Move over terrorists here's a greater threat

Submitted by Cecil on 11/25/04 at 11:38 PM. ( )

This could kill far more Americans than any terrorist attack. Hopefully we have better luck with vaccines for this one than we do lately with the common flu.

WHO warns of dire flu pandemic

BANGKOK, Thailand -- The World Health Organization has issued a dramatic warning that bird flu will trigger an international pandemic that could kill up to seven million people.

The influenza pandemic could occur anywhere from next week to the coming years, WHO said.

"There is no doubt there will be another pandemic," Klaus Stohr of the WHO Global Influenza Program said on the sidelines of a regional bird flu meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

"Even with the best case scenario, the most optimistic scenario, the pandemic will cause a public health emergency with estimates which will put the number of deaths in the range of two and seven million," he said.

"The number of people affected will go beyond billions because between 25 percent and 30 percent will fall ill."

Pandemics occur when a completely new flu strain emerges for which humans have no immunity.

With a human vaccine to the bird flu virus not expected until March 2005 at the earliest, urgency is being placed on containment.

"The countries that have the weakest health systems are in need of most support and clearly, usually it's together the poorest countries who have the least resources to invest in health," Dr. Bjorn Melgaard, head of WHO's Southeast Asia office, said.

The dire flu warning came ahead of a two-day meeting of regional health ministers in Bangkok, looking at how to pool efforts to combat a future outbreak.

It also comes just a few months after the first probable instance of human-to-human transmission of the bird-flu virus emerged.

The virus killed 32 people in Thailand and Vietnam earlier this year and led to the slaughter of millions of poultry birds across the region.

Pandemics usually occur every 20 to 30 years when the genetic makeup of a flu strain changes so dramatically that people have little or no immunity built up from previous flu bouts.

"During the last 36 years, there has been no pandemic, and there is a conclusion now that we are closer to the next pandemic than we have ever been before," Stohr told reporters.

"There is no reason to believe that we are going to be spared."

Stohr said if bird flu triggers the next pandemic, the virus would likely originate in Asia.

"An influenza pandemic will spare nobody. Every country will be affected," he said.

There have been three pandemics in the 20th century, all spread worldwide within a year of being detected.

The worst was the Spanish flu in 1918-19, when as many as 50 million people worldwide are thought to have died, nearly half of them young, healthy adults.

The Asian flu pandemic of 1957 claimed nearly 700,000 lives in the United States and one million worldwide after spreading from China.

In 1968, the Hong Kong flu pandemic is also said to have killed around one million.

Both pandemics were believed to be mutations of pig viruses.

It is important that countries act quickly to guard against a possible pandemic and take stock of their inventories of antivirals, Stohr said.

Scientists are busy working on vaccines for bird flu and other viruses. Two U.S. companies have said they plan to test experimental bird flu vaccines from January.

Thai health officials said Wednesday they expected that a vaccine to protect humans from bird flu would be ready by 2007, The Associated Press reports .

Health ministers and senior officials from 10 Southeast Asian countries, along with China, Japan and South Korea, are among the more than 100 people attending this week's meeting to develop strategies against flu and other infectious diseases.

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Here's the link

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/25/04 at 11:59 PM. ( )

Accidentally cut it off.

Not a surprise...

This response submitted by Drew on 11/26/04 at 12:20 AM. ( )

Not a coincidence that all these diseases come from over populated countries like China and Africa. Perhaps mother nature is trying to control the population since it has gone above the carrying capacity.

Not trying to be a doomsdayer but...

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/26/04 at 6:59 AM. ( )

Here's a great link if you want to get an historial persepective:

turkey twice

This response submitted by Mr. T on 11/26/04 at 7:42 AM. ( )

I must have something like it, after the wonderful turkey dinner yesterday, 4 hours later, the meal started to come out at both ends, the turkey tasted bad the second time around, all night! I'm about all pooped out now (my poor anus) and so far I'm holding down some Gatorade. Never had a bout this bad before. Everybody else in the family is fine so far. Wouldn't wish this on an enemy. No turkey sandwiches for me!

turkey twice

This response submitted by Mr. T on 11/26/04 at 7:45 AM. ( )

the turkey is a bird, isn't it? Bird flu, get it? Oh,,, back to bed.


This response submitted by Junipera on 11/26/04 at 8:16 AM. ( )

The wonders of Modern Medicine-- IF they can manufacture the Vaccines under "approved" conditions and IF the Vaccine can be distributed where needed.
I know people who were hospitalized for the Flu last year, yet cannot get the Vaccine becuse of the Flu Shot Debacle this year. Will this be their lucky year?

once again

This response submitted by b bishop/ Republican on 11/26/04 at 10:20 AM. ( )

the sky is falling !

Only when I post it Brad

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/26/04 at 12:10 PM. ( )

When you post something similar it's not right?

Little known fact

This response submitted by cur on 11/26/04 at 6:19 PM. ( whatever )

The great flu pandemic in 1917-18 killed more soldiers than did combat over the same period. It has been said that the flu epidemic and not fighting won WWI. Some troop ships lost up to 1/3 of on board soldiers before reaching France.

Sad thing is the strain of influenza virus that caused millions of deaths has not been identified. It came, it killed, and it disappeared. So many folks died in major US cities that coffins were in short supply, and the dead were piled up like so much garbage to be collected by wagons and trucks. Coffins were so hard to come by that some folks would dump a body out of one and steal the coffin for their own relative's corpse.

The sad thing is that it could happen again with worse consequences due to our shrinking world, and the speed of today's transportation. A seemingly healthy person could board a jet in Hong Kong, travel to San Francisco and then infect dozens who would board aircraft to all points of the globe, spreading the disease like fire before a gale.

There are far more insidious virals and bacteria lying in ambush in the ooze and dirt of our tropical jungles, just waiting or an opportunity to emmerge and kill millions. If ever an aerosol spread version of Ebola emerges, man's population problems would be over for centuries.

Some years ago, a shipment of South American monkeys arrived in Europe for research purposes. The monkeys were held in quarantine at Heathrow Airport in London for two weeks before being shipped to a research lab in Germany. Once at the lab, a virus which infected the monkeys attacked the workers there. To spite the best medical care Europe could provide, 29 out of 31 infected medical workers died. That virus hasn't been heard from since, but it is out there, along with cousins that are just as potent

Eat, Drink, and be Merry, for tomorrow we may all cough and wheeze.


This response submitted by Kim Collins on 11/26/04 at 6:25 PM. ( )

I dont know if they are talking about avian influenza but I work for the leading Avian Diease reseach center in the US at the University of Georgia and I can tell you the only thing at this time we know for sure is people cant get this diease from the birds. BUT if it attacks the chicken farms in the USA we will be in for a great loss of chicken. So dont start swearing off chicken/turke yet. Besides there is far more harmful things in our food to worry about.

Bubba's Taxidermy

Kim if mammals can't get it from birds why is it

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/26/04 at 7:28 PM. ( )

the tigers in the chinese zoo died from eating infected chickens? And if you read the article you would see there are now confirmed cases in humans so it has indeed made the jump. It's thought the last pandemic flu made the jump from pigs.

I'm not worried about our chickens getting it as we have strict import requirements, but its human to human contact that concerns me.

The first case of flu from the pandemic occured in Ft. Devens Massachusetts among troops where I used to live. For some reason the youngest and healthiest were the most likely to die from the flu. 20 to 40 year olds.

Ya never know

This response submitted by Junipera on 11/26/04 at 9:22 PM. ( )

when a virus can mutate just the right way. An Ebola Variant could become pandemic anytime. Let's hope Epidemiologists get the funding they need to investigate and act.


This response submitted by cur on 11/26/04 at 11:08 PM. ( whatever )

Avian flu has already jumped familia lines. It has caused human deaths in a number of Asian nations. The method of transmission seems to be unclear, but that it can interspecifically infect seems to be accepted.

The question seems to be, "when", and not "how". All any virus has to do is change it's protein jacket and it becomes a new critter. One of the reason AIDS is so difficult to combat is that the organism changes the protein jacket like a chameleon does color - often and randomly.

The best defense against most viruses is to wash your hands well and often - AND, whatever you do, don't punch anyone with a runny nose.

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