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Bird Flu 2006: Food Safety

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posted on Oct, 8 2006 @ 01:08 PM
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NOTE: A virulently fatal form of H5N1 bird flu has not yet appeared in humans. But "flu season" runs from fall through early winter in the northern hemisphere - so this is the time when new mutations are most likely to appear. Scientists are afraid that H5N1 bird flu will infect someone already sick with another virus, cross-breed inside the host, and mutate into a form that is easily transmitted human-to-human. A virulent strain will most likely occur if H5N1 cross-breeds with another flu strain. Authorities are on high alert. See: Bird Flu 2006: Mutation


Right now, Indonesia is the most likely place for a human-to-human mutation to occur. H5N1 bird flu is endemic in the region - and Indonesians rely heavily on chicken as a food source.

H5N1 bird flu can spread in food, most specifically infected chickens and eggs, although there is some danger with other species.

But international corporations pitching to the Western market keep insisting that chicken is okay to eat, and the food supply is "safe." This marketing spin forces Indonesia into fighting an uphill battle to educate her people, prevent new human mutations - and stop the pandemic from developing.

As in the West, Indonesian authorities rely on the media as an educational tool. But every educational press release they send out is countered by international corporate food producers and processors, who are spinning the news to protect their industry and profits.

Indonesia is still trying to convince people that even healthy-looking chickens might be infected with H5N1 bird flu, a difficult task even without international corporate interference - and news censorship.

It's an old battle, but they do keep trying - and deserve a lot of credit for it.



Healthy chickens can carry bird flu: Indonesian official

An Indonesian official has warned that a healthy chicken could be a carrier of the bird flu virus although it shows no symptoms of the illness, following a finding in West Java province, a report said Thursday.

Head of the West Java Animal Husbandry Office Rachmat Setiadi said the warning was made following the discovery of healthy chickens that tested positive with H5N1 virus from a serology test.

Currently, people are only made aware of the danger of bird flu when chickens die suddenly in their neighborhood, but Rachmat said healthy chickens could also be carriers. ...He said cases where healthy chickens were infected with bird flu had occurred not only in Bandung , but also in other cities and regencies.

***

CIDRAP: Indonesia reports H5N1 in healthy chickens

...apparently healthy chickens showed evidence of H5N1 virus infection... Rachmat Setiadi, who heads the West Java Animal Husbandry Office, announced the findings 2 days ago after serologic testing of 20 chickens around the home of two people from Bandung who died of H5N1 infection at the end of September...

The Post reported that of Bandung's 26 cities and regencies, only two were free of H5N1 virus in poultry.

Though the Asian strain of H5N1 is usually lethal in chickens, there has been at least one other report of asymptomatic chickens testing positive for the virus. In February, researchers reported that they found H5N1 viruses in apparently healthy chickens in live-bird markets in southern China.

***

February, 2006: Establishment of multiple sublineages of H5N1 influenza virus in Asia: Implications for pandemic control

Preparedness for a possible influenza pandemic caused by highly pathogenic avian influenza A subtype H5N1 has become a global priority. The spread of the virus to Europe and continued human infection in Southeast Asia have heightened pandemic concern. It remains unknown from where the pandemic strain may emerge; current attention is directed at Vietnam, Thailand, and, more recently, Indonesia and China. Here, we report that genetically and antigenically distinct sublineages of H5N1 virus have become established in poultry in different geographical regions of Southeast Asia, indicating the long-term endemicity of the virus, and the isolation of H5N1 virus from apparently healthy migratory birds in southern China. Our data show that H5N1 influenza virus, has continued to spread from its established source in southern China to other regions through transport of poultry and bird migration. The identification of regionally distinct sublineages contributes to the understanding of the mechanism for the perpetuation and spread of H5N1, providing information that is directly relevant to control of the source of infection in poultry. It points to the necessity of surveillance that is geographically broader than previously supposed and that includes H5N1 viruses of greater genetic and antigenic diversity.

***

A recent serology test conducted on 20 chickens around the houses of victims in Bandung showed that the virus could also be transmitted by healthy chickens.

A study conducted by the Indonesian Environment Information Center (PILI) in Yogyakarta found that stray cats had caught the H5N1 virus through contact with infected poultry at traditional markets.

"We are positive that cats can have the virus, although it is yet to be proven that they can transmit the virus to other animals or humans," ...




The fate of the world may rest on Indonesia's success with this latest educational campaign. In the meantime...

My advice?

Cook the hell out of everything you eat. Including spinach. Things are gonna get a lot worse before they get better.



This is the third in a series of 9 new bird flu threads about Mutation; Water Safety; Food Safety; Symptoms; Diagnosis; Medical Treatments; Traditional, Alternative, and Over-the-Counter Treatments; Molecular Pathology; and Spread.




posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 10:38 AM
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the fate of the world does not depend on indonesia or any one country.
my opinion on the matter is simple and it comes down to individual accountability, each person is responsible for their own health, for there to be a worldwide pandemic factors other than just a virus need to be considered, but that is my opinion and it never hurts to cook the hell out of everything



posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 04:22 PM
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Originally posted by drbennett

the fate of the world does not depend on indonesia or any one country.




Absolutely true. Mea culpa.



U.N. bird flu coordinator David Nabarro said in Bangkok on Friday that people must not assume a pandemic would start in a particular country.

"In fact, the influenza pandemic could start anywhere because (of) the capability of moving across borders, carried perhaps by migrating birds or through trade," Nabarro told a press conference.






my opinion on the matter is simple and it comes down to individual accountability, each person is responsible for their own health,




In a world where virtually everything is contaminated with synthetic chemicalsand bits of gawd-knows-what-else - including our food, air, and water - and microbes are adapting and mutating like crazy into new never-seen-before diseases - that's a heckuva hardnosed line to take.

I will agree that we're on our own, and can't count on anyone to bail us out of this one. But are we individually "accountable" and "personally responsible" for the state of our health in this kafuffled world?! No. We were set up imo.






for there to be a worldwide pandemic factors other than just a virus need to be considered,




Like international trade and "acceptable levels" of contamination, for example.




it never hurts to cook the hell out of everything



Nope. It does not.



posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 06:45 PM
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dont get me wrong on my hard stand, I appreciate the information that you have taken the time to put out there and to me these things are interesting. All I am saying is that we need to take some initiative like, distilling our own water, growing our own gardens, taking vitamins/minerals to replace what has been lost by our current farming methods. Whatever we can do to mak ourselves healthier than the average person will give us the edge because no natural bug will kill everyone.

bottom line, dont be afraid of bugs



posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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Another part of the problem is the massive farms we get our food from. When I was little (I'm 44) you ate the cow from down the road, strawberries in June, peaches in August, and apples in October. Now with transportation the way it is, and factory farming, you don't know where the beef or chickens are coming from. and you can buy gross mealy strawberries all year long. I buy my eggs from the farm down the street and try to feed my family local produce that is in season. If we eat strawberries in January it's because I froze them in June. I think that might be half the battle. Oh and I also buy organic beef and chicken.



posted on Oct, 28 2006 @ 10:44 PM
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Speaking of food safety...since the basic problem here is that viruses can exchange proteins, has anyone considered the implications of this:

www.cfsan.fda.gov...

Can anyone out there who knows something about microbiology give me a good reason to think that the new FDA bacteriophages won't be the key that allows bird flu to be tranmittic from human to human?

Bucket Man



posted on Oct, 28 2006 @ 11:35 PM
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Hey LB/Bm -

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria - and as yet, not plants or animals. But as you say - the problem is with the proteins and their capacity to misfold, thus creating prions.

IMO - drugs, chemical additives and processing technologies are FAR more likely to create virus-hitchhiking prions that cross species, genus and kingdom barriers than are bacteriophages.

IMO - bird flu already carries/transmits a prion, and the cell biology / tissue pathology is exactly the same as that of a disease called fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), which apparently is prion-related.

Also IMO - the new strains of E. coli, rabies, West Nile, the hemorraghic fevers etc. all seem to have similar prion-related capacities.

...Not that anyone ever is going to admit anything, of course.

An interesting read:



Addressing Foodborne Threats to Health: Policies, Practices, and Global Coordination, Workshop Summary (2006)

Not all foodborne illness is caused by an infection, not all foodborne disease causes diarrhea, and not all foodborne disease is acute. The cause of foodborne disease is often undefined, and, in many cases, the pathogens that cause them are not detected by routine laboratory tests.

The true incidence of food contamination in the United States is unknown. Epidemiologists believe that many affected people do not seek medical attention; moreover foodborne illness is difficult to diagnose.





[Excuse the late night babble. There's a point and some meat there, just buried.]



posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 01:04 AM
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I'm no microbiologist (good thing too, since so many have had 'heart attacks' or 'committed suicide' in recent years) so correct me if I'm wrong, but...

>Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria

Yes. But that is the only distiction. So if a bacteriophage mutated/evolved such that it could infect things that weren't bacteria, it would no longer be a baacteriophage. The fact that it only likes to infect bacteria shouldn't have any effect whatsoever on its ability to reassort genes and/or proteins with another virus.

< - and as yet, not plants or animals.

Exactly. 'As of yet.' That's what concerns me.


>But as you say - the problem is with the proteins and their
>capacity to misfold, thus creating prions.

Mmm...I think you may be mixing up two unrelated things.

www.hhmi.org...

I was under the impression that the primary significance of viral proteins was they it determine the ability of a virus to enter cells.

>IMO - drugs, chemical additives and processing technologies are
>FAR more likely to create virus-hitchhiking prions that cross species,
>genus and kingdom barriers than are bacteriophages.

Why? Bacteriophages are, as we've agreed, viruses. And, everything I read everywhere is pretty consistent in suggesting that the pandemic potential in bird flu is that two viruses, one human and one avian, might intermingle. (Look up 'viral reassortment' on google.)

So...if we're worried that avian and human viruses might decide to play mix and match, might we also think about what might happen if we all throw these new bacteriophages (which are just viruses) into the mix?

Again...spraying these things on our food seems like a bad idea to me.

Bucket Man



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by LordBucket
I'm no microbiologist (good thing too, since so many have had 'heart attacks' or 'committed suicide' in recent years) so correct me if I'm wrong, but...

>Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria

Yes. But that is the only distiction. So if a bacteriophage mutated/evolved such that it could infect things that weren't bacteria, it would no longer be a baacteriophage.




Suggesting that bacteriophages could mutate and evolve into an entirely different species/genus/kingdom implies that all the known rules of the life sciences are not valid.






The fact that it only likes to infect bacteria shouldn't have any effect whatsoever on its ability to reassort genes and/or proteins with another virus.




In fact, it does. Bacteriophages are a different species that belong to a separate line.




>But as you say - the problem is with the proteins and their
>capacity to misfold, thus creating prions.

Mmm...I think you may be mixing up two unrelated things.




Not at all. Both mutation and disease begin with proteins - and often, proteins' changes in conformation.

As a side note, molecular biology may have more to do with quantum physics than biology.





I was under the impression that the primary significance of viral proteins was they it determine the ability of a virus to enter cells.




Proteins are the building blocks of all life - and all DNA.







IMO - drugs, chemical additives and processing technologies are FAR more likely to create virus-hitchhiking prions that cross species, genus and kingdom barriers than are bacteriophages.



Why?




Because common drugs, chemical additives and processing technologies can, and often do, change protein conformation, cause proteins to misfold, and thereby, create infectious prions.





Bacteriophages are, as we've agreed, viruses. And, everything I read everywhere is pretty consistent in suggesting that the pandemic potential in bird flu is that two viruses, one human and one avian, might intermingle. (Look up 'viral reassortment' on google.)




Bacteriophages are viruses that eat bacteria - they target bacteria - NOT other microbes like viruses, mycoplasma, fungi, or optherwise.

The recognized danger with bird flu viruses intermingling involves two FLU viruses cross-breeding.

Scientifically, it is a HUGE leap to suggest that bacteriophages could cross-breed with influenza viruses - FAR more unlikely than influenza cross-breeding with hemorraghic fever, for example.





...might we also think about what might happen if we all throw these new bacteriophages (which are just viruses) into the mix?

Again...spraying these things on our food seems like a bad idea to me.




Bacteriophages occur naturally in our world - and eat bacteria. Using bacteriophages to protect our food supply makes MUCH more sense to me than using synthetic chemicals or nanotechnology, for example.

In fact, bacteriophages versus nanotechnology is one of the big business competitions playing out in our economic world right now.

Here's a quick overview of the marketing situation:





Depending on who you’re talking to, the rapidly emerging science of nanotechnology is either the next big thing or the next big thing to worry about. This art of making incredibly tiny structures and machines that perform amazing feats is leading to strange new materials, unimaginable medical treatments, and more. But perhaps the most surprising thing nanotechnology is leading to is your refrigerator. A new report describes both the peril and the promise that these new nanofoods hold.

It’s long been a central tenet of quantum physics that the laws of nature are quite different in the realm of the very, very tiny. Simply put, little things don’t behave like big things. (Any parent can tell you that!) Thus, for example, atoms and their components don’t obey the same laws that govern solar systems or galaxies. In fact, the behavior of an electron orbiting a nucleus is nothing like the behavior of a planet orbiting a start, and it’s this fact that’s responsible for both the potential and the potential trouble that nanotechnology represents.

Most of the attention nanotechnology has so far garnered has concerned its possible applications in traditionally tech-oriented areas like medicine, computing, and engineering. But a new report from the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies points out a use to which we should be paying attention: the growing role of nanotechnology in the food industry. ...Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food Production: Anticipated Applications, looks at over 160 different food-related nanotech research projects currently underway and estimates the timeframes in which we can expect to see them appear on supermarket shelves. (They could be ready within five years.) The report examines the possible benefits and risks of each development and explores the potential need for environmental, health, and safety regulatory oversight. Among the things you may soon find on your fork:

• Foods that adjust their color, flavor, or nutrient content to accommodate each consumer’s needs.

• Foods wrapped in “smart” packages that detect spoilage or contamination.

• Canola oil that blocks cholesterol from entering the bloodstream.

• Materials that enhance the biological activity of nutritional supplements and additives.

• A new ingredient 100,000 times smaller than a grain of sand that makes milkshakes tastier and delivers their nutrition deep into individual cells.

• Chicken-feed additives that remove dangerous pathogens from the final poultry product.

Nanofoods





By comparison, bacteriophages occur naturally - and offer the very best option for treating antibiotic resistant bacteria:



How Ravenous Soviet Viruses Will Save the World

Investigator Lawrence Broxmeyer MD sees the possibility of bacteriophages as the antimicrobrials of the future.


Phages: A New Way to Fight Bad Germs

Back in June I was amazed at this story in Wired about phages, bacteria-eating viruses that could be the answer to antibiotic resistance. The first treatment to use the therapy could be available this year.

"Half a century ago, antibiotics revolutionized medicine by turning many once-deadly infections like tuberculosis into minor

impediments. But overuse is rapidly rendering antibiotics ineffective, and scientists know they need a replacement fast. One of the most promising options is one that's been used in Eastern Europe and Russia for decades: bacteriophage therapy




THE VIRUS THAT CURES



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[edit on 30-10-2006 by soficrow]



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 01:18 PM
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we should look at one obvious problem with excessive use of phages as an antimicrobial agent. just like with antibiotics, the microbes will adapt. In fact phages will heep speed this up. Screwing around with these things will cause problems. whether we use phages, chemicals or nano technology it is a bad idea.

Best inventions ever to stop the proliferation of microorganisms.
cooking
cleaning good old soap and water
sterilization
modern sewage treatment- here is where we need to be putting money and research.



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 02:54 PM
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Originally posted by drbennett

...just like with antibiotics, the microbes will adapt. In fact phages will heep speed this up. Screwing around with these things will cause problems. whether we use phages, chemicals or nano technology it is a bad idea.




Unlike chemicals and nanotechnology, bacteriophages are naturally occurring microbes.

The strength of phages is that they mutate and adapt along with the bacteria they eat - so dealing with resistance is not a technological research problem, nor is it an expensive proposition.

In fact, relyng on bacteriophages instead of chemicals, drugs and nanotechnology threatens Big Pharma and the international chemical industry. You know, the guys who were so pleased to bring us products like Zyklon B.


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posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 03:20 PM
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if industry starts altering them however, they are not naturaly occuring anymore and that is the problem



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 07:52 PM
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Originally posted by drbennett

if industry starts altering them however, they are not naturaly occuring anymore and that is the problem




Ah yes. Too true.

We're talking nanotech here, right? And DNA as privately owned "Intellectual Property."






posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 12:41 PM
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like a lot of other things this is also a mystery...is it something natural,,,or is it a human maden ,.... who knows all this??



posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 11:14 PM
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Hmm. Ok. I hadn't realized that degree of genetic similarity was required for a protein exchange at that level. I wasn't conceptualizing viral exchanges the way I do macrocosmic 'breeding.'

Still...as you point out, apparantly the Russians have been using these things in people since the 1940's, so maybe it's not going to be a problem.

I think I'll still hold off eating deli meat for a year or two, though, to give any possible problems the opportunity to happen without me. I don't understand it well enough to want to take the chance.

Thanks for the clarification.

Bucket Man



posted on Nov, 3 2006 @ 11:55 AM
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Originally posted by LordBucket

I hadn't realized that degree of genetic similarity was required for a protein exchange at that level. I wasn't conceptualizing viral exchanges the way I do macrocosmic 'breeding.'




Hmmm. It's a yes and no thing.

Genetic similarity is NOT required for a prion protein to hitchhike on a virus, for example - that's one way prions proteins get around.

However, the presence of a hitchhiking prion would not change the genetic structure of a virus - it might affect gene expression in the host, but likely not the virus.

To the best of my knowledge.



...So I suspect you're right to an extent - using bacteriophages is not without danger. In fact life is dangerous and always ends in death.

IMO - bacteriophages win hands down in any risk assessment comparing naturally occuring organisms with synthetically created ones or synthetic chemicals.


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