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Round 3. Wyrdeone V Off_the_Street: Global Health & Avian Flu

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posted on Jul, 24 2005 @ 03:01 PM
The topic for this debate is "Global Health systems are incapable of dealing in any meaningful way with a pandemic of Avian Flu within the next five years"

Wyrdeone will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
Off_the_Street will argue against this proposition.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debater posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom do not count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image may be included in each post. No more than 5 references can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references.

Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 13 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results may be posted as soon as a majority (7) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

[edit on 24-7-2005 by Nygdan]

posted on Jul, 24 2005 @ 06:58 PM
Thanks Nygdan.

I'd also like to wish the best of luck to my esteemed opponent, Off_the_Street, who is a true gentleman if ever there was one.

Now let's get this show on the road!

First we have to understand how one deals with a disease pandemic, in order to determine the feasibility of dealing with this particular threat.

As I see it, key phases of a global response would be four-fold: Early Prevention, Diagnosis, Containment and, finally, Cure.

The prevention phase is defined by the disposal of infected animals, thus curtailing transmission to humans. Preventative measures must necessarily include waterfowl and domesticated birds, along with domesticated mammals such as pigs and cats, as they have also been identified as carriers for the avian flu.

Farmers are reticent to reveal infected animals to the authorities because of the economic losses that go hand in hand with honesty in this case. The health authorities rely on a scorched earth policy, destroying all animals in concentric circles many kilometers around each infected farm, this results in an enormous impact on the local, rural economies.[1]

Even if every farmer were honest and sufficiently selfless to turn over infected animals, many cases of avian flu are asymptomatic. This means that infected animals, specifically waterfowl such as ducks, often go undetected for their entire lifespan, while they infect everything around them.

Short of slaughtering every bird and mammal in Asia, prevention is always going to be dangerously imperfect. Even the process of slaughtering the animals is dangerous, because it is most often conducted by poorly trained villagers lacking in even the most basic protective clothing and quarantine facilities.[2]

Asian countries may vaccinate chickens in an effort to halt the spread of the disease, but this could be disastrous, or ineffective to varying degrees. Just as bacteria become resistant after widespread exposure to antibiotics, so does influenza grow more virulent as it evolves to overcome the vaccines.

Diagnosis is a very important step in dealing with an avian flu pandemic. If virologists don’t know exactly what they’re up against, they have no hope of combating it. This can’t begin in earnest until the pandemic is already underway, reducing response time drastically, and limiting the ability of western nations to supply the appropriate vaccines to the hotbeds of disease in Asia. The disease could cross the globe in as little as a month or two, while it would take up to a year to manufacture enough vaccine for just one country. The implications are enough to make one shudder.

Containment is the third, and perhaps most important stage in dealing with any disease. In order to halt the spread of avian flu, borders would have to be closed, international flights cancelled, and trade brought to a standstill. It was impossible to contain the pandemic of 1918, which killed upwards of 20-40 million, and that was before the advent of commonplace international air travel and densely populated urban sprawls. We got lucky in 1997, when we narrowly avoided a pandemic, but everyone knows, luck can’t last forever. Leading researchers in the field maintain the opinion that it’s not a question of if we will see another avian flu pandemic, but when. Smart money is on sooner, rather than later.[3]

Containment is made impossible by another factor, which is the migratory nature of the waterfowl that act as primary vectors for the disease. Every area they fly over is at risk, from Australia to Europe and everywhere in between. So total containment is out of the question, and partial containment might as well be none at all when you consider the fact that it only takes one infected human in a city of ten million or more to cause staggering loss of life. There are more than 25 mega cities in the world, each with more than ten million residents. Asia has more mega cities than any other region, and it just so happens to be the spawning pit for avian flu. Connect the dots if you dare.

Cure is the final line of defense. If you can’t prevent or contain a pandemic, you have to treat it before it kills every infected individual. Here the problem lies in numbers. There isn’t a nation on earth that can make enough vaccine for everyone, even working together we can’t produce enough of the right vaccine for the people most at risk. This means that while some nations will be able to shield a percentage of their citizens from harm, the majority of nations will be caught behind the 8 ball.

Avian flu is, by all estimates, the single greatest threat to world health. It cannot be ignored, it cannot be contained, and it cannot be avoided.


posted on Jul, 25 2005 @ 07:11 PM
My dear WyrdeOne, Judges, and other members.

It is with profound regret that I must withdraw from this debate.

A major emergency at work has required me to got to Huntsville Alabama for a series of emergency meetings regarding a major program with which my company is involved. I will be spending many hours doing three things: going to meetings, travelling, and trying to sleep.

I am particularly disappointed in that both Wyrde one and TheLibra are good friends as well as colleagues and competitors; I can only ask your understanding of the requirements of my work and trust that Wyrde and whomever the winner ot the TheLibra - ktprktpr debate will give a bang-up finish.

Again, my regrets and apologies to all concerned. All I can say is to recall adn remember the final quote of Arnold Schwartzeneggar in his "Terminator" movie.

posted on Jul, 25 2005 @ 09:14 PM
Okay, thanks for letting us know, OTS. Best of luck to you in all of your endeavors.

WyrdeOne, sit back, relax, and enjoy the free ride to the Grand Finale.

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