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Bird Flu: Hype or Real Threat?

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posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 03:20 PM

The mainscream media is ratcheting up the bird flu information. The quantity and intensity of it coming down the wires is making me wonder if it's more than the old West Nile scare stories.

Virus Poses Risk of Massive Casualties Around the World
It could kill a billion people worldwide, make ghost towns out of parts of major cities, and there is not enough medicine to fight it.

World leaders sound the alarm over potential avian flu pandemic

After the health experts and scientists, world leaders including US President George W. Bush are now also sounding an alarm over the threat posed by bird flu.

Global Outbreak Of Bird Flu Warning By Chinese Scientist
More than 140 million chickens have been slaughtered in South East Asia because of concern that H5N1, a deadly strain of the virus, may mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans.

WHO chief issues new warning on avian flu

World Health Organisation (WHO) boss Lee Jong-wook issued a new warning about avian flu, reiterating that the virus, which has triggered a major health scare in Southeast Asia, could mutate into a major killer.

Initially, I have presumed that the avian flu scare was a machination of big pharma to sell more vaccines to the unwitting masses, since I have seen few Asian fatalities to warrant a concern. Remember last years big flu scare, then it turned out to be the wrong vaccines. See: This Year's Flu Vaccine Targets Wrong Strain

Now I wonder if it's actaully a concern or am I just becoming bombarded and overwhelmed by the onslaught of fearbased corporate propaganda bird flu bs about this eee-vil H5N1 killer?

So is it fear based propaganda to increase vaccine sales, slaughter poultry, increase meat prices and reduce food resources in poor nations?

Or Is it a real concern that may kill millions?

I'm sitting on the chicken fence for now...

[edit on 16-9-2005 by Regenmacher]

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 04:39 PM
ahmmm... haven't they been scaring us with this for years now?

While foresight and planning is always the smart way to do business and being prepared for the possibility of a contagion outbreak is the humane thing to do, paranoia doesn't save lives. Yet fear can rake in the research monies to keep big pharma in the business of being ready. (Are they?)

Still I say, let's wait and see when the chicken crosses the road.

[edit on 17-9-2005 by Thomas Crowne]

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 05:08 PM
I ask my doctor about the bird flu couple of weeks ago and he said we here in the USA will get it. He didn't know how bad it will get or when.


posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 07:06 PM
Bird flu propaganda - a weapon of mass distraction

Big pharma knows how to get blood from turnips. Let's reflect back that H5N1 is very same bird virus that was being "researched", meaning it was being actively changed and cultured, when Liu Jianlun, a laboratory scientist in China's Guangdong province became the first SARS victim two years ago on 4 March 2003. Another death of a scientist was later linked to a laboratory in Singapore. The laboratory was culturing the same virus.

While SARS had a mortality rate of around 15 percent, the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu kills up to a third of the people it infects. Isn't that special....

Let's recall the days of Sars 2004:

The SARS "pandemic" eventually faded away, but not without leaving a deep impression. A high pitched media campaign had convinced the world it was facing a great threat when in reality SARS turned out to be a comparably minor disease with 8069 infected world wide and around 775 deaths.

Compare that to CDC figures of 36.000 flu related deaths yearly in the U.S. alone. Or compare it with the mayhem of more than 100.000 U.S. deaths from the damaging effects of pharmaceutical drugs in the same time span. Funny how big pharma kills more than they help and now perhaps they are cultivating the viruses they sell vaccines for.

The Chinese Propaganda Campaign

external image

A propaganda campaign unfurled that had an almost Cultural-Revolution-like appearance. The official terminology used the image of a 'people's war' that had to be waged against the disease. Volunteers were called upon to give their utmost, and selfless models of the past, including Norman Bethune, were invoked again to give an indication of the self sacrifice that was called for. This nostalgic use of the campaign model included posters featuring determined health workers balling their fists.

At the height of the epidemic in April and May, more than one million people left Beijing. Many residents were isolated in their living quarters out of fear of having been infected. The WHO put the Chinese capital and many other areas on its list advising against travelling there. As a result, airlines, hotels and restaurants have been dealt severe blows. On 24 June 2003, Beijing received a clean bill of health and had its warning status lifted by the WHO. source

Well so much for that with 348 Chinese fatalities in a population of over 1 billion and no vaccines needed either. So this avian flu buzz looks like a full blitz propaganda scam, until someone can cough up (pun intended) proof to the mortality rates.

So perhaps coming this fall will be the "great bird flu pandemonium" instead of pandemic.
Watch out, they may take your chicken soup too.

[edit on 16-9-2005 by Regenmacher]

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 11:42 PM
Fair enough post,

However we already know severe pandemics will emerge eventually, how long do you propose we play Russian Roulette with bacteria for?

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 12:07 AM
When the hype is backed by actual mortality rates. Considering 100.000 died last year from drugs maybe when the flu does catch up to the world they can offset the balance sheet. If anything the paranoia fear smear will make people sick in the head.

Got Prozac? Big pharma wants heads too.

Big Pharma: Making a killing

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me...

[edit on 17-9-2005 by Regenmacher]

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 12:09 AM
Hmmmm, not really sure where to go with this one. Perhaps the 'Hype" has kept the disease from expanding at a pandemic rate?

At anyrate, SARS was real and people died, and the potential was huge. Bird flu is real and people have died and its showing signs of human to human transmission, so the concerns are well justified IMHO.

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 12:32 AM
Concerns justified in comparison to what?

US auto accident mortality rates as in the 42,000 that died in US for 2004?

Death by the regular flu as in 36,000 people that still die every year in the United States?

775 people out of 6.5 billion died of SARS tells me I am more likely to die from a lightning strike.

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 12:36 AM

Originally posted by Regenmacher
Concerns justified in comparison to what?

One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You only need to look as far as the last influenza pandemic to see that if unchecked, the potential is alarming.

So are you suggesting that governments and health organizations keep quiet about potential outbreaks?

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 12:48 AM
How many people died during the flu pandemic in, when was it, 1913? Something like that.
Sure, the flu causes deaths every year. Now, what about a flu that makes the jump that kills 1/3 of those who gets it? I knew several people who got the flu last year. None of them died. It could be a bit diffeent with this one, which, I think, might be the point.
Awareness helps people prepare (Don't look toward NOLA, you know what I mean). Heck, it could help get some people to wash their stupid hands when they go to the bathroom, at least!

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 12:52 AM
I suggest they keep it in perspective and use some logic instead of pulling out the monthly media blitz and making people worry in which case these fear based wild exaggerations and distortions are increasing mental illness on an epidemic scale.

Priorities in mortality rates are skewed in favor of profits, and we all know the vaccine industry is on a funding drive in the last few years. I see we aren't addressing or setting priorities to what is already killing thousands a day, and robbing Peter to pay Paul won't cut it. So again is the media hype warranted in comparison to what?

So far H5N1 is still pretty much a boogieman and there's thousands of them waiting in the flanks. How much is it worth to a debtor society?

As for Nola, could say they were a victims of the cry wolf syndrome. People see all those Weather Channel luddites broadcasting on beaches when hurricanes are making landfall and sum it up as it's no biggie. They look at West Palm beach, Pensacola and Tampa Bay that are still there. They think to themselves in Orleans that they can handle it no problemo. Well we know the rest of that story....

I think awareness only goes so far before it's seen as propaganda and then we enter dangerous ground.

So I shall remain on the chicken fence for now.

[edit on 17-9-2005 by Regenmacher]

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 01:00 AM
I, as well as everyone else, understands your point.
As far as Bird Flu, we will just have to wait and see if it is as bad as what it could be. Inthe meantime, be thinking about three of your friends and which one of them could have died of the flu last year.
And, drive carefully; there are people out there who, even after being warned of the dangers of DUI in the media, still insist on driving totally blitzed! AS for me, this season, and the next, will be the same as any other. I wash my hands regularly, try not to touch many common items such as door knobs, take the vitamins and other pills and potions, and run hysterically from anyone who sneezes.

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 01:05 AM

Originally posted by FredT
At anyrate, SARS was real and people died, and the potential was huge. Bird flu is real and people have died and its showing signs of human to human transmission, so the concerns are well justified IMHO.

SARS was real, and yes people died. But how many? Approx 1000, isn't it?

Then take a look at the number of deaths from say Tuberculosis per year. Between 2-3 million people die from TB per year, so this makes me wonder why avian flu is being hyped rather than something endemic that takes so many lives. Sure, avian flu has the potential to take more lives in a shorter period of time, but why is it being hyped so much when there are things like TB (in many cases drug resistant) always around.

It just makes you wonder why there's a focus on one disease or another, while there's always something lingering in the background that has the potential to wreak more havoc over the long term and gets no attention.

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 08:46 AM

Originally posted by Thomas Crowne
How many people died during the flu pandemic in, when was it, 1913?

More people died in that pandemic then died in World War One............... and that was in a time where Population Density was nowhere near what it is now, and plus the ease of Air Travel could possibly make the Spanish Flu look like an outbreak of the common cold.

TB Is a bacterial infection and can be treated with Anti-Biotics. Bird Flu is a virus and is much harder to treat.

[edit on 17-9-2005 by sardion2000]

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 09:10 AM

Originally posted by parrhesia
It just makes you wonder why there's a focus on one disease or another, while there's always something lingering in the background that has the potential to wreak more havoc over the long term and gets no attention.

I think with avian flu the large scale impact is much more than TB or others. Also factor in the potential disruption to the food chain if you have mass infections of chickens and you have such a huge potential. SARS was not overhyped, and with epidemics you start small and exponetialy things grow untill they are out of controll.

Maybe things have not gotten out of control because of all the media attention and the like have forced governments like China to deal with it directly.

TB is a chronic desease versus an acute disease like SARS, Marlburg, Avian Flu et al.

[edit on 9/17/05 by FredT]

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 09:39 AM
I think it's the potential of the thing that worries scientists. As someone earlier stated numbers of deaths for just the regular flu, can you imagine what would happen if avian flu were to spread as regular influenza does? So they work hard to keep it contained and watch for outbreaks.

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 10:13 AM
I just wanted to add that the Spanish Flu took those lives in Months not years.

Spanish flu
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Spanish Flu Pandemic, also known as the Great Influenza Pandemic, the 1918 Flu Epidemic, and La Grippe, was an unusually severe and deadly strain of influenza, a viral infectious disease, that killed some 25 million to 50 million people worldwide in 1918 and 1919. It is thought to have been one of the most deadly pandemics so far in human history.

The nations of the Allied side of World War I frequently called it the "Spanish Flu." This was mainly because the pandemic received greater press attention in Spain than in the rest of the world, because Spain was not involved in the war and there was no wartime censorship. In Spain it was called "The French Flu". Spain did have one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease, with some 8 million people infected in May 1918. It was also known as "only the flu" or "the grippe" by public health officials seeking to prevent panic.

[edit on 17-9-2005 by sardion2000]

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 01:04 PM
Here's the big three avian flu vaccine makers, invest wisely.


Roche is benefiting as about 30 governments, including those of the U.K. and the U.S., purchase supplies to help protect their populations in the event that bird flu jumps to humans and causes a worldwide flu epidemic.


Sanofi-Aventis S.A. Sanofi

U.S. Builds Bird Flu Stockpile U.S. government awards over $100 million to
Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline to develop drugs against possible pandemic.

Personally I'm invested in Roche, being Suisse. BUT and that's a big but, I am ready to pull the plug if this bird flu gambit doesn't come off. I see the consensus here is that there's reason to worry and that equates to more profit. Still think it's hyped up, so take it for what it's worth...investment opportunities.

[edit on 17-9-2005 by Regenmacher]

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 01:11 PM
Here's an idea. Irradicate the disease in the birds before all these flocks need to be destroyed?

It might be interesting to know if there are Asian firms involved in this R&D, or the pharma investments on both ends... the human AND avian spectrum of this disease.

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 01:33 PM
Vietnam's mass bird vaccination to end in November
HANOI – Vietnam, the country worst hit by the deadly bird flu that now threatens Europe, plans to complete vaccinating all its poultry in November before periods of high demand for chicken early next year, state media reported.

China promotes bird flu vaccine for poultry
Chinese authorities are promoting a poultry vaccine to control the country's expanding bird flu outbreak, but health experts caution costs may be prohibitive and add a vaccine designed this early cannot fight a constantly mutating virus.

USDA funds avian flu vaccine bank for poultry
An Iowa company will develop an avian influenza vaccine antigen bank that could produce up to 40 million doses of vaccine for poultry, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced recently.

Bird Flu FAQ

Are the flu viruses of human and birds the same?

In most cases, the influenza viruses that infect birds do not infect humans and vice versa. However, in Hong Kong in 1997, a unique avian influenza virus infected both chickens and humans. That was the only time that an avian influenza virus was transmitted directly from birds to humans. That appeared to be a totally unique occurrence. The World Health Organization continuously monitors human influenza viruses isolated from cases all over the world. No avian viruses have been found infecting humans since 1997.

What are the risks of getting avian influenza from waterfowl?

Avian influenza virus infections are widespread in wild birds, especially ducks. Migrating waterfowl are a significant source of avian influenza viruses especially in the major flyways. Turkeys on open ranges in Minnesota, a state in the major flyway for migrating ducks, frequently experience avian influenza problems. But the prevalence of avian influenza in turkeys has been high in some years and minimal in others. The reason why influenza viruses come and go is not known. The risk to susceptible birds from contact with waterfowl must be considered very high although it may vary from year to year for unknown reasons.

Can I prevent infection by vaccinating my flocks?

Vaccines effectively prevent clinical signs of influenza infections in many species including poultry. However, the vaccines are not cross protective for the 15 virus subtypes that can infect poultry. Since there is no way to predict which type will infect a flock, vaccines are generally not practical to prevent infections.

What should I do if I suspect avian influenza in my birds?

You should contact your veterinarian if you observe any of the signs of avian influenza, especially if they are accompanied by a drop in feed consumption and/or a significant drop in egg production. Because the signs of avian influenza are so variable, it is important to get the help of an expert for diagnosis.

(FAQ source: Carol J. Cardona, Extension Poultry Veterinarian, University of California, Davis)

Looks like saving poultry doesn't equate to saving humans and it would be cost prohibitive to vaccinate the chickens to all the avian flu variants. Thusly culling is still the most effective means of control.

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