On reflection, the question asked by the Toronto Star (above) is misleading. H5N1 - not just N1 - has been around for 50 years, at least. So of course
older people probably have been exposed, and likely have some immunity.
H5N1 bird flu was first identified in Scotland in 1959
and has been used in experiments since then - first at the Addlestone laboratory. The
1959 H5N1 strain from Scotland is called "chicken/Scotland/1959." We do not know who Addlestone shared the samples with or sold them to, although
the CDC and US military do jump to mind. We have no guarantee that genetic materials from these experiments did not escape into the environment - or
that "modified" versions of the virus were not used in secret "clinical trials," perhaps in Africa, or maybe given to unsuspecting soldiers in
"vaccines" or used in military "wind dispersal" experiments.
"Scientists tracing the history of the H5N1 virus have traced its first recorded episode to an Aberdeen farm. ...A scientist identified only as Dr JE
Wilson, of the Veterinary Laboratory in Lasswade, outside Edinburgh, is recorded as having worked on the case - sending the chicken to Addlestone,
where the strain was medically isolated so it could be used in experiments. The Scottish H5N1 has been used in experiments, named
No medical agency in Scotland or England was able to give many details - except to say that the disease has become heartier and deadlier since it was
found in Scotland. There is also no sign of Dr Wilson. The Moredun Research Institute at Penicuik said that it had no record of him and that he was
likely to have passed away."
Scientists discover deadly H5N1 bird flu began in Scotland, 1959
Like other type A influenzas, H5N1's claim to fame is that it jumps species without requiring species-specific genetic material
. H5N1 bird flu
, people, whales
, seals, cats, horses, dogs, ferrets - almost any animal. Sometimes it's deadly; sometimes it's not. If
it's not fatal, the infected victim might become a carrier. Current bird flu information campaigns focus on the lethal forms. But what about the
non-lethal so-called "harmless" strains?
Mayo Clinic ...type A influenza infects both people and animals, including
birds, pigs, horses, whales and seals.
Several studies have shown that a small number of mammalian species, including pigs, seals, whales, mink, and ferrets, are susceptible to
natural infection with influenza viruses that are purely avian in their genetic make-up.
Avian influenza A(H5N1) - update 20 February 2004
Both birds and whales migrate - so obviously, H5N1 has been spreading around the world and mutating in the natural environment for almost 50 years.
country can say it has no H5N1 bird flu - that's why information campaigns focus on "strains" and insist that the H5N1 reported in
certain countries are "harmless."
The problem is, any
can mutate into a virulent fatal form - or else, into a strain that circulates freely to cause low
level infection and chronic disease.
Right now, one of the biggest problems is widespread H5N1 contamination of the environment - and the fact that the virus spreads through soil and
H5N1 virus replicates in the intestines as well as the respiratory tract of birds. In the present outbreak, very large quantities of
virus are being excreted in the faeces of infected birds, resulting in widespread contamination of the environment. This wide presence of the
H5N1 virus in the environment creates one of the most important risks for human exposure and subsequent infection.
Avian influenza A(H5N1) - update 20 February 2004
...Bird flu... can be
spread through water...
- most scientists do not consider migrating birds to be the key vector, although that is the media focus. Again, H5N1 has been
around for a long, long time and it's probably endemic everywhere. Each locale will likely develop specific strains, and the important thing is that
all microbes have entered a "phase" of rapid mutation.
As far as "spread" - H5N1 sheds through bodily fluids - so soil and then runoff and ground water take the germs to waterways. Birds defacate and
urinate over oceans. ...And the virus lives for several days.
Some scientists think fish are the most important route of transmission - others say humans are, because we can carry it -on our clothing, if not
inside our bodies- while travelling.
Either way, migrating birds are just one more factor - and probably not
the most critical one.
Will check my files and see what I can pull up for you. I do have a quote from one well-known German scientist saying that we've probably been living
with H5N1 for a very long time and just didn't know because we never tested for it.
ed to add:
scientist said Tuesday the entry of faeces from infected poultry into the food chain via fish was a likely cause of the global spread of bird flu -
and not migrating wild birds.
'We are moving away from the assumption that migrating birds are the cause,' said Josef H. Reichholf, a zoology professor at Munich's
Technical University, in a comment published by the newspaper Die Welt.
'We will have to live with bird flu in the future,' said Reichholf, adding: 'Perhaps we already have been for years and just didn't know
it because ...dead birds ...were not tested.'
Virologists know infection occurs through contact with blood, feces and other body fluids, and WHO officials recently reiterated
the flu virus is also airborne, posing even a greater threat than AIDS.
Cheng said there may be other cases in which people became infected through human-to-human transmission, but there isn't enough evidence to prove it.
There may also be many less severely ill people going unnoticed.
[edit on 11-3-2006 by soficrow]