Friday, June 03, 2005

Second Guessing

We never really know what is in store for us.

It's possible to see trend lines and sometimes

you can connect the dots.

And generally you can see the signs.

We see the signs of climate change as mountain glaciers recede

and lakes in Siberia suddenly disappear.

We the signs of the gulf stream slowing,

which will really be a show stopper for Europe.

We see the Peak Oil story now everywhere.

These events are like large freighters on our sea of understanding.

But sometimes, really big things pop up that change the equations.

This story in the Guardian certainly has that potential.

Bird flu virus 'close to pandemic'
The Guardian
Expert warns estimate of 7.5m global deaths is optimistic
Mark Honigsbaum
May 26, 2005

A leading scientist warned yesterday that the avian flu virus is on the point of mutating into a pandemic disease and says that current estimates that such a pandemic could cause 7.5m deaths may understate the threat.

His warnings come as experts writing in today's edition of Nature voice concerns about the world's inability to manufacture sufficient vaccines for a pandemic and warn of the impact that the virus - H5N1 - could have on the global economy.

In an accompanying editorial Nature argues that so far such warnings have "fallen on deaf ears". It backs a call by Prof Osterhaus and his colleagues at the Erasmus Medical Centre, in Rotterdam - one of the world's leading virus research labs - for a global taskforce to strengthen agencies on the ground.

There have been 90 human infections in south-east Asia , from which 54 people have died. But while culling and the vaccination of poultry appears to have slowed outbreaks in Thailand and other parts of south-east Asia, this year Vietnam has seen a worrying number of human infections in the same family groups.

According to Prof Osterhaus such clustering could mean the virus is becoming more efficient at infecting humans - a precondition for a pandemic.

Another concern are reports which emerged from China last weekend that H5N1 was responsible for the deaths of 178 migratory geese at a wildfowl reserve in the western province of Qinghai earlier this month. Prof Osterhaus says the geese's deaths could be another indication that the virus is mutating and becoming more virulent. The problem is that countries such as China and Vietnam are not providing animal and human health officials with enough data, leaving scientists in the dark.

According to the WHO, within a few months of the pandemic 30 million people would need to be hospitalised, and a quarter could be expected to die. In his Nature commentary, Prof Osterhaus describes current estimates that a pandemic could infect 20% of the world's population and cause 7.5m deaths as "among the more optimistic predictions of how the next pandemic might unfold".

And here is an Australian story.

And here is a Commentary stating that the situation is reaching Stage 6.

Final Phase 6 Bird Flu Pandemic in Qinghai China?
May 26, 2005

Reports coming out of Qinghai suggest H5N1 infections in humans and birds are out of control, with birds distributing H5N1 to the north and west, while people are being cremated and told to keep quiet.

Reports from Chinese language papers detail over 200 suspected infections in over two dozen locations in Qinghai Province. In the most affected 18 regions, there are 121 deaths, generating a case fatality rate above 60%.

Even if only a small fraction of the deaths are H5N1 linked, the cases would move the bird flu pandemic stage from 5 to the final stage 6, representing sustained human-to-human transmission of H5N1.The high case fatality rate suggests the H5N1 in Qinghai has achieved efficient human transmission while retaining a high case fatality rate.

If confirmed, these data would have major pandemic preparedness implications. These cases began almost a month ago and are now spreading via people who have previously entered the high risk area.

The official media comments coming out of China appear to be carefully worded, describing "new cases" being brought under control, inability to "see" human cases, or lack of "pneumonia" cases."

Poultry News certainly is covering it.

And here are a bunch of links from Recombinomics.

I know this is something less than cheery.

If you don't want to think about bird flu,

Here is a bird brain from the right wing who makes poetry

with his hate.

Don't listen to those who are still debating as to whether or not we were right to fight Adolph Hitler and imperial Japan.

Don't listen to those who are still wringing their hands about Vietnam – those who brought shame on our country and a predictable holocaust to Southeast Asia.

Don't listen to those who look at victory in Iraq and see defeat.

Remember Sept. 11.

Defend America.

Defeat the terrorists.

Destroy Islamo-fascism.

Free Iran.

Oh Boy,

You need to read this .

They make Fox look reasonable.

Maybe hawks can get this H5N1 stuff?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The H5N1 stuff may be on our news cast soon. Oh goodness.

7:58 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

I am truly amazed by the content and thinking of the last link. I read it again and again.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The H5NI stuff is scary indeed. Nature will take care of itself inspite of our best efforts to destroy her. 7 million dead. Yikes

2:29 AM  

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