Avian flu


If you’ve been following the stories about avian flu in Vietnam (and now Thailand), a story from last Wednesday sets an even more potentially disastrous scenario than most people initially thought:

There’ve been nearly 900,0000 chickens that farmers have sold to the market from the beginning of January, mostly from Long An and Tine Giang,” said Nguyen Van Thong, deputy director of the veterinary department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, referring to the two hardest-hit provinces. The chickens were still alive when sold.

900,000. There’s a lot of potential there for a major health disaster, even moreso if the virus mutates, as Erik over at Vegan.com has mentioned.

This is also interesting because I’ve been to Long An. My mother-in-law’s boyfriend’s family lives there, and when I traveled to Vietnam with my wife and her mother back in 1998, we stopped in Long An a number of times. Coincidentally, Long An is where I had water with ice—the only time during my entire trip since the ice is usually chopped on the sidewalk—and I got extremely sick for three days because of it.

My mother-in-law is currently in Vietnam visiting family. I’m curious what the mood is like in Vietnam right now, but we haven’t gotten any e-mail from her since the avian flu was first discovered. We wrote to her to tell her, “Don’t eat the chicken.”

A new development today: KFC in Vietnam has switched to serving fish.

Six people have died thusfar from the flu.

6 Responses to “Avian flu”

  1. ozz starr

    this had been written before but
    i just wanted to say “sorry” to all people here…
    i used to be vegetarian since 7 years but it’s over now. i can see how people getting unhealthy because of being vegetarian around me and of course myself too. we’re gettin’ outta food chain and our bodies need lot’s of things that vegetables doesn’t contain and it’s harmful to take them from pills and medicines…
    sorry but i started to eat meat a few weeks ago as it used to be before.
    PS: Being “average American” is better than being “unhealty”

  2. Ryan

    Hate to tell you this, but if you were an unhealthy vegetarian, chances are you’ll be an unhealthy meat-eater, too.

    our bodies need lot’s of things that vegetables doesn’t contain

    I’d like to hear exactly what nutrients meat can give you that plants cannot. I’ll happily take your response point-by-point and tell you how you can get those nutrients from a vegetarian diet.

    And then I’ll point you towards the mounds of evidence of how a vegetarian diet is much healthier than the standard American diet.

  3. Kathie Johnson

    A few days ago, WNED in New York (a PBS member-supported TV station) broadcast a gripping documentary: “Secrets Of The Dead: The Killer Flu”.

    A number of experts working in the field said clearly that they expected the return of the horrific 1918 Spanish Influeza vrus, or a variant of it – one British expert predicted that event as occurring within the next 5 or 10 years.

    When you reflect on the fact that the 1918 flu pandemic swept away 40-60 million people arounf the globe in three separate waves over just six months and THAT before the dawning of mass air travel!), you can envisage both the scale of the potential calamity and how utterly unprepared we are to deal with it. Every continent would be visited with the same deadly scythe – Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

    The anguish would probably also be accentuated by the resulting collapse of the world economy (a very real possibility: the 1918 Flu almost had that effect in England and Germany, but disappeared just before their economies and production went over the brink because of deaths, disruption and sickness absenteeism).

    One intriguing note, though: the documentary appeared to state clearly that NO samples of the 1918 flu had been recovered from the bodies of victims buried in the permafrost. But if you go to the news reports on the excellent ‘1918 Flu’ page at http://www.survivalistskills.com/1918FLU.HTM, they appear to state exactly the opposite – and that, furthermore, the samples thus obtained were sent to the US Army’s Biological Warfare section (now re-named) at Fort Detrick and to the equivalent British biological warfare centre! That appears to be a puzzling and potentially disturbing discrepancy, since the expedition which apparently recovered the tissue samples from Svarlbard Island, in Arctic Norway, was mounted thre or four years ago at least.

    A synopsis of the program, and information on ordering the DVD of it, can be found at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/case_killerflu/index.html. For balance, though, be sure to read through the varied reports on the 1918 Flu and on SARS (which, interestingly enough, two Russian experts are quoted as asserting to be a ‘biological warfare’ weapon!) on the http://www.survivalistskills.com page cited above

  4. mrcool

    The worst ever epidemic was in 1918-19 when world war one, by its stresses and strains helped spread teh last epidemic, most wars see lareg epidemics during them, even teh smaller wars of the 1990s

  5. Tami

    The latest on Avian Flu from the WHO 9/29/05

    The Ministry of Health in Indonesia has today confirmed another fatal human case of H5N1 avian influenza. The patient, a 27-year-old woman from Jakarta, developed symptoms on 17 September, was hospitalized on 19 September, and died on 26 September.

    Confirmatory testing was conducted at a WHO reference laboratory in Hong Kong.

    Initial investigation has revealed that the woman had direct contact with diseased and dying chickens in her household shortly before the onset of illness.

    The woman is the fourth laboratory-confirmed case of H5N1 infection in Indonesia. Three of these cases were fatal.

    As a result of intensified surveillance and heightened public concern, growing numbers of people with respiratory symptoms or possible exposure to the virus are being admitted to hospital for observation and, when appropriate, treatment. Until a conclusive diagnosis is made, these patients are classified by the Ministry of Health as suspect cases. While many do not have symptoms compatible with a diagnosis of H5N1 infection, screening of patient samples is being undertaken in national laboratories as part of efforts to ensure that no new cases are missed.

    Laboratory testing to confirm human infection with H5N1 avian influenza is technically difficult; some tests produce inconclusive or unreliable results. To ensure a reliable assessment of the situation in Indonesia, authorities are, after initial screening, continuing to send samples from people considered likely to have H5N1 infection to WHO reference laboratories for diagnostic confirmation.

    According to FAO, highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza is now endemic in poultry in many parts of Indonesia. As influenza virus activity in Indonesia may increase during the wet season, from November to April, human exposure to animal virus could be greater during the coming months. Further sporadic human cases can be anticipated.

  6. John

    Need to protect your children from the spread of Avian Flu? Check out the hilarious video you MUST show the kids!


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