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January 10, 2005

Avian influenza continues: Is their a tsunami of avian influenza brewing?

Topics: Medicine

Note: There is a Jan 10, 2005 update to the potential avian influenza pandemic.

Much of this introduction is a re-post because the situation is the same now as it was on Dec 31 except that more lives have been lost to avian influenza. In my Dec 31 post entitled "Chickens in Vietnam's northern region die of bird flu" I warned that avian influenza can be deadly to humans and we continue to hear more and more about this year's spread of the virus. In the Dec 31 post I mentioned that China has recently expressed grave concern for the problem (saying up to 100 million people may die) and that I have previously reported on it  here and here. I plan to continue sounding this same warning until the MSM finally picks up on the matter  - that this virus is very dangerous and I don't think that we are taking sufficient precautions yet. This virus could be the source of our next pandemic, and it's already spreading. Again I remind you just so you know, bird flu = avian influenza, and it kills you. In Vietnam since January, 20 out of 28 human cases have been fatal. Can you imagine one million people dying in China as the Chinese have already expressed fear of as being a possibility? The spread of the virus kicking off in China with one million deaths could make for a very serious pandemic. WHO (
World Health Organization) had reported on this Dec 30.

Now we have another human death from the disease, a teenage girl, in Vietnam. From theAge (Australia) Jan 10:

A 16-year-old girl is Vietnam's third bird flu fatality in the past fortnight, a doctor said today.

The teenager from the rural southern province of Tay Ninh died on Friday at the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City after contracting the lethal H5N1 strain of the virus.

She was hospitalised there on December 16.

"For three weeks we did our best to save her but she was in a very critical condition and we could not stop her from deteriorating," Tran Tinh Hien, the hospital's deputy's director, told AFP.

Since late 2003 at least 23 people in Vietnam have died after contracting H5N1. The real figure is thought to be higher as tests were not done on some suspected cases.

Hien also said an 18-year-old woman from the southern Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang had been diagnosed with the virus and was in a critical condition at the hospital.

She was transferred there on Thursday after four days of treatment in her home province.

State media has also reported that a 65-year-old man, also from Tien Giang, was being treated at the Hospital of Tropical Diseases with suspected bird flu. Hien, however, declined to comment on this case.

This latest death comes after the government confirmed on Friday that two boys, aged six and nine, died on December 30 and January 4 respectively after contracting H5N1. Both were from Mekong Delta provinces.

Over 36,700 birds have been culled in Vietnam since late last month to try to contain the disease, which has been detected among poultry in 11 of the country's 64 provinces and cities.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai has ordered tough measures to prevent bird flu spreading further, including heightening vigilance along the land border with China.

Next month's Lunar New Year festivities, however, are proving a headache for officials with the demand for poultry consumption expected to boom.

Hanoi said in October that it had brought bird flu under control.

It had made a similar announcement on March 30 but later admitted that the declaration had been premature after three people, including two children, died in August after being infected with the H5N1 virus.

International experts have said avian influenza has entrenched itself in much of Asia and is unlikely to soon disappear.

More than 120 million birds were killed or culled in two huge outbreaks throughout Asia last year of the H5N1 avian flu which has now claimed at least 35 lives, including 12 in Thailand.

Again,this virus could be the source of our next pandemic if not controlled. I remind you again just so you know, bird flu = avian influenza, and it kills you. If our friends in Asia don't get a handle on this it could make the great tsunami we just experienced seem like a case of the measles.

Posted by Hyscience at January 10, 2005 10:19 AM

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