporting from the Indonesians. If Indonesia suddenly and cheerfully announces everything is fine, then we have a problem. How going to bi-annual reporting changes their credibility is beyond me. This is not an issue of lying, it’s an issue of who can piss the farthest – someone internal wants to flex their tiny muscles.

    So yes, they are being (for domestic political reasons) pains in the arse, but that’s not the same as covering things up. Yes, it makes tracking and response more difficult – but it’s not like they were being especially rapid with reporting in any case, and the announcement of an epidemic would, I think I can confidently deduce, be a different matter to the now routine cluster count. They would want help at least as much as we’d want to give it. We’ll be slower in detecting a real outbreak of a human virus, but the timeframes they were using were crappy enough before now that we were relying on internal assessments anyway for a call to battle stations. Nothing has changed there, really.

    And finally, your “yeah right” towards the announcement that WHO will still get the data on time: don’t you think that WHO would be able to TELL if they were being shut out? They’re not idiots. If they get nothing for the next six months, do you not think they might make some noise about it? Noise the Indonesians don’t want? C’mon, cynicism is one thing, but to suggest WHO and the Indonesians are lying about this is just paranoia.

    Maybe they won’t share with WHO, but this announcement doesn’t make it more or less likely, and we can expect it to be exposed pretty quickly.

    So yes, I think “Indonesia is suddenly much more dangerous because they’re only going to report to the media BIANNUALLY!” is a bit hysterical.

    Some folk in Indonesia deserve to be smacked upside the head, but they deserved it just as much last week as they do today. And I’m quite sure there are some people over on the continent who deserve it more…

  15. #15 Magpie
    June 22, 2008

    Holy leaping crap, I posted a SCREED! It was two paragraphs, honest to god! I just went to add one more thing. A couple of times.

    Sorry. I shouldn’t post at 2 in the morning. The Textpocalypse is apon us!

    Summary: I am right. Proclaim me King and lavish me with riches.

  16. #16 revere
    June 22, 2008

    Magpie: Compared to some around here, this isn’t a screed, it’s a love note of modest proportions. Getting to its contents, though, I must disagree. I wish this blog were as potent shaping or confirming average opinion as you imply. Where I do have evidence it has weight is in the flu community, where it is read at various levels, including many national public health agencies. That doesn’t mean they agree with it or are necessarily influenced by it, but it does reach them. The gist of the post (I hope you will agree if you re-read it carefully) is that Indon should not be rewarded for its deliberate lack of transparency by having its reputation go unsullied. Travelers have many choices and often chose one place rather than another depending upon whether they think a place is more or less secure. One part of security is whether they think the government is being straightforward about possible dangers.

    I must disagree that the Indon policy of not being prompt about notification is not important to global public health. It is part of a package of policies that says Indon doesn’t need to abide my agreed upon regulations on global health, especially regarding notification of infectious diseases of global importance, or longstanding agreements on sharing of important information, like viral sharing. While it may (or may not) be true no single instance of lack of cooperation will endanger the world’s population, the principle of thumbing their nose at international cooperation is what troubles me here. Tourism is one area of commerce where discretionary decisions are made and is a possible pressure point. That is the reason they gave for semi-annual release of information to begin with. As to how straightforward they are bieng with WHO, we don’t know and neither does WHO, but WHO does know what is required of Indon under the Int’l Health Regulations that recently came into force and which Indon is cavalierly disregarding.

    Yes, other countries lie repeatedly. I am the citizen of one. And I have been severely critical of the Bush administration for doing it and for endangering the world in the process. I have also opposed my government’s policies in other ways, all legal. As you say, there are undoubtedly other countries beside the US who deserve censure. Like Indonesia.

  17. #17 llewelly
    June 22, 2008

    Holy leaping crap, I posted a SCREED! It was two paragraphs, honest to god!

    No, no, no. The authors of screeds do not use paragraph breaks. It’s against their religion.

  18. #18 Jonathon Singleton
    June 23, 2008

    Excerpt from Roxy Music’s “Same Old Scene” (1980)

    When I turn the corner
    I can’t believe
    It’s still the same old [Transgenic Pandemic] movie
    That’s haunting me

    Jonathon Singleton, “You know that growl-filled over it ‘fuck you to hell, braindead zombies’ feeling!?!”

    Sitting at the moment in a gaming net cafe with young Aussie men lecturing each other on the defintion of “a serious gaming player” and am feeling just a tad lateral — life has many “gaming levels” and this shit heavy EM post is one of them!

    Why am I so angry!?! Well, as I said last week to my cousin, Louis, from Oz metal band http://www.thefuror.com/ I should be able to pick up the phone and make an appointment with my Oz GP, Dr. Ric Chaney, buy CSL’s two dose prepandemic H5N1 vaccine (Panvax — via his surgery) and have him administer it (((NOW)))…

    But no, that would be too easy, wouldn’t it!?! So, here I am quoting Henry baby as he has the political lowdown on why the Oz gov can’t allow CSL to start producing millions of doses of Panvax — WHO won’t let them!

    Recombinomics Commentary — H5N1 H2H Under-reporting Supports Complacency (June 22, 2008)

    Excerpt: “However, raising the pandemic level to 4 would initiate a large number of costly pandemic preparedness measures, so the WHO has used a number of approaches to minimize the number of such clusters, which has been actively embraced by a number of affected countries…”

  19. #19 Magpie
    June 24, 2008

    Mmmm, perhaps you’re not driving world opinion, though I put this blog on my semi-regular list of things to read for folk at my workplace, specifically for its bird flu coverage (opinions are great info aggregators, IMO, for people who might be only vaguely interested).

    …I guess I just want to air my pet crank. I think that the single biggest education issue for pandemic preparedness, and a cause of significant public apathy, is the common perception that this is it. This low-level death rate is all we have to worry about if our birds get infected. Honestly, with you being in public health you may think it sounds too ignorant to be true, but I get it all the time here, and I’m working with university educated people in emergency management.

    I think we should all be using our language as often as possible to correct that view.

    Case in point: we had the tremendously progressive policy of 52 weeks per year paid sick leave. If you’re sick, stay home – GOLDEN policy for a place potentially engaged (though slightly tangentially) in pandemic respnse. And it worked! Average days off were no more than other departments who had limited leave – extra sick leave taken by the sick seemingly balanced with fewer people spreading their plagues at work. But we traded it off for some minor, one-off pay raise. Can you hear the grinding of my teeth?

    My arguments against, along the lines of early-pandemic resistance, were met with “pfff, you mean bird flu? Might as well worry about asteroid preparedness. It kills, what? A peasant a month?”. Drove me NUTS.

    …so I may be a bit touchy… Sorry.

  20. #20 Magpie
    June 24, 2008

    Sorry, wasn’t very clear there: we traded in unlimited sick leave for more regular X-days per year sick leave, in return for Y% extra pay. Even with time in the bank, people with the sniffles now come in just in case they get “really” sick later on and need all their allotment.

  21. #21 iao
    June 26, 2008

    Care to explain why you use the word “Indon” repeatedly? At the very best it shows disrespect towards an entire nation, by not bothering to write the full word, and at worst it shows you are a bigot by using that slur. I realize you’re probably not happy with the health minister, but what about the rest of the population, who probably had nothing to do with this decision?

  22. #22 revere
    June 26, 2008

    iao: I have a simple explanation. I had no idea it was a slur. I’ve seen this usage in places where it was not obviously pejorative but if you can show me it is a slur I will be more than happy never to use it again. What’s the evidence it’s a slur? (this isn’t a challenge; it’s a genuine request for information).

  23. #23 iao
    June 28, 2008

    Revere: The short answer is because Indonesians do not refer to themselves that way.

    Wikipedia has a short article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indon) in English. If you can read Indonesian, I refer you to this http://www.detiknews.com/index.php/detik.read/tahun/2007/bulan/05/tgl/13/time/130005/idnews/780073/idkanal/10

  24. #24 revere
    June 28, 2008

    iao: OK. I accept this. I am pretty sure I picked it up from news headlines in the area, but the wikipedia entry you referred me to suggests this is no longer accepted usage in Indonesia as of 2006, so that’s good enough for me. I will no longer use it. Thank you for pointing it out.

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