News - AVIAN FLU PANDEMIC POSSIBILITY INCREASES
This H5N1 virus is slowly changing through genetic re-assortment or mutation. The change is slow, but if this virus undergoes the change that leads to sustained human-to-human transmission, then we have a major problem. Then we probably will have the next human pandemic influenza. This is (a) serious risk.?"
David Nabarro, avian-flu coordinator for the United Nations, was speaking. The bottom line: the world community is "?losing the battle.?" Avian flu in fowl is not lessening but increasing.
Certain areas of the globe are na�ve about the subject. The populations don?t have the basic, critical information. They don?t understand the seriousness of the threat. They go about their daily routines as if all is well, or at least not so bad.
In these geographies where birds are mingling and flying and eaten by humans, the bird flu virus could ignite into a pandemic worldwide.
According to UPI?s Kate Walker, the birds are presently the threat. "?Virologists who study these things say do not get complacent. It is quite feasible that H5N1 could mutate.?"
The world community does not have a full-proof vaccine to combat such a new virus. The time frame for discovering same is not soon.
"?The change is slow, but if this virus undergoes the change that leads to sustained human-to-human transmission, then we have a major problem. Then we probably will have the next human pandemic influenza.?"
Dead birds were everywhere in central Malawi region of Ntchisi. Fork-Tailed Drongos dropped dead in the Mwera Hills district. Humans living there were eating the birds. They did not have any idea that they could be eating their deaths.
"?Someone alerted police that people are feasting on mysterious manna from heaven and when police contacted us we sent officials to caution the people not to eat them since they may have the avian flu which has proved deadly to humans in other countries,? said Wilfred Lipita, director of livestock and animal health in Malawi's Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security."
Some areas are relying on Tamiflu. But there is no guarantee that Tamiflu will stand up to the mutated virus. In the meantime, some shipments from Asia were found to be counterfeit. The Food and Drug Administration stated to media that the shipments were not reliable products unto the standards of Roche?s Tamiflu.
In Indonesia, an 8-year-old boy died of avian influenza.
In Russia, 186 swans were found dead in Kalmykia, having died of bird flu. The municipalities have been quarantined. Neighboring areas are called "high risk" geographies.
Romania informed media that still another "potential outbreak of avian flu" has been registered. It appeared among chickens in a village near Bucharest. Villagers are quarantined.
In China, officials have closed down a university avian-flu laboratory. It was reported not to have "met state regulations."
"?This is a psychologically telling moment for a country that has never had bird flu cases in the past in humans,? said Mr. Wadia. ?This will drive home to citizens across the country that this can happen in our own backyards. It's a very real threat,?" according to Joe McDonald of The Independent.
There is fear that humans dying en masse throughout China could occur because the population is so very close daily to birds. That is why there has been an expanded vaccination of birds throughout the nation.
Other nations are taking precautions worldwide with health experts meeting daily to figure out what vaccine will work to oust the virus if it strikes human beings. However, there is no guarantee that a vaccine can be come upon since no one knows what a mutant virus will be like when it does appear. Therefore, stockpiling present vaccines may in the end prove futile, though stockpiling has become an alarm reaction in many areas.
US President George W. Bush has warned Americans already concerning the possible pandemic. Other freedom-based national leaders have followed with like pronouncements.
China officialdom has concluded that it is inevitable that human infection will occur in that country. In response to that fear, millions of birds have been destroyed.
Australia has responded to bird flu fears by stating that it may be that persons flying into the country will be housed in airplane hangers where medical experts will examine them. If there is any question as to the health of passengers, they will not be permitted to enter the country.
AVIAN FLU PANDEMIC POSSIBILITY INCREASES - J. Grant Swank Jr.