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Possible Epidemic


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#1
Integra

Integra

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I get newsletters from WebMD (excellent source for medical information) and I ran into a article that has me wondering whether or not the world is heading for an armaggeddon sooner than we think. It was from WebMD that I found out about the deadlier strain of the flu virus that was going around. Anyway, here's the article. Opinions as to what you make of it?

Killer Bird Flu Fuels Plague Fears
New Worldwide Flu May Be Brewing in Asia
By Daniel DeNoon WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD on Thursday, January 15, 2004

Is a new killer flu brewing in Asia? All the ingredients are there -- and world health experts are worried.
Here's the recipe. Take a huge number of chickens infected with a kind of flu virus new to humans. Mix well with millions of people during a normal flu season.
That recipe is already in the huge flu mixing bowl of East Asia. Will it produce a new killer flu? Nobody knows. At least three people in Vietnam are known to have died after catching the bird flu now devastating the chicken industries of Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan. Another eight deaths are suspected.
That's bad. But it would be much, much worse if the bug learned to spread easily from person to person. That might mean history's fourth worldwide flu epidemic -- what health experts call pandemic flu.
"The ingredients for pandemic flu exist. But we haven't seen any yet," World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman Maria Cheng tells WebMD. "But the more cases we see of avian flu jumping to humans, the greater the risk."

Why Avian Flu Scares Experts
What's to worry? Wouldn't a new flu be just -- well, flu?
There's really no way to tell in advance whether a new flu would be more or less deadly than existing human flu strains. But since it would be a completely new flu, only a relatively few poultry handlers would have any resistance. Without a vaccine -- and, so far, there isn't one -- a new flu would cross the globe like wildfire.
That's why experts are shaking their heads -- and crossing their fingers.
"We could be in deep kimchi," Marjorie P. Pollack, MD, tells WebMD. Pollack, an independent medical epidemiologist, is a moderator for the International Society for Infectious Diseases ProMed reporting system for disease outbreaks.
"If a person is infected by normal virus and by avian one, a more dangerous virus may evolve. This is the big fear," Arnon Shimshony, DVM, tells WebMD. Shimshony, an expert in infectious animal diseases, is a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a ProMed moderator.
"These viruses are a flu subtype that hasn't ever before circulated in humans," CDC epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer, MPH, tells WebMD. "There is very little antibody in the population against these viruses. They would be prone to spread and cause a lot of illness. It is something that causes concern and something we are going to have to watch very carefully."
"We don't want this in humans or the world will be in deep, deep, trouble," Robert G. Webster, PhD, told WebMD last April. Webster is a virologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn., and is director of the WHO Collaborating Center on the Ecology of Influenza Viruses in Lower Animals and Birds.

What Happened Last Time
Here's why the experts worry. The part of the flu bug that determines immunity is the H (for hemagglutinin) molecule on the outside of the virus. There are 15 different H molecules in birds. But people get only three kinds: H1, H2, and H3.
Type A flu is a wily bug. It likes to shift its genes around. That happened this year, when the H3 Panama flu morphed into the H3 Fujian flu. But that difference -- called a drift -- isn't as bad as when the flu bug "shifts." That happens when it picks up a new H gene from an animal flu virus.
Once upon a time, people didn't get much influenza type A. Then the bug learned to pick up genes that let it spread from human to human. It's happened three times:
"Spanish flu" -- H1 -- broke out in 1918-1919. It killed 500,000 people in the U.S. and as many as 50 million people worldwide.
"Asian flu" -- H2 -- broke out in 1957-1958. It killed 70,000 Americans.
"Hong Kong flu" -- H3 -- broke out in 1968-1969. It caused 34,000 U.S. deaths. This strain is still around. This year's "Fujian flu" is an H3 variant.
The bird flu sweeping Asia is an H5 flu bug. It's tried to break out before. In 1997 it broke out in Hong Kong. Eighteen people got infected; six died. Authorities ordered the extermination of all the chickens in Hong Kong. This mass slaughter ended the threat.
An H9 bird flu infected two Hong Kong children in 1999. Both recovered fully. Other H9 infections were reported in China, but this bug hasn't broken out.
Last year, an H7 bird flu infected chicken handlers in the Netherlands. One veterinarian died. Authorities called for the slaughter of infected birds. And health authorities gave human flu vaccines to all poultry handlers in an effort to prevent dual infection that might lead to a new human flu.

What's Happened This Year -- so Far
Likely carried by wild ducks and/or geese, an H5 bird flu swept through South Korea and turned up in Vietnam and Japan. Other nations deny a problem, although last December both Japan and Taiwan reported finding H5 flu in ducks illegally smuggled out of China.
Since last October, hospitals in the Hanoi region admitted 14 people with severe respiratory illness -- 13 children and one adult. Eleven have died, including the mother of one of the deceased children. She -- and two of the children -- died of an H5 bird flu.
The good news is the WHO recently reported the flu from these people is still entirely a bird flu. That is, it hasn't picked up any new genes that would let it spread from human to human.
"There are lots of other cases under investigation," the WHO's Cheng says. "We have a team on the ground in Vietnam, and our office in Hanoi and our regional office in Manila sent people yesterday. We are working very closely with the Vietnamese authorities."
Members of the WHO team are from the U.S. CDC, the CDC's Brammer confirms.
Shimshony says there have been unconfirmed reports that the H5 virus has been detected in pigs. That would be a concern, because pigs -- unlike birds -- can also carry human flu viruses.
"Going through pigs could make it become as lethal as bird flu is for poultry and as infectious as human flu is for people," Shimshony says. "This would be very worrisome. But this has not happened yet. There has been no reassortment of this virus, so this virus is strictly avian. Still, the longer it goes on with many people getting infected, the closer our fears are to becoming actual."

SOURCES: News releases, World Health Organization. Centers for Disease Control web site. Maria Cheng, WHO. Marjorie P. Pollack, MD,

#2
Protocol

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I'm sorry this thread went nowhere it should of generated much interest.

As has been shown on the news from across the globe and closer to home, this was a very real threat, and resulted in mass extermination of much fowl.

Why? As you already state this bird flu has the very real chance and opportunity of mutating into something very deadly for humans. Hence the worries, and it's not the first time this has occured either and probably not the last. There is a book I suggest people reading called 'Hot spots' about some viruses that WHO and others have come into contact with, that we have NO current vaccines or resistance for.

It's an interesting book, it's all factual, and incredibly frightening, but fore warned is as always, fore armed.

Protocol.

#3
Vore

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It is worrying but there's very little the individual can do about it and panic doesn't help any situation.

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases...just be careful. Even though this one disease doesn't exist here yet there are many more that do. Though it is sad to say so it is natural to have global epidemics they are pretty much unavoidable like the odd meteorite strike.. we just have to hope for the best and do what we can.
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#4
Integra

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Its alright Protocol. *shrugs* To tell you the truth, I didn't think it would generate such an interest b/c its not a particular subject many want to address: the thought of another plague like epidemic to occur in our lives. Its quite interesting though that a couple of days or so after I got this in an email and posted it on here that I saw one of the talk show hosts actually acknowledge it to everyone (it was Jay Leno who mentioned it). Then later on other news ppl got hold of this story and it NOW has become a worry and a threat.

#5
ohgr

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To quote a verse from Revelations "I will come like a theif in the night, when you least expect it"...

That's my view on armaggeddon... As far as the flu... what are you gonna do? heh. The party's just getting started. :P

#6
Integra

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:o Whoa. That was really well put. That probably is the sign of the end of the world.... *thinks about it* Party anyone?

#7
Giles_de_Rais

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There is always something to worry about... why bother? Freaky flu today, train flies off the tracks and plows through your house tomorrow.

Life's a bitch, so grab the cunt by the hair and enjoy the ride.

That element least expected is often the most welcome.

Stupidity is an STD, and whiners are the dirty whores spreading it.

One side of me says, 'I'd like to talk to her, date her.' the other side of me says, 'I wonder how her head would look on a stick?'
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#8
Integra

Integra

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:lol: This is an interesting morning today....




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