Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 11 Flu Update

Egyptian woman dies of bird flu.

Note this from ProMed:

A national campaign to slaughter possibly infected birds is more
often than not seen as a threat from authorities in which people have
no faith. The authorities recommend eating factory-farmed chicken
whose origins can be traced.

Perhaps the story of the day. In an Indian state, bird culling has been cut back so as not to cause controversy before an upcoming election.

Instances have been recorded of local officials found asking culling teams not to stop villagers in infected districts from repopulating poultry, and even asking them not to take away the villagers' chicken for culling.

From the ground in Tripura...interesting report on what is portrayed as a chaotic culling scene.

People are handling the infected chickens that are being culled. No one is warning the people of the dangers of this, the government is not helping. The locals may not be too off the mark. The local administrators shocked TIMES NOW's team of journalists when they instead of owning up passed the buck. AR Barman -- Director, Animal Resource Development Department, Kamlapur said, "It is not my department, we are only responsible for the animals."

A fourth outbreak among ducks in South Korea.

New article in a public health journal says that pandemic flu no more deadly than seasonal flu.

Doshi says the pandemic-equals-extreme-mortality concept appears to be a generalization of a single data point: the 1918 season, a period in which "doctors lacked intensive care units, respirators, antiviral agents and antibiotics." He argues that "had no other aspect of modern medicine but antibiotics been available in 1918, there seems good reason to believe that the severity of this pandemic would have been far reduced."

Bethel, CT, does a "first in the nation" pandemic exercise.

Times of London "Junk Medicine" column looks at the recent H2H transmission story from China.

Monitoring clean in Azerbaijan.

Effect Measure on "vagrant birds" straying from their migration routes, and the possible effect on bird flu.


At 6:47 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I believe you will find my reaction to your news articles about India and Egypt today, a little surprising.

First, I do not believe either of these countries, as well as many others in the third world, have really “connected the dots”, when it comes to the double whammy they will soon face in the very near future: first is the fact they have allowed the H5N1 virus to become entrenched and endemic in their countries, which threatens their primary protein food source for their impoverished masses (poultry products). Second, surprisingly, they are only beginning to see the first effects of the spike in world food prices. They will soon face the double threat of an “economic and humanitarian disease tsunami”. You think I’m kidding ? I read a lot more than just bird flu articles and there are some alarming events getting ready to make a major confluence in these bird flu infested countries.

As if allowing the H5N1 to become toxically entrenched weren’t enough in many of these African, Middle Eastern and China-Asian countries (like the Indo-Gangetic plains of India and Bangladesh), over the last several weeks, riots have begun breaking out in Egypt, Pakistan, and parts of India, over food shortages. This week, food riots also paralyzed Haiti. One in six countries of the world face food shortages because of droughts and climate change, biofuel production, lack of water and the price of global fuel prices. It takes 1,000 tons of water alone, to produce one ton of food. Rice is the staple food of 4 billion people, but its price along with the corn, wheat and other basics has surged to 80 percent in the last three years, and this is just the beginning. The food riots that have just begun to surface, are just a foreshadowing of what looms ahead in the oncoming months: for example, major rice producers of the world like China, Cambodia, India and Vietnam are already curbing exports dramatically, to ensure food supplies for their own populations. And longer term, the worse may be yet to come folks: projections are that by 2030 with current world population growth, global agriculture/agribusiness will have to double its output and use less water to do it; and every fishery in the world is expected to collapse with 25-50 years. Write off Long John Silvers and KFC.

Why would I mention this ? Because when I read articles like your grad student who naively make assertions “challenging the notion of a ‘pandemic flu’” – bassed upon a snapshot of 1957 and 1968 data, and increased human vaccinations – he has failed miserably to consider what other forces are also at work in the world which make the likelihood of a severe influenza pandemic (or some other virulent disease, or social upheaval or economic chaos), highly probable: starvation and lack of food and water. The situation isn’t at all about “commercial interests inflating perceived impacts of pandemics” junior.

It all comes down to the fundamentals: poor people’s only source of protein dying (chickens and ducks from H5N1), not being able to afford to buy fertilizer to raise crops, and not even having enough food to feed their families. And if there are food riots of hungry masses, how will a novel influenza pandemic be contained by any health care system ?

The simple answer is… it wont be contained in these poor over populated countries if they are starving.



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