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Donger
11-07-2005, 04:06 PM
WHO Chief Urges Preparedness for Bird Flu

GENEVA - Countries around the world need to start rehearsing plans for tackling a human flu pandemic to identify hidden obstacles and ensure the best response once the virus arrives, the World Health Organization said Monday.

Health experts at the first major international coordination meeting on bird flu and human flu urged countries that haven't done so to draw up plans for handling an inevitable new pandemic, which the
World Bank estimated could result in more than $800 billion in lost gross domestic product over a single year.

Experts agree a global flu outbreak capable of killing millions of people is a certainty.

What is also certain, say scientists, is that the virus will come from bird flu. But what is unknown is whether the H5N1 strain that has ravaged poultry stocks in parts of Asia and spread through Eastern Europe will be the culprit.

It is the leading candidate, however, and authorities are trying to stamp out poultry outbreaks as rapidly as possible to reduce opportunities for the virus to mutate into a form that can pass easily between people and spread worldwide. Currently, the virus is hard for people to catch, and most deaths have been linked to human handling of infected poultry.

The World Health Organization has been urging countries to draw up pandemic flu plans for almost a decade, but many did not act until the bird flu outbreak in Asia became an apparent threat.

Six months ago, fewer than 40 countries had a strategy, said Dr. Mike Ryan, director of epidemic and pandemic alert and response at WHO. Now, 120 countries, or 60 percent of the WHO member states, have planned responses.

"That's pretty unprecedented in public health, but we need to push it further, into the implementation, the rehearsing and testing," Ryan said.

"A national plan is like a New Year's resolution. You can write it down on paper, but the question is do you actually carry it out? ... You've got to get money, get the training going. In the end you've got to test it and see if it actually works."

The plans contain commitments to activities such as improving early detection of disease, increasing the ability of hospitals to cope with an influx of patients and the intention to stockpile drugs, pre-order vaccines and quarantine communities.

The more real the rehearsal, the better, Ryan said.

One testing option is to have the various players sit around a table and work through various scenarios. The
European Union is planning such an exercise next month.

Another option is a war game, where the scenario is acted out. However, that costs more money and can disrupt health systems.

"It's only when you run a simulation that you realize you don't have the guidelines for this, or you won't be able to deploy people from here to there, or there were legal obstacles to quarantine. You start to see the weaknesses in your system," Ryan said. "At the very least, national plans should be tabletop exercised."

Still, he said the level of preparedness already and the meeting to forge a global strategy are unprecedented.

"It's the first time the international community have come together before we've had the disaster. It's always after the tsunami, after
SARS, after AIDS," Ryan said.

Several developing countries Morocco, Kenya, Indonesia, India and Thailand said Monday they were worried about getting drugs and human vaccines because they lack pharmaceutical manufacturing or money to buy products.

Pharmaceutical groups were also meeting in Geneva to develop a coordinated vaccine strategy for the industry.

"If something happens tomorrow, we are very poorly prepared," said Dr. Bram Palache, medical director of Belgian pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Solvay Pharmaceuticals. "There is no doubt about that. We don't have the means to really properly do the interventions which will be needed."

Money will be needed to prepare the world, experts said.

"The potential cost of this thing is in the multibillions," said Dr. David Nabarro, the U.N. coordinator for bird and human flu. "We are asking for what would be a quite small fraction of that. This is not a begging bowl. This is an investment in the future of the world, an investment in the future of society."

penguinz
11-07-2005, 04:08 PM
This years shock story.

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:09 PM
Bah! It's spreading already!!

Mods, please nuke one of them.

CosmicPal
11-07-2005, 04:11 PM
East Asia was ordered to kill their birds- over 300,000 birds were put to death last week alone.

Hydrae
11-07-2005, 04:14 PM
Will this occur? Most likely
Will it kill huge numbers like past pandemics? Probably
Will it kill a large number in the US? I doubt it

Stinger
11-07-2005, 04:15 PM
When the Red and White Sox won the World Series back to back many said the end of the world is near. :shrug:

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:16 PM
Will this occur? Most likely
Will it kill huge numbers like past pandemics? Probably
Will it kill a large number in the US? I doubt it

Curious. Why not us?

FloridaChief
11-07-2005, 04:17 PM
Swine flu...

kcfanintitanhell
11-07-2005, 04:25 PM
Swine flu...

Thank you, Jimmy Carter...that damn vaccination made me ill for almost two months.

Otter
11-07-2005, 04:29 PM
Turning on the news has been a real treat for the last couple months eh?

I know I'm going to freaking die someday, don't need to be reminded of it evey time I turn on the TV or upen up USA TOday.

Pitt Gorilla
11-07-2005, 04:30 PM
Apparently, birds are scared of Scanlon. It has something to do with an incident involving a 9-iron, a goose, and the lead singer of Bif Naked. I think we're safe.

Cochise
11-07-2005, 04:32 PM
Hard to tell if this is another unfounded scare or if anything will actually happen.

How many deaths worldwide have there been from this? Does this make you a dead person walking if you catch it? Or do people recover except the infants or elderly? When was the last time there was a pandemic flu and how many people died in the US (or modern countries of the time)?

I guess because of what I heard growing up, about how an HIV pandemic was inevitable and that by the time I was out of high school it would be airborne, but today the fact is that if you don't engage in high risk behavior you have virtually no chance of catching it. The HIV story has tempered me to this a little bit.

But I do wonder if there is something behind the panic.

CosmicPal
11-07-2005, 04:33 PM
Turning on the news has been a real treat for the last couple months eh?

I know I'm going to freaking die someday, don't need to be reminded of it evey time I turn on the TV or upen up USA TOday.

Some are saying it's the single modern day threat to mankind. I know it's an apocalyptic statement, but our government even warned us about it a few days ago- and THAT means something. Our government doesn't do sh*t until it's too late. Not in this case, though.

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 04:34 PM
Curious. Why not us?

Deadly flu pandemics are almost always the result of poor healthcare/sanitation/etc.

These people are creating a ton of panic where none is warranted. They're probably doing this to deflect from something else that people would be mega-pissed about...

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:39 PM
How many deaths worldwide have there been from this?

From direct contact (bird to human), I think it's around 60.

Does this make you a dead person walking if you catch it? Or do people recover except the infants or elderly?

50% mortality rate. And, again, this is based on the present strain, which is not human to human transferable yet.

When was the last time there was a pandemic flu and how many people died in the US (or modern countries of the time)?

1968, IIRC. Killed 1 million worldwide, 34,000 in US, which is basically a standard flu death toll.

I guess because of what I heard growing up, about how an HIV pandemic was inevitable and that by the time I was out of high school it would be airborne, have tempered me to this a little bit. But I do wonder if there is something behind the panic.

Until it mutates and can transfer from human to human, I agree.

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:39 PM
Deadly flu pandemics are almost always the result of poor healthcare/sanitation/etc.

These people are creating a ton of panic where none is warranted. They're probably doing this to deflect from something else that people would be mega-pissed about...

Have you ever been to Asia?

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 04:41 PM
From direct contact (bird to human), I think it's around 60.



50% mortality rate. And, again, this is based on the present strain, which is not human to human transferable yet.



1968, IIRC. Killed 1 million worldwide, 34,000 in US, which is basically a standard flu death toll.



Until it mutates and can transfer from human to human, I agree.

Again, 60 people worldwide, almost ALL of them in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

34k people in the US in 1968, amost exclusively elderly and children.

OF COURSE, the government wants you to be scared to death of bird flu. That way you're not paying attention when they give your house to a Starbucks to generate tax revenue...

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 04:42 PM
Have you ever been to Asia?

What does that have to do with anything?

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:43 PM
Again, 60 people worldwide, almost ALL of them in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

34k people in the US in 1968, amost exclusively elderly and children.

OF COURSE, the government wants you to be scared to death of bird flu. That way you're not paying attention when they give your house to a Starbucks to generate tax revenue...

Yes, I acknowledge that. I also acknowledge that those 60 died from the strain that is not human-to-human transmittable.

kcfanintitanhell
11-07-2005, 04:43 PM
At least the victims of the 1918 flu pandemic didn't have to sit and watch talking heads on CNN in 1916 telling them they were all going to die within the next two years.

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:44 PM
What does that have to do with anything?

You said, "Deadly flu pandemics are almost always the result of poor healthcare/sanitation/etc."

Healthcare and sanitation isn't exactly wonderful in many Asian countries.

Bowser
11-07-2005, 04:44 PM
There was an article in the KCStar today stating that Asian doctors working on the problem have found that kimchi, or sauerkraut, seems to cure the bird flu when given to infected birds. And how much were we going to spend to find a cure?

And how the hell did they think to give infected birds sauerkraut?

This should make Germans and German food lovers throughout the world happy. Sehr gut!

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 04:46 PM
You said, "Deadly flu pandemics are almost always the result of poor healthcare/sanitation/etc."

Healthcare and sanitation isn't exactly wonderful in many Asian countries.

Well, DUH.

We were talking about the *US* government, warning *US* citizens, were we not?

Your original question was "Why not us?" When I answered, you changed the subject.

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:47 PM
Well, DUH.

We were talking about the *US* government, warning *US* citizens, were we not?

No. The article and statements are from the WHO.

* Edit - Sorry, I was more referring to the potential outbreak, not the spread.

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 04:48 PM
No. The article and statements are from the WHO.

You said "Why not us?"

I told you why.

Hydrae
11-07-2005, 04:49 PM
Curious. Why not us?


Sanitation levels in this country

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 04:52 PM
Sanitation levels in this country

Have you ever been to Asia?

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:53 PM
Sanitation levels in this country

Fair enough.

Looking it up, the 1918 pandemic killed 500,000 Americans. It killed 17 million in India.

The 1957 killed 70,000.

The 1968 killed 34,000.

The average influenza death toll each year is 36,000 in the US.

* Note to self, avoid India.

Donger
11-07-2005, 04:53 PM
Have you ever been to Asia?

ROFL

Cochise
11-07-2005, 04:53 PM
There was an article in the KCStar today stating that Asian doctors working on the problem have found that kimchi, or sauerkraut, seems to cure the bird flu when given to infected birds. And how much were we going to spend to find a cure?

Cool. I love that stuff.

I just wondered. Ok, I can see some feeble old lady near starvation in Vietnam dying of the flu, but what are the chances of a strapping and well-endowed 25 year old guy like myself who's in good health, lives in the United States, not in a bad sanitary environment or anything, both catching and eating it from the flu.

Cochise
11-07-2005, 04:54 PM
* Note to self, avoid India.

It's also a good policy to avoid Indian food. :Lin:

CosmicPal
11-07-2005, 04:55 PM
The bird flu is a serious threat. It has everything to do with evolutionary biology, or what you might call microbiological Darwinism, which basically involves how these viruses survive, thrive and get passed on from one person to the next.

If you're a really deadly virus -- like Ebola, which kills 90 percent of the people infected -- then you're actually not very good at spreading from one person to the next. Why? You kill your host too quickly. You're so deadly that your host dies before you get a chance to be infectious.

In order to be a pandemic, a virus must be highly infectious; it must be able to spread from one person to another in an undetectable way. When a virus becomes less-immediately lethal, it is able to survive in the host in an undetectable state, for a longer period of time. This is what makes viruses really, really dangerous: A dangerous virus is not lethal to one individual; rather, it can exist in a hidden state and be passed from one person to the next. It's the contagiousness of a virus that makes it dangerous. Not to mention we are trying to get Tamiflu imported into the states, because it would take three years to manufacture enough Tamiflu for the entire population.

This has nothing to do with poor conditions in poor countries- it's a serious threat.

Biohazard
11-07-2005, 04:57 PM
I told you the fuggin bird flu (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=125490) was a come'n!

Bowser
11-07-2005, 04:57 PM
Cool. I love that stuff.

I just wondered. Ok, I can see some feeble old lady near starvation in Vietnam dying of the flu, but what are the chances of a strapping and well-endowed 25 year old guy like myself who's in good health, lives in the United States, not in a bad sanitary environment or anything, both catching and eating it from the flu.

That's like asking "What are the chances of a ten ton Acme anvil falling out of the sky, and turning me into street pizza?"

A dying Buddhist monk once told me on his deathbed - "Bowser, for all your days, remember this - never, ever, piss in the wind".

And eat lots of sauerkraut as well, apparently....


:D

sedated
11-07-2005, 04:59 PM
Bush is in trouble so he needs to scare the crap out of the masses of idiots we have in this country.

"Bird flu? Oh No! Please help us mr. president! I'll forget that you are totally incompitent and crooked."

mike_b_284
11-07-2005, 04:59 PM
the pandemic in 1918 was spanish flu, very similar to the avian flu appearing now. In 1918 the majority of people affected by the virus were young healthy adults; not babies, the elderly, or people who were already sick.

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 05:00 PM
The bird flu is a serious threat. It has everything to do with evolutionary biology, or what you might call microbiological Darwinism, which basically involves how these viruses survive, thrive and get passed on from one person to the next.

If you're a really deadly virus -- like Ebola, which kills 90 percent of the people infected -- then you're actually not very good at spreading from one person to the next. Why? You kill your host too quickly. You're so deadly that your host dies before you get a chance to be infectious.

In order to be a pandemic, a virus must be highly infectious; it must be able to spread from one person to another in an undetectable way. When a virus becomes less-immediately lethal, it is able to survive in the host in an undetectable state, for a longer period of time. This is what makes viruses really, really dangerous: A dangerous virus is not lethal to one individual; rather, it can exist in a hidden state and be passed from one person to the next. It's the contagiousness of a virus that makes it dangerous. Not to mention we are trying to get Tamiflu imported into the states, because it would take three years to manufacture enough Tamiflu for the entire population.

This has nothing to do with poor conditions in poor countries- it's a serious threat.

It's a serious threat IF AND ONLY IF it satisfies two conditions, not just one.

To be a "serious threat" it has to be both virulent AND deadly. So far, it's proven to be NEITHER.

1) There's not yet any human-to-human transmission -- not virulent.

2) It's NOT deadly any more than any other type of flu -- mortality is drastically influenced by victim age, overall health, sanitary conditions, etc.

This is another, typical example of our government scaring people to deflect away from something else their falling short on...

Cochise
11-07-2005, 05:01 PM
Bush is in trouble so he needs to scare the crap out of the masses of idiots we have in this country.

"Bird flu? Oh No! Please help us mr. president! I'll forget that you are totally incompitent and crooked."

Bowser
11-07-2005, 05:02 PM
It's a serious threat IF AND ONLY IF it satisfies two conditions, not just one.

To be a "serious threat" it has to be both virulent AND deadly. So far, it's proven to be NEITHER.

1) There's not yet any human-to-human transmission -- not virulent.

2) It's NOT deadly any more than any other type of flu -- mortality is drastically influenced by victim age, overall health, sanitary conditions, etc.

This is another, typical example of our government scaring people to deflect away from something else their falling short on...

Good thing I got my plastic and duct tape left over from the West Nile threat! WHEW!!

Donger
11-07-2005, 05:03 PM
So, I guess there are some unknowns:

1. The virus has not yet mutated to the point of being transfered from human to human. Yet, the WHO folks seem to think that is inevitable.

2. They don't know how virulent it will be. If it's moderate like in 1968, they are projecting 209,000 dead. If it's severe like 1918, 1,900,000 dead.

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 05:05 PM
the pandemic in 1918 was spanish flu, very similar to the avian flu appearing now. In 1918 the majority of people affected by the virus were young healthy adults; not babies, the elderly, or people who were already sick.

Alot of the "healthy adult men" counted in the numbers were soldiers serving in WWI. That's certainly an extenuating circumstance.

Clint in Wichita
11-07-2005, 05:06 PM
How do they know that the "bird flu" virus, IF it mutates into a form that can infect humans, would be DEADLY?

Just because it kills birds?

Last time I looked, I don't have any feathers.

htismaqe
11-07-2005, 05:07 PM
So, I guess there are some unknowns:

1. The virus has not yet mutated to the point of being transfered from human to human. Yet, the WHO folks seem to think that is inevitable.

2. They don't know how virulent it will be. If it's moderate like in 1968, they are projecting 209,000 dead. If it's severe like 1918, 1,900,000 dead.

I'm not trying to bust your balls.

I'm just really tired of the "Weekly World News" mentality that seems to infect this country.

We have REAL problems that need REAL attention, and yet we're talking about a bird flu that may or may not spread here and may or may not kill a few people.

Bowser
11-07-2005, 05:08 PM
How do they know that the "bird flu" virus, IF it mutates into a form that can infect humans, would be DEADLY?

Just because it kills birds?

Last time I looked, I don't have any feathers.

It's just a sceme to drive up the price of 'kraut.

And a nation full of people binging on 'kraut could possibly be as deadly.

Donger
11-07-2005, 05:08 PM
How do they know that the "bird flu" virus, IF it mutates into a form that can infect humans, would be DEADLY?

Just because it kills birds?

Last time I looked, I don't have any feathers.

All three pandemics of the last century were mutations of avian influenza, IIRC.

Clint in Wichita
11-07-2005, 05:10 PM
So, we put up with a pandemic every couple of generations so po' folk can sell chickens?

Biohazard
11-07-2005, 05:10 PM
It's just a sceme to drive up the price of 'kraut.

And a nation full of people binging on 'kraut could possibly be as deadly.
kraut=:Lin:, so I dont think I'm going to pull through this one.

Donger
11-07-2005, 05:12 PM
I'm not trying to bust your balls.

No need to apologize. I'm just trying to have a discussion, and the thickness of my skin is not an issue.

I'm just really tired of the "Weekly World News" mentality that seems to infect this country.

Hence the question mark in the thread title.

CosmicPal
11-07-2005, 05:22 PM
It's a serious threat IF AND ONLY IF it satisfies two conditions, not just one.

To be a "serious threat" it has to be both virulent AND deadly. So far, it's proven to be NEITHER.



Let's go back to the very beginning and talk about the World Health Organization's announcement about the bird flu virus. Experts of infectious disease say that the bird flu virus is now mutating to a less lethal strain and it has them very worried. Hopefully, this now makes perfect sense: instead of killing 90 percent of people, the bird flu virus is lowering its kill rate to an estimated 50 percent. This virus is mutating into a form that can survive inside a person's body without being detected and without killing that person, so of course it will be far more infectious.

This is what concerns the WHO and the CDC. These are the people who are the experts in infectious disease and who know the history of pandemics. If this virus kill rate drops even further, down to about 25 percent, it will become even more deadly in a global sense. It will become more of a pandemic threat because the virus will easily slip out of the country -- out of China, Korea, and Thailand or wherever it happens to be at the moment. It will slip out, infect some tourists or business travelers, get onto airplanes and into airports and then move very rapidly from one country to another.

A few years ago, we saw the beginnings of this with SARS. Thankfully, SARS was controlled, but it was by no means a sure thing. SARS almost got completely out of control; it almost became the next global pandemic. If it wasn't for some outstanding work by the CDC, the WHO and by countries like Canada, that disease would have become a global killer.

mike_b_284
11-07-2005, 05:44 PM
Alot of the "healthy adult men" counted in the numbers were soldiers serving in WWI. That's certainly an extenuating circumstance.


Very good point, that thought hadn't occured to me.

Really in the whole scheme of things, a pandemic every 50 years or so is not a bad thing. Need to cull the herd, natures way of keeping population in check

mike_b_284
11-07-2005, 05:44 PM
survival of the fittest

Donger
11-07-2005, 05:54 PM
Alot of the "healthy adult men" counted in the numbers were soldiers serving in WWI. That's certainly an extenuating circumstance.

The 500,000 deaths in the US did not take into account our soldiers who died in Europe, IIRC. The 1918 pandemic did kill many more "young, healthy" people as compared to the pandemics in 1957 and 1968.

Bwana
11-07-2005, 06:24 PM
Bad Birds!

go bowe
11-07-2005, 06:40 PM
Hard to tell if this is another unfounded scare or if anything will actually happen.

How many deaths worldwide have there been from this? Does this make you a dead person walking if you catch it? Or do people recover except the infants or elderly? When was the last time there was a pandemic flu and how many people died in the US (or modern countries of the time)?

I guess because of what I heard growing up, about how an HIV pandemic was inevitable and that by the time I was out of high school it would be airborne, but today the fact is that if you don't engage in high risk behavior you have virtually no chance of catching it. The HIV story has tempered me to this a little bit.

But I do wonder if there is something behind the panic.as i understand it,

- there have been relatively few deaths thus far...

- the death rate is 50% (so that would make you a half dead walking person)...

- apparently, the death rate includes everybody (and the 1918 pandemic killed millions of healthy adults, not just the sick and elderly)...

- in 1918, the flu killed about 600,000 americans and 25 to 50 million worldwide...

- the 1918 flu was an avian virus...

it is almost inevitable that there will be a pandemic...

the virus is has already spread throughout southeast asia and has appeared in eastern europe, based on news reports...

go bowe
11-07-2005, 06:44 PM
There was an article in the KCStar today stating that Asian doctors working on the problem have found that kimchi, or sauerkraut, seems to cure the bird flu when given to infected birds. And how much were we going to spend to find a cure?

And how the hell did they think to give infected birds sauerkraut?

This should make Germans and German food lovers throughout the world happy. Sehr gut!kimchi is not sauerkraut...

kimchi is chinese cabbage, white radishes, red peppers, garlic, green onion, ginger, glue plant (a kind of algae), salt, and salted fish placed in a closed container and allowed to rot (well, ferment actually)...

it is also one of the hottest damned things i ever ate, and i like hot spicy foods...

Bowser
11-07-2005, 07:00 PM
kimchi is not sauerkraut...

kimchi is chinese cabbage, white radishes, red peppers, garlic, green onion, ginger, glue plant (a kind of algae), salt, and salted fish placed in a closed container and allowed to rot (well, ferment actually)...

it is also one of the hottest damned things i ever ate, and i like hot spicy foods...

So you realize how they make that crap? Wouldn't eat it in a thousand years. Blech....

Donger
02-28-2006, 08:48 AM
So, what says everyone now? I suppose that it's a good sign that there hasn't been a single human-to-human case yet, but it sure looks like they were right about it spreading outside of Asia:

http://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A_AI-Asia.htm

Cochise
02-28-2006, 09:05 AM
I have been waiting for that global outbreak killing millions of people that is a certainty...

Donger
02-28-2006, 09:10 AM
I have been waiting for that global outbreak killing millions of people that is a certainty...

ROFL

That rather bold prediction was why I bolded it in the first place. However, the fact that it has spread into Europe and Africa so quickly should be cause for concern, IMO.

MOhillbilly
02-28-2006, 09:18 AM
they came out w/ a way to make a synthetic H5N1 flu virus,and are close to starting human trials on the H5N1 vaccine.

Cormac
02-28-2006, 09:24 AM
It's a serious threat IF AND ONLY IF it satisfies two conditions, not just one.

To be a "serious threat" it has to be both virulent AND deadly. So far, it's proven to be NEITHER.

1) There's not yet any human-to-human transmission -- not virulent.

2) It's NOT deadly any more than any other type of flu -- mortality is drastically influenced by victim age, overall health, sanitary conditions, etc.

This is another, typical example of our government scaring people to deflect away from something else their falling short on...

Believe me, I am not somebody to make excuses for the US government, but your above points are so wrong.

Because there is not any human-human transmission does not mean that it is not virulent. The very word virulent describes the ability of a pathogen to cause disease. Very clearly, this H5N1 influenza virus is highly virulent in birds and in humans.

Also, to say it is not more deadly than other types of flu is beyond absurd. Every influenza virus (and many other pathogens) are more dangerous in individuals that are immunocompromised, very young or old, or living in squalid conditions. But this virus is far more virulent than other circulating subtypes despite that. Other circulating subtypes of influenza virus in humans like H1N1, H2N1 and H3N2 do not have ~50% mortality rate.

The reason that this virus is so much more risky to the human population is the lack of immunity among us. The most important immune determinant in influenza virus is the major surface protein, hemagglutinin. This is the H (as in H5N1). There are 16 known H varieties, and humans have never before been infected by H5 containing viruses. Therefore, we have virtually no immunity to this protein, thereby allowing very rapid and successful infection by H5 viruses. The hemagglutinin protein is responsible for attachment and penetration of the host cells allowing entry of the virus. Without neutralizing antibodies to combat its entry, it gets a free pass, and grows to high titres making people very sick and in danger of dying. This is even more dangerous for children, the elderly and the immune compromised, but it does not mean that "healthy adults" are not also at risk.

What is novel about this virus is that it represents the first time that H5 viruses have been capable to attaching to, and infecting human cells. H5 viruses have been around presumably forever, but they have always been restricted to birds. The fact that this H5 virus can now infect humans is what has people so scared. As others have pointed out, it has not yet acquired the capability of transmitting from human to human which is the worst case scenario. However, it has in the past year spread much more rapidly among birds. It has been endemic in southeast Asia for the last 5-7 years, but remained there. This year it has spread between populations of birds in different flyways, and is all across Europe now. In fact, they were gathering dead birds for testing in Ireland (my home) last weekend, but no results have been made available yet. I'd bet that it will be in the US within a year, maybe much sooner.

I am not here to sensationalise the possibility of a pandemic. There are plenty of people doing that. And there are plenty of other things in life to worry about. But I can't sit by and watch total inaccuracies be propagated. The risk is very real. Whether it will ever happen absolutely nobody knows.

trndobrd
02-28-2006, 09:32 AM
The 500,000 deaths in the US did not take into account our soldiers who died in Europe, IIRC. The 1918 pandemic did kill many more "young, healthy" people as compared to the pandemics in 1957 and 1968.


Those numbers did not include WWI combat deaths, of course. However, many of the outbreaks occurred in at military posts and training camps as thousands of Soldiers from all parts of the country were living together in the days before field sanitation.

http://members.cox.net/~tjohnston7/ww1hist/flu.html

Cochise
02-28-2006, 09:32 AM
So again I wonder, what are the chances of me catching it and dying, being 25 and in good health and living in the central United States in sanitary (for a bachelor) conditions.

trndobrd
02-28-2006, 09:35 AM
So again I wonder, what are the chances of me catching it and dying, being 25 and in good health and living in the central United States in sanitary (for a bachelor) conditions.


Only cockroaches and Bwana will survive.

Cormac
02-28-2006, 09:35 AM
So again I wonder, what are the chances of me catching it and dying, being 25 and in good health and living in the central United States in sanitary (for a bachelor) conditions.

You had a good shot until the bachelor comment.

:D

Seriously, though, it's probably pointless to speculate. But if the worst case scenario is 1 million deaths in the US, that's only 1:280 people. And your chances are better than average given age, health, awareness, access to medical care etc. So less than 1:1000???

Besides, there is one thing really worth taking into account. A lot of influenza deaths during a pandemic are due to the virus infection itself. But a lot more (half or more) are from secondary bacterial pneumonias. If there is a flu pandemic, I'll be first in line for pneumococcal vaccination. Then as long as you survive the initial flu, secondary problems shouldn't get you.

htismaqe
02-28-2006, 09:37 AM
Believe me, I am not somebody to make excuses for the US government, but your above points are so wrong.

Because there is not any human-human transmission does not mean that it is not virulent. The very word virulent describes the ability of a pathogen to cause disease. Very clearly, this H5N1 influenza virus is highly virulent in birds and in humans.

Also, to say it is not more deadly than other types of flu is beyond absurd. Every influenza virus (and many other pathogens) are more dangerous in individuals that are immunocompromised, very young or old, or living in squalid conditions. But this virus is far more virulent than other circulating subtypes despite that. Other circulating subtypes of influenza virus in humans like H1N1, H2N1 and H3N2 do not have ~50% mortality rate.

The reason that this virus is so much more risky to the human population is the lack of immunity among us. The most important immune determinant in influenza virus is the major surface protein, hemagglutinin. This is the H (as in H5N1). There are 16 known H varieties, and humans have never before been infected by H5 containing viruses. Therefore, we have virtually no immunity to this protein, thereby allowing very rapid and successful infection by H5 viruses. The hemagglutinin protein is responsible for attachment and penetration of the host cells allowing entry of the virus. Without neutralizing antibodies to combat its entry, it gets a free pass, and grows to high titres making people very sick and in danger of dying. This is even more dangerous for children, the elderly and the immune compromised, but it does not mean that "healthy adults" are not also at risk.

What is novel about this virus is that it represents the first time that H5 viruses have been capable to attaching to, and infecting human cells. H5 viruses have been around presumably forever, but they have always been restricted to birds. The fact that this H5 virus can now infect humans is what has people so scared. As others have pointed out, it has not yet acquired the capability of transmitting from human to human which is the worst case scenario. However, it has in the past year spread much more rapidly among birds. It has been endemic in southeast Asia for the last 5-7 years, but remained there. This year it has spread between populations of birds in different flyways, and is all across Europe now. In fact, they were gathering dead birds for testing in Ireland (my home) last weekend, but no results have been made available yet. I'd bet that it will be in the US within a year, maybe much sooner.

I am not here to sensationalise the possibility of a pandemic. There are plenty of people doing that. And there are plenty of other things in life to worry about. But I can't sit by and watch total inaccuracies be propagated. The risk is very real. Whether it will ever happen absolutely nobody knows.

First of all, at the time I posted that, nothing was inaccurate about it. There wasn't near as much info as there is now.

But there still hasn't been any human-to-human cases. Virulent between birds (or even from birds to humans) does not mean it's going to be virulent when (or if) it begins human-to-human transmission. We simply don't know, and suggesting that we do is contributing to the global scare tactic.

As for the mortality rate, look at the infection footprint. Now tell me that you can COMPLETELY eliminate conditional factors in that mortality rate. You can't do it. When this "bug" starts killing people in areas where they DON'T live in their own feces, then you can.

I never said there wasn't a risk.

I said that the risk isn't NEAR what it's being made out to be.

Cochise
02-28-2006, 09:39 AM
When this "bug" starts killing people in areas where they DON'T live in their own feces, then you can.


Oh crap.... :huh:

MOhillbilly
02-28-2006, 09:42 AM
the ability to make a synthetic virus is all i cared about.
it means that instead of having to use EGGS to incubate the modifide live virus(100% fatal in poultry) you can now make unlimited quanaties in a short amount of time.

its a huge fn deal.

htismaqe
02-28-2006, 09:45 AM
Oh crap.... :huh:

:D

htismaqe
02-28-2006, 09:46 AM
the ability to make a synthetic virus is all i cared about.
it means that instead of having to use EGGS to incubate the modifide live virus(100% fatal in poultry) you can now make unlimited quanaties in a short amount of time.

its a huge fn deal.

Yep.

Because one thing is guaranteed. Even if the "natural" version of this flu isn't deadly, some terrorist cell somewhere will modify it so that it is. Then they synthesize it and you have an overnight bio-weapon.

Cormac
02-28-2006, 09:55 AM
First of all, at the time I posted that, nothing was inaccurate about it. There wasn't near as much info as there is now.

But there still hasn't been any human-to-human cases. Virulent between birds (or even from birds to humans) does not mean it's going to be virulent when (or if) it begins human-to-human transmission. We simply don't know, and suggesting that we do is contributing to the global scare tactic.

As for the mortality rate, look at the infection footprint. Now tell me that you can COMPLETELY eliminate conditional factors in that mortality rate. You can't do it. When this "bug" starts killing people in areas where they DON'T live in their own feces, then you can.

I never said there wasn't a risk.

I said that the risk isn't NEAR what it's being made out to be.

The virus (H5N1) has been infecting humans since about 1998 or 1999 when it appeared in chickens in Hong Kong and killed a few workers there (healthy, adult workers). I realise that your message was from November, but the virus was virulent then, and it is now. Believe me, if this H5N1 virus mutates to pass from human to human it will be virulent. Every influenza is virulent, there is no such thing as an avirulent wild type influenza virus. There are, however, degrees of immune protection, and so far humans have no immunity to H5. That is the crux of the problem. If the H5N1 virus mutates to a human-human form before there are protective vaccines developed and distributed, people will die. And probably a lot of people.

If you re-read my posts you will see that I frequently qualified my statements with references to increased risk of disease among young, old and immunocompromised people. So you won't be surprised that I never said you could COMPLETELY eliminate conditional factors. You can't do that with any disease. But you also cannot deny that this virus poses a significant danger even to healthy adults in its current form.

This is what I do for a living. I enjoy the debate and welcome you to challenge me all you like. But kindly don't misrepresent my arguments. ;)

MOhillbilly
02-28-2006, 09:58 AM
The virus (H5N1) has been infecting humans since about 1998 or 1999 when it appeared in chickens in Hong Kong and killed a few workers there (healthy, adult workers). I realise that your message was from November, but the virus was virulent then, and it is now. Believe me, if this H5N1 virus mutates to pass from human to human it will be virulent. Every influenza is virulent, there is no such thing as an avirulent wild type influenza virus. There are, however, degrees of immune protection, and so far humans have no immunity to H5. That is the crux of the problem. If the H5N1 virus mutates to a human-human form before there are protective vaccines developed and distributed, people will die. And probably a lot of people.

If you re-read my posts you will see that I frequently qualified my statements with references to increased risk of disease among young, old and immunocompromised people. So you won't be surprised that I never said you could COMPLETELY eliminate conditional factors. You can't do that with any disease. But you also cannot deny that this virus poses a significant danger even to healthy adults in its current form.

This is what I do for a living. I enjoy the debate and welcome you to challenge me all you like. But kindly don't misrepresent my arguments. ;)


your middle paragraph sounds just like the verbage used by the WHO bigshots tracking the virus.

htismaqe
02-28-2006, 10:02 AM
The virus (H5N1) has been infecting humans since about 1998 or 1999 when it appeared in chickens in Hong Kong and killed a few workers there (healthy, adult workers). I realise that your message was from November, but the virus was virulent then, and it is now. Believe me, if this H5N1 virus mutates to pass from human to human it will be virulent. Every influenza is virulent, there is no such thing as an avirulent wild type influenza virus. There are, however, degrees of immune protection, and so far humans have no immunity to H5. That is the crux of the problem. If the H5N1 virus mutates to a human-human form before there are protective vaccines developed and distributed, people will die. And probably a lot of people.

If you re-read my posts you will see that I frequently qualified my statements with references to increased risk of disease among young, old and immunocompromised people. So you won't be surprised that I never said you could COMPLETELY eliminate conditional factors. You can't do that with any disease. But you also cannot deny that this virus poses a significant danger even to healthy adults in its current form.

This is what I do for a living. I enjoy the debate and welcome you to challenge me all you like. But kindly don't misrepresent my arguments. ;)

I'm not trying to misrepresent your arguments in any way. Sorry if I came off that way.

I'm no professional and obviously you are.

I just have a problem with one little piece of your post:

But you also cannot deny that this virus poses a significant danger even to healthy adults in its current form.


I absolutely CAN deny that it poses a SIGNIFICANT danger to healthy adults. There's just no sufficient data to suggest that it is. Unless the intent is not to protect, but to SCARE.

Donger
02-28-2006, 10:10 AM
I'm not trying to misrepresent your arguments in any way. Sorry if I came off that way.

I'm no professional and obviously you are.

I just have a problem with one little piece of your post:

But you also cannot deny that this virus poses a significant danger even to healthy adults in its current form.


I absolutely CAN deny that it poses a SIGNIFICANT danger to healthy adults. There's just no sufficient data to suggest that it is. Unless the intent is not to protect, but to SCARE.

You don't consider a 50% mortality rate a "significant danger?" Or are you referring to the present fact that it is rather difficult to become infected?

Cormac
02-28-2006, 10:25 AM
I'm not trying to misrepresent your arguments in any way. Sorry if I came off that way.

I'm no professional and obviously you are.

I just have a problem with one little piece of your post:

But you also cannot deny that this virus poses a significant danger even to healthy adults in its current form.


I absolutely CAN deny that it poses a SIGNIFICANT danger to healthy adults. There's just no sufficient data to suggest that it is. Unless the intent is not to protect, but to SCARE.

As I mentioned in my first post, I am really sympathetic to media and governmental scaremongering. I hate that crap as much as you do. Hell, the weatherman in Lexington makes it sound like we're all going to die sometimes. I hope that the "pandemic" issue doesn't become like the old terror alerts - people will just get so sick and tired of hearing about it, that eventually they will ignore it.

That aside, this virus is dangerous to humans. If you had 100 randomly selected healthy 30 year olds off the street infected with H5N1 virus by exposure to infected birds, and 100 others infected by regular H3N2, the results would be drastically different. I can't say how many people would get sick or die in each scenario, but I would guess that most of the H5N1 infected people would require medical attention, and hospital stays, and several would die. Maybe 5, maybe 30. Many of the H3N2 infected people would probably spike a small fever, take a few tylenols, skip a day or two of work, and then carry on regardless.

The data that this virus is more virulent is already out there. Maybe most of the cases are in the young or the elderly (I don't know the exact figures), but it's still far more virulent than the current strains, if only because of the lack of pre-existing immunity to H5 that I posted about earlier.

If there is an outbreak of the worst kind, we in America will fare a lot better than those in many countries. The damage to the US would probably be more economic than anything, and the health care system could be overwhelmed. But with ideal care, and being in generally good health, the death toll on a percentage basis would probably not be that staggering. I guess that that is the point you are making.

We can happily agree to disagree on this topic, but I personally am 100% convinced that this H5N1 virus is much more virulent to humans (right now and probably for some time to come) than other circulating subtypes. And I do believe that this is an important topic to be dealt with in the media, I just hope that it's in a mature and informative manner.

htismaqe
02-28-2006, 10:30 AM
You don't consider a 50% mortality rate a "significant danger?" Or are you referring to the present fact that it is rather difficult to become infected?

I'm referring to the fact that the ~50% mortality rate:

1) is often used out of context. So far, there's only been 92 documented deaths in humans. Right now, there's no way to accurately predict the overall mortality rate when the sample size is so genuinely small.

2) is only in ver impoverished countries - Turkey, Iraq, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Until this thing kills ONE person in a 2nd-world nation, it's not a significant danger to 1st-world nations.

Is it a concern? Absolutely. Is it a "significant danger"? I would contend that if you're concerned about dying unexpectedly, you should be more worried about what our government is up to in the Middle East.

htismaqe
02-28-2006, 10:33 AM
As I mentioned in my first post, I am really sympathetic to media and governmental scaremongering. I hate that crap as much as you do. Hell, the weatherman in Lexington makes it sound like we're all going to die sometimes. I hope that the "pandemic" issue doesn't become like the old terror alerts - people will just get so sick and tired of hearing about it, that eventually they will ignore it.

That aside, this virus is dangerous to humans. If you had 100 randomly selected healthy 30 year olds off the street infected with H5N1 virus by exposure to infected birds, and 100 others infected by regular H3N2, the results would be drastically different. I can't say how many people would get sick or die in each scenario, but I would guess that most of the H5N1 infected people would require medical attention, and hospital stays, and several would die. Maybe 5, maybe 30. Many of the H3N2 infected people would probably spike a small fever, take a few tylenols, skip a day or two of work, and then carry on regardless.

The data that this virus is more virulent is already out there. Maybe most of the cases are in the young or the elderly (I don't know the exact figures), but it's still far more virulent than the current strains, if only because of the lack of pre-existing immunity to H5 that I posted about earlier.

If there is an outbreak of the worst kind, we in America will fare a lot better than those in many countries. The damage to the US would probably be more economic than anything, and the health care system could be overwhelmed. But with ideal care, and being in generally good health, the death toll on a percentage basis would probably not be that staggering. I guess that that is the point you are making.

We can happily agree to disagree on this topic, but I personally am 100% convinced that this H5N1 virus is much more virulent to humans (right now and probably for some time to come) than other circulating subtypes. And I do believe that this is an important topic to be dealt with in the media, I just hope that it's in a mature and informative manner.

Actually, we don't disagree.

You actually mentioned it in your second-to-last paragraph.

I'm not trying to contend this thing isn't dangerous. I'm just not convinced that it's as dangerous to AMERICANS as the media and/or government would have us believe.

patteeu
02-28-2006, 10:57 AM
So again I wonder, what are the chances of me catching it and dying, being 25 and in good health and living in the central United States in sanitary (for a bachelor) conditions.

15%

28% if you eat chicken.

41% if you choke your chicken.

jspchief
02-28-2006, 11:08 AM
So how many human lives has this pestilence claimed?

Last I heard it was in the neighborhood of 50 people, in the ten or so years of it's known existence. Doesn't sound very scary.

Reminds me of West Nile, a lot of hype, but not much actual effect.

Chiefnj
02-28-2006, 11:14 AM
I think they've found it in two wild ducks recently over in Europe. They expect it to hit England in a few months.

With all the bloody ducks he handles I would expect that our very own Duck Dog would be the first to be exposed to it in the US. If he's safe, we're all safe.

htismaqe
02-28-2006, 11:38 AM
So how many human lives has this pestilence claimed?

Last I heard it was in the neighborhood of 50 people, in the ten or so years of it's known existence. Doesn't sound very scary.

Reminds me of West Nile, a lot of hype, but not much actual effect.

92 is the latest I've seen - in Turkey, Iraq, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

jspchief
02-28-2006, 12:16 PM
92 is the latest I've seen - in Turkey, Iraq, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.So this plague has been in existence for more than ten years, and has only claimed 92 lives? In cities where health and cleanliness are afterthoughts to simple survival.

This is supposed to kill millions?

Ebolapox
02-28-2006, 12:20 PM
I'm not so sure it'll hit this year, as the flu season is almost over--but next year is an almost certainty

-EB-

tiptap
02-28-2006, 12:27 PM
I'm not trying to misrepresent your arguments in any way. Sorry if I came off that way.

I'm no professional and obviously you are.

I just have a problem with one little piece of your post:

But you also cannot deny that this virus poses a significant danger even to healthy adults in its current form.


I absolutely CAN deny that it poses a SIGNIFICANT danger to healthy adults. There's just no sufficient data to suggest that it is. Unless the intent is not to protect, but to SCARE.

There is increasing evidence that the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the present bird flu, both over stimulate the immune response. For people that have already restrictied immune response this will not add THIS problem to the other health issues of respiratory of intestinal infections. But healthy 20 to 30 years old having a very healthy immune system are the very population that will have the more severe response of their own immune system. The result is a high mortality rate comparable to those found in immune compromised populations precisely because of their immune health.

There are those who are investigating using moderated drugs that inhibit immune response in healthy populations so that this part of the virus' effect is mitigated. There of couse needs to be a balance between controlling a too large of response and one sufficient to allow the body to conteract the virus.

tiptap
02-28-2006, 12:37 PM
I should add that model disease theory would indicate that the mortality rate will not remain at 50%. That is a self limiting number unless the incubation time is very long (allowing infection before dying) and if the virus is spread easily (assuring minimal contact for infection).

Still a 10 to 20% mortality rate would be pretty devastating. I expect a rate more like 2 to 5% still a hugh number of people especially if it culls lives in the prime of their life.

Cormac
02-28-2006, 12:38 PM
I'm not trying to contend this thing isn't dangerous. I'm just not convinced that it's as dangerous to AMERICANS as the media and/or government would have us believe.

Fair enough. I'm cool with that.

:)

Cormac
02-28-2006, 12:46 PM
So this plague has been in existence for more than ten years, and has only claimed 92 lives? In cities where health and cleanliness are afterthoughts to simple survival.

This is supposed to kill millions?

This is still a question of IF. Basically this particular flu virus is of no major danger as long as it remains in birds. As long as one doesn't come in contact with infected birds, they're not going to catch it. The question is what happens if it mutates into a form that can spread between humans. Influenza is a highly mutable virus - hence the reason for constant updating of vaccines. It is widely considered likely, by experts, that the virus could and will mutate into a form that spreads between humans. Right now, of the people infected over the last several years, the mortality rate has been very high (regardless of location or 3rd World vs 1st World). So the fair presumption is that if it mutates to where it can spread between people just like it has been spreading between birds, that it would pose a major global problem. IOW, 92 lives in 10 years is not what people are worried about, if you know what I mean.

Frosty
02-28-2006, 12:47 PM
There is increasing evidence that the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the present bird flu, both over stimulate the immune response.

Yeah, the so-called "cytokine storm". Your immune system basically kills you.

Some interesting reading (http://www.vitamindcouncil.com/pascal.pdf) on possibly preventing this.

chiefs4me
02-28-2006, 10:01 PM
Fair enough.

Looking it up, the 1918 pandemic killed 500,000 Americans. It killed 17 million in India.

The 1957 killed 70,000.

The 1968 killed 34,000.

The average influenza death toll each year is 36,000 in the US.

* Note to self, avoid India.






36,000 thousand people still die each year because of the flu?????:shake: