03_15_07: Special Avian Flu Issue w/ Dr. Greger Interview
- "No act of modern warfare, with the possible exception of a nuclear exchange between major world powers, has the potential to threaten as many lives and cause as much disruption to the global economy as the H5N1 avian influenza would if it makes the evolutionary leap that allows it to spread among humans as quickly and as lethally as it has among birds."
--- Stephen Flynn, Homeland Security Expert
Welcome to this very special 58th Edition of the Mad Cowboy Newsletter. The only two topics for this issue are Mad Cow Disease and the potential Avian Flu Pandemic. We have a special interview with Dr. Michael Greger (author, "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching), a new "Flu News" section with article excerpts/references grouped in broad categories, quotes & statistics from the book, and also a list of "online resources" related to this very serious potential threat to all of us.
You are urged to read the interview, or at least visit Dr. Greger's website:
...where the entire book is available online, with hypertexted topics/references, and resource links.
For this edition, we've temporarily removed our "Quick Bytes" section to accomodate the extra information, quotes/statistics from the book, and links provided.
... and, as always, a tip of the hat to our new subscribers. Y'all can read past issues of the newsletter at:
There's much we can do to prepare for a possible pandemic (or any natural disaster in general). There is hope, and being armed with knowledge about the subject is the first step to being prepared.
Best wishes to all for a Great Spring, Mark
[personal vegan blog: http://www.soulveggie.com]
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
00: Quote(s) from Howard
01: A Mad Cowboy Interview with Dr. Michael Greger
02: The Vegan Mind-Bender Contest Winner/Challenge!
03: Some Recipes from "No More Bull!" by Dr. Greger
04: Mad Cow Info Round-up
05: Quotes/Stats from "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching"
06: Flu News
07: Howard's Schedule
08: Closing Thoughts
*00: Quote(s) from Howard
"You will reassured to know that, in order to protect your health, individual chicken inspectors examine about twelve thousand chickens a day, each for about two seconds. In spite of those two-second inspections, contaminated chicken still manages to kill at least one thousand Americans a year, and estimates of how many they sicken range as high as 80 million."
--- Howard Lyman (in "Mad Cowboy," p. 38)
*01: A Mad Cowboy Interview with Dr. Michael Greger
[some snippets from the Mad Cowboy Interview with Dr. Michael Greger, author of: "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching"]
G: "Over the past 30 years more than 30 new diseases have emerged at a rate really unprecedented in the history of medicine. Emerging infectious diseases have gone from a mere curiosity in the field of medicine to a whole discipline that's moved to center stage. Medical historians have called this time in which we live in the age of "the emerging plagues," some of which come from animals."
G: "We know another pandemic is inevitable.... there's now a consensus among the medical and public health community around the world that this is perhaps the greatest health threat facing humanity currently... not some kind of "conspiracy theory" by some kind of marginalized opinion. This is the mainstream public health and medical opinion: the global populace should prepare for another pandemic."
G: "It's important to recognize that 76 million Americans every year come down with food poisoning. That's 1 in 4. We may remember a co-worker having 24/48 hour flu, but there's no such thing as a 24 hour flu, a 48 hour flu... that was food poisoning. There's no such thing as the stomach flu, that's a colloquial term that is essentially food poisoning. And that just speaks to how really contaminated our food supply is... "
G: "During a pandemic there's nothing magical about this virus. You stay away from people, you'll stay away from an infection. With a virus this deadly, the primary strategy is not to get infected in the first place... you don't want to get infected in the first place, and the way one does that is that during a pandemic you self-isolate, you quarantine yourself. It's called "sheltering in place" within one's home until the pandemic wave passes..."
G: "I encourage people to go to my website. The entire text of the book is online for free, so there's no excuse for not having this information to protect themselves and my contact information is on the website as well, so feel free to contact me anytime for anything."
[You can read the full interview (with embedded links) at:
*02: The Vegan Mind-Bender Contest Winner/Challenge!
LAST WEEK'S MAD COWBOY VEGAN MIND-BENDER:
"How many vending machines are in high, middle, and elementary schools in the United States?"
(a) 15,000 (b) 20,000 (c) 25,000 (d) 30,000
The correct answer is "(b) 20,000"
Congratulations to Brenda K. Durbin from Jamestown, KY, for being one of the correct answerers, and winning the "luck of the draw."
"There are an estimated 20,000 vending machines in schools nationwide, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association."
[Above statistic from: "The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup:"
THIS WEEK'S VEGAN MIND-BENDER:
"How many influenza pandemics are recognized as having occurred in the 20th century?"
(a) 1 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 4
Please e-mail guesses to: webmaster@... with the word "contest" in your subject line by NLT April 7th, 2007.
[Many thanks to Joe Connelly, Editor, VegNews, who has offered a FREE one-year subscription to a winner chosen at random those submitting the correct answer to each MC Newsletter's Contest. Our thanks to Joe, and you can learn more about VegNews at:
http://www.vegnews.com or e-mail: editor@... or call 1.415.665.6397]
*03: Some Recipes from "No More Bull!" (and Dr. Greger)
FLAXILICOUS BLUE SMOOTHIE
1 cup organic motherless milk (soy, rice, or almond milk)
1/2 cup frozen overripe organic banana
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
2 TBL ground organic flaxseeds
1/8 t ground cinnamon
Put in a blender and blend!
[from Dr. Michael Greger, in "No More Bull!" by Howard Lyman
1 bunch fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1 (12-ounce) package silken tofu
2 handfuls freshly toasted walnuts
1 TBL nutritional yeast
1 TBL ground flax seeds
1 t miso
Zest of 1 lemon
1 bunch arugula (chopped)
1 yam (chopped cooked)
Food process all but the yam.
Serve on whole grain pasta with chopped cooked yam. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese and salt to taste."
[from Dr. Michael Greger, in "No More Bull!" by Howard Lyman
*04: Mad Cow Info Round-up
TYSON MISTAKENLY VIOLATES JAPANESE MAD COW CODES: (02/17/07): "A costly mistake at the Lexington Tyson plant has placed a dark cloud over the beef exports to Japan once again. Japanese officials found meat in a shipment from Lexington's Tyson that may violate a regulation imposed over mad cow concerns; also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). According to Gary Mickelson, Tyson media contact, two boxes containing a total of 95 pounds of boneless short ribs were included in a shipment destined for export. The shipment's importer could not confirm that the meat met a government requirement that all beef destined for Japan be from animals age 20 months or younger."
CANADA MAD COW CASE DELAYS MEXICO IMPORT PLANS: (02/17/07): "Mexico has postponed plans to reopen its borders to dairy cattle imports from Canada after a case of mad cow disease was found in an Alberta bull last week. Enrique Sanchez, Mexico's head of animal health, told Reuters on Friday that Mexico would carry out new tests before considering allowing Canadian dairy cow imports. "This means we have to go back and revise everything again," Sanchez said."
MEAT COMPANY PRES. GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING GOV'T'S MAD COW DISEASE PROGRAM: (02/18/07): "Farm Fresh Meats, Inc. and Roland Emerson Farabee, 55, of Maricopa, Arizona, pleaded guilty to stealing $390,000 in government funds, mail fraud and wire fraud, in federal district court in Phoenix. Evidence uncovered during the government's investigation established that Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee submitted samples from cattle outside the Targeted Cattle Population. Specifically, Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee submitted, or caused to be submitted, obex samples from healthy, USDA inspected cattle, in order to steal government moneys.... Farm Fresh Meats and Farabee failed to maintain cattle carcasses and heads pending test results and falsified corporate books and records to conceal their malfeasance. Such actions, to the extent an obex sample tested positive (fortunately, none did), could have jeopardized the USDA's ability to identify the diseased animal and pinpoint its place of origin."
[Very edited from:
PORTUGAL REPORTS PROBABLE 2ND CASE OF HUMAN MAD COW DISEASE: (02/22/07): "Portugal has probably detected the second case of the human form of mad cow disease in the country, health authorities said on Wednesday. There is laboratory evidence of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), also known as the human form of mad cow disease, in a young Portuguese woman's brain, said the Portugal's General Health Directorate in a statement."
MAD-COW SCRUTINY IS SCALED WAY BACK: (02/22/07):"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently scaled back mad-cow testing by more than 90 percent, leading to closure of the WSU lab and several others around the country. The agency has backed off plans for a mandatory animal-tracking system, which can help identify the source of an infection and other animals at risk, and now says the program will be voluntary. Several of the unappetizing - and risky - practices that came to light in the wake of the initial mad-cow case are still allowed, including the use of cow blood as a food supplement for calves. And even the prohibition on slaughtering sickly cows, called downers, for human consumption has not been made permanent, though it is being enforced... The USDA says mad-cow is very rare in the United States, and costly testing and tracking programs aren't necessary."
[Very edited from the long, with chronology of events, detailed article at:
GERMAN FIRMS CHARGED WITH EXPORTING MAD-COW-DISEASE FOOD: (02/23/07): "A German consumer group has accused several German firms of exporting over 50,000 tons of feed which may cause mad cow disease in cattle to countries including Vietnam. But they have denied any wrongdoing. Berlin-based Foodwatch said Wednesday the meat and bone meal (MBM) from German slaughterhouses should not have been sold to those countries - Russia and Bangladesh being the others - because Germany had no food-safety agreements with them. As a result, those countries could use the MBM to feed cattle, unlike the EU and other countries where it was banned. MBM, a power-like brown food, is thought to be responsible for the spread of mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Foodwatch also charged that officials had "colluded" in the exports."
US GOVERNMENT PUSHES AHEAD WITH NEW MEAT INSPECTION SYSTEM: (02/23/07): "The US government is to push ahead with a new risk-based meat inspection system in April despite concerns raised by industry and consumer groups. Federal meat inspectors will be conducting "robust" risk-based inspection (RBI) in 254 processing plants in 30 locations starting in April, said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Food Safey, Dr Richard A Raymond in a news conference yesterday. Meat industry and consumer groups have expressed concern at the announcement. While they support the idea of RBI, they say that the plan is not ready for rolling out so soon... Meat inspectors already conduct inspections on a daily basis. Under the new system FSIS says it is going to make better use of the information that is already collected. FSIS will use the daily inspection data to assess the relative risk of the products made at a plant, which when taken into account with the actions the plant is taking to control the risk, will help FSIS to target inspections where they will be most needed.... The objections to the government's action boil down to two arguments. One is that by not involving all the stakeholders in the planning and design of the new system the government will not get the co-operation needed to make it work "transparently". And the second argument that is being made by the objectors is that the data going into the risk assessment will be flawed."
CONTRACT EXPIRATION CLOSES WSU MAD COW TESTING LAB: (02/26/07): "The region's only mad cow testing facility, a part of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU, will no longer test for mad cow disease as a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture comes to an end March 1... The USDA began stricter testing of cows in 2004, and 759,000 cows were tested in the U.S. since then. Two other cows tested positive: one in Alabama and one in Texas. Jim Baszler, director of laboratory operations for WADDL, said the incidence is very low. The testing and tracking programs are costly so the USDA is reducing the number of samples they test. "We should still do surveillance, but on a lesser level," he said. A peer review of the USDA's testing, found the prevalence of BSE to be about one case in every million, which has convinced the USDA to scale back the number of samples it tests. This led to the end of the contract with WSU's facility and others across the country. USDA representative Andrea McNally told The Seattle Times that the department will continue to test. She said it will target about 40,000 cows a year, which is still fewer than what the World Health Organization for Animals recommends."
NEW BSE RULES AFFECT CANADIAN WASTE FACILITIES: (02/26/07): "According to a notice sent to members of the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), beginning July 12, 2007, enhanced animal health safeguards come into effect to help eliminate bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, from Canada. Certain cattle tissues capable of transmitting BSE, known as specified risk material (SRM), are banned from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers. There are also requirements for anyone disposing of cattle remains... SRM are defined as: the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older; and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages..."
FDA POISED TO APPROVE CATTLE ANTIBIOTIC DESPITE WARNINGS: (03/03/07): "The government is on track to approve a new antibiotic to treat a pneumonia-like disease in cattle, despite warnings from health groups and a majority of the agency's own expert advisers that the decision will be dangerous - for people. The drug, called cefquinome, belongs to a class of highly potent antibiotics that are among medicine's last defense against several serious human infections. No drug from that class has ever been approved in the United States for use in animals. The American Medical Association and about a dozen other health groups warned the Food and Drug Administration that giving cefquinome to animals would probably speed the emergence of microbes resistant to that important class of antibiotic, as has happened with other drugs. Those super-microbes could then spread to people..."
JAPAN HEIGHTENS INSPECTIONS OF U.S. MEAT: (03/05/07): "Japan will check all processed meats imported from the United States after a shipment was found last week with sausages containing beef in violation of regulations aimed at containing mad cow disease, an official said Monday. Last Friday, Japan suspended imports from Jobbers Meat Packing Co. after a 1,108-box shipment was found to include two types of sausages in 188 boxes that listed beef as an ingredient. Japan bans the import of U.S. meat products such as sausage that contain processed beef under restrictions aimed at controlling the threat of mad cow disease, the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy..."
A NEW OPTION FOR DEALING WITH DEAD LIVESTOCK: (03/07/07): "To avoid paying higher rendering costs, some farmers are considering composting dead livestock on their farms. Penn State Cooperative Extension is encouraging composting even large cows over burial or illegal disposal. But a renderer warns that composting done incorrectly could spark a disease outbreak here. "If you have avian influenza or foot-and-mouth disease, composting at a low temperature will not kill the bacteria," said J.J. Smith, president of the county's largest renderer, Valley Proteins... "
CANADIAN AGENCY RELEASES MAD COW DETAILS: (03/07/07): "Alberta's latest case of mad cow disease -- the province's ninth overall -- involved a 61/2-year-old animal born and raised on the same farm where it died. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a news release on the case yesterday, explaining its investigation was nearing completion... The bull was born in 2000 and died in early February, having been detected as an "animal of interest" through a national farm surveillance program. Provincial and federal tests then confirmed it had bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE... "
SOUTH KOREA TO LOWER QUARANTINE STANDARDS FOR AMERICAN BEEF IMPORTS: (03/08/07): "South Korea said Thursday that it will lower its quarantine standards this month over banned bone fragments in American beef shipments, paving the way for the resumption of U.S. beef imports. South Korea - once America's third-largest overseas beef market - notified the United States of the plan during negotiations in Washington on Tuesday, and the U.S. did not oppose it, the South's Agriculture Ministry said in a statement... "
[Very edited from:
WASHINGTON COW DEATHS INVESTIGATED: (03/09/07): "State animal health officials are investigating reports of dead cows at a Stevens County dairy farm, a Washington state Department of Agriculture spokesman said Thursday... "We don't have any information that would lead us to identify one cause of illness or death," Kelly [State Veternairan] said. "Right now, we're just investigating these reports we've gotten about diseased animals... "
CANADA 'CONTROLLED RISK' FOR MAD COW DISEASE: WORLD BODY: (03/09/07): "Canada is earning praise from an influential international body for taking proper measures to control the risk of mad cow disease. A panel of the World Organization for Animal Health is recommending Canada be classed among a group of countries in the "controlled risk" category for the brain-wasting disease. The classification is expected to help further open world markets to Canadian beef exports. The organization decided last spring to adopt new definitions for risk categories in countries affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). he categories are negligible risk, controlled risk or undetermined risk... "
U.S. OFFICIALS GET TO WORK ON RULE RESUMING TRADE IN OLDER CANADIAN COWS: (03/09/07): "The U.S. Agriculture Department will close a public comment period Monday on resuming imports of older Canadian cattle despite pressure from some American ranchers to extend it. But it could still be several months before officials come out with a final rule after considering all the submissions. "That can take quite a bit of time," said spokeswoman Karen Eggert. Last month, protectionist group R-CALF USA asked Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns raised concerns about Canada's latest mad cow case. The Montana-based group said Johanns should wait until all the information is in on the cow before cutting off public submissions... "
OIE SAYS U.S. A MAD COW "CONTROLLED RISK": (03/09/07): "The U.S. Agriculture Department said efforts to control mad cow disease are working after the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared on Friday the United States is a "controlled risk" country for mad cow disease... "
*05: Quotes/Stats from "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Making"
"The 1918 influenza pandemic killed more people in a single year than the bubonic plague ("black death") in the Middle Ages killed in a century. The 1918 virus killed more people in 25 weeks than AIDS has killed in 25 years." - p. 6
"The domestic duck of southern China is now considered the principal host of all influenza viruses with pandemic potential. This is probably why the last two pandemics started in China. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), China is the largest producer of chicken, duck, and goose meat for human consumption. It accounts for 70% of the world's tonnage of duck meat and more than 90% of global goose meat. China has more than two dozen species of waterfowl. As Osterholm has said, "China represents the most incredible reassortment laboratory for influenza viruses that anyone could ever imagine." - p. 39
"... it is really asking the consumer to operate a kind of biohazard lab [regarding recommendations for how to handle chicken in the kitchen, from a microbiologist]." - p. 50
"... H5N1 may be more than ten times more lethal than the virus that sparked the greatest medical tragedy in human history." - p. 57
"... 11 of the last 12 emerging infectious diseases that we're aware of, that have had human consequences, have probably arisen from animal sources." - p. 87
"Eleven out of the top 12 most dangerous bioterrorism agents are [animal disease] pathogens." - p. 87
"A single corporation, Tyson, churns out more than 20 million pounds of chicken a day." - p. 109
"In the United States, farm animals produce more than one billion tons of manure each year -- the weight of 10,000 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers."- p. 111
"Spread wing to wing, the number of chickens killed every day [45 billion] would wrap more than twice around the world's equator." - p. 145
"You have to say that high intensity chicken rearing is a perfect environment for generating virulent avian flu virus. [quoting a virologist] " - p. 180
"The USDA points out that a single gram of manure (approximately the weight of a paper clip) from an infected chicken can contain "enough virus to infect 1 million birds." - p. 191
"The United States... has reported more bird flu than any other country in the world. [regarding US poultry industry's claims that they have the "best biosecurity system in the world"]" - p. 224
"The president of the Institute of Medicine and former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health describes nature as the worst terrorist one can imagine. "It's too bad that Saddam Hussein's not behind influenza," complained a member of the federal government's advisory panel on vacccination. "We'd be doing a better job." - p. 265
"If the avian flu were to hit here, it would be like having a Category 5 viral hurricane hit everysingle state simultaneously," said the director of Trust for America's Health [health advocacy organization]." - p. 266
"One of the best things modern animal agriculture has going for it is that most people... haven't a clue how animals are raised and processed. [written by the editor, Journal of Animal Science]" - p. 349
"Tragically, it may take a pandemic with a virus like H5N1 before the world realizes the true cost of cheap chicken." - p. 358
*06: Flu News
***** BIRD FLU OUTBREAKS
CHRONOLOGY-BIRD FLU DEVELOPMENT: (from 2006 up to 02/27/07): "Feb. 8, 2006 - The first African cases of the deadly H5N1 strain are detected in poultry in the northern Nigerian states of Kano, Kaduna and Plateau... "
[Very edited from the full chronology at:
KUWAIT FINDS TWO BIRD FLU CASES IN CHICKENS: (03/03/07): "Kuwait said on Saturday it had found two new cases of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in chickens, raising to 48 the total number of infected birds in the Gulf Arab country this year... 121 handlers and their families had tested negative for the disease while thousands of birds have been culled in a campaign by the government to prevent the disease's spread that had led to a ban on live bird imports... Kuwait confirmed 39 cases of bird flu last month but said 20 of them were found in falcons at the zoo and a farm in the south of the country. The rest did not belong to poultry farms but were domestic birds caged in private yards... "
BIRD FLU EXPERTS URGE HALT TO WILD BIRD TRADE: (03/03/07): "Leading virologists urged governments on Saturday to curb the trade of wild birds as they can spread the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has made a comeback in many parts of the world in recent months. The warning comes as Hong Kong confirmed a scaly-breasted munia found dead in late February in the densely-populated district of Sham Shui Po had tested positive for the H5N1. It was the 13th wild bird to have been found dead with the virus in Hong Kong since the start of this year. "The munia is not a migratory bird. Again, it points to humans and the trade in movement of birds that are responsible for spreading this virus," said virologist Robert Webster from St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis... "
[Very edited from:
TIBET REPORTS BIRD FLU OUTBREAK: (03/07/07): "Bird flu has struck a poultry market in the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa, prompting the culling of nearly 7,000 birds, the government said today. The outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus, which began March 1 in Lhasa's Chengguan village, killed 680 chickens and prompted the culling of 6,990 birds, The Associated Press said today, citing Xinhua news agency. The Beijing Youth Daily reported yesterday that the market has since been shut down and authorities were trying to determine the source of the infection. It was possible that the chicken were infected through contact with migrating wild birds, it said... "
BIRD FLU HITS TWO CHICKEN FARMS IN VIETNAM'S CAPITAL: (03/07/07): "Bird flu has struck two chicken farms in Vietnam's capital Hanoi, animal health officials said Wednesday, marking the latest outbreaks reported in recent weeks across the country. Several chicks died suddenly on two farms in the rural district of Dong Anh on Sunday and authorities have slaughtered the remaining 1,950 chicks, said Hoang Gia Tuc, director of the district animal health station. None of the chicks, aged 10 to 20 days old, were vaccinated... Tuc said local animal health workers disinfected the two farms and banned the movement of poultry to and from the area... "
EXPERTS FLY IN [to Kuwait]; MORE CASES OF 'BIRD FLU' FOUND: (03/10/07): "The number of bird flu cases continued to rise as Kuwait on Tuesday detected two new cases involving a falcon and a chicken found in Jahra and Farwaniya respectively, says Dr Ahmad Al-Shatti, spokesman for the Ministry of Health. With this, the total number of H5N1 cases discovered in the country now stands at 52. Since the outbreak of the disease, 25,000 birds have been slaughtered and fumigation campaign is being conducted in poultry farms across the country. Dr Al-Shatti observed that blood samples of 50 bird handlers on Tuesday were tested negative for H5N1 strain and that 65 teams are actively involved in containing the outbreak... Meanwhile, a team of experts from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) arrived in Kuwait... Kuwait has stocked some 10 million capsules of the Tamiflu, which are sufficient to treat about 40 percent of the population of three million... "
BURMA REPORTS BIRD FLU OUTBREAKS IN TWO TOWNS: (03/11/07): "Burma's official newspaper says experts have confirmed an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus in two Burmese towns. The New Light of Myanmar says the virus was detected late last month on farms in Mayangon and Hlinethaya Townships. It says experts from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization confirmed the outbreak last week using bacteria samples from dead chickens. The newspaper says the two poultry farms have been destroyed and sprayed with pesticide to prevent the disease from spreading... "
[Scottish] RESPONSE TO FIFE BIRD FLU ATTACKED: (03/11/07): "Shocking failings in Scotland's preparations for dealing with an outbreak of bird flu have been laid bare in a report on the handling of the crisis sparked when a swan carrying the disease washed up on the Fife coast last year. An internal 'debriefing' document obtained by Scotland on Sunday has revealed a series of shortcomings in the response to the emergency, beginning with the incorrect identification of the stricken bird and a day's delay in getting the crisis operation off the ground. It goes on to catalogue failings in areas ranging from organisation and communications to the entire health-protection operation established to guide and reassure the public. The problems encountered when dealing with the impact of a single diseased bird raise serious concerns over the nation's ability to cope with a mass outbreak similar to the one that crippled the Bernard Matthews plant in Norfolk last month... "
VILLAGE WAYS FUEL BIRD FLU SPREAD IN RURAL EGYPT: (03/13/07): "Health officials say the cultural practice of keeping birds at home, often in secret, is aiding the spread of bird flu in the most populous Arab country, where 24 people have contracted the disease since it emerged in Egyptian poultry a year ago... "
FEARING FRESH BIRD FLU OUTBREAK, INDIA BANS POULTRY IMPORTS: (03/13/07): "Fearing fresh outbreak of the deadly bird flu, India today banned import of live poultry and poultry products from the countries where Avian Influenza has been reported. The ban, notified by the Director General of Foreign Trade, would cover import of live chicks, ducks, turkey and other newly hatched Avian species apart from meat and meat products from Avian species including wild birds. It includes eggs and egg products, feathers, live pig and pig meat products, pathological material and biological products from birds and products of animal origin intended for use in animal feeding or for agricultural or industrial use... So far India has escaped the H5N1 virus.. "
***** HUMAN AVIAN FLU CASES
FIRST HUMAN AVIAN FLU CASE IN LAOS, MORE IN CHINA, EGYPT: (03/02/07): "Investigations are under way in Laos, China and Egypt into new human cases of avian influenza, and the World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to meet with representatives of developing countries to discuss equitable distribution of pandemic vaccine and the sharing of avian flu virus samples. The latest human cases of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian flu, confirmed by WHO, bring the number of cases worldwide to 277, with 167 deaths, since the current outbreak in 2003. "Something like 300 million birds have died directly from being infected or because they were exposed [to the avian virus] and were culled," WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said during a March 2 USINFO interview... "
[Very edited from:
HUMAN BIRD FLU SUSPECTED IN 2ND CASE IN LAOS: (03/04/07): "A second case of human bird flu is suspected in Laos, only a week after confirmation of the Southeast Asian country's first case, according to the World Health Organization and government authorities... "
BOY IS 24TH EGYPTIAN TO BECOME INFECTED WITH BIRD FLU VIRUS: (03/11/07): "Mohammed Mahmoud Ibrahim, aged 4, is the 24th human to become infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus strain in Egypt since the disease appeared in the country in 2006, according to the country's Ministry of Health today. On the 8th March, Mohammed, from Daqahliya, was admitted to the Manshiyat Al Bakri Children's Hospital, Cairo, with bird flu like symptoms. According to Health Ministry Officials, the boy was infected by poultry raised by his family... "
INDONESIA RECORDS IT 85TH BIRD FLU CASE: (03/14/07): "A 20-year-old woman has positively tested for the H5N1 bird flu virus bring the total number of cases in Indonesia to 85 according to the Health Ministry. The woman who was infected recieved it via a chicken according to Joko Sugiyono, an anti-bird flu official of the Health Ministry. The woman resided from East Java... "
INDONESIA WON'T SHARE BIRD FLU SAMPLES: (03/14/07): "Indonesia is worried that large drug companies will use its H5N1 strain, sent to WHO affiliated laboratories to confirm human infections, to make bird flu vaccines that ultimately will be unaffordable for developing nations. The government's decision to withhold the vaccine was a major departure from WHO's virus-sharing system. Indonesia will not share bird flu samples with the World Health Organization without a legally binding agreement promising the virus won't be used to develop an expensive commercial vaccine, the health minister said Wednesday... Indonesia is worried that large drug companies will use its H5N1 strain, sent to WHO affiliated laboratories to confirm human infections, to make vaccines that ultimately will be unaffordable for developing nations... "
***** THE SCIENCE
DEADLY FLU IS 2 MUTATIONS AWAY FROM SPREADING AMONG HUMANS: (02/19/07): "New research of the H5N1 flu virus shows it is just two mutations away from being highly contagious and deadly to humans. The research, done by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gives new insight on the threat of bird flu, which has spread among poultry in Britain and killed a woman in Africa. The flu has already rooted in Asia and spread among birds there on a seasonal basis... If the bird flu strain of H5N1 mutates to get into the nose and throat, it means that humans can spread it easily through sneezing, coughing and other methods of spreading most diseases. Since it attacks mammals, it is possible that animals like dogs and cats could also become potential carriers of bird flu... "
ARE SOME PEOPLE IMMUNE TO AVIAN FLU?: (02/28/07): "New results from Richard Webby at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and colleagues published in the international open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine suggest that the answer might be yes. The H5N1 avian flu virus is quite different from the seasonal H1N1 and H3N2 flu viruses most humans have been exposed to, which is why many scientists believe that H5N1 could start a new pandemic... the human data suggest that a proportion of people have low titer antibodies against H5N1 influenza because of prior exposure to H1N1 viruses or routine influenza vaccination... these results provide a tantalizing suggestion but fall short of demonstrating that there is actual protection in humans against avian flu... "
REVIEW OF 1918 PANDEMIC FLU STUDIES OFFERS MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS: (03/01/07): "Scientists and public health officials, wary that the H5N1 avian influenza virus could trigger an influenza pandemic, have looked to past pandemics, including the 1918 "Spanish Flu," for insight into pandemic planning. However, in a Journal of Infectious Diseases review article now posted online, David M. Morens, M.D., and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, conclude that studies of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed some 50 to 100 million people around the globe, have so far raised more questions than they answer... Drs. Morens and Fauci review several topics, including the origins of the 1918 pandemic influenza virus, the excess mortality of the pandemic, the predilection to kill the young and healthy, the lower-than-expected mortality among the elderly, and the cyclicity of influenza pandemics over the past 100 years. Such topics are relevant today as highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses have spread from Asia to the Middle East, Europe and Africa... "
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IMMUNE RESPONSES TO 1918 AND H5N1 INFLUENZA VIRUSES SHOWS SIMILARITIES: (03/02/07): "A comparison of the 1918 Spanish influenza and the H5N1 avian influenza viruses suggests that while the two viruses appear to trigger a similar abnormal immune response in animal models, there are distinct differences. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle reported their findings at the ASM Biodefense and Emerging Disease Research Meeting... They discovered that the virus caused an almost immediate and overwhelming immune system response that basically turned the immune systems of its victims against them... In studying these commonalities and differences, Kash hopes to better understand how the viruses cause disease and hopefully develop new treatments. Eventually scientists may be able to develop drugs that could turn down or even switch off the unwanted activity while still allowing the immune system to combat the infection... "
BETTING ON BIRD FLU?: (03/02/07): "In an attempt to help predict the occurrence of a potential bird flu pandemic, a bird flu futures market will be operated by the University of Iowa. Health experts will pay about $100 each to bet on the spread of the H5N1 bird flu virus. The goal of the programme is to more quickly gather expert opinion about the potential spread of an outbreak of bird flu, the Associated Press reported Thursday. "Farmers have used futures markets for decades to make decisions about what crops to plant. We're just borrowing that concept to help people in public health and health care make decisions about the future," Dr Phil Polgreen, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Iowa, told the AP. He helped create the project... "
SPANISH FLU KEY TO BIRD FLU FIGHT?: (03/06/07): "Scientists plan to exhume the body of British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes, who died in 1919 of the Spanish flu and was buried in a sealed lead coffin, in their search for clues on how to fight a future pandemic. Experts see strong parallels between the H5N1 bird flu virus of today and the H1N1 virus of 1918-1919, which killed 50 million people."
UCI SCIENTISTS RECONSTRUCT MIGRATION OF AVIAN FLU VIRUS: (03/07/07): "UC Irvine researchers have combined genetic and geographic data of the H5N1 avian flu virus to reconstruct its history over the past decade. They found that multiple strains of the virus originated in the Chinese province of Guangdong, and they identified many of the migration routes through which the strains spread regionally and internationally. By knowing where H5N1 strains develop and migrate, health officials can better limit the spread of the virus by strategically intervening. Local vaccinations can be better administered by using strains from regions that have repeatedly contributed to infections... This research offers the first statistical analysis detailing the geographic distribution of influenza A H5N1, the bird flu strain. While previous work informally identified H5N1 strains by location, the UCI analysis is the first to systematically track the migration of H5N1 through its evolutionary history, adding new details that identify the relative importance of the geographic and evolutionary advances the virus makes... "
FOOD INDUSTRY PLANS FOR BIRD FLU ATTACK: (02/20/07): "... will fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, bread, milk and other household staples still be available if the U.S. is hit with an anticipated bird flu pandemic? If state and federal officials urge people to stay away from public places, like restaurants and fast-food establishments, will they be able to get the groceries they need to prepare food in their homes? ...Unlike other critical infrastructure sectors like water, energy and health care, the food industry isn't getting much help from state and federal governments when it comes to disaster planning. That puts the burden on individual supermarket chains and wholesalers to deal ...if a pandemic emerges, the Department of Homeland Security projects worker absenteeism to reach 40 percent or more over a prolonged period. Hammonds said retail food stores would have to contend with worker shortages and disruptions in the supply chain. The food and agriculture industry is listed among 13 critical-infrastructure sectors that the Department of Homeland Security says must remain functional during a pandemic. "Having those critical facilities open - like power, water, food - becomes very important" during a national disaster such as a pandemic, said Keith Hanson, an outreach coordinator for Nebraska's Center for Biopreparedness Education... "
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PANEL RECOMMENDS H5N1 VACCINE TO FDA FOR APPROVAL: (03/01/07): "An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its support for approval of the first avian flu vaccine for humans. The expert panel said that while the drug has not been tested on a wide scale, it is safe and sufficiently effective to act as a stop gap until a better one is available. New generations of the vaccine are already at the experimental stage. The vaccine is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, and if the FDA approves it (they usually follow the advice of their expert panels), it will be the first US vaccine against the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. This measure reflects the concern of government agencies and advisors, although there have been no cases of the deadly H5N1 infections in birds and humans in the US, the virus is spreading in other parts of the world and experts think it is just a matter of time before it hits America... At the moment the only route for human infection is via close contact with contaminated poultry... "
TAMIFLU SIDE EFFECT CONCERNS GROW AFTER JAPAN DEATHS: (03/06/07): "Concerns that the influenza drug Tamiflu -- seen as effective against a possible pandemic triggered by bird flu -- may induce fatal side effects are growing in Japan after two people who took it fell to their deaths last month. The deaths, the latest cases of abnormal behavior by those who took Tamiflu, prompted the Health Ministry to issue a warning last week that influenza patients could show psychiatric problems, although it has denied the drug was responsible for them. But the move was too little too late, said a group whose members say they are victims of Tamiflu side effects, which came to light in Japan in 2005 after 12 children died and 32 experienced abnormal behavior after taking the drug... "
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UNICEF LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN ON BIRD FLU PREVENTION [in Laos]: (03/09/07): "The UNICEF and the National Avian and Human Influenza Coordination Office (NAHICO) launched a health education campaign on the prevention of bird flu for six villages, where the H5N1 virus recently broke out... The campaign aimed to train public health staff and create awareness on bird flu virus to the local people in the districts and province, the Lao news agency (KPL) reported Friday... "
TRAINING ON DETECTION AND CONTAINMENT OF BIRD FLU [India]: (03/10/07): "With bird flu affecting some Asian countries, health and veterinary practitioners from India and Southeast Asian countries were trained here at a workshop on early detection and its containment before it threatens human and poultry health. "Health and veterinary practitioners from India and Southeast Asian countries received training in preparedness and response to avian influenza viruses that threaten human and poultry health," a official statement said here on Friday. The training of the health personnel was part of a five-day Indo-US workshop on Avian Influenza Preparedness and Response, which concluded here on Friday... "
U.S. STRUGGLES WITH BIOTERROR DEFENSES: (03/11/07): "More than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the government cannot show how the $5 billion given to public health departments has better prepared the country for a bioterrorism attack or flu pandemic... The government began awarding money for bioterrorism preparedness in 1999, sending $40.7 million to the states. In 2002, the total jumped to $950 million. That is about one-quarter of what the U.S. spends each year on bioterrorism and emergency preparedness - not counting the money for preventing a pandemic... CDC officials point to two reasons for the lag in developing the measures. For one, the CDC is a scientific organization. It makes recommendations based on scientific data, but such data does not exists when it comes to showing which steps taken by health officials would bring about the best result during a particular emergency. Also, the agency had difficulty getting health departments to agree about what the government should measure... "
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***** ONLINE RESOURCES
[Dr. Michael Greger's "best of bird flu" links:
[US Gov't "One-stop shop" website for Avian Flu:
[World Health Organization (WHO) on Avian Flu:
[WHO: "10 things you need to know about pandemic influenza:"
[Wikipedia on "Avian Flu" (with a lot of useful links:"
[Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Avian Flu information:
[Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Avian Flu Information/Links:
[USINFO on Avian Flu:
[American Red Cross:
[First Gov comprehensive list of links for preparedness:
*07: Howard's Schedule
APR 01: New York City, NY > Integrative Nutrition Lincoln Center
APR 08: Baltimore, MD > EarthSave Baltimore
APR 12: Stamford, CT >
APR 15: New York City, NY > Integrative Nutrition Lincoln Center
APR 18: Akron, OH > Tangier Restaurant
APR 21: Chicago, IL > Chicago Green Festival
JUL 19 - 23: Los Angeles, CA > AR2007
JUL 25 -29: Johnstown, PA > Summerfest 2007
SEP 15: Albany, NY > NY Capital Region's Vegetarian Expo.
[More information/embedded links for contact information at:
*08: Closing Thoughts
"This goes both ways, though. Along with human culpability comes hope. If changes in human behavior can cause new diseases, then changing human behavior may prevent them in the future."
--- Dr. Greger in the "Mad Cowboy Interview"
"The fork is indeed the most dangerous weapon in the arsenal of Homo sapiens."
--- Howard Lyman
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