Avian Flu Hits Turkey

We're All Going To Die, Part 2,792,342,139,091....

The bird flu virus discovered in Turkish poultry is the highly-pathogenic H5N1 strain that scientists worry could mutate into a human virus and spark a global flu pandemic likely to kill millions, EU authorities confirmed today.

"We have received now confirmation that the virus found in Turkey is an avian flu H5N1 virus," said the EU health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou. "There is a direct relationship with viruses found in Russia, Mongolia and China."

Amid growing concerns that a pandemic is imminent, Mr Kyprianou recommended an increased flu vaccination programme for elderly people, children and other vulnerable groups this winter.

Mr Kyprianou also said EU health authorities were considering issuing a warning to people travelling to countries where the disease has been diagnosed, advising them to avoid "going to farms, coming in contact with wild birds and so on".

The European Commission was proposing to set aside €1bn (£680m) to help make and distribute anti-virals and vaccines "in case of a pandemic," he said. EU health ministers will hold urgent talks in the UK next week when they will discuss management of anti-viral stockpiles and other precautions to stop the spread of the virus into the EU, Mr Kyprianou added.

The H5N1 bird flu strain does not easily infect humans, but 117 people, mostly poultry workers living or working in close proximity to infected birds, have caught it over the last two years and at least 60 of them have died.

Carried by wildfowl, the disease spreads quickly among poultry flocks and has broken out in poultry populations in south-east Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Tens of millions of birds have been culled but efforts to contain the disease have not prevented it spreading to the borders of Europe. It was found in the Ural mountains in Russia in August.

On Monday, the EU banned the import of live birds, poultry meat and feathers from Turkey after 1,870 birds died of avian flu in the country last week. A two-mile quarantine zone was imposed around the affected farm and at least 7,600 turkeys have since been culled.

The EU also said tests overnight on samples from birds in Romania have found bird flu and identified the strain as an H5 type virus, but have so far been unable to narrow it down further. Amid the uncertainty, the EU has imposed a ban on imports of poultry from Romania for at least six months.

The World Organisation for Animal Health, meanwhile, said that there is a "high probability" that the bird flu found in Romania is the H5N1 type. It is being taken to Britain for further analysis.

"Confirmation that highly pathogenic avian influenza has been found in Turkey and that Avian influenza is now also in Romania is of concern," said the chief veterinary officer in Britain, Debby Reynolds. "It shows there is a risk to the UK and this is a developing situation, which we are monitoring closely."

Dr Reynolds urged anyone who suspected the disease among birds to report it immediately.

She confirmed that the Turkish samples were brought for analysis to Britain and were taken to the Veterinary Laboratory Agency yesterday morning. They were proved positive at lunchtime today, she said.

Describing the findings as "a substantial development", she added: "This is the first time that this virus - which has been found in Asia, Russia, Mongolia and China - has been found so close to Europe."

I am detecting a great deal of scaremongering in the media these past six weeks as Bird Flu has edged closer and closer to Europe.
Many people seem to think that mass-death by plague is upon us!

Recently a panel of academic virologist, epidemiologists and public health officials generally thought there was no imminent danger posed by this virus.
Indeed some admitted the threat was being overstated in a typical academic attempt to garner more funds for research.

Compared to the usual strains of flu operating all over the world, this one has killed far far fewer people, a fact often neglected. It is containable in human populations, even in the poorer nations of south east Asia.

The problem is plainly that H5N1 is ticking time bomb, highly suspectible to a mutation capable of causing human to human infection in a very virilant form.
With research out this month that confirms that the 1918 "Spanish Flu" outbreak came from a similar form of Bird Flu is disturbing. That particular outbreak killed twice as many people as WW1 had done over the previous four years.
Yes that is worrying but the patterns for mutation are highly unpredicable, it may take months, years or decades to change sufficiently. By then much of the population may have gained a tolerence.

I also have my doubts about the effectiveness of flu vaccines, especially the magic bullet currently being stockpiled. Flu is one of the most unstable and rapidly changing viri known to man, only the "common cold" can compare.
Chances of a strain becoming very resistant, especially if it hits a rich developed group of countries first, are high. Drugs take many months to develop and test.

No doubt Bird Flu is going to be a considerable public health problem in the coming years, I do not however think it is an immediate problem from the reports I've been reading in the less scandelous rags.

If it kills us all, I'll eat the lining of my coffin.

Would it be completely tasteless to make an ironic joke about Turkish Turkeys? I've got $20 that Letterman's already got one written for tonight.

According to the CDC, this flu is better at infecting mammals than it was a few years ago, and it's around 60% fatal. Even if that's due to significant under-diagnosis, checking the mortality figures from 1989 to around 2002 in Michigan from flu and pneumonia shows a high rate of about 60 in 100000; that is, .06%.

So the avian flu right now is perhaps as much as 1,000 times more lethal than flu and pneumonia in Michigan.

In a nutshell, this is the source of the worry. As we learn more, maybe that figure will drop significantly. But at some point, we'll come across a similar threat. Are we ready for it? No. Kinda makes sense to do a little flag-waving to get some funds for programs to deal with this, while it's a hot topic.

Well, the human race was due for some natural selection anyway.. canned goods and shotguns all around!

I am detecting a great deal of scaremongering in the media these past six weeks as Bird Flu has edged closer and closer to Europe.

I thought that was a defining trait of the US media, now the European ones are terrorizing the populace? Next I would expect the following lead-ins for the six o'clock news:

"Information that could help save your life.. at 6 o'clock"

they tested the chickens in israel and found nothing .

I guess chicken is still on the menu.

GioClark wrote:

Would it be completely tasteless to make an ironic joke about Turkish Turkeys? I've got $20 that Letterman's already got one written for tonight.


I'm thinking lasagna this year.

GioClark wrote:

Would it be completely tasteless to make an ironic joke about Turkish Turkeys? I've got $20 that Letterman's already got one written for tonight.

Good to see I wasn't the only one thinking of a few punchlines the moment I saw the title to this thread.

In other news, Thanksgiving is officially cancelled this year... don't worry, you still get your time off.