Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bird Flu Follow-Up and Videos

Another quote from here to follow up on the bird flu:

Although some “experts” still argue that preparations against bird flu must continue, many are finally beginning to realize what I said all along -- that this overhyped, oversold “pandemic” was never a threat in the first place. According to Dr. Paul A. Offit, a vaccine specialist at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, “H5 viruses have been around for 100 years and never caused a pandemic and probably never will.”

And from NPR 2 years ago:

What is bird flu?

All bird flus are influenza A. Influenza A is primarily a respiratory virus, causing coughing, congestion, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, and fever in most species it infects.

This strain (also called the H5N1 virus) surfaced in Hong Kong eight years ago, although it may have been around for four decades previous to this. It has mostly been affecting Asian poultry. When tested in the laboratory, it has been found to be quite deadly, killing ten out of ten chick embryos against which it was tested. It is difficult to tell how many birds it has killed in Asia, though, because millions of birds have been killed by humans to prevent its spread. As soon as one chicken develops symptoms, it is killed along with all the chickens that may have come in contact with it.

It appears to be quite deadly to humans as well, although in Hong Kong in 1997 many humans reportedly developed antibodies to the virus and did not get sick. There is concern that if the virus mutated, it could cause a pandemic because we do not have built-up immunity to it. This mutation could occur either at random or if the virus mixes its DNA with a human flu virus inside a pig or a human. But it's also quite possible (in fact it's even more likely) that it may never mutate at all or that if it does mutate, the mutated virus would result in a much less severe illness in humans.


Bird Flu Pandemic Parts 1 and 2:

Bird Flu Fears Take Chicken Off The Menu:

Bird Flu Comedy:

And a Daily Show audio

1 comment:

  1. I think the bird flu is still some threat of causing a pandemic. There are a couple of things to consider.

    1) A tremendous amount of resources have been expended to keep bird flu from spreading, which is a major part of why it has been so limited thus far.

    2) The longer bird flu is around, the more likely it is that it will evolve into a less deadly form of influenza. (Less deadly forms of influenza have a selective advantage because their carriers live longer to spread them.) Efforts to delay the pandemic may have the added benefit of preventing it all together.


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