there will be plagues in various places." (Y'shua the Messiah - Luke
THE AVIAN FLU VIRUS
BY DON STANTON
A GLOBAL PANDEMIC INEVITABLE ?
THE WORLD is
in the grip of panic over a potential flu pandemic - not the usual type
of human flu, but a more powerful strain - one that may develop from a
bird flu virus named H5N1.
flu strain, which I will call the human-avian flu, may
not yet be in existence.
'to do with birds'; and we're talking about a bird flu virus that teams
up with a human flu virus to produce a hybrid - a mixed virus that is
able to attack human cells, and at the same time, pose as a brand new
virus. Its "human genes" would enable it to spread quickly from
person to person, but its "bird genes" would trick the human
immune system so that it does not know how to respond to it.
person gets over a flu attack after a few stressful days because his immune
system knows how to tackle a virus that it has already had some contact
with. The new human-avian virus though, will appear to be entirely new
to the human system, and it will be able to go straight to work, destroying
the victim's lungs and respiratory system.
to the human-avian virus is already at work. It's the H5N1 - a bird flu
virus that first transferred from sick poultry to humans in Hong Kong,
attack, no-one thought that bird viruses would threaten people directly.
But in Hong Kong H5N1 infected 18 people and killed 6. The attack was
halted only after the territory destroyed all of its 1.5 million chickens.
The H5N1 virus
is believed to have originated in Guangdong, south China, a province adjacent
to HK that teems with hundreds of millions of chickens, ducks, and geese.
Researchers believe wild-bird droppings carrying flu viruses must have
fallen into this massive "poultry farm," and after exchanging
their genes, the virulent H5N1 strain gradually evolved. As HK imports
a lot of poultry from Guangdong, it wasn't long before the territory suffered
a bird flu outbreak.
have been the most vulnerable to bird flu because of their large domestic
poultry populations. And it's not only chickens. Ducks are a very real
problem! Unlike chickens which keel over very soon, infected ducks often
seem healthy and are able to waddle around, swim, and spread the virus
in their droppings.
human flu is mostly spread through sneezing, the bird virus is excreted
in the faeces of chickens, ducks and birds.
In 2003 Hong Kong had another outbreak in which 2 people were infected.
But by the end of the year, H5N1 was infecting and killing birds across
Asia. S Korea and Japan had minor outbreaks, but Thailand and Vietnam
bore the brunt of the disease.
winter of 2003-4, the virus broke out in most of Vietnam's 64 provinces.
To fight it, the country slaughtered tens of millions of chickens. The
plague declined for some time, but broke out again with a vengeance in
late 2004. Vietnam partly compensated farmers for their chicken disaster.
farmers for the flocks culled there, and since then, it has enlisted about
a million village volunteers to watch for any unusual number of chickens
In 2005 the
bird flu spread to Cambodia, Mongolia and Siberia. China also; it had
more than 55 outbreaks - in Xinjiang, Qinghai, Tibet, Inner Mongolia,
Liaoning and Hunan. Indonesia had some outbreaks in 2004, but in 2005
at least seven people have died.
With an increasse
of the virus expected during the northern hemisphere winter, governments
in Asia are struggling to contain the bird flu epidemic, and to prevent
it becoming a human pandemic.
European officials were compelled to deal with outbreaks in Romania and
Turkey; and the UN's Food and Agriculture Agency warned that as a result
of the European outbreaks, the disease could now be expected to reach
the Middle East and Africa.
- A SHOCKING DISCOVERY
Nature Reserve Bird Island in west China is the spring-summer habitat
and breeding grounds of about 200 species of migratory birds. Last May,
a ranger on the Reserve found a bar- headed geese shivering from avian
flu. It died very quickly. Then over the next six weeks, thousands of
birds, particularly geese perished in the same way.
This was alarming
to researchers because wild birds were thought to be immune to H5N1. Migratory
birds have now created a dangerous equation; while sick birds are not
able to fly far, they can carry the infection to other countries before
On Nov 11 a
report revealed that the Middle East had seen its first definite case
of H5N1. Authorities in Kuwait confirmed that a migratory flamingo
found on a beach died of the lethal strain. And, they say, another bird,
suspected of having the virus, had the milder H5N2 strain.
are now suspected of being the carriers of the H5N1 virus to Mongolia,
Tibet and Siberia; so this means wild birds may spread the virus to Europe,
Canada, and even to the US via Alaska.
By the time
we go to press (25.11.05), there have been at least 130 reported human
infections and 69 deaths from H5N1. Almost all cases have been through
contact with infected birds. So far the mortality rate is running at about
50% of the people infected. (In the SARS epidemic it was 10%.)
number of cases so far is small, avian flu is already endemic in most
of the poultry flocks in the affected regions. Many thousands of birds
and other poultry have died due to the virus, and already 150 million
birds have been wiped out. And clearly, the H5N1 and other bird flu strains
are still very active.
It is not unusual
for chickens to get flu. Avian flu viruses, in fact, are more numerous
than human strains. And bird viruses are usually not very good at transmitting
from animal to man, but H5N1 is passing to humans! So far, though, it
seems that it has not passed from person to person.
been a few suspected person-to-person cases in Hong Kong and Vietnam;
so far none have been confirmed. But the whole world is on alert for the
first verified case of human-to-human transmission.
LEAST 50 COUNTRIES HAVE HAD OUTBREAKS OF BIRD FLU
12, 07. Two deaths from bird flu
have been recorded in Indonesia in the last few days - a 37-year-old woman
and a 14-year-old boy. These bring confirmed deaths from bird flu in
Indonesia to 59 - the highest number of any country in the world.
virus re-emerged in Asia in
2003, according to data from the WHO, outbreaks have been confirmed in
around 50 countries and territories. The virus is known to have infected at
least 264 people
158 people have
The confirmed deaths have occurred in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand,
Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey. Almost all human deaths
from bird flu have been linked to contact with infected birds.
2006, more than 30 countries reported outbreaks, in most cases involving
wild birds such as swans.
incomplete list of the countries that have suffered bid flu outbreaks …
Afghanistan, Cambodia, China , Hong Kong, Mongolia, India,
Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Gaza, Turkey
Cameroon, Egypt, Niger, Nigeria
Austria , Britain, Bulgaria, Chech Rep, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy,
Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.
scientists and health experts are convinced that a pandemic is coming.
But when, no-one can predict. It may be 2006, or it may be 5 years away.
The World Health Organisation general director, Dr Lee Jongwook, said
earlier this year; "The most serious known health threat the world
is facing is avian flu."
A senior research
fellow of the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies in Singapore said bird
flu was a major threat to mankind. "A pandemic triggered by H5N1
could become a fearsome insurgency against human health, with the potential
to be far more lethal than terrorism."
Michael T Osterholm,
the head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at the Minnesota
University says pessimistically, "We have as much chance of stopping
a pandemic as we would of putting a curtain around Minnesota and keeping
at Hong Kong University, Guan Yi says, "If a pandemic occurs, no
matter how developed the world is, it would suddenly shut down. And I
know it is coming."
HAS SLIM CHANCE OF STOPPING FLU PANDEMIC
SEPT 20. "The
initial outbreak of a potential bird flu pandemic may affect only a few
people, but the world will have just weeks to contain the deadly virus
before it spreads and kills millions.
of containment are limited because the potentially catastrophic infection
may not be detected until it has already spread to several countries,
like the SARS virus in 2003.
flu vaccines developed in advance will have little impact on the pandemic
virus. It will take scientists four to six months to develop a vaccine
that protects against the pandemic virus, by which time thousands could
have died. There is little likelihood a vaccine will even reach the country
where the pandemic starts."
That is the scenario outlined by Dr Hitoshi Oshitani, the man who was
on the frontline in the battle against SARS and now leads the fight against
avian flu in Asia. "SARS in retrospect was an easy virus to contain,"
(flu) virus is much more difficult, maybe impossible, to contain once
it starts," he said at a WHO conference in Noumea, capital of the
French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, in Sept. "The geographic
spread is historically unprecedented."
nobody knew when a pandemic would occur; it could be within weeks or years,
but all the conditions are in place, save one - a human-avian virus that
transmits from human to human.
H5N1 virus which has killed 69 people in five Asian countries since it
was first detected in 2003, he said, might not be the one to trigger the
pandemic. Instead a genetically different strain could develop that passes
said the winter months of December to February will see an acceleration
in cases, and the more the human cases, the greater the risk that the
virus will mutate (into the human-avian strain).
at the first major international co-ordination meeting on bird flu and
human flu, in Geneva in Nov, agreed that a global flu outbreak capable
of killing millions of people is a certainty.
What is also
certain, say scientists, is that the virus will come from bird flu.
But what is unknown is whether the H5N1 strain that has ravaged poultry
stocks in parts of Asia and spread through Eastern Europe will be the
It is the
leading candidate, however, and authorities are trying to stamp out
poultry outbreaks as rapidly as possible to reduce opportunities for
the virus to mutate into a form that can pass easily between people
and spread worldwide. Currently, the virus is hard for people to catch,
but most deaths have been linked to human handling of infected poultry.
MAY KILL UP TO 150 MILLION
Asian leaders met with Secretary-General Kofi Annan during the Sept
UN Summit and asked for UN assistance in co-ordinating the response
to the bird flu epidemic.
Dr David Nabarro to take leave from his post as WHO's executive director
for sustainable development and health environments, to lead a global
drive to counter a human flu pandemic.
As the UN
system's co-ordinator for avian and human influenza, Dr. Nabarro has
called on governments to take immediate steps to address the influenza
threat, which, he warned, could come at anytime and could claim millions
almost certainty of another influenza pandemic soon, and with experts
saying there is a high likelihood of the H5N1 virus mutating, Dr Nabarro
said it would be "extremely wrong" to ignore the serious possibility
of a global outbreak. "The avian flu epidemic has to be controlled
if we are to prevent a human influenza pandemic."
influenza pandemic killed between 40 million and 100 million people.
There were subsequent pandemics in 1957 and 1968 which had much lower
death rates, but nevertheless caused great disruption.
a new pandemic," Dr Nabarro said, "the range of deaths could
be anything between 5 and 150 million. The work we're doing over the
next few months on prevention and preparedness will make the difference
between, for example, whether the next pandemic leads us in the direction
of 150 million or in the direction of 5 million,'' he said.
Source: AP / Yahoo News
EVEN if H5N1
does not trigger a human flu pandemic, a bird flu pandemic could wreck
havoc on the world. Even a weak pandemic could trigger the kind of quarantines
and travel restrictions that could bring the global economy to a standstill.
Many airlines and insurance companies could collapse.
due to bird flu cost an estimated $10 billion in 2004 alone.
The Geneva meeting on bird flu and human flu in Nov, urged countries around
the world to draw up plans for handling an inevitable new pandemic,
which the World Bank estimated could result in more than $800 billion
in lost gross domestic product over a single year.
agree there will certainly be another flu epidemic, it is unknown when
or how bad that global epidemic will be - or whether the H5N1 bird flu
strain will be its origin.
COST OF FIGHTING THE BIRD FLU
THE COST of
containing the disease is enormous! After the meeting in Geneva in Nov,
health experts unveiled a $1 billion plan to fight bird flu, with assist-ance
from the World Bank. Chicken feed!!
Nov 17. US
efforts stalled when Republicans in the US House of Representatives refused
to approve fund-ing for President Bush's $7.1 billion plan. After days
of intensive talks between the House and Senate, negotiators dropped a
plan for $8 billion in funds that Democrats pushed through the Senate
Republicans in the House insisted that an emergency US effort to stockpile
vaccines and anti-viral drugs that could be effective against the deadly
flu, would have to be paid for by cutting other government programs.
leaders in the House said that instead of attaching the bird flu money
to a health and labor spending bill moving through Congress, they would
try separate legislation later this year or early next year.
which has suffered eight confirmed human fatalities, has rejected a $10
million international loan, saying it wants grant money instead.
ON WAR FOOTING
CHINA has suffered at least
60 outbreaks of bird flu during the last two years; in Qinghai, Xinjiang,
Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Anhui and Hunan.
In Oct, Beijing announced
a fresh outbreak of H5N1 bird flu, saying 2,600 birds have died from
the disease in Inner Mongolia. And in the North-Eastern Liaoning province
where a 12-year-old girl died from H5N1, more than 10 million birds
were culled and 320 million birds vaccinated. Other outbreaks of bird
flu have been reported in Anhui and Hunan in central China.
MOBILISED TO FIGHT BIRD FLU
NOV 7. China
has mobilised its armed forces and allocated emergency funds and vaccines
to fight bird flu as a mass cull of poultry and birds continued following
the new outbreak in the country's northeast.
The cull was
being carried out in Heishan county of Liaoning province, where the H5N1
outbreak has killed nearly 9,000 chickens in six villages.
in Liaoning is China's fourth in just over two weeks, with migratory birds
being the most likely culprits for it. The agriculture ministry said,
"All the poultry in the region must be slaughtered by midnight on
As with standard
practice, the cull targeted all birds within a radius of three kilometers
(two miles) of the farms where the outbreak occurred. As of Sunday morning,
more than one million poultry have been slaughtered according to officials
who said, "More than 3,000 people are carrying out the cull. The
next step is to bury the slaughtered poultry."
The China News
Service said the Ministry of Agriculture has sent an emergency batch of
60 million vaccines to treat healthy poultry near the affected area, to
ensure the industry will not be destroyed.
provincial government has meanwhile allocated 85 million yuan ($US 10.5
million dollars) to compensate farmers and prevent the disease spreading.
they will launch a province-wide surveillance, not missing one village,
one family, or one fowl, and vaccinating 100 percent of the poultry, not
counting on sheer luck, not leaving any short-comings, and not leaving
any hidden dangers.
The local government
has also sent 100 medical workers to the villages to offer free medical
checks and vaccinations for farmers.
province was banning farmers from mixing animals in farms or herding animals
in the wilderness. And authorities in Beijing threatened to fine or jail
anyone who refuses to comply with the order that all animals including
pets must be vaccinated.
OF CONTROL IN LIAONING
NOV 11. The
Chinese government says the spread of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in the
NE province of Liaoning is not under control, and has warned of a potential
disaster there. There have been three fresh outbreaks in the province
in 24 hours, and a new suspected human infection.
are being blamed on migratory birds, but the head of the UN's Food and
Agriculture Organization in Beijing said it was possible that they were
due to village-to-village spread of the virus.
been six outbreaks in the past month in China and the government has responded
with mass culls of poultry. The most recent outbreaks, which killed about
1100 chickens, prompted the authorities to cull 670,000 poultry in the
areas affected, and to place 116 people in quarantine.
A Chinese agriculture
minister has warned that the country faces a disaster due to the use of
sub-standard and counterfeit poultry vaccines. These can mask symptoms
of the virus, making control difficult, and can even introduce the virus.
CONFIRMS FIRST HUMAN BIRD-FLU CASES
NOV 16. Until
now China has never admitted to any human infections or deaths due to
H5N1, even though there have been 11 outbreaks in poultry over the past
month, and more than 60 outbreaks in the last two years.
Now the world's
most populous nation has reported its first human cases of H5N1 in mainland
China; a poultry worker who died in Anhui province, and a 9-year-old boy,
who fell ill in Hunan province. The boy recovered but his 12-year-old
sister, who died, has been recorded as a suspected case.
A WHO spokesperson
said it would not be surprising if more human bird flu cases are confirmed
in China. "There are a lot of chickens infected and there's a lot
of contact between humans and chickens in China."
CHINA gave open coverage
to its first human cases of bird flu. Newspapers carried pictures of
distraught relatives of the victims, a contrast to two years ago when
China tried to cover up outbreaks of SARS - the epidemic whose cost
was estimated to be $40 billion in the Asia-Pacific region alone.
SARS spread as far afield
as Toronto, carried by airline passengers. It sickened at least 8,000
people globally, and killed 800 before it was contained. "In 2003,
we defeated SARS. That will inspire us to victory over bird flu,"
said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng
said, "China has been a model of how we hope countries will react
to a situation like this in the future. They had a very uncertain situation
but went ahead with increased transparency. That is exactly the kind
of mentality we need if we are going to detect a pandemic in the early
TO VACCINATE 14 BILLION FOWLS
government has announced plans to vaccinate all the country's 14 billion
domestic fowls. Health workers armed with vaccine and disinfectant are
racing to inoculate the billions of chickens and other poultry, but how
long that would take is not clear. The poultry may require repeated injections
and booster shots.
for bird and human flu, Dr David Nabarro, says such vaccination programs
are "the right thing to do." The virus is so entrenched in China's
birds that simply slaughtering them will not work," he said. "The
best plan is to vaccinate and then slaughter when there are outbreaks."
FOR A POSSIBLE PANDEMIC
transmission can be relatively con-trolled by isolating and eliminating
diseased flocks, but the widely held practice of keeping backyard poultry
in SE Asian countries, make thorough culls almost impossible.
Oshitani, the WHO's Asian communicable diseases expert in Asia says:
"Basically, we haven't prepared for a pandemic. You need resources
to be able to respond, and I don't think any country in the world is
In Sept a
British study warned that the country lacked enough critical-care beds
to cope with an influenza pandemic. In fact, all the hospitals in the
world would not be able to handle all the cases of a major pandemic.
at the Nov. international co-ordination meeting on bird flu and human
flu, in Geneva, urged countries around the world who have not done so,
to draw up plans for handling the pandemic they say is inevitable.
the last 10 years has been urging nations to draw up pandemic flu plans.
But many did not begin to act until the bird flu outbreak in Asia became
an apparent threat.
say the nations need to implement their plans, rehearsing and testing
them to see if they actually work. The plans need to contain commitments
to activities such as improving early detection of disease, increasing
the ability of hospitals to cope with an influx of patients, and the
intention to stockpile drugs, pre-order vaccines and quarantine communities.
ago, fewer than 40 countries had any strategy, but now at least 120
countries have planned responses, says an official at the Geneva conference.
"The level of preparedness already and the meeting to forge a global
strategy are unprecedented. It's the first time the international community
has come together before we've had the disaster. It's always after the
tsunami, after SARS, after AIDS!''
are moving quickly to prepare. Governments are stockpiling anti-viral
drugs that they believe are able to limit the effects of H5N1 if taken
far the most sought-after is Tamiflu made by the Swiss company Roche.
UK has ordered enough for 15 million people (25% of the population). France
has done likewise. But Roche is hard-pressed to keep up with the demand.
The World Health
Organization has warned people against panic-buying stocks of Tamiflu
in a hope that it will protect them from bird flu. WHO stressed that the
drug could reduce the effect of the illness but it was not a vaccine to
The US, with
a population of nearly 300 million people, has anti-virals for only 2
to 3 million. But the government is pinning its hopes on a vaccine which
is currently being tested. It hopes the vaccine will be ready before it
is needed, so that at the first sign of a pandemic, it can be mass produced
in the millions of doses.
In Sept, French
drug maker Sanofi-Aventis won a $100 million contract to supply the United
States with a vaccine against H5N1. The United States also awarded a $2.8
million contract to Britain's GlaxoSmithKline for 84,300 courses of an
are part of a US plan to buy vaccine for 20 million people and anti-virals
for another 20 million. A latest report says it will take three years
for the US to vaccinate its population.
has suffered the most number of fatalities, has announced that it is to
begin part-production of Tamiflu, after agreeing to a licence with Roche.
It is also planning a bird flu hospital near its border with Cambodia.
countries - Morocco, Kenya, Indonesia, India and Thailand - said they
were worried about getting drugs and human vaccines because they lack
pharmaceutical manufacturing or money to buy products in huge quantities.
GROUPS "POORLY PREPARED"
groups met in Geneva in Nov, to develop a co-ordinated vaccine strategy
for the in-dustry. "If something happens tomorrow, we are very poorly
prepared," said Dr. Bram Palache, medical director of Belgian pharmaceuticals
and chemicals giant Solvay Pharmaceuticals. "There is no doubt about
that. We don't have the means to really (and) properly do the interventions
which will be needed.''
will be needed to prepare the world," experts said. Sublime statement!!
cost of this thing is in the multi-billions," said Dr. David Nabarro,
the UN co-ordinator for bird and human flu. "We are asking for what
would be a quite small fraction of that. This is not a begging bowl. This
is an investment in the future of the world, an investment in the future
What a great
opportunity for the pharmaceuticals "to make a penny"!
that if a pandemic emerges, the likely losers would include airlines,
hotels, insurers and luxury goods makers, while potential winners include
drug makers, hospital chains and home entertainment companies. And Sauerkraut-makers!
A report just
to hand says that Sauerkraut could prove to be a secret weapon against
the bird flu. The traditional German dish, which is made from chopped
cabbage that is fermented, contains bacteria that may combat the potentially
claim that lactobacillus, the lactic acid bacteria created during the
fermenting process, is the active ingredient that could combat bird flu.
They say their
findings follow a study in which kimchi - a spicy cabbage dish popular
in South Korea and similar to sauerkraut - was fed to 13 chickens infected
with bird flu. Just one week later, 11 of the birds showed signs of recovery
from the virus.
sales of sauerkraut have soared in the US and Britain as a result of the
being a possible cure for bird flu, sauerkraut is said to be effective
in detoxifying and in fighting cancer. It is also rich in iron and vitamin
MUTATING KILLER VIRUS
H5N1 is no
ordinary flu! It is very virulent and has an ability to mutate quickly,
which is why experts fear a H5N1 mutation could trigger a horrific pandemic.
One researcher said, "H5N1 is probably the worst influenza virus,
in terms of being highly pathogenic (causing disease), that I've ever
seen or worked with."
is so lethal that chickens and mammals can die within hours of being exposed
to it. And although at present it remains comparatively hard for humans
to catch, the virus is deadly for people who come into direct contact
with infected birds or who eat uncooked poultry. 50% of infections are
warning that H5N1 is very likely to mutate into a human-avian strain with
the ability to jump easily from person to person, like ordinary flu does.
In fact, each
person who catches H5N1 becomes a potential mixing pot - a laboratory
that could produce a mutation that is communicable to other humans. It
may be a minor mutation in a string of mutations that leads to the feared
do not survive, but this one, being the result of a very potent gene-swap,
would become a power-packed, insidious enemy that sets off the global
pandemic that kills multitudes.
in Vietnam say the H5N1 avian flu virus has mutated allowing it to replicate
more easily inside humans and other mammals. Scientists at the Ho Chi
Minh Pasteur Institute who have been studying the genetic make up of H5N1
samples taken from people and poultry, said the virus has undergone several
mutations. - www.pasteur-hcm.org.vn.
has been a mutation allowing the virus to replicate effectively in mammal
tissue and become highly virulent, (dangerous and quick)" the institute
said on its website.
tracking all strains of avian flu, which have swept through poultry populations
in large swaths of Asia since 2003.
A team of virologists
and researchers at Hong Kong University headed by Guan Yi, have traced
the origin of the current, more dangerous strain of H5N1 to a goose in
Guangdong, in southern China. They have taken tens of thousands of samples
from birds in China, and have sequenced over 250 different strains of
in November, Taiwan said that it had found another highly pathogenic (disease
causing) strain of avian flu, H7N3, in droppings left by a migratory bird,
and it is carrying out tests to see if the virus has spread to nearby
poultry farms. Like H5N1, the H7N3 strain can infect humans, said an official
at the Council of Agriculture.
BIRD FLU AFFECTS VICTIMS
YES, H5N1 is
very deadly. Roughly half of those who have contracted the disease have
died, despite the use of artificial respirators and anti-viral drugs.
The virus ravages
the lungs of healthy young patients in a matter of days. X-rays of patients
show the lungs covered with clouds which indicate infection. This rapidly
deteriorates as the lungs become totally ob-scured. Survival depends largely
on the patient's immune system and his determination to fight the infection.
One young man
in Vietnam with such a determination, survived after 82 days in hospital.
In a chicken
the virus spreads everywhere - the gut, lungs, brain, and muscles. In
humans it devastates the lungs first and foremost. As researchers have
discovered, a person's immune system can react to the virus with a flood
of chemical messengers that draw white blood cells into the lungs where
they trigger a massive inflammatory reaction. Healthy tissue dies and
blood vessels leak, filling the lungs with fluid.
There are evidently
some unusual cases of H5N1 though, such as a boy in Vietnam who died in
a coma; his brain was inflamed but his lungs remained healthy until the
THE PANDEMIC HITS
SEPT 20. When
a pandemic is first detected, health authorities will need to carry out
a massive anti-viral inoculation campaign within two to three weeks to
have any chance of containment, says Dr Hitoshi Oshitani, the WHO's Asian
communicable diseases expert in Asia. "Theoretically it is possible
to contain the virus if we have early signs of a pandemic detected at
the source," he said.
estimate that between 300,000 and one million people will immediately
need anti-virals, but there are limited stocks available. WHO will receive
one million doses by the end of 2005 and a further two million by mid-2006.
Even when an
avian flu vaccine is fully developed, production limitations will mean
there will not be enough vaccine. "Right now we have a time frame
of four to six months to develop and produce a certain quantity of vaccine,
and that may not be fast enough," said Dr Oshitani.
But early avian
vaccines are unlikely to protect against the human-avian virus, Dr Oshitani
says. "The vaccine should match the pandemic strain. So a vaccine
developed for the virus in Vietnam now may not protect you from another
virus." And Oshitani fears that once a pandemic occurs, the world's
rich nations may dominate vaccine supply.
of a vaccine will be a major issue when a pandemic starts. There is no
mechanism for distribution," he said. Asked whether poorer Asian
nations such as Cambodia and Vietnam would get a vaccine, Oshitani said,
said that the successful containment measures used against SARS, such
as quarantining those infected and cross-border checks, would fail against
an avian pandemic, as people spreading bird flu may not show early symptoms.
"The pandemic is likely to be like the seasonal influenza, which
is much more infectious than the SARS virus," he said.
AN OUTBREAK OF AVIAN FLU
respirators - equipment that enables the person to breathe. Antibiotics
are used to tackle secondary diseases, particularly bacterial or fungal
illnesses that can trigger pneumonia.
in the area needs to be destroyed. People in direct danger need to be
treated with anti-viral drugs which may help to reduce the effects of
If a human-avian, person-to-person, virus develops, authorities will first
vaccinate or give anti-viral drugs to health workers and people who are
considered more at risk, such as all contacts of an infected person.
will be imposed on outbreak areas, and there will be screening of all
people who have been anywhere near the infected area. Governments will
seek to vaccinate as many as possible.
are able to respond effectively within a couple of weeks of an outbreak,
and if the virus spreads slowly at first, there is a chance of the epi-demic
A new vaccine
to target the human-avian strain that emerges will be engineered, but
this may take weeks, and mass production of the vaccine will take much
longer. Only a few companies are capable of mass-production, and they
produce some 300 million does each year.
CONSIDERS MILITARY ROLE TO FIGHT FLU
OCT 4. President Bush, increasingly
concerned about a possible avian flu pandemic, said that any part of
the country where the virus breaks out could likely be quarantined,
and that he is considering using the military to enforce it. "The
best way to deal with a pandemic," he said, "is to isolate
it and keep it isolated in the region in which it begins."
Bush has argued that the
armed forces have the ability to quickly mobilize the equipment, manpower
and communications capabilities needed in times of crisis. But such
a shift could require a change in law, and some in Congress and the
states worry it would increase the power of the federal government at
the expense of local control.
Bush made clear that the
potential for an outbreak of avian flu is much on his mind, and it had
him talking with "as many (world) leaders as I could find"
as well as reading a book on the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed
40 million or more, and consulting staff and experts. "I have thought
through the scenarios of what an avian flu outbreak could mean,"
He acknowledged that a quarantine
- an idea sure to alarm many in the public - is no small thing for the
government to undertake, and enforcing it would be tricky. But he urged
Congress to give him the ability to use the military, if needed. "I
think the president ought to have all ... assets on the table to be
able to deal with something this significant," he said.
The President has been urging
world leaders to improve reporting on outbreaks of the virus, and to
explore how to speed up the production of a spray, now in limited supply,
that "can maybe help arrest the spread of the disease." "One
of the issues is how do we encourage the manufacturing capacity of the
country, and maybe the world, to be prepared to deal with the outbreak
of a pandemic?" he said.
Australia's Health Minister, Tony Abbott, received a report on the possible
impact of an avian flu pandemic. The forecast for Australia: 13,000 deaths,
58,000 hospitalizations, and 2.6 million people seeking medical help in
the first three months of an outbreak. This forecast is based on the possibility
of the H5N1 mutating to human-avian strain.
has been taken very seriously, because these are the days when no-one
can say, "Oh nothing will happen." And besides, Australian's
close neighbour, Indonesia, is fighting to contain an outbreak of the
avian flu, and the experts are warning that a pandemic is inevitable -
it's only a matter of time. And the ex-pected new flu could be 25 times
more deadly than the normal flu. Moreover, it is a virus to which no one
is yet immune; and simply there is no effective treat-ment for it available.
The country is not ready for it.
Australia has been in overdrive to protect the country from such a disaster.
has a stockpile of some 4 million doses of anti-virals which would be
woefully inadequate. But the government has commissioned a bio-pharmaceutical
company to urgently test a prototype vaccine based on H5N1.
IN 1918, the
final year of World War I, the Spanish Flu influenza spread in two waves.
The first outbreak in March was not much more dangerous than the flu outbreaks
of previous years.
The War was
being fought largely in trenches and in an unsanitary environment; the
soldiers faced degrading health conditions and were constantly exposed
to airborne diseases. Soldiers were weakened in health and were not only
very susceptible to catching the new, more virulent strain of flu, but
also extremely susceptible to dying of it.
The virus mutated
into a new, more virulent strain that swept across the world later in
the year, ultimately killing somewhere between 40 million and 100 million
people. This dreadful toll was three, four or five times more than the
14 million who died in the war.
the sick took to their beds with fever, piercing headaches and joint pain.
Many were young adults, the group that normally shrugs off the flu. About
5% of the victims died, often in just 2 or 3 days, their faces turning
ghastly purple - they could not breathe, and they simply suffocated to
Over half of
the US war dead in World War I - some 65,000 men - were the result not
of combat but of the flu pandemic.
of military personnel was a leading cause for the infection in civilian
populations around the world over.
person gets over a flu attack after a few days because his immune system
knows how to respond to a virus that has been around for a while.
year's virus won't be exactly like it was last year, there are enough
similarities in it to enable the immune system to recognise it and attack
of the animal world do not attack, and grow in, human cells. But if two
or more types of viruses happen to meet, and swap their genes, they can
reproduce offspring viruses with new qualities.
avian flu virus and a human flu virus will meet in a common host such
as a pig. When they mix their genes they create a hybrid virus that can
infect human cells while still carrying bird-virus genes that would make
it radically new to the immune system of the people who catch it.
And this hybrid
critter can be extremely dangerous.
OF SPANISH FLU DISCOVERED
RESEARCHERS now believe the
Spanish flu virus did not derive from a human virus, but it was a pure
animal virus that crossed over to people without the help of genes from
a previous human strain.
Body tissues taken from the
remains of people who died in 1918, have been genetically blueprinted,
and they have revealed that the Spanish flu virus had come from an unknown
animal or bird strain. That's why the victims had virtually no immunity
to the new virus.
And now, it seems, H5N1 is
seeking to do the same thing. It is already taking tentative steps by
infecting humans, although it has evidently not yet succeeded in developing
all the mechanisms that will enable it to make a massive onslaught on
the human race.
It just needs to take onboard
a few "human virus" genes, and before you can blink, it will
reproduce itself a million fold. All it will take is just one such terrorist
virus with the right mechanism strapped around its waist, to wreck havoc
on masses of people.
Viruses have such an uncanny
ability to reproduce themselves and to change their appearance rapidly,
"world without end"!
And man is caught on the defensive,
in the virus-web!
OF ANTIBIOTIC ABUSE
THERE is a
very real fear today about the world's meat trade, and the dangers posed
by the widespread use of antibiotics in animals.
in The Sunday Times (Aust.) on 20 Nov 05, quotes a Perth-based microbiologist,
Calvin London, who maintains "widespread use of antibiotics in the
livestock industry is creating superbugs that could exacerbate a potential
are fed to poultry to fatten them but this sustained practice can weaken
the birds' immune system, rendering them susceptible to antibiotic-resistant
bacteria, and rendering weaker birds more susceptible to bird flu.
antibiotics are used to fight extremely virul-ent strains of bacteria
that are resistant to other forms of antibiotics," Dr London says.
"By using sub-therapeutical, low levels of antibiotics on a continual
basis, we are producing weaker animals."
the worldwide use of antibiotics to boost meat production was creating
stronger, ever-resistant strains of bacteria responsible for life-threatening
Dr London says
the danger of the H5N1 bird flu virus that has killed dozens in Asia is
its ability to mutate quickly. "Bird flu is a particular type of
virus that is very closely related to influenza." And, "influenza,
as a virus, mutates with regular monotony - it's a survival mechanism.
The real danger is when it actually mutates and becomes directly transferable
from birds to humans, and humans to humans. It (H5N1) is very virulent
and is related to one of the very early viruses, the Spanish flu, that
killed 55 million in 1918."
antibiotic abuse is a global problem, the US is the worst offender, with
up to 70% of all antibiotics - 900,000 tonnes - used on livestock. In
Australia, 50% of all antibiotics goes into meat. The EU has banned all
antibiotic use in its meat industry from next year.
of the need to create these centres of in-tensely-reared animals, it acts
like an intensive care ward of a hospital - you have a captive population,
infection is rife, and they're all exposed.
is that if you can provide an alternative that makes those animals healthier,
they become more resistant to infection. That then reserves any use of
antibiotics for strictly therapeutic purposes ... which helps to reduce
Dr London is
managing director of Stirling Products which is developing an alternative
to antibiotics in the meat industry.
Cortlan Bennett / The Sunday Times/ 20.22.05. Used by permission, NewsLtd
THERE are more
than a few critics out there who claim the Bird Flu threat is bogus, or
at least highly exaggerated.
believes the Bird Flu panic is to do with world planners' goals of bringing
the world population back to a manageable level. It seems from that writer's
evaluation the world is going to be decimated through vaccines, not through
the renegade virus. I don't think he is right, but if he is, the situation
is going to be far, far worse than a pandemic!
DOWN !" BUT WATCH OUT !
of the Bird Flu alarm has been given by Stratfor, an intelligence service.
"Calm down!" it says. "We are not on the brink of a cataclysmic
the H5N1 "ruckus," and says; "Much like the Y2K bug that
commanded public attention in 1999, now bird flu is all you hear about!"
points out that since Dec 03, the H5N1 bird flu virus has been responsible
for the documented infection of 125 people, and they have all been in-fected
by repeated close contact with fowl, or via the ingestion of insufficiently
cooked chicken products. And although there have been 69 deaths, there
has not been a single confirmed case of human-to-human transmission.
there are a great many people and institutions in this world that have
a vested interest in feeding the bird flu scare. Worst case scenarios,
like comparing the threat to the 1918 Spanish Flu, are used to scare targeted
benefactors into funding academic research, medical development or contingency
does concur, however, that more research is needed because current medical
technology lacks the ability to cure, or even to reliably vaccinate a
population against highly mutable viral infections; and the best available
medicines can only treat symptoms or slow a virus' reproduction rate.
a bird flu pandemic among the human population is broadly in the same
category as a meteor strike. Of course, it says, a pandemic will happen
sooner or later, and when it does, watch out! But, it says, "there
is absolutely no particular reason to fear a global flu pandemic this
or later a domesticated animal disease will cross over into the human
population because most common human diseases have such origins. But there
is no scientifically plausible reason to expect such a crossover to be
A great danger
however, as Stratfor warns, is the pig; it is the most likely candidate
for H5N1's leap into a species of animal that bears similarities to
human immunology and yet lives in quarters close enough to encourage viral
the virus mutates into a form that is pig-pig transferable, a human pandemic
is only one short mutation away. Put another way, a bird flu pandemic
among birds is manageable. A bird flu pandemic among pigs is not, and
is nearly guaranteed to become a human pandemic."
comparisons to the 1918 Spanish flu, Stratfor's assessment is that 1918
was not exactly a "typical" year.
While the US
is involved in a war in 2005, that is not anything close to trench warfare;
and the total
percentage of the US population involved in Iraq and Afghanistan - .005%
- is middling compared to the 2.0% involvement in World War I.
there is no reason to expect the next pandemic virus will share the same
features as the 1918 plague.
assessment says Yes and No!
One major factor
I believe Stratfor has not keyed into its assessment is the fact of modern
air transport. Tens of thousands of people are flying every day across
borders, and many thousands more go by land transport. This is now a much
greater movement of people than troops in World War I. Modern transport
gives speedy wings to any plague today.
out that health and nutrition levels have radically changed in the past
87 years and that American health is not in such bad shape today. And
the healthier a person is, going into a sickness, the better his or her
chances are of emerging from it.
True, but the
analysis does not key in the health conditions in many Asian countries
where malnutrition means national health is far from robust.
modern antibiotics will pull some of the strength out of any new pandemic,
and that the majority of those who perish, die not from the primary attack
of the flu but from secondary infections - typically bacteria or fungal
- that trigger pneumonia.
- the first commercialized antibiotic - was not discovered until 1929,
11 years too late to help when panic gripped the world in 1918. So today,
with antibiotics readily available, the death toll from a pandemic would
be much lower than in 1918.
We would hope
so, but the world's population today is double to what it was 1918.
And a pandemic is not measured only by its death toll. The pandemic is
the number of people infected, and also the impact it has on the world
we can ask is, "Would there be enough stocks of antibiotics available,
and would they remain effective during a pandemic?"
DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
Paul prophesied that ...
last days perilous times will come; for men will be lovers of self, and
lovers of money." (2 Timothy 3:1-2)
of Dr Calvin London above illustrate the truth about
the love of money in our commercial world, and especially in our lines
of food production.
Just this month
a whole crop of GM (genetically-modified) food had to be destroyed because
of serious problems with it.
There is also
a big concern in Australia because of imported food and whether it is
healthy. But our own abuse of antibiotics may bring ultimate disaster
Why do we do
it - abusing our food chains?
The love of
And you know
the Scripture that says:
"Those who want to get rich fall into temptation
and a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge men into
ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of
evil, and some, by hankering for it, have wandered away from the faith
and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
Messiah, Jesus Christ, warned that ...
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom, and there will be mighty and violent earthquakes in various
places, and plagues and famines and there will be ... despair among nations,
with perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men's hearts will
faint from terror, being apprehensive of what is coming upon the world
..." (Luke 21:10-11, 25-26)
Well, my dear
reader, we are seeing the terrorist wars; we have seen the tsunami, the
hurricanes, the earthquakes, and we are seeing the plagues which include
pestilences, malignant, conta-gious or infectious diseases, and deadly,
The Bird Flu
is already an epidemic. But the feared human pandemic has not yet started,
and God-willing, it may not take place.
But to those
who say the threat is all "hogwash," "bally-hoo,"
or "tamasha," don't forget the millions who perished in the
Spanish Flu, and the 2 million people who died in the 1957 Asian flu,
and about 1 million who died in the 1968 Hong Kong outbreak.
And don't forget
that the normal annual flu itself is a killer. Even in the USA, 30 to
60 million people catch it each year, and some 36,000 - mostly the elderly
- die from it. And last year, the flu affected many millions all across
Europe as well as in the US.
And don't forget
the 2003 SARS epidemic of fear, and how airlines were reeling, and how
Toronto's health-care was crippled, and how 13 million people in Beijing
were in virtual quarantine. And its $40 billion+ cost.
the world survived all these plagues! And many of us may survive a human-avian
But why should
I say, "God-willing it may not take place"?
I not say that like the Tsunami, like Katrina, like the Kashmir earthquake,
the AIDS plague, and the Locust plague in Africa last year, the Bird Flu
epidemic is a warning from the Almighty, of judgment to come?
Solomon and Israel that He does send calamity for a reason - so that His
people would repent and pray for their land.
I shut up the heavens and there is no rain, or if I command the locust
to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people
who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive
their sin and heal their land'." (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
And God warned
Israel of the judgment that was coming on the nation.
O earth! Look! I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their
schemes, because they have not listened to My words. And as for My teaching,
they have rejected it also." (Jeremiah 6:19)
says YHWH of Hosts, the God of Israel, 'Look! I am about to bring on this
city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against
it, because they have stiffened their necks so as not to hear My words'."
God is still
the Ruler of the universe, and He is still involved in the affairs of
mankind. Oh, my dear reader, if He should withdraw His protective hand,
this world wouldn't stand a chance.
And there is
a time coming when the Holy Spirit of Almighty God will withdraw His restraining
the mystery of iniquity and lawlessness is already at work; but He who
now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the
lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of
His mouth and bring to an end by the glory of His coming; that is, the
one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with great power
and with all kinds of signs and counterfeit miracles, and with all the
deception of wickedness among those who are perishing, because they would
not receive the love of the truth which could have saved them.
for this reason, God will send upon them a powerful delusion so that they
will believe what is false, in order that they all may be condemned who
did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." (2 Thessalonians
Today the Holy
Spirit of God is restraining in the world. The day He is taken out of
the way and ceases to restrain is the Day of the Rapture - the day the
Messiah catches up His people to meet Him in the air and takes them to
the Father's House. And then the world will be handed over to the delusion
of the Antichrist; and to the seven years of Prophecy.
Now look at
this prophecy concerning the horrific Prophecy of the Great Tribulation:
when He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living
creature saying, 'Come and see.' I looked and saw a pale, ashen horse;
and he who sat on it had the name 'Death'; and Hades (the realm of the
dead) was following close behind him. And authority was given to them
over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with famine, with plague
and pestilence, and by the wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation
This is the
pale, the 4th horse, who
follows the red horse (world war), and the black horse (famine). The
sword represents world war, and it is followed by famine, plague and pestilence.
of the Spanish Flu that followed World War 1! And I do believe one of
the reasons for World War 3 will be to eliminate "excessive population"
throughout the world. But I don't think it will necessarily need man-made
biological weapons to reduce the world to the desired level of the "new
world order planners." Renegade viruses may do the job!
pandemic may well be one of the plagues alluded to in Revelation 6:8.
Yes, I am inclined
to believe the alarmists who are saying, "It may be 2006, or it may
be 5 years away, but it will happen sooner or later." But more important,
I do believe what Y'shua the Messiah said:
will be plagues and despair among nations ... Men's hearts will faint
from terror, being apprehensive of what is coming upon the world."
(Luke 21:11, 26)
HOPE IS THERE?
Yes the future
looks very gloomy no matter which way you look at the world. Is there
The Lord Jesus,
Y'shua Messiah, says to His people:
I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the
world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My
Father's House are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have
told you, for I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself,
so that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3)
If you know
the Messiah as your Master and Saviour you can have full confidence that
you are in His hands; and you know that He has a purpose for your life
in these anxious times.
If you do not
know the Messiah as your Master and Saviour, then I have no good news
for you, except:
believes in Him (Y'shua the Messiah) will not be disappointed. For there
is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Master, the Master
of all, is rich in mercy, grace, love and blessing to all who call upon
Him, for WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF Y'shua (Jesus) the LORD WILL
BE SAVED." (Romans 10:11-13)
in times like these you need an Anchor; you need a Saviour to give you
peace, and to keep you safe in the storm. You need a Saviour who can forgive
your sins; who can save you from the wrath that's coming; and who is able
to make you a new person. You need a Saviour who can deliver you from
a lost eternity, and who can provide you with an eternal home.
The Lord Jesus
is the Saviour you need! All others will fail you!
Jesus is God's
Anointed One (that's what 'Messiah' means). He is the 'Lamb of God' who
paid the penal-ty of your sin; He is the One who will take away your sin;
He is the One who offers you the gift of eternal life. He is the only
One who can save you from a lost eternity!
when we were still weak, the Messiah at the right time died for the ungodly.
Now very rarely will someone die even for a righteous man, though possibly
for a good man someone might even have the courage to die. But God demonstrates
His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, the Messiah
died for us." (Romans 5:6-8)
what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that the Messiah
died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried,
and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."
(1 Corinthians (15:3-4)
there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven
that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts
must I do to be saved?" "Believe in the Master, Y'shua the Messiah
(that is, put your trust in Him), and you will be saved." (Acts 16:30-31)
God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world;
but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him
is not condemned; he who does not believe has been condemned already,
because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God."
My dear reader,
there is a day when each one of us must leave this world. It could be
today, next month, or a few years away. But that day will definitely come.
It may be through accident, it may be through flu, it may be through cancer,
heart attack, or old age. It may come suddenly, or it may come slowly.
But when you stand before God the question will be; Do you know Jesus
as your Saviour? If not, He must be your judge?
until you are at the Great White Throne to receive Y'shua the Messiah
as your Saviour. It will be too late then! It's the judgment time!
tell you, now is 'the well-accepted time;' now is 'The Day of Salvation'."
(2 Corinthians 6:2)
Jesus as your personal Saviour, it takes a simple act of faith:
by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God - not as a result of works, lest anyone should boast."
You can express
your faith in the Lord Jesus by praying to Him.
The words of
this prayer may be a help for you to do that.
Why don't you
settle the matter of your salvation today?
God, I come to You, just as I am, a guilty sinner. I come to ask for Your
mercy, Your grace, and for forgiveness of all my sins.
Jesus, I believe You paid the penalty of my sins when You died for me
at Calvary, and that You rose from the dead. I believe You are the Messiah,
and I now receive You as my personal Saviour. Master, save me this very
day, I pray.
You, Lord Jesus, for Your love and salvation and for receiving me.
You, Heavenly Father, for answering my prayer. Thank You for making me
Your child. Thank You. Amen.
................................................. date ..............................
keep this prayer with you as a reminder of your spiritual birth day.
I will be very happy to hear from you if you write to me at one of our
MRC addresses below.
will pray for you and send you a booklet to help you on The Way.
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The One who is coming will come, He
will not delay