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Bird flu spreads in Asia, jump in cases
January 17, 2007 8:17 AM   Subscribe

No need to panic, but perhaps there's a need to stay on top of the still-evolving H5N1 (bird flu) situation. "Infections in birds and people are increasing, particularly in Asia, where the virus was first identified a decade ago. Viet Nam, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Nigeria reported diseased birds in the past month, while Indonesia, China and Egypt found new human cases." (quote from International Society for Infectious Diseases report, Feb. 16, 2007).

If keeping track via FluWiki or the many discussion groups isn't your thing, you could just check for the the flashing red chickens every so often :-)
posted by Quiplash (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Would you say that it's time for us to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside?
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:23 AM on January 17, 2007


Dunno, but that big flashing map of shit going down is pretty bloody scary.
posted by chrismear at 8:23 AM on January 17, 2007


Oh my, 61 dead in Indonesia! With the bird flu, sharks, and SARS decimating humanity I give us five years at the outside before the Mad Maxx-style apocalypse hits.
posted by Khalad at 8:24 AM on January 17, 2007


That's right, H5N1.

Dunno, but that big flashing map of shit going down is pretty bloody scary.

The USGS has a nice quake map that communicates a similar, if less virulent, sense of worldwide Oh Shit.
posted by cortex at 8:26 AM on January 17, 2007


I love the Flaming Hungarian Map of Utter Terror. I'm going to check it every day! Apparently, there is a Nuclear Event going on in Minnesota even as we speak.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:44 AM on January 17, 2007


H5N1: Just because the train is coming slowly doesn't mean it's terribly smart to fall asleep there on the tracks.
posted by spock at 8:48 AM on January 17, 2007


cortrex: where there's a song, there's a dance...
posted by Quiplash at 8:49 AM on January 17, 2007


Call me when there's 61 dead in a country where people don't buy room temperature recently dead chickens from peddlers on the street.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:52 AM on January 17, 2007


I love the Flaming Hungarian Map of Utter Terror.

It's awesome. The place to go if you need to know about it when there's a car crash in South Africa, someone in Miami was attacked by bees ("It will take a DNA test to determine whether the honeybees were the aggressive Africanized variety or the more passive European kind"), they got some snow in Denver, and Tasmanian platypus are suffering from ulcers.
posted by sfenders at 8:59 AM on January 17, 2007


My chicken was sick and sneezed a lot last week but it only lasted a day. And I ain't dead yet suckas. But I sure am stockpiling for the pandemic.
posted by Iron Rat at 9:08 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Brilliant, Quiplash.
posted by cortex at 9:08 AM on January 17, 2007


I remember reading about the Black Plague and how it killed millions, reshaping economies and forcing people who survived to count on a reduced workforce which , in turn, could demand higher payment for their work and become less replaceable.
posted by elpapacito at 9:15 AM on January 17, 2007


Don't forget the up-and-coming (i.e. GAINS), which focuses on wild birds.
posted by one_bean at 9:18 AM on January 17, 2007


Just because the train is coming slowly doesn't mean it's terribly smart to fall asleep there on the tracks.

This train ain't comin' to our station.
posted by docgonzo at 9:44 AM on January 17, 2007


Apparently, there is a Nuclear Event going on in Minnesota even as we speak.

And Mount St. Helens is "Currently erupting!" Run for your lives!
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:40 AM on January 17, 2007


The Black Plague ended serfdom in much in Western Europe, paving the way for more modern forms of government to arise.

The Spanish Flu of 1918-19 helped bring an end to World War I.

Just sayin'.
posted by thecaddy at 10:53 AM on January 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I spent a bit of time checking out the FluWiki forums a while back. I now know where all the "the Y2K bug will be the end of civilation and I'm bulk buying canned cheese and ammo" l00nies ended up.
posted by kjs3 at 11:02 AM on January 17, 2007


Huh. A friend of mine flying back to the eastern US from Japan just asked me today, jokingly, about using the Airborne cold remedy (see yesterday's FPP) for bird flu. That caused me to look up two links on Tamiflu, the erstwhile treatment for H5N1:

"Oseltamivir [Tamiflu] has few adverse effects when administered for either treatment or prophylaxis. The most frequent side effects are transient nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, which occur in approximately 5 to 10 percent of patients."

On the other hand, apparently we're still figuring out how best to use the darn stuff, and it may not be the magic bullet it sounded like:

Hopefully we'll never have to find out on any large scale.

For tonight's entertainment, I'm planning to borrow Twelve Monkeys on DVD from the library...
posted by pax digita at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2007


AirBorne kept me from getting bird flu. I swear. I took it the last time I was around birds and look, no bird flu!
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:09 PM on January 17, 2007


No one here in Hong Kong is panicking except the newspapers.
posted by bwg at 3:31 PM on January 17, 2007


This train ain't comin' to our station.

I'm curious as to what makes you so sure of that? If/when it becomes human-to-human transmissable the virus doesn't need to buy a ticket, climb a fence, or get past any Customs agents. It will be the first pandemic to take advantage of worldwide air travel. It can get on a plane in Seoul and be disembarking in the UK in 12 hours (along with the infected person's fellow passengers on the recirculating-air flight). This isn't your great grandfather's world of viral transmissions at the speed-of-horse.
posted by spock at 5:42 PM on January 17, 2007


*sets hair on fire*

HOLY SHIT! HOLY MOTHERFUCKING SHIT! JESUS JUMPING FIDDLE FUCKING BIRDS FLEW OUT OF MY ASS TODAY! THE WORLD IS GOING TO END NOW!

You will, every last one, die some day.
posted by carsonb at 6:13 PM on January 17, 2007


If/when it becomes human-to-human transmissable the virus doesn't need to buy a ticket, climb a fence, or get past any Customs agents. It will be the first pandemic to take advantage of worldwide air travel.

Not true -- the current global pandemic of HIV-1 certainly benefited from air travel (and many other seemingly ubiquitous features of this postmodern world, like war, migration, injection drug use, the sex trade, sexual liberation) to jump from an obscure and avirulent infection of chimpanzees to its current scale.

I'm curious as to what makes you so sure of that?

Well, maybe "ain't" is too strong a term, especially for any event in the future. Maybe "prolly ain't" is better.

I used to be in the camp that H5N1 was almost certainly on the way to emerge as the source of pandemic influenza. I agreed with the idea that the selective advantage to a virus that could transmit efficiently between humans was (and is) so immense as to guarantee a global outbreak, with incalculable consequences of morbidity and mortality.

But no more. Quite simply, I think if it was gonna, it woulda by now. The virus is so prevalent in so many bird populations in so many ecosystems, and human contact must be so consistent and widespread, a pandemic form would have emerged by now. At a molecular level, the RNA genome is too small or too constrained for a pandemic phenotype to emerge. Most likely, a genotype that confers efficient human-to-human transmission must make trade-offs involving costs to fitness too severe for a pandemic strain to emerge.

I could be wrong -- I have been before. But I don't think so.
posted by docgonzo at 6:14 PM on January 17, 2007


booya.
posted by carsonb at 6:22 PM on January 17, 2007


I live in an kampung - an urban village, if you will, in Bandung, Indonesia, and pastabagel's got it. Attitudes about food safety and disease transmission in my community are, to say the least, probably not up to WHO standards. Garbage flows in open sewers, no one washes their hands with soap after going to the bathroom, and rather than completely sealing windows up to prevent mosquito infestation, houses are constructed with gaps over the tops of window panes to encourage ventilation. Some people here even seem to think you can get sick from cold air entering one's body (one of the cures involves rapidly rubbing an oiled coin over one's body until red marks appear).

Furthermore, while the government of Indonesia seems happy enough to ban backyard farming in Jakarta - mandating the destruction of probably millions of healthy chickens - they don't think it's important to compensate people unless the chickens are infected with H5N1, something that no one is going to test. People will also be allowed to keep chickens around for "hobby purposes" - cockfights. Because that, you know, won't cause anyone to have any contact with injured or dead animals at all.

Frighteningly, I think it's easy to overestimate the amount of health knowledge people have, both here in Indonesia and in other parts of the developing world - even simple, cheap things like putting window screens up to prevent your kids from getting dengue fever or malaria, or boiling the water you wash your vegetables with to prevent typhoid infection just aren't done. It certainly makes you appreciate those long hours in high school biology learning about germ theory - think how much healthier we are in the developed world because we don't think that cool breezes make us sick.
posted by mdonley at 7:49 PM on January 17, 2007


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