Well, there certainly was a lot going on this week!  I had that “déjà vu” feeling all week from April 29, 2009 when all of a sudden people were wearing masks on the streets of Mexico City.  Remember that one?!?!

So Where Do We Stand Today (6 April 2013)?  Just The Facts, Ma’am, Just The Facts!  ;-)
So where do we stand today (6 April 2013)? Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts! ;-)
  • The outbreak surfaced rapidly.
  • The first cases were announced on 1 April 2013 – a mere six days ago.
  • The first death apparently occurred on 27 February 2013.
  • It is widely distributed with confirmed cases in three adjoining provinces that wrap around Shanghai, and in Shanghai.
  • It is novel: H7N9 has never been documented in humans before.

Where to turn for information?  Word to the wise – seek credible sources and don’t read any one posting and think that it is gospel.  One of my favorite science writers, Maryn McKenna (Wired Magazine) has published a great go-to list.  I would also add ProMedMail.org as well.

Reporters: Helen Branswell of the Canadian Press; Declan Butler of Nature; Martin Enserink of Science; my former colleagues Lisa Schnirring and Robert Roos at CIDRAP. (Also Mara Hvistendahl of Science, if she covers this, as she is based in Shanghai.)

Bloggers/aggregators: Crawford Kilian (@crof) ; Mike Coston (@Fla_Medic).

Crowdsourced data: HealthMap, a huge Harvard- and Google-backed effort that combines Web-scraping with human review (also on Twitter, as is their blog editor Anna Tomasulo and their founder John Brownstein); FluTrackers, a volunteer, civilian effort that has been going since the H5N1 days.

Media on the ground: Xinhua; China Daily; South China Morning Post, in Hong Kong, somewhat more free to report.

Official sources: WHO; China CDC; European CDC and its journal, EuroSurveilance; US CDC; OIE.

Be smart, stay loose and pay attention.  Oh yeah, one more thing – revise your pandemic plan…NOW!