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Avian Flu largely overblown in the US (and other first world nations)

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posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 10:32 PM
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Recently, I had a rather lengthy discussion with my girlfriend regarding avian flu. She's quite knowledgeable on the topic, given that she's working for NIAID (National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Desease - a sub-division of NIH) and tasked with working on a joint project with the CDC on working on a cure for Avian Flu.

Long story short, the potential pandemic reports coming out about the Avian Flu are largely blown out of proportion. There is one reason for this. It's the same reason that the US and other first world nations are largely free of massive illness outbreaks - sanitation. Typically, the reason that something like this becomes a widespread epidemic or pandemic is because sanitation isn't what it should be, and the virus is carried through contact with human waste, contaminated water, or other such things.

Chances are, Avian Flu will eventually hit the US, and even though there may be a few deaths (it's nothing to toy with), it'll be pretty contained in its spread, even without the use of manditory vaccinations.

The virus in and of itself is quite virulent, and very resistant to current influenza treatments, but is still tranmitted largely through contaminated poultry, and the waste products thereof. The human to human transmission is sparse (and rare) at best. With current US sanitation standards, chances are, most of us will be perfectly safe, so long as we heed any warnings about infected poultry (even when fully cooked, there is still a slight risk of transmission). Pets are almost completely safe from the flu, even as carriers, because of the processes used to make pet food.

Basically, what it all boils down to is this: don't worry about it. Unless you are a poultry farmer or handle raw poultry, you're about 99% safe, and even if you handle raw poultry, as long as you take measures to ensure your stock is Avian Flu free, you're pretty safe as well. Even the poultry farmers are only at a 10-15% risk of contracting the virus from their livestock, and even then that's without taking preventitive measures (animal vaccinations already exist... it's just the human vaccinations that are taking time, because of the stringent regulations put forth to ensure the safety of the vaccination).

[edit on 9-11-2005 by obsidian468]




posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 10:53 PM
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this could be in the conspiracy area.....overblown simply so the gov't can scare it's citizens into being controlled and losing yet more freedoms. (i.e. patriot act) Don't believe a word of it. It really needs to mutate to become even a small threat to the human race.



posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 11:28 PM
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H5N1 is supposed to be much like the spannish flu in like 1918 and when it does mutate to be able to infect humans we wont have any imunity to it at all since its a bird flu and anyone who comes in contact with it or someone with it in in danger



posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 11:51 PM
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I wonder if it is all a "scare." The media has been known, for example, to take a few deaths and repeat the story over and over and over untill the whole thing seems bigger than what it really is. It is important to separate exaggeration from real statistics. The statistics are what matter.

That being said, it would still be smart to keep our eyes open on this situation.

Troy



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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i don't agree with your assessment. The big IF is when it combines with a person who already has a different flu and recombinomics steps in. When it can go from person to person, it may turn out to be more virulent than the less dangerous ordinary flu (a+b)

Because this H5n1 flu is more dangerous, I believe that once catching it- you will need heroic measures to overcome it. If you are choking on your own pleghm and your lungs fill up or your airway gets blocked, (have you seen the pictures of infected chickens/) you might get properly treated at the hospital- but what if they medicine takes too long to be effective? Currently- if you catch h5n1 you have to take 10X the suggested dose of tamiflu, and then you have a 50% of surviving. (even in Thailand''s hospital they have oxygen, intubation, suction technology)

it doesn't have to come from Asia to arrive here- just think about all of the illegal immigrants coming over the Mexico borders- then think about the illegal rooster fighting that goes on all over the United States- then think about all of those illegal roosters that could catch a potentially deadly avian flu- not to mention the parrots, lovebirds, etc. that are imported on a regular basis. Bird flu has always been carried by wild birds, this h5n1 just seems to be a little bit more dangerous and deadly than others.

I agree that Cheney is making big $ off of Tamiflu stock. And I agree that hoarding it isn't going to give you much of an advantage. I also agree that this year is not when this will be an epidemic. But it could be.

Good night, and good luck

[edit on 11-11-2005 by accountability]



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 06:04 AM
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Originally posted by trust_no_one
H5N1 is supposed to be much like the spannish flu in like 1918 and when it does mutate to be able to infect humans we wont have any imunity to it at all since its a bird flu and anyone who comes in contact with it or someone with it in in danger


And yet, if you think about it, there is a huge difference in sanitary conditions between 1918 and now. If sanitary conditions do play a major role, maybe, just maybe, it partially explains the reason it has been so long since the last true pandemic. Now, on the other hand, if it mutates to a point where the sanitary conditions no longer are a factor........



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 07:12 AM
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If a virus is so deadly that it could only kill 60 people in Asia in 2004, why should we worry?

Because someone has made some pills that may cure it?

And those pills are made with what?

An ingredient that only exists in China.

Does that mean that the Chinese know these disease and have a medication that can cure it?

Probably, but then the big laboratories would not get anything on it.



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by Relentless
And yet, if you think about it, there is a huge difference in sanitary conditions between 1918 and now. If sanitary conditions do play a major role, maybe, just maybe, it partially explains the reason it has been so long since the last true pandemic. Now, on the other hand, if it mutates to a point where the sanitary conditions no longer are a factor........


Sanitary conditions play a major role in the transmission of all airbourne and light contact (meaning easilly contracted through light contact with an infected person) diseases. Avian flu is still an airbourne/light contact transmitted disease. So, as long as we all stick to the sanitary rules that we were all taught by our parents - wash your hands, bathe, etc, that, combined with public sanitation as it is, means that this disease will have very little chance to take a foothold, and even less to spread.

What my girlfriend, as well as many of the other senior scientists/researchers at NIH/NIAID/CDC feel will happen with the Avian Flu is this: There will be a few deaths related to it, mostly in those who work with birds who happen to become infected, and possibly a few people close to these people (family, etc). On the whole, however, it'll end up much the same as Mad Cow disease did, with really no large effect on the general population.

Those who will be seriously affected will be people living in third-world nations, in small villages with absolutely no sanitation, or possibly, if another event like Katrina occurs in the US, and causes a situation like in New Orleans, where all sanitation is lost due to the storm, there could be an outbreak there as well.

This small possiblity of it seriously affecting industrialized nations, however, isn't stopping those researchers and scientists at NIH/NIAID/CDC from working to develop a cure. Even if we don't need it, there will be people who will. Additionally, understanding this disease could be quite beneficial in understanding and curing future diseases.

Finally, on sanitation differences, even in the US, between the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918 and now, I remember seeing photos of Baltimore from around the turn of the century and now. 100 years ago, most human waste and household garbage was dumped into people's back yards and the alleys immediately behind them. Alleys were often a thick soup of human and animal waste, household garbage, and rotting food. Stories tell of the horrible stench from people's yards on a hot summer day. Today, people's yards tend to stay clean. Even if I go for two days without picking up my dog's waste products in the yard, I can be subject to a $100 fine, and risk having the dog taken from me. Fines and penalties are even higher for human waste. Beyond the public sanitation systems, there are many laws, codes, and regulations to keep sanitary levels high. I'm certain that laws like this exist in just about every major city, not just in the US. Sanitation now is 100 times what it was, just 100 years ago.

All this said, I stand by the statement that the potential threat of the Avian Flu is blown way out of proportion.

To speculate for a moment, I'm wondering WHY it's blown out of proportion. Could it be to solely benefit pharmeceudical companies? Could be be another means for the givernment to keep the general population in fear (especially as the public eye turns away from terrorism, and more towards ending the war in Iraq)? Could it just be something that has just been blown wildly out of proportion because of the lack of understanding of the disease? Any of these reasons are equally as possible. Who knows?

Edit: For this, or any other disease, to mutate to a point where sanitary conditions have no effect on the transmission of the disease, it will have to become a virtually undetectable, blood or sexually transmitted disease, and be significantly more virulent than HIV. The undetectable part is the biggest thing it will have to acheive, because as long as even a blood or sexually transmittable disease is detectable, it can be controllable - with the aid of medical sanitary practices.

[edit on 13-11-2005 by obsidian468]



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 08:22 PM
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Of course its overblown, in few years, 2, or 10, people will look back at old newspaper clippings or just through general chatter and wonder what was all the "rage" on TV back in the day, the word of the week, etc, you will almost certainly find "pandemic" in there

happens all the time

they all hot and bothered about 60-100 people who have died, but many more die of serious diseases, accidents, etc, every single day..what a waste of time


I bet you would find, the people who did the original research probably just spoke out and mentioned a faint possibility of a "pandemic", from then on its plastered all over the news, papers, blogs, etc, word of the year in the headlines because the otherwise payed journalists would be out of a job if it wasn't..



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