Monday, February 11, 2008

February 10 Flu Update...We're Back!!

OK, we're back after some busy days and travel.

Bird flu advice is being dispensed in Pakistan.

Bird flu affecting vendors in India.

Villagers in a state adjacent to West Bengal are panicking over dead birds.

Another Indian state is trying to avoid the fate of West Bengal.

Interesting local article on fighting bird flu in Asia.

There are some chickens dead in Nadia.


At 3:45 PM, Anonymous NetDoc said...

Wonderful blog...a service to humanity. Yes, unfortunately, due to lack of awareness in India, the first PANDEMIC might occur from there.
Check out:
Even if India escapes, H5N1 is expected to hit humans with enough "exchanged chunks of genetic recombination" to CAUSE MINIMUM 20 MILLION DEATHS.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange – welcome back;

Perusing through today’s articles, it is becoming apparent that we are going to be peppered with what I would call a lot of “local impact” news, which all lead to a much larger issue that involves these Asian and Middle Eastern countries: densely populated countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey are faced with a double edged H5N1 sword.

First, if H5N1 decimates their domestic poultry population and becomes endemic (as seems to be occurring), they lose their cheapest source of protein to feed the masses and could face starvation. This is not farfetched at all. There has to be literally hundreds of millions of nearly destitute individuals in these countries who currently live hand-to-mouth, at barely subsistence level, on a day to day basis. A loss of their sole food source would have devastating consequences. Secondly, if a highly infectious and virulent influenza pandemic emerges, then they are faced with potentially massive numbers of human deaths. Most of these countries can barely field small quarantine medical isolation units now, let alone a pandemic. In either case, I doubt they have viable contingency plans in place to deal with either situation.

Stories like the near destitute street food vendors in India make me wonder what strategic planning these governments are considering if either event transpires, because I believe they’ve been darn lucky so far. News articles like the bio-security measures implemented in Maharashtra are somewhat reassuring, but with 490 million poultry (60 percent of which are commercial operations) concentrated throughout India as their sole source of food – widespread H5N1 infections could easily decimate their main source of food within the course of a few months timeframe. The problem hasn’t been contained in any of these countries by a long shot. Wild birds are still dropping from branches of trees and domestic poultry are dying everyday, and the governments seem to be looking the other way.

Your article from the Sri Lanka daily news, summarizes the entire Indo-China-Asian region situation best: “as long as poultry remains an intrinsic part of Asian households, bird flu will be a threat”, and “planning in advance remains critical, and failing to plan is to plan to fail”.

The fact that neither India nor Bangladesh have not reported a single H5N1 human infections as a result of their massive culling efforts does not trouble me in the least. If that’s the way they want to disguise their problem to the WHO and their own citizens to avoid panic and economic repercussions – that’s their business. But they need to prepare themselves for some serious recrudescence.

Ignoring the looming threat and warning signs of an influenza pandemic seems to be exactly what got a lot of countries into trouble during the months leading up to1918. The result was that one fifth of the entire world’s population ended up infected, and more people died in 1918 than the Black Death Bubonic Plague during years 1347-1351.
In fact, the conditions during the Great 1918 Influenza Pandemic were startlingly similar to the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages. Fact: in India alone during 1918, the mortality rate was extremely high, at around 50 deaths from influenza per 1,000 people.

If we were to apply this same astounding 1918 death rate to India’s population today of 1.130 billion people, it would equate to 56.5 million deaths, due to influenza and medical complications alone. Starvation due to unavailability of poultry as a cheap source of food, could kill countless more.



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