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Bird Flu


framheim
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are you worried? should we be worried? bbc news was in a gp's today asking if the public had been showing concern and i couldn't help thinking that they wouldn't be showing any concern if the media hadn't been going on and on and on about bird flu and throwing out figures like 50, 000 people will die when it arrives. obviously i'm not saying the media shouldn't include it in the news to some extent but it's boardering on scare tactics. it's not even here yet.

what do you lot think?

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I'm not majorly worried about it but I think it is a concern. Yeah the media are going on about it a lot at the moment, but if it just arrived and nobody had been warned everyone would suddenly be all "Why weren't we warned?" and what not.

Right now, I'm more worried about being beaten to death in the street than I am about bird flu. And I get a regular flu jab anyway so I should be ok.

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Down to the media again, the same way that terrorism appears on the front page almost every day. Some reports last week were saying that it could kill 2 Billion people; i) that's bullshit, ii) will never happen iii) sensational media it's just stirring the pot.

This form has been around since 2003 and has only claimed little over 100 lives so far. They say it could mutate into human form, but the (spanish) bird flu in the early 1900's killed 50 Million and swept accross the globe in record time; that didn't even mutate from the bird version. I'd honestly forget about it for now.

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Guest bluesxman
And I get a regular flu jab anyway so I should be ok.

Um, no you won't - that's the problem, the virus needs to mutate to a form which affects humans so an effective vaccine can be produced.

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I would only start to worry if a) it had mutated b) The mutated version was found to be widely spread throughout the UK.

However, its been quite a while since there has been a major epidemic and if history is something to go by, we are due something some kind of serious disease.

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I would only start to worry if a) it had mutated b) The mutated version was found to be widely spread throughout the UK.

However' date=' its been quite a while since there has been a major epidemic and if history is something to go by, we are due something some kind of serious disease.[/quote']

yea but history was a lot dirtier. :)

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yea but history was a lot dirtier. :)

Dirty History! Wash your hands. :p

And then there's MRSA because in this day and age people still find it a chore to be moderatley hygeinic. OK not nearly as nasty as the alleged severity of bird-flu, but it makes you think twice about going to hospital for even the most briefest of appointments, let alone major surgery.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1593614,00.html

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not to be sneezed at

Bird flu could kill 1 billion, or it could peter out. Whatever the outcome, we must be vigilant

Mark Honigsbaum in Tulcea, Romania

Monday October 17, 2005

The Guardian

How scary is bird flu? Is it, as Mike Davis, the author of The Monster at Our Door, puts it, a "viral asteroid on a collision course with humanity"? Or are the it's-not-if-but-when predictions overblown?

Yesterday the chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said that the strain of bird flu might not hit Britain this winter, but that it would reach these shores sometime soon. Having stood in the same ward as a Vietnamese man with bird flu in February, and having just visited Ceamurlia de Jos, site of the latest outbreak in Romania, I think Sir Liam's cautious warning is justified. H5N1 - or GenZ as the current superstrain is called - really is a monster of a virus. Chickens infected with GenZ don't just die, they melt, leaching blood from every organ.

In people, the pathology has not been anything like so extreme. But flu textbooks say humans shouldn't be able to be catch an avian virus such as H5N1 at all - at least not before it has infected an intermediary animal. Moreover, while about 100 people worldwide have contracted GenZ since it first emerged in Hong Kong in 1997, 60 of them have died - a worryingly high mortality rate.

That's not all. Intensive chicken farming, combined with fast-rising south-east Asian populations and international jet travel, has created what one epidemiologist calls a "perfect virological storm".

What could this mean for you or me? A few weeks ago, David Nabarro, the UN's influenza coordinator, came up with a global death toll of 150 million. The World Health Organisation quickly offered a rebuttal, saying the correct figure was 2 to 7.4 million. But as the WHO well knows, the only true predictor is what happened in 1918. Then, as now, an avian virus suddenly acquired the ability to latch on to and invade human lung cells. The difference is that the Spanish flu - so-called because Spain was the only country not to censor news of the illness - was also highly infectious between humans. Scientists now estimate that the 1918 pandemic may have killed 40 to 100 million people worldwide. If you take into account the current world population, a direct extrapolation gives you 325 million deaths.

If that's not sufficiently scary, there's more. Epidemiologists estimate the 1918 virus killed 2.5% of those infected. But we know that GenZ kills 70% of the people it infects. In other words, the true worst-case scenario based on 1918 could be 1 billion deaths worldwide. This is what Davis means by the monster at our door and why he believes scientists, and the press, are right to sound the alarm.

Then again, it may never happen. Flu is one of the deadliest pathogens in nature's arsenal, but is also one of the sloppiest. Like all viruses, every time it replicates it makes mistakes, some of which may render it less infective. That is the conundrum of H5N1. It could be a huge threat to the human race or none at all.

Moreover, just as global trade now threatens to bring the virus to Europe, so better surveillance by the WHO and World Animal Health Organisation means we know the instant a Romanian or Turkish chicken falls ill. It may make for lurid reading, but in the case of H5N1, forewarned is forearmed.

Finally, politicians are belatedly listening. George Bush's reading list this summer included John Barry's The Great Influenza, the authoritative work on the 1918 pandemic. And in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he has followed the lead of other governments by increasing stockpiles of Tamiflu, an anti-retroviral drug unavailable in 1918.

So be afraid, but remember that no one understands H5N1 well enough to say what will happen. And, fingers crossed, it never may.

Mark Honigsbaum is the author of The Fever Trail: In Search of the Cure for Malaria

mark.honigsbaum@guardian.co.uk

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Guest tv tanned
I think it's getting blown out of proportion just like the SARS 'epidemic' 18 months - 2 years ago. they're definitely scaremongering. Fucking Nanny State yet again.

you will, of course, explain how media-driven hysteria equates to the nanny state, won't you?

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I say kill all the fucking birds. Especially seagulls. For all we know they could be carrying more deadly diseases than bird flu - what with all the shite they eat' date=' they could be carrying fatal strains of food poisoning but noones worried about that.[/quote']

hahaha there was a woman on the news who phoned in to say that she feels that, "Bird's are being unfairly made scapegoats" for bird flu. Winner.

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Guest AmbientMood
people with a regular flu jab will be immunised in ways that people without aren't' date=' and will hold some immunity against certain strains of the virus.[/quote']

From what I read, the best vaccine at the moment is regular hand cleansing, in vodka..

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Media Scaremongering

Dirty History! Wash your hands. :p

And then there's MRSA because in this day and age people still find it a chore to be moderatley hygeinic. OK not nearly as nasty as the alleged severity of bird-flu' date=' but it makes you think twice about going to hospital for even the most briefest of appointments, let alone major surgery.[/quote']

the whole MRSA thing has also been completely blown out of proportion. Everyone carries the bug that causes it and it only ever occurs in post-op situations so no one is going to get it through sitting in a waiting room or giving a blood sample.

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Guest ()Papaspyrou()

It s flu that affects birds. Those actually scared that they'll contact it are ignorant wankers who should be shot today. Preferably yesterday.

The media can go and get fucked. This whole thing is NOTHING but another little thread of panic and outright lies like everything else on TV. The doctors must be raking it in on their bullshit "bird flu" vaccinations.

I might just go across to Thailand and smuggle some known affected birds back to release into the wild. Whats the point in fretting about something so far away when we can have them flying and shitting on our heads, then we can start to "panic" (not that we will).

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bird flu would have to be able to move from person to person and not just bird to person for it to kill any more than 1500 people. (not bad case scenario)

also, what with the whole "sars/mad cow disease/anthrax attacks/ other terrorsim etc will kill eight hundred million billion by 2009" , i wouldnt get too worried.

read the coke forum and get worried about aspartame instead.

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It s flu that affects birds. Those actually scared that they'll contact it are ignorant wankers who should be shot today. Preferably yesterday.

The media can go and get fucked. This whole thing is NOTHING but another little thread of panic and outright lies like everything else on TV. The doctors must be raking it in on their bullshit "bird flu" vaccinations.

I might just go across to Thailand and smuggle some known affected birds back to release into the wild. Whats the point in fretting about something so far away when we can have them flying and shitting on our heads' date=' then we can start to "panic" (not that we will).[/quote']

Apparently wrong. There have been infected birds found in Siberia. Wild Geese migrate to Britain from Siberia every winter. The doctors can't be raking anything in purely because it has to "mutate" to a human form before scientists can tell how to counter the virus.

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