Avian flu pandemic

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Avian flu pandemic. According to information provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 17, 2007, "There have not been any human cases of avian influenza in the United States or North America, but there have been cases in other parts of the world such as Asia and Africa. According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization, from 2003 through April 11, 2007, there have been 291 laboratory-confirmed cases in humans, of whom, 172 died. Each additional case provides the virus an opportunity to improve its ability for human-to-human transmission and develop into a pandemic strain. But right now, there is no pandemic influenza in the world."

Overview & history

"Since its discovery in the late 1990s, the avian flu virus, or H5N1, has infected at least 100 people, more than half of whom have died. But public health officials around the world are warning that the casualty numbers could be much higher if the virus becomes more easily transmittable between humans."—Newsweek, September 2005. [1]
"Since 1997, avian flu strains seem to have infected thousands of birds in 11 countries. But so far, nearly all of the people infected with the disease - more than 100, including some 60 who died - got the sickness directly from birds. There has been very little transmission between people, a requirement for an epidemic.
"An outbreak, therefore, may be years away, or may never occur. And if a strain does jump to people, such a mutation may make it far less lethal than it has been to those who have contracted it from birds."—New York Times, October 2005. [2]

Why bird flu doesn't spread in humans

"To date, roughly 103 people have been infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus--or bird flu. Yet few, if any, of them have spread the disease to other humans. A virus's ability to spread is the key to its ability to create a pandemic. New research shows that this bird flu currently lacks the protein key to unlock certain cells in the human upper respiratory tract, preventing it from spreading via a sneeze or a cough." [3]

As reported in the March 23, 2006, issue of Nature, a team of scientists in the US and Japan, "led by [Virologist] Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, found that avian influenza viruses and human influenza viruses home in on slightly different receptors." [4]

"The reason lies in minute differences to cells located in the top and bottom of the airways, ... To penetrate a cell, the spikes that stud an influenza virus have to be able to bind to the cellular surface. ... The virus spike is like a key and the cell's docking point, called a receptor, is like a lock. They both have to be the right shape for the connection to happen." [5]

Debunking avian flu

"Here's my prediction. The so called bird flu, the chicken disease that has killed a wopping 59 people in the world, the disease that cannot (and will not) be transmitted from human to human, but is going to sweep the world. The chances of the bird flu becoming an international pandemic killing seqdrillions of us, crippling world economies, causing the closure of international borders and generally creating fear, panic and loathing not seen since the last witch was burnt or since we routinely expelled lepers from our midst, are negligible. This is not to say some variety of 'the flu' will emerge, but this is extremely unlikely to have any of the virulence of the bird flu," Steve McKinley wrote November 1, 2005.

Flu "terrorism"

"Forget anthrax and smallpox, influenza could easily be turned into the next weapon of mass destruction, ... [A] team led by Dr Mohammed Madjid noted that last century a series of flu epidemics from Spain to Russia and Hong Kong had killed millions of people as the virus naturally mutated.
"They pointed out that sequencing of the genome of the 1918 Spanish 'flu epidemic' was nearly complete, opening the door to unscrupulous scientists to build an even more potent virus," Reuters reported in July 2003.

Promoting Bush's Legs

Aleksei Mitrofanov, described as a member of the "ultranationalist Liberal Democratic faction of the Russian State Duma, ... said in a parliamentary speech that bird flu was invented by Americans who wanted to dominate the world’s poultry markets.

"'There is no such thing as bird flu, just as there is no AIDS, tulip or mad cow disease, ... It is a provocation by Americans. They want to eliminate all chickens in Europe so that we have to import Bush’s legs',' he said. Bush's legs is a Russian saying for deep frozen chicken thighs massively imported from the U.S. under President George Bush Sr." --MosNews, October 21, 2005.

EU Declares Bird Flu Global Threat

"The European Union has declared the spread of bird flu from Asia into the EU as a global threat requiring international cooperation, saying western Europe is ill prepared to deal with an influenza emergency.
"Western European governments scrambled to buy industrial quantities of flu vaccines and face masks to protect citizens from possible infection," Aljazeera reported October 19, 2005.
"Several EU countries are already slaughtering suspect birds and Britain's chief medical officer Liam Donaldson described the possibility of a human flu pandemic 'public health enemy No. 1 and we are on the march against it'," CNN reported October 20, 2005.
"Adding to the worry is confirmation from Russia's agriculture ministry that the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus has been found in poultry south of Moscow.
"The EU later said it was banning the import of pet birds and feathers from Siberia in eastern Russia," CNN said.

UN report: avian flu & factory farms

According to a United Nations (UN) report, avian flu can be traced to filthy, crowded, disease ridden factory farm conditions. [1] See also meat & dairy industry, section 4.

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Haider Rizvi Factory Farms Fueling Avian Flu, Say Researchers, United Nations, One World US, February 2007

External resources

General Information

Flu alerts

Publications

  • Mike Davis, The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu (Hardcover), New Press (October 1, 2005), ISBN 1595580115.

Websites

External articles

2004

2005

2006