Avian Flu -- some actual facts, not rumors/hearsay/etc.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cygnet, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,166
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Middle of nowhere along the Rim, Arizona
    I'm starting to get a little annoyed at people spouting off as if they were experts, either claiming that it's a non-threat ("oh, you can't even get it from birds, you have to drink bird's blood to get it" as someone posted today) and Bush administration propaganda, or conversely, it's going to end the world as we know it. So I've sat down for SEVERAL hours yesterday, read the information from credible sources, and came up with some actual facts. I'm not an expert, but I'm smart, and I can read, and I can evaluate the credibility of the source.

    First, let me get my politics clear. I think Bush is inept, clueless, and a pale shadow of his Dad. And he's prone to crying wolf as a distraction, whenever people start criticizing his administration. "Oooh! Oooh! The terrorist level is orange today!" Only works so long. But in this case, he's actually right. Ironically. I suspect he's solely looking for a distraction, and bird flu works nicely because people tend to wig out over disease -- but really and truthfully, this is something that deserves the kind of publicity it's getting. Pandemic flu should have gotten this attention years ago, with priority over some of the other diseases we've wigged out on.

    Pandemic flu has happened before. Three times this century, but many times before that. It strikes roughly every 30 years, and when it does, it's not like the regular flu. Pandemic flu is caused when a novel flu virus, to whom humanity has little or no immunity, starts spreading person to person. Because flu is wildly contagious, and under the right conditions can persist in the environment for months, can spread on the wind for brief periods of time (not for miles), and only takes a very small amount of virus to cause infection, because people start shedding virus before they show symptoms, and because it can have a relatively long incubation period (up to ten days, though 2-3 is more common) it is easy to spread.

    If the "new" flu is also particularly deadly -- as has happened in the past -- then mass deaths have occurred.

    We've had three outbreaks of pandemic flu in the past. In 1918, a large number of people died. Estimates vary, but the best figures I've seen on a variety of sites are that one third of the world's population caught it, and 2% died. And this caused mass panic, in a population fairly used to deadly infectious diseases of assorted types. (Smallpox and measles and polio and etc. were still in circulation.) Estimates of deaths in the US range up to 500,000(1). The US population at the time was 106 million(2), in 1920. Kindof a substantial chunk of the country kicked off, any way you look at it, no?

    Sources:
    (1)CDC Website, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/pandemics.htm
    (2)Statistical Abstract of the United States, The Reference Press, 1995 (book)

    I've heard people claim that they didn't understand medicine the way we do now, in 1918. They understood basic hygiene and basic treatment for flu hasn't changed in almost a century. Electrolytes, aspirin, cough syrup, keep the patient comfortable, etc. They had all that then. Codeine was over the counter. What is different is that we can treat more severe symptoms with antiobiotics, antivirals, steroids, ventilators, IV fluids, etc. etc. etc. If 1/3rd of the country gets sick -- do you really think all those things will be available? We'll be treating our kids, our parents, our grandparents, in our own homes, with the same stuff that our great-grandparents would have used.

    We've had two other pandemics in the last century -- (1)1957-58 (70,000 deaths in the US) and (1)1968-69 (35,000 deaths).

    All three of these pandemics were caused by avian viruses. H1N1 caused the 1918-1918 epidemic, H2N2 caused the 1957-58 epidemic and H3N2 caused the 1968-69 epidemic. None of these viruses, when caught directly from birds, cause severe disease normally. They mutated so they could spread person to person and in doing so, became more deadly. (To be perfectly accurate, H1N1 underwent an antigen shift -- it mutated in its avian form and jumped species. H2N2 and H3N2 recombined with human flu, and took on enough human flu genetics to start spreading among people.)

    It's pretty much safe to assume that if something has happened before, it WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. Influenza has mutated MANY times and caused MANY pandemics. Not just the three in the last century. WE WILL FACE ANOTHER INFLUENZA PANDEMIC.

    Estimates on what will happen when the next pandemic hits are all over the board. Bottom line is: Millions sick, hospitals overwhelmed, mass panic. C'mon, this nation flips out over West Nile Virus, which killed what, a few hundred people in this country? The gubberment is making all kinds of noises about vaccines and stockpiling drugs, but we don't have the stockpiles of drugs or the vaccines yet. Nice idea, if they follow through on it, outstanding, but -- well, I'm not holding my breath with this administration. And we could get hit before they have their stockpiles ready.

    Now, there's been a lot of fuss about a specific virus, and that is H5N1. And it's real and it's a genuine concern. H5N1, in its present state, is kinda scary for those of us who have poultry.

    Here's what we know so far:

    It's infected a few hundred people worldwide. Infection has been seen, multiple times, in people who are NOT "living with poultry in their beds" as some have suggested. And, in fact, people who live that close to poultry seem to have some resistance. They're not sure why, but past exposure to milder viruses is speculated. It is typically children (perhaps no prior exposure), visitors -- the relative who visists from the city, say, and helps out with cleaning a coop -- or people who buy poultry, take it home, and butcher it. One case that comes to mind was a guy who stole a chicken from a neighbor's yard, killed it and ate it and got the flu. There was a woman visiting from the city who helped clean a coop who got the flu. Etc.

    It's spreading. Rapidly. Waterfowl are inapparent carriers. Waterfowl migrate. It's spread from Asia to Europe. It's in Russia. Africa is probably next. The US will be hit too, if not this year, then next. H5 flu HAS BEEN FOUND IN CANADA this week but they don't know which strain yet and the canadian government is claiming it's not "likely" to be H5N1 because the ducks it's been found in are "healthy." Well, guess what -- ducks can carry the virus without symptoms. And there were a bunch of dead ducks there last year. They were supposed to release the final test results telling which virus the ducks had this week, and they didn't. It could be H5N2 (which occurs in north america naturally and is endemic) ... or maybe not. We'll find out soon enough, I guess. If it is H5N1, those of us who keep poultry anywhere in North America will very quickly be facing this. Because, guess what, it's fall, and what do ducks do in the fall ...?

    H5N1 is a concern because it is VERY deadly when caught by people. There have been a few hundred cases reported (probably more unreported, my speculation). The actual figures of confirmed cases vs. deaths work out to, overall, around 50% mortality rate among all cases. But if you break it down by age, NINETY PERCENT of children under the age of 15 who catch this thing die. Figures like that are enough to make my stomach work itself into knots over the thought of keeping poultry if H5N1 crops up geographically close to me.

    And that mortality rate is what wigs even sane and sober scientists out. We have a virus -- not spreading among people yet -- that's killing 50% of the people who DO get it and almost all the kids. And it's an influenza virus. And influenza viruses have a long and established history of mutating so that they spread among people. The concern -- and it is a real and genuine concern -- is that this virus WILL mutate so that it starts spreading. The probability of it doing so is HIGH. The ability to contain it is low once it does, for reasons stated above -- highly contagious, persistant in the environment, and a relatively long incubation period during which people are contagious before it strikes.

    If this thing does mutate -- or when (not if) we get hit by another influenza pandemic like 1918 -- the effect on the world will be catastrophic. I don't buy that it will be a LONG term effect. We aren't going to go back to the stone age. There are too many people who DO have the skills and the knowledge base to put the world together again after pandemic. But short term?
     
  2. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,166
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Middle of nowhere along the Rim, Arizona
    First reaction will be to close the borders. This likely won't work, given how porous our borders are, and that if it's an avian flu it could well still be spread by birds. (My speculation on it being spread by birds, but ....) However, it may delay the inevitable. Unfortunately, closing our borders means that -- at least in the US -- there will be some significant impacts. Everything normally imported would stop, or be restricted while disinfected and foreign crews quarantined. We get a LOT of important "stuff" from overseas. Medicines. Parts to repair machinery. Imagine not being able to get repair parts for your car, or the local power plant not being able to get the doohickies it needs to keep operating. Food. Oh, we probably have enough staples in this country, but we import a lot of stuff that people take for granted, like fish, and fresh produce, and processed goods, and nuts, and etc. etc. etc. There would suddenly be empty spaces on the grocery store shelves. Oh, and no poultry products, either.

    Second reaction will be absolute panic. This country wigs out over West Nile Virus, which is hard to catch and has affected only a very small number of people. Ye Gods. Suddenly there's a real and dangerous virus out there and it's coming our way. The government is saying it will get here. It's killing lots of people. Oh, yeah, total panic. Those of you who keep poultry will probably lose them. People will have some odd ideas. They'll blame other countries. Hate crimes may increase. Hoarding will start. Fury against the government will be unreasonable and irrational. Simmering tension, probably.

    Now, if pandemic flu comes here, on a scale of 1918 or worse, and people start dying in large numbers ... whoo boy.

    Imagine if a large chunk of the population were suddenly ill, and 2% died. Or worse, far worse, if it's H5N1 and it mutates to spread among people with that striking lethality intact.

    I can flat guarantee I would NOT go into work. Ain't happening. I work in a building with around a thousand people in close quarters. We have problems with outbreaks of run of the mill colds and flu. If work wanted to let me work from home, I might consider it, but my priority would be keeping my hiney intact and uninfected. Likely, I'd head for the hills. Family cabin. Let the bank have my house if I haven't managed to get it paid off by then.

    Reaction of most people would be the same. "Are you kidding me? You want me to go to work?"

    Absenteeism, even among the healthy, would become a real problem. Plus, schools would shut down. Parents would have to stay home with their kids -- who wants to send their kid to day care when there's a lethal plague around? Without enough workers, the infrastructure in this country (and worldwide) would grind to a halt.

    Plus, if it really took hold, we could see travel restrictions. Imagine being told you can't leave your city, or your neighborhood, or travel INTO the city to get supplies and you're getting hungry. Long haul truckers, taken off the road. Railroads, sidelined. Jets, grounded.

    Oh yeah, it'd be ugly.

    Is it likely to get that bad? Maybe. Panic is a powerful thing. Reality is too. WHen the next pandemic strikes, we'll find out.

    Anyway ... this is why people are legitimately wigging out. It's a real threat. It's a threat that may never come to fruition, but if I were betting, I'd put my money on the virus.

    Leva
     

  3. FUNKY PIONEER

    FUNKY PIONEER No I don't smell Funky

    Messages:
    546
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    Potato land
    As pre-med student and a daughter of a doctor, here are a few things about the bird flu you should also consider.....

    1. 50-90% mortality rate is good, it means that the people who have it will die before they can spread it around too much. When it gets to a lower death rate like 5% watch out cause it will kill many more people. Like 2 million.(we're talk ing once human to human mutation occurs)

    2. Do not get the immunization,as shown with the last 2 pandemics people who did not immunize did not die. The bird populations who are comeing down with bird flu recently have been the immunized ones.

    3. Wash hands with hot soap water and carry around some hand sanitizer when your out. Face mask such as N9 one from 3M will provide protection.

    4.Natural treatments to have on hand, Echinechea, Vitamin C, Colidal Silver, Star Anise, Homeopathics Such as Antimonium Tart, Elderberry. Cut your sugar intake,infact cut it all out and you'll probally never come down with the cold or flu again.

    Yes if they get the bird flu to mutate it will be an issue. But in my oppinion this is a manufactured illness.....umm I'll leave it at that.
     
  4. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    New Brunswick
    It is OK to say you are an Arts Major. :)
     
  5. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,126
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Oregon
    "What is different is that we can treat more severe symptoms with antiobiotics, antivirals, steroids, ventilators, IV fluids, etc. etc. etc. If 1/3rd of the country gets sick -- do you really think all those things will be available? We'll be treating our kids, our parents, our grandparents, in our own homes, with the same stuff that our great-grandparents would have used."

    Nahhhhh, we have better things to have at home now. Like the antivirals you just mentioned. We have better means of sterilization and clean up now and the average person is much more informed about how not to spread disease around. I am not a bit worried about the "people" side of this. What I am worried about is the significent loss of poultry and what it will do to the economy when millions of them have to be destroyed. Naturally I am concerned about people losing their birds too. I'd hate to have all of my ducks slaughtered but I think it's a real threat. So, that's what I am looking at.

    Don't panic people. IT ain't here yet. Just do like you would when preparing for areally bad storm or earthquake. Stock up on stuff you need anyway and don't forget the first aid supplies and take advantage of what products the medical profession has to help us out. There are a lot.

    I guess I won't take the opening you provided about our President. Just won't take the bait and all of the things I could say about the last twit who held that office. LOL

    LQ
     
  6. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    22,451
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Is there a reason that you felt the need to add your bit o' blather about the President?

    Stacy
     
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    I would challenge the number of REPORTED cases and actual cases when coming up with that 50% mortality figure.

    I am not worried about it,sorry.

    Yes ,I would be at work,TREATING VICTIMS,not running and hiding.

    BooBoo
     
  8. FUNKY PIONEER

    FUNKY PIONEER No I don't smell Funky

    Messages:
    546
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    Potato land
    Not if it were'nt true. Biology is my major with pre-med direction.
     
  9. honeydays

    honeydays Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Location:
    So Cal
    Thank you, Cygnet, for taking the time to post this information. I'm not sure what to do with all of it but it gives me a lot to think about. I believe we need to be conscious of our fears. Fear and panic will only make the situation worse. I think I would still go to work, out of stubbornness. I don't think I would want fear to get the better of me. I felt the same way post-9/11 when people were afraid to congregate in large groups. I know that viruses and terrorists are not the same thing. But I feel that if I'm living a reasonably safe lifestyle already (well-prepared for any disaster, natural or man-made), then drastically changing my lifestyle would only be a sign of my own fear or panic.
     
  10. honeydays

    honeydays Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Location:
    So Cal
    Wasn't there a recent study published claiming that echinaecha is no better than a placebo?
     
  11. upnylou

    upnylou Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    cygnet,
    "I think Bush is inept, clueless, and a pale shadow of his Dad"

    why are you being so nice to him? really ...


    "Pandemic flu has happened before. Three times this century .. Pandemic flu is caused when a novel flu virus, to whom humanity has little or no immunity, starts spreading person to person"

    you may want to check your sources again. or, maybe, look into getting new ones. i'll only address the 1918 flu here as my time is limited.

    the mainstream push for everyone to be vaccinated is more the threat than anything else. the fact that rummysfield is DIRECTLY linked to the developer and patentholder of tamiflu is a likely reason why its being pushed so hard. (you better believe theres BIG $$$ in this.)

    in addition, i have yet to understand why people would ever EVER consider having mercury injected into themselves (thimerisol). see "New Flu Vaccine is Loaded With Mercury" published in aug 2005 in USA TODAY at http://www.mercola.com/2005/sep/20/new_flu_vaccine_is_loaded_with_mercury.htm for more information.

    fwiw - vaccines ALSO contain MSG, aluminum, formaldehyde, sucrose and phenoxyethanol, which is antifreeze, among many other things. Thimerosal, a vaccine ingredient, is nearly 50% mercury.

    the following sources about at least ONE of the pandemic flus are valid, u can check them out yourself.

    THE SPANISH INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC OF 1918 WAS CAUSED BY VACCINATIONS
    http://www.whale.to/vaccine/sf1.html

    VACCINE NOT VIRUS RESPONSIBLE FOR SPANISH FLU
    http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2003/05/08/story265526733.asp

    if you want to learn more about vaccines (in general), there are - literally - TONS of excellent sites you can reference. http://www.vaclib.org/basic/fluindex.htm
     
  12. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    549
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    western pa
    Right on upnylou.keep up the home work.
    Chas
     
  13. FUNKY PIONEER

    FUNKY PIONEER No I don't smell Funky

    Messages:
    546
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    Potato land

    Yes and is was paid for by pharma :rolleyes:
     
  14. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,644
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2003
    Location:
    Far West in the White Mountains, Arizona
    That's bad? I thought you were planning to join that profession (medical) to participate in the practice of medicine?
     
  15. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    752
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Well, considering how many people I see who cough everywhere while sick, refuse to stay home away from others, etc., I don't think this is the case.
     
  16. FUNKY PIONEER

    FUNKY PIONEER No I don't smell Funky

    Messages:
    546
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    Potato land

    Not a snowballs chance in H*LL, I am going to be a Natouropathic Doctor. Not an alopathic drug pusher. :D
     
  17. Randy Rooster

    Randy Rooster Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,730
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'll give up my chickens when they pry them from my cold dead fingers.
     
  18. Spotted Crow

    Spotted Crow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,347
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Amen RandyRooster! That's what I say too. I happen to have neigbhours that would give any reason to get rid of my birds. This will just be another excuse for them.
    People have asked me if I'm afraid because I have chickens. I'm not.
    We do have better sanitation and medicine than some of the countries infected along with alot smaller population density.
    Even if you get the flu shot, it's not going to cover this. The vaccines are 6 months to a year behind. So you're getting vaccinated for last winter's flu.
     
  19. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Flu virus mutates rapidly. Any characterists can mutate. How bad it is depends on the mutation. Presumably there are many mutations out there. Many will die off. If the virus is not infective enough it dies out. If it is so deadly (like ebola) that it kills the host so rapidly it can't spead far, it dies out. The most successfull virus from its standpoint is one that speads rapidly , jumps species, and does not kill its host. The point is that the probability is that eventually will will get a strain as bad as 1918. The response to vaccines, etc depend on the strain.
    I look at this problem alot like the levies in New Orleans. Eventually a hurricaine will be big enough to breach them and they finally did.
    The risk of pandemic flu is not much more than the last century. Don't worry alot, buy some tamiflu if you can get it and afford it, and stay out of groups if it comes.
    Worry about your weight, smoking, drinking, cancer screening, etc.
     
  20. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    549
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    western pa
    Hey if you would like to practice in western pa your quite welcome.We need docs who can think for themselves :clap:
    Chas