Monday, June 30, 2008

June 29 Flu Update

Egypt is educating families about fighting the bird flu.

There are also educational programs in Japan.

The bird flu alert in South Korea has been lifted.


At 6:07 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I see from your Egypt article that they are implementing some sort of government organized “two phase” plan to begin (what appears to be) a gigantic “Coop poultry raising efforts” across their country to discourage individuals from raising backyard chickens. I am very skeptical of this approach, even though it is a step in the right direction – it does not incorporate the necessary rigor in areas of cultural re-engineering that the Hong Kong approach takes. Hong Kong is going to quickly buy out the farmers and chicken traders and phase out live poultry markets and trading completely. This is a very drastic re-engineering of its present culture, and a change towards the more proven western approach to centralized commercial poultry raising and processing operations. This essentially means the citizenry must quickly get acclimated to pre-processed frozen poultry products. This also shows a strong display of government commitment.

If Egypt and other H5N1 endemic countries want to have any chance of eliminating the virus, they are going to have to revisit the foundation stones of their culture and rearrange them quickly, especially when it comes to raising and processing poultry products. Otherwise they will be economically and physiologically doomed by the virus and their own inaction. If they want to keep on pedaling along in their little vacuum squirrel cages pretending everything is AOK, they will always have human illnesses and run the danger of losing billions of dollars through poultry losses. Teaching billions of individuals in third world developing countries “how to safely breed birds according to hygienic measures” sounds good on the surface, but is a recipe for disaster. Even trying to protect wetlands from migratory H5N1 infected waterfowl is futile, in my view.

South Korea has endured three major outbreaks of H5N1 since 2003, and culled over 16 million birds. Many other third world countries in the IndoAsianChina region have had similar or worse experiences. It is very doubtful that the virus is truly eradicated in these environments. They all face additional future outbreaks, more gigantic culling and poultry vaccine inoculation measures, and even higher staggering economic losses, unless they proactively change and completely re-engineer their cultures to rid themselves of small free range backyard poultry farms and unfettered chicken trading. They need to adopt highly westernized and centralized bio-secure commercial operations, which are monitored and inspected according to the highest central government health and veterinary surveillance standards. One could argue vehemently that this still didn’t stop the 2007 Bernard Matthews H5N1 outbreak in England, but there is a big difference.

The difference is management and containment of the virus when it appears in poultry. It is more easily identified and contained in large commercial operations. This is a huge advantage in the identification, eradication and containment of the virus, versus having to inspect thousands (if not millions upon millions) of individual small backyard operations.

Yeah, I know, the PETA folks are going to hate me for these comments, but let’s face it… food is food these days and it should be processed according to the highest sanitary standards possible, or we face all kinds of rampant new pathogens. With today’s significant burgeoning populations, climate, fuel, fresh water and food problems, worrying about whether a chicken has a good and fruitful life of six months, isn’t at the center of the radar scope: cheap affordable protein without the threat of a new epizootic or an influenza pandemic, should be the major health objective everywhere on the planet.



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