Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Let's talk turkey about this bird flu hype

By Aussiegirl

I have no idea what is behind the recent scare-mongering that is going on world-wide about the bird flu, but some caution is in order. The bird flu that is currently spreading is only dangerous to birds or people who are in confined areas with infected birds for prolonged periods, such as poultry workers. While there is always the potential for animal viruses to mutate into forms that readily infect and spread from human to human, there is no indication that this flu is even close to doing so. It would still have to undergo five separate and random genetic mutations in order to become infections in the same way that the ordinary flu is. In addition, as it mutates it also tends to change, usually becoming less virulent with each change.

Let's get a few facts straight. This flu has killed exactly 60 people worldwide. You are far more likely to die from contracting salmonella from undercooked poultry than you are from some theoretical threat from this flu, which doesn't even exist yet, and may never exist. Panic is completely unwarranted.

You cannot contract it from eating poultry, even infected poultry, as long as you cook it thoroughly.

The people who have been infected with the flu so far were in prolonged and close contact with infected birds. Unless you work in a poultry production facility you are not at risk.

The flu is being spread by migratory birds, which is why we are hearing reports of it spreading from Asia into Russia and Europe and now Greece. It is still only birds which are affected. Heavy culls of domestic fowl have managed these sorts of outbreaks before. In other countries farmers are being urged to keep their poultry indoors where they will not be exposed to wild birds.

Relax. It is extremely unlikely that this flu is ever going to mutate into the form which is predicted for many reasons. As to why all the chicken-littles are screaming their heads off about this and deliberately panicking the world population is anybody's guess. But it has little to do with scientific reality.

Is Thanksgiving still on? Many worry about bird flu - Concord Monitor Online - Concord, NH 03301

Is Thanksgiving still on? Many worry about bird flu - Concord Monitor Online - Concord, NH 03301

Americans fearful of bird flu are peppering health officials with all sorts of questions: Is it safe to have a bird feeder in my yard? If I see a dead bird, should I report it? Is it still okay to have turkey at Thanksgiving?

The answers are yes, no, and yes.


At 10:44 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Good points here, but I'm not hearing these details in the msm.

Thanks for this information.

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your thoughts but they are out of place in the current reality - even the WPost article is an interview of a scientist that is currently working ON A VACCINE !!

" Your work is aimed at developing a vaccine that would help protect against spread of the disease. How would such a vaccine be used?

We are testing a prototype vaccine that is designed to be very similar to a regular flu shot but that contains the components of bird flu "

Is is so sure that no issues exist - watch how he answers this question:

" There's been a bit of discussion around the idea of having Roche Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Tamiflu (oseltamivir), either expand and hasten the manufacture of that drug or allow other companies to make it. Would that drug be effective in the face of a pandemic?

Oh, God, I hope so!

I just want you to realize that this is big stuff - not that you or I can do anything about it, but please don't tell me you can read an article of an interview with a guy feverously trying to find a vaccine as being an article to prove that this whole thing is overblown. Why bother with a vaccine if there are no concerns. And here is another point to ponder - If nothing else there are millions and millions of birds being destroyed and why bother with that if this is not a very serious issue. There is a good article in the National Geographic: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0510/feature1/index.html
I remember an article awhile ago that they published on the eventual breakup of the then unified country of Yugoslavia - and I am sure there are those at the time that thought it was just hype - we will see if picking the H5N1 virus for the cover story of the last edition will also hold prophetic implications.

I have been following the H5N1 virus for over two years, and what is alarming at this time is the concern that I am seeing for the first time by major world leaders. For instance, last year for his Summer vacation, President Bush took along as one of the books he read a history of the 1912 Spanish Flu epidemic.

I hope you are right - I appreciate your desire to at least not spread "fear" - fear is absolutely no good - I want to believe that it is all a big blown up story by the media - but that is not what I am seeing from my close study of this over the few years that I have been tracking it.

On the most important aspect of all this - I am not worried and neither should you be if we have a relationship with Jesus - you lock in eternal life - Psalms 91 has some excellent promises for those that believe in the Bible truth.

At 12:36 AM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

I think scientists are right to consider that a pandemic is a possibility. What I think being hyped out of all reality is idea that it is almost a certainty that this particular bird flu in this particular year is bound to mutate. It might, and it might not. At the present time we have Tamiflu and another antiviral drug. We also have antibiotics and other drugs which were not available in 1918. What needs to be undertaken with lots of speed and government funding is the process of speeding up the manufacture of vaccine using genetic methods, rather than the lengthy, expensive and cumbersome one we presently have of using and incubating the virus in chicken eggs. That is where the real advance against any and all such emergent pandemic viruses will come. Spreading fear and panic in the population is pointless. Remember SARS? The great scourge that was going to sweep across Asia and Europe and invade America and could not be stopped or treated? SARS is not making news anymore, even though there was an outbreak last year in Canada. It seems to have disappeared.

Every year there is the remote possibility of a pandemic of some sort. This flu might mutate this year, or in 5 or 8 or 10 years. It might become more virulent, the possibilities are there, but are far from certainties. That being said, it does bear watching, by relevant health authorities and governments.

But for now, only poultry workers need worry. Eat your turkey and enjoy that chicken -- just be sure to cook it to an internal temperature of 180 degrees, because you are in greater danger of dying from undercooked poultry (a real possibility) than you are from dying from the bird flu. Thanks for the comment -- come again and share your thoughts.

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Drew said...

Problem with the media is no one pays much attention to it. We have about two million doses of Tamiflu, and we have about 300 million folk living in the country - something is wrong with that picture. The US government will be about as prepared as it was for New Orleans - which it had been anticipating for decades.

I am right behind you with the desire for the status quo when it comes to viral bugs floating around. But it get all types of alerts and they keep getting more intense - take this one for example.


Article written by: John Oxford - Professor of Virology at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Hospital


During the last great influenza outbreaks in 1918, 1957 and 1968 doctors and scientists sat and observed but could not intervene seriously. Now there are perhaps 5,000 influenza virologists worldwide and I personally know of only two who think the risk from the new avian flu, H5N1, has been exaggerated. We want to do everything to stop an outbreak by pinpointing its source, calculating the critical infectiousness of the virus and deluging people in the affected area with antiviral drugs and vaccines.


To roll forward to autumn 2005 a new bird virus, H5N1, is the enemy at the gate. This is how it might spread to Britain: a migrating goose, en route from Siberia where it has picked up H5N1 from a cousin bird from China, rests for a few hours on a pond, lake or canal in the Netherlands, Norfolk or France. Its virus-infected excrement contaminates the water. A duck or goose, perhaps from a nearby farm, picks up the virus. It then infects chickens with which it shares space. The first thing the hapless farmer notices is a few of his beloved chickens staggering around with swollen heads, collapsed combs and bloodshot eyes. The next day he may have the awesome sight of a wall-to-wall carpeting of dead chickens, perhaps 20,000 corpses packing his sheds. The super virulent H5N1 virus has arrived.

But the farmer calls the vet, who looks inside the beak, sticks swabs in the birds’ bottoms and breathes in dust from virus-laden droppings. In the Netherlands a few years ago a vet was the first victim and soon died. Several hundred farm workers then became ill with this influenza variety, a much less deadly strain than H5N1. The ever-spreading virus was stopped only by gassing 30 million chickens.

End Quote.

This guy is not media, he along with most scientists that are studying this are frightened by the stregth of this virus. And no amount of media coverage is going to cause someone to gas 30 million chickens for no reason. This is serious stuff.

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to read the truth about all this Bird Flu Hype, then I suggest you read the following chapter. Sad but true and every piece of info is fully documented. Mike


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