Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More on Avian Flu

There is growing evidence that avian flu is spreading (see here for example). I have a friend who is a semi-retired physician. He recently sent me three interesting and potentially useful articles about avian flu.

The first article and the ensuing discussion, suggest, in his words,

[W]e are working with a fairly small death reduction in the best of circumstances, and this will likely require twice the usual dose for twice as long. Grave implications for government 'stockpiling' programs.

... It seems that it [Tamiflu] might be helpful but might require a longer duration of treatment, hence reducing the number of effective doses stockpiled.
i.e. hoard TWO paks of Tamiflu per anticipated episode ;-)
One of my concerns with gubmnt stockpiling of tamiflu is that I am skeptical about the criteria to be used to determine who gets the medication.

The second article reports on two studies, both of which indicate that Tamiflu has positive benefits in treating patients with flu-like symptoms [My friend say, "While the duration of symptoms are reduced only by an average of 1.3 days, the real concern is the reduction in serious complications especially death. The following is more reassuring for the possible impact on avian flu."]:

The first study, using data from a large US health insurer, investigated the incidence of pneumonia, heart attacks and death during the month following influenza diagnosis in patients who either received no medication (136,799) or who were prescribed Tamiflu (39,202). [Note: no double-blinds, no placebos] Tamiflu treatment was associated with a significantly reduced risk of pneumonia, death and possibly heart attacks, compared to untreated patients.

... The second study, using data from the Toronto Invasive Bacterial Disease Network, found that Tamiflu treatment in hospitalized influenza patients was associated with a significant clinical benefit and a reduced risk of death in patients treated within three days of symptom onset.

For details, read the entire article and its references.

The third item he sent is a link to, which appears to have some good information; he refers to it as a "useful public education tool." It is apparent from that site and the many links provided there that chicken-catching could become a much more risky occupation in the future. If so, look for the wages to rise and the price of chicken meat to increase, too.

Maybe even us omnivores will start eating less meat during the next couple of years...

For continued analysis and information about avian flu, be sure to bookmark the avian flu blog.
And for a related piece about the economics of flu shots, see this.
Who Links Here