Sunday, June 29, 2008

June 28 Flu Update

More on leading scientists who say that bird flu is still a risk.


At 8:59 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Bird flu news is slow during the months of June and July, however it should start picking up again briskly the remainder of the year due to the seasonal nature of the disease. The lone article you posted today is pretty interesting: I like to see a story where a person puts his money where his mouth is, in other words, many people flap their arms (and gums) about bird flu, but here’s a guy who actually participated in two clinical pre-pandemic experimental vaccine trials. That takes a lot of courage and faith.

Regarding the rest of the article – a few random thoughts come to mind - when the world’s top flu experts say to take action (and do it themselves), the rest of us need to take notice. The 1918-1919 Great Influenza had a mortality rate of between 2% and 5%. The present mortality rate of H5N1 is in the neighborhood of an astounding +60% on average, with not guarantee it will attenuate. This means that if H5N1 becomes “humanized”, that it would quickly become a world survival issue and a world-changing event. The worlds experts across the entire globe say it’s just a matter of time, and the clock is ticking. International air travel would assure that it would spread into critical regions around the world in a matter of days. The odds are lessening with each passing month.

Since the last flu pandemic in 1968, the world has changed significantly – forty years have passed. China’s population has doubled, and the worlds poultry population as increased by factors of 10 to 50X’s since then. The closer the contact between humans inflected with seasonal flu and birds infected with avian flu, the greater the chances are that genetic recombination will occur (yeah, I believe Niman is absolutely correct on this point) that will then produce a novel unknown pandemic strain.

A measly one percent death rate would equate to millions of deaths globally, especially in third world countries. However, a 60% death rate means global disaster, especially for the vulnerable populations of the globe, and there any billions of them at risk.

Does it really matter where a pandemic started ? Probably not. It would most assuredly spread like a California wildfire around the globe and quickly. There will be no time and no means to lay a Tamiflu blanket on a global scale, and very few nations will have pre-primed their populations with an advance experimental vaccine. This all adds up to more than a “major threat”. It translates into a potential global catastrophe, especially once the supply lines crumble and the hospitals are overwhelmed.



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