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Avian Flu: The Pandemic That Will Never Be
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john
medicine forum addict


Joined: 03 Jun 2006
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject: Avian Flu: The Pandemic That Will Never Be Reply with quote

http://thedoctorwithin.com/index_fr.php?page=articles/avian.php
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Bryan Heit
medicine forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Avian Flu: The Pandemic That Will Never Be Reply with quote

There are some fundamental flaws in the information your page has:

1) "avian flu is caused by a distinct new virus - H5N1"

This is false. H5N1 forms of the flu virus have been around for at
least one century; probably much longer then that. The 1917/1918 (AKA
Spanish Flu) pandemic being the most notable example of this, although
nearly all flu viruses in the 1920's were also of the H5N1 variant.

2) "it's a real threat", "60 people have died worldwide from it"

This actually is true, although I would argue that the media is fear
mongering.

3) "30% of the world's population is in danger of extinction"

Not exactly. Today's H5N1 virus does not appear to readily pass from
human-to-human. The 30% number is an estimate, based on the infectivity
of other influenza viruses and the mortality of the current H5N1. It's
also a worst-case scenario estimate; what we would expect if this virus
did develop the ability to transfer human-to-human, remained as lethal
as it is today, and nothing was done to prevent its spread.

To put this into context, it is estimated that the 1918 flu pandemic
killed 1% of people on earth. This is probably a more reasonable
estimate if the H5N1 strain becomes human-transmissible and nothing is
done to control its spread. But leave it to the media to publish the
absolute worst-case scenario data, without mentioning the more likely
events.

4) "millions of birds have died from it, and soon it will mutate to a
human form"

The first part is true, although we don't have an exact count. As for
the second part, it is possible but not guaranteed. Keep in mind that
nearly all human flu viruses begin as bird viruses which then transfer
to us. But the flip side is that not all forms of bird flu become human
flus. It is also possible that the virus may become less lethal if it
mutates to a human form.

5) "drugs and vaccines will save us". A vaccine, if it could be
prepared in time, could save a lot of lives. Likewise, anti-influenza
drugs have been highly effective in treating existing H5N1 infections.
Unfortunately, some countries (Japan) prescribe anti-influenza drugs
like they were candy, so resistant strains are a real possibility. And
for the record, tamiflu is only one of 4 or 5 anti-influenza drugs. You
page acts as if it were the only one.

6) "the threat is imminent - no time to lose"

Maybe yes, maybe no. But the money spent on prevention programs will
not be money wasted. By stockpiling drugs we will be prepared for any
serious flu pandemic; be it the current form of bird flu or something
else. Likewise, the prevention programs being developed will work not
only for flu, but also for other pandemic disease (SARS, for example).

7) "Comparing avian flu projected deaths to the numbers in earlier flu
epidemics [7] again is absurd, speculative, unscientific, and
unnecessarily sensational."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Using past data on the spread of the same, or
related pathogens is accepted epidemiological methodology. This
methodology has been used successfully to predict year-to-year influenza
outbreaks, as well as the spread of other pathogens for decades with
great success. After all, the only other way to do it is to
deliberately spread the disease and then watch what happens; and that
would defeat the point. As for the sensationalism bit, that's the media.

8) "no one knows how far any current version of the flu will spread"
Actually, we have a pretty good idea. Flu viruses spread in a well
described and understood manner; predominantly along migratory bird
routs, and once it enters the human population, between major
transportation hubs. The only thing which really changes is the % of
exposed people who get disease. Other then that, you can pretty much
guarantee that any human-transmissible flu will reach every major urban
center on the earth within 1 year of its entry into human hosts. This
is why the annual influenza vaccine work world-wide; the whole world
gets exposed to the same form of the influenza virus.

9) "the current version of the avian flu has only been verified in a
very few cases"
218 confirmed cases to date. A little more then "very few".
http://www.eurosurveillance.org/em/v11n05/1105-221.asp

10) "in most cases that are now being counted as avian flu, the
causative agent has not been identified because no cultures were done"
A blatant falsification. Testing methods and reporting criteria are
discussed in the paper I linked to above, and a positive test for H5N1
is required for a case to be considered confirmed.

Much of the rest is the usual tinfoil hat conspiracy stuff you usually
post.

Bryan
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ziggittes@yahoo.com
medicine forum addict


Joined: 17 Oct 2005
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Avian Flu: The Pandemic That Will Never Be Reply with quote

Bryan Heit wrote:
Quote:
There are some fundamental flaws in the information your page has:

1) "avian flu is caused by a distinct new virus - H5N1"

This is false. H5N1 forms of the flu virus have been around for at
least one century; probably much longer then that. The 1917/1918 (AKA
Spanish Flu) pandemic being the most notable example of this, although
nearly all flu viruses in the 1920's were also of the H5N1 variant.

You are correct that H5 and N1 have been circulating for centuries
(probably millennia); however, the Spanish influenza pandemic was
caused by an H1N1 strain of avian influenza. John-boy is still
incorrect to suggest that the current H5N1 threat is a novel virus -
it's just novel to us (since about 1997 when it first emerged in
China-Vietnam-Hong Kong area).

Quote:

2) "it's a real threat", "60 people have died worldwide from it"

This actually is true, although I would argue that the media is fear
mongering.

But what's more worrisome is that it at least one quasispecies is
capable of person-to-person transmission (i.e., communicable).

Quote:

3) "30% of the world's population is in danger of extinction"

Not exactly. Today's H5N1 virus does not appear to readily pass from
human-to-human. The 30% number is an estimate, based on the infectivity
of other influenza viruses and the mortality of the current H5N1. It's
also a worst-case scenario estimate; what we would expect if this virus
did develop the ability to transfer human-to-human, remained as lethal
as it is today, and nothing was done to prevent its spread.

30% is also unsustainable. Even the Spanish flu only had a 1-2%
fatality rate. Anything much higher than that and you run into viral
burn-out, where the virus can't get to sufficient numbers of
susceptible hosts to sustain the epidemic.

Quote:

To put this into context, it is estimated that the 1918 flu pandemic
killed 1% of people on earth. This is probably a more reasonable
estimate if the H5N1 strain becomes human-transmissible and nothing is
done to control its spread. But leave it to the media to publish the
absolute worst-case scenario data, without mentioning the more likely
events.

4) "millions of birds have died from it, and soon it will mutate to a
human form"

The first part is true, although we don't have an exact count. As for
the second part, it is possible but not guaranteed. Keep in mind that
nearly all human flu viruses begin as bird viruses

I would qualify that as to say "influenza A" viruses. But there are
also "non-human" mammalian influenza viruses that persist and
circulate in nature as well.

Quote:
which then transfer
to us. But the flip side is that not all forms of bird flu become human
flus. It is also possible that the virus may become less lethal if it
mutates to a human form.

5) "drugs and vaccines will save us". A vaccine, if it could be
prepared in time, could save a lot of lives. Likewise, anti-influenza
drugs have been highly effective in treating existing H5N1 infections.
Unfortunately, some countries (Japan) prescribe anti-influenza drugs
like they were candy, so resistant strains are a real possibility. And
for the record, tamiflu is only one of 4 or 5 anti-influenza drugs. You
page acts as if it were the only one.

More importantly, avian influenza viruses, including the current H5N1,
kill chicken embryos in a few days, which decreases viral titers
necessary for large-scale vaccine production. At best, the global
vaccine capacity is about 300 million doses annually - not enough to
stop a pandemic. As far as antivirals, they must be taken within a few
days of symptoms, otherwise they are useless. Considering the mutation
rate of influenza viruses (and RNA viruses in general), misuse of
antivirals will probably result in resistant strains.

Quote:

6) "the threat is imminent - no time to lose"

Maybe yes, maybe no. But the money spent on prevention programs will
not be money wasted. By stockpiling drugs we will be prepared for any
serious flu pandemic; be it the current form of bird flu or something
else. Likewise, the prevention programs being developed will work not
only for flu, but also for other pandemic disease (SARS, for example).

SARS CoV is not likely to become a pandemic virus. An infected person
shows symptoms of disease before they shed virus (unlike influenza),
thus they would be readily identifiable and quarantined.

<snip rest of post, with which I agree>
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Rich
medicine forum Guru


Joined: 03 May 2005
Posts: 585

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Avian Flu: The Pandemic That Will Never Be Reply with quote

<ziggittes@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1150326774.497366.238770@r2g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
Quote:
Bryan Heit wrote:
There are some fundamental flaws in the information your page has:

1) "avian flu is caused by a distinct new virus - H5N1"

This is false. H5N1 forms of the flu virus have been around for at
least one century; probably much longer then that. The 1917/1918 (AKA
Spanish Flu) pandemic being the most notable example of this, although
nearly all flu viruses in the 1920's were also of the H5N1 variant.

You are correct that H5 and N1 have been circulating for centuries
(probably millennia); however, the Spanish influenza pandemic was
caused by an H1N1 strain of avian influenza. John-boy is still
incorrect to suggest that the current H5N1 threat is a novel virus -
it's just novel to us (since about 1997 when it first emerged in
China-Vietnam-Hong Kong area).

Correct. I was about to point out that "Spanish Flu" was H1N1. Of course,
H1N1 still circulates among us; it's just no longer as virulent because of
genetic drift, and the world's population has developed considerable
immunity to it.


Quote:


2) "it's a real threat", "60 people have died worldwide from it"

This actually is true, although I would argue that the media is fear
mongering.

Actually the death toll from avian flu is up to 125 now. I knew one of the
victims.


Quote:

But what's more worrisome is that it at least one quasispecies is
capable of person-to-person transmission (i.e., communicable).

Yes, it appears that several members of the same family in Indonesia have
died of the disease without contact with birds.


Quote:


3) "30% of the world's population is in danger of extinction"

Not exactly. Today's H5N1 virus does not appear to readily pass from
human-to-human. The 30% number is an estimate, based on the infectivity
of other influenza viruses and the mortality of the current H5N1. It's
also a worst-case scenario estimate; what we would expect if this virus
did develop the ability to transfer human-to-human, remained as lethal
as it is today, and nothing was done to prevent its spread.

30% is also unsustainable. Even the Spanish flu only had a 1-2%
fatality rate. Anything much higher than that and you run into viral
burn-out, where the virus can't get to sufficient numbers of
susceptible hosts to sustain the epidemic.

I suspect the 30% is a media error, a misinterpretation of the much more
reasonable estimate that 30% of the world's population will be infected with
the disease in the event of a pandemic. Still, if 30% of the people in the
world get the disease, and it kills "only" 2% of those infected, that's
still about 40 million deaths, something to cause genuine concern. It could
be many more than that. The pandemic of 1918 killed at least 50 million, and
probably many more. The people in densely populated regions of the world,
like India, were too busy burying to do much counting.



Quote:


To put this into context, it is estimated that the 1918 flu pandemic
killed 1% of people on earth. This is probably a more reasonable
estimate if the H5N1 strain becomes human-transmissible and nothing is
done to control its spread. But leave it to the media to publish the
absolute worst-case scenario data, without mentioning the more likely
events.

4) "millions of birds have died from it, and soon it will mutate to a
human form"

The first part is true, although we don't have an exact count. As for
the second part, it is possible but not guaranteed. Keep in mind that
nearly all human flu viruses begin as bird viruses

Or swine viruses, or recombinants of swine, human, or avian viruses. What's
unique about the H5N1 and H1N1 viruses is that they are pure avian viruses
and humans have no library of immune defenses against novel bird flues.


Quote:

I would qualify that as to say "influenza A" viruses. But there are
also "non-human" mammalian influenza viruses that persist and
circulate in nature as well.

which then transfer
to us. But the flip side is that not all forms of bird flu become human
flus. It is also possible that the virus may become less lethal if it
mutates to a human form.

Not only possible, but probable. In the 1918 pandemic, the death rate was
very high initially, but in a matter of months, many more victims were
surviving.


Quote:

5) "drugs and vaccines will save us". A vaccine, if it could be
prepared in time, could save a lot of lives. Likewise, anti-influenza
drugs have been highly effective in treating existing H5N1 infections.
Unfortunately, some countries (Japan) prescribe anti-influenza drugs
like they were candy, so resistant strains are a real possibility. And
for the record, tamiflu is only one of 4 or 5 anti-influenza drugs. You
page acts as if it were the only one.

More importantly, avian influenza viruses, including the current H5N1,
kill chicken embryos in a few days, which decreases viral titers
necessary for large-scale vaccine production. At best, the global
vaccine capacity is about 300 million doses annually - not enough to
stop a pandemic. As far as antivirals, they must be taken within a few
days of symptoms, otherwise they are useless. Considering the mutation
rate of influenza viruses (and RNA viruses in general), misuse of
antivirals will probably result in resistant strains.


6) "the threat is imminent - no time to lose"

Maybe yes, maybe no. But the money spent on prevention programs will
not be money wasted. By stockpiling drugs we will be prepared for any
serious flu pandemic; be it the current form of bird flu or something
else. Likewise, the prevention programs being developed will work not
only for flu, but also for other pandemic disease (SARS, for example).

Probably the most important and urgent use of our resources is to put in
place a worldwide surveilance system. That's being done, but the more
supported those efforts are by the governments of the world, the better our
chances of limiting the spread of the disease until it can mutate into a
less virulent form.


--


--Rich

Recommended websites:

http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles
http://www.acahf.org.au
http://www.quackwatch.org/
http://www.skeptic.com/
http://www.csicop.org/
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mas
medicine forum beginner


Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:21 am    Post subject: What's the actual situation? Reply with quote

I'm doing a research on avian flu. So I would like to know more what
is the current situation of the flu.


Posted via medical forums at http://medical.gr77.com
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Kurt Ullman
medicine forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 175

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the actual situation? Reply with quote

In article <e831gn$743$1@inews.gazeta.pl>,
mas_201a@hotmail-dot-com.no-spam.invalid (mas) wrote:

Quote:
I'm doing a research on avian flu. So I would like to know more what
is the current situation of the flu.


Posted via medical forums at http://medical.gr77.com

Probably the best places to look would the US Centers for Disease
Control (www.cdc.gov) and the UN's World Health Organization.
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mas
medicine forum beginner


Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:28 am    Post subject: Re: What's the current situation? Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. Found out the website is useful to my question.
But do you have any view on bird flu itself??

:)


Posted via medical forums at http://medical.gr77.com
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