Monday, February 19, 2007

February 18 Flu Update

Biggest story of the day comes through Effect Measure. Did contaminated waste from the turkey factory leave there and spread the disease around the country? This article shows how vulnerable our food system is to contamination.

Here is Revere's source article.

More on the Russian outbreak, quarantines, etc. No word on where the flu came from, so everyone is still being cautious.

Later update: flu reported to be tracked to market SW of City.

ProMed on the apparent spread of bird flu in Russia.

More on WHO and Indonesia reaching agreement on samples.

The Lancet wants this agreement to be extended to include the entire developing world.

Here's a good one for people interested in flu prep. One of the most fearsome parts of a worst case flu scenario is collapse of our just in time delivery system, creating immediate shortages of food, etc. The Grocers of America are preparing....

"The food supply is essential to the well-being of the community," said Hammonds. "We've been through a lot about what we need to do as a supermarket."

That includes urging wholesalers and retailers to talk with their suppliers about alternative sources for their products and to anticipate what products will be in high demand in a pandemic situation, such as medicines and food staples.

This article on flu in Nigeria says a woman died of bird flu in Lagos.

Afghanistan has stopped importing poultry on fears of bird flu.

African nations recognize teamwork is key to fighting bird flu.

The owner of the Turkey farm in Suffolk apologizes for flu problems. (I am continuing to include these interminable stories for a couple reasons. First, because the presence of flu in a country with a well-developed scientific infrastructure and high regard for openness gives us a look we normally don't get. And second, because it demonstrates the finger pointing and animosity you might see in a larger pandemic.

An Egyptian minister denied the flu virus "could" mutate in the country.

Orlando paper has review of the role a local lab plays in the ongoing fight against animal diseases--including bird flu--in the country.

The Episcopals have pandemic news out today, as well. Interesting read. Note emphasis on how the Church will care for its own.

I missed this from our earlier story about the Archdiocese of confession during a pandemic.


At 3:39 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Nice set of articles today.

Regarding the subject of preparation for a pandemic – the various religious denominations seem to be falling in line, as describe in your Espiscopal News Service and Catholic News articles. Very excellent summary of where they are at in the process. I will repeat what I have said on several prior occasions – churches are shaping up to being the supreme hero’s if a pandemic occurs, similar to 1918/1919. The Red Cross will be a goat - they will be viewed as an entire organization that never got into the game, but will be quick to try and claim credit.

As the grocery industry article indicates, once the word a pandemic has sparked gets broadcasted, food will be hard, if not impossible to acquire, due to absenteeism and supply problems, depending on the intensity of the situation. The grocery shelves and drug stores will empty within a few days.

There is time for nearly everyone to prepare now, and there is very little excuse not to. Unfortunately, far too many people have the same attitude as Becky Jones does in the article – in the last line of the entire article, she states, “If they (i.e. government) see a crisis that is on the horizon, they do have to give us some type of warning”. I wonder where she and all of the other millions of folks in the US have been over the last two years? Also, if anyone is waiting for the government to take their hand and drive them to the grocery store, that ain’t going to happen.

If anyone in their right mind thinks they are going to wait until the very last minute to prepare to “shelter in place” for weeks or months at a time, they are dopey fools, and well may end up becoming statistics. The time to get adequate food and medicine supplies together is now. If things get extremely scarce, as many experts expect during a pandemic, the most that unprepared individuals may get, is…sympathy.

I suspect that contrary to what the Russians in Moscow are officially reporting, the H5N1 virus is probably widespread through the entire country. Just last month, the virus was reported in poultry plants 1,000 kilometers south of Moscow, in the Krasnodar region. How did it miraculously jump this distance in thirty days – by jet travel ? It’s been there all along. In addition, I think the USSR now has no other choice but to take the same multi-year massive poultry vaccination approaches that China uses, if it just wants to contain the spread of the HPAI virus. Their idea of a “bio-terrorist” enemy of the state, is much different than ours in the west – it could be any poor peasant grandfather schmuck who unwittingly sold sick birds, or even an incompetent veterinarian that didn’t do her job properly. Their state secret security and police enforcement tactics still make our FBI guys and sheriff’s departments look like girl scouts, so it’s gonna be a heavy hand on everybody even remotely related to a chicken.

Regarding the situations in Egypt and Great Britain… well, the situation in Egypt still doesn’t add up and I don’t believe the Health Minister’s denial statement about bird mutation one bit. We’ll see on that one, and I’m willing to bet my entire twinkie supply that things in Egypt are far worse than they are admitting. But the situation in Great Britain does add up – to a whole long laundry list of government and corporate incompetence and greed, respectively.

No offense meant to the church or the padre, but I wouldn’t be overly concerned about confessions, communion or keeping a three feet distance, during a pandemic. Most of the rest of us will be worried about desperate hungry individuals carrying concealed handguns.

I know… I’m going to hell in a hand basket for saying sacrilegious things like this, but I’ve been told that before.



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