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Deadly Flu Could Strike Aboriginal Groups Hardest

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posted on Jan, 13 2014 @ 09:28 AM
A research team from Melbourne just found that Native Alaskans and aboriginal Australians tend to lack potent flu-fighting immune cells - while Europeans have better "immunity" to H7N9 and other pandemic influenzas. As the researchers clarify, the lack of immunity results from lack of exposure due to geographic isolation. However, if so-called "immunity" results from exposure then clearly, "immunity" is part of an adaptive evolutionary process. It also follows that lack of immunity does NOT signify "genetic weakness," a permanent genetic state or "genetic inferiority."

Deadly influenza could strike aboriginal groups hardest

Native Alaskans and Australians tend to lack potent flu-fighting immune cells

Aboriginal Australians and Alaska Natives may be particularly vulnerable to a bird flu that emerged last year in China.

…In addition, Alaska Natives and Aborigines were much more vulnerable to the 1918 Spanish flu and a 2009 pandemic flu than other groups. If the H7N9 virus, which shares some characteristics with those viruses, spreads and becomes a pandemic, these groups should be at the front of the line to get vaccines, the researchers suggest.

Aborigines 'most vulnerable' to bird flu strain

EUROPEANS may have better immune defences than other ethnic groups when facing the latest potential pandemic bird flu from China.

A study published today in the journal PNAS suggests Aborigines and other indigenous groups with a history of isolation may be most at risk if the bird flu H7N9 begins to spread widely among humans.

PNAS. Preexisting CD8+ T-cell immunity to the H7N9 influenza A virus varies across ethnicities

The absence of preexisting neutralizing antibodies specific for the novel A (H7N9) influenza virus indicates a lack of prior human exposure. …By this criterion, some groups, especially the Alaskan and Australian Indigenous peoples, would be particularly vulnerable to H7N9 infection.

Indigenous groups more vulnerable in the fight against flu

Researchers at the University of Melbourne have discovered that some Indigenous groups will be more susceptible to the effects of the new strain of influenza (H7N9) currently found in China.

Research indicated that some Indigenous people such as in Alaska and Australia displayed limited immunity response to the effects of influenza. Published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, senior author, Associate Professor Katherine Kedzierska from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology said that some groups have a specific genetic make-up that prevents them from fighting off influenza.

“The findings suggested that there may be ethnic differences in the ability to mount an immune response to the H7N9 virus,” said Associate Professor Kedzierska

“Due to genetic differences in a protein complex involved in cell-mediated immune responses, people may vary in their ability to mount this kind of immune response against the H7N9 influenza virus that emerged unexpectedly in February 2013.”

The new influenza virus called H7N9 which originated in birds and caused an outbreak in China in March 2013, infected more than 140 people. The flu strain resulted in a very high mortality rate of 30 per cent due to severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

2014. Routledge said Manitoba's flu shot protects against three strains of flu but not H5N1, since the local risk is so low.

Those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from the flu include seniors, care home residents, children aged six months to five years, the chronically ill, pregnant women, health-care workers, those of aboriginal ancestry and those who are overweight.

2009. Severe flu cases surge in Manitoba aboriginal community

The Manitoba government is reporting a surge in the number of people requiring intensive care for influenza-like illnesses, particularly among a relatively young aboriginal population.

posted on Jan, 13 2014 @ 09:34 AM
reply to post by soficrow

Never waste a crisis, right? I wonder if we are being informed of this (since they always do) and the PTB are about to start a campaign of renewed genocide. With the arctic in question for those big oil companies, maybe they would rather remove the roadblocks than build around them?

Cheers - Dave

posted on Jan, 13 2014 @ 09:44 AM
reply to post by bobs_uruncle

That thought certainly crossed my mind. These guys never miss an opportunity. On the other hand - the whole immunity-adaptation thing is real, and don't forget the Europeans decimated every Indigenous culture they infected with measles and colds... Rather than focusing on the "aboriginals are toast" idea, I want to segue into using this stuff as an opportunity for understanding evolution, and evolutionary mechanisms and processes better.

posted on Jan, 13 2014 @ 09:45 AM
I read that, kind of depressing if you ask me. People who have not been exposed to these viruses are more at risk. Reminds me of the spanish coming to the Americas and spreading diseases that wiped out the populations. I am glad I have pretty good immunity, I do not have any Spanish in me that I know of but the Finns are pretty tough too. We have more metabolic issues than anything.


posted on Jan, 13 2014 @ 10:20 AM
In 2009, during that year's H1N1 flu outbreak, the government of Canada shipped body bags to Northern First Nations communities when they were asking for flu vaccines. I believe the government has been aware of increased vulnerability in these communities but is unable/unwilling to take steps to protect these people.

posted on Jan, 13 2014 @ 08:00 PM
reply to post by Beartracker16

I believe the government has been aware of increased vulnerability in these communities but is unable/unwilling to take steps to protect these people.

I believe you're right. It's called a "Policy of Benign Neglect" and historically, Canadian governments have elevated such policies to an art form, especially with aboriginal affairs. Unfortunately though, not much can be done. Evolution takes time and vaccinations short circuit the process. It's a conundrum - seems necessary to 'support' several generations of aborigines to allow enough time for the populations to get on the same immunity page as the conquerors.

posted on Jan, 16 2014 @ 05:48 PM
Just hit me, this could be major bs. There is a huge contradiction here. ...The thing about these new strains is they really hit young, healthy people with strong immune systems. Unlike normal flu, it's the very young, ill and elderly who are better able to survive infection with these strains because their bodies can't generate a cytokine storm. ...Supposedly, no one has been previously exposed. I'd guess some Europeans have an epigenetic 'memory' and so, some immunity. Maybe. More likely this a backhanded "don't panic, the other guy is gonna get it first" message.


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