Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17 Flu Update

South Korea says it is now bird flu free.

Interesting study looked at the blood of 1918 flu survivors. Yes, after all this time, they still have the antibodies. What an amazing thing our immune system is.

This is something that never seems to get resolved. Did the Spanish Flu kill on its own, or through opportunistic bacterial infections (which would help to render the likelihood of a killer pandemic as low in the anti-biotic era.)


At 6:54 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Just my opinion here, but it is doubtful that modern antibiotics would lessen the effects of any killer pandemic to any measurable degree. We are facing a modern day phenomenon where the world is faced with previously treatable diseases that have again become untreatable, similar to the days before antibiotics were developed, similar to 1918 when antibiotics weren’t even available. In my view, the world may be faced with previously treatable diseases that have again become untreatable.

Nearly everybody thought over the last forty to fifty years, that we all but eradicated bacterial infections as a major health threat. Instead, over the past 15 years, we have seen an alarming resurgence of infectious past bacterial diseases, and even the appearance of new ones. Disease causing microbes that have become extremely resistant to antibiotics in the last 15 years, and are increasing at an alarming rate. The list of diseases that have become resistant to drug therapy is surprising: tuberculosis, pneumonia, gonorrhea, diarrhea, malaria, even child hood ear infections and staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections), salmonella, and campylobacter, just to name a few. In fact, 70 percent of bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are now resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat infections.

Why the resistance buildup ? Primarily due to a couple of reasons – oddly enough, due to human’s incorrect overuse, under-use and mis-use of drug therapies, and due to the flagrant use of antibotics in animals which humans consume (it has been estimated that 50% of all antibiotics produced, wind up in animals). Every time antibiotics are used unnecessarily, they add to the selective pressure we place on bacterial microbes to evolve resistance and evade them. When infections become resistant to “first-line” antibiotics (as we are seeing), then treatment as to be switched to second or third-line drugs, which are always substantially more expensive and scarce. For example, the drugs needed to treat XRTB are over 100 times more expensive than the first-line drugs.

The next killer influenza pandemic that strikes the earth most likely will cause a significant amount of multiple secondary bacterial infections in humans. It is absolutely vital, if we want better survivor results than 1918, that nations begin now to secure a reserve a supply of antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin, trimethoprim, hydrochloride, flucloxacillin, cefazoloin, etc) to employ for their populations during the deadly waves. This means many months worth, not a supply that will be exhausted in several days or a few weeks.

How many western nations have actually stockpiles antivirals (?)… well, very few actually. Incidentally, guess where approximately 80% of the worlds raw pharmaceutical materials for antibiotics (even ascorbic acid- vitamin C, vitamin B12 and most health food supplements) originate from ?

Answer is: China. Now that should give everyone cause to think.



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