H5N1 draws renewed attention

After a brief respite, the H5N1 virus is back in the news, as documented cases are confirmed in Africa and the European Union by international health officials. Over the weekend Greece and Italy said they detected cases of the virus, but for now experts are more worried about Africa. International health experts warn that the continent may be the perfect breeding ground for a stronger variant of the virus, noting the continent's weak governments and dilapidated central health systems may make an effective response difficult to organize. Observers are also concerned about the a possible "confluence" of pandemics, as could happen if H5N1 strikes immune systems already compromised by HIV/AIDS and malaria. Epidemiologists are particularly worried about Nigeria, where local officials are refusing to close poultry markets or issue public health notices covering the disease, fearing a "public outcry."

- see this article from The New York Times

PLUS: The CDC announced that is 30 days away from deploying Web-based systems that will monitor real time data from emergency rooms at key U.S. hospitals. The agency plans to eventually monitor data from several hundred hospitals across the country. Article