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The Forum > Article Comments > The danger in our skies > Comments

The danger in our skies : Comments

By Michael Richardson, published 1/11/2005

Michael Richardson argues migratory birds are the most likely way that bird flu will reach Australia's shores.

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From what I've read HN51 has been around since at least 1997, and has been mixing with people and poultry ever since. Can Michael or anyone else tell me why is it only now that the pandemic issue has become so significant ? Even if HN51 spreads to European bird populations I would still expect the most likely bird/human crossover will occur in Asia because of the higher population density and prevalence of people cohabiting with poultry.

Is there any credible information on the probability of HN51 or any other virus mutating in to a virulent human form or is this disease just another Y2K/SARS/BSE/Ebola/MRSA.
Posted by AndrewM, Wednesday, 2 November 2005 1:58:54 PM
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Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005

This is a very urgent alert. This Act - on the face of it quite unbelievable - creates a new secret agency to "partner" with drug manufacturers for the creation of new vaccines and drugs. It places information about them outside of public view, insures that injury from them will never become public, and completely exempts the vaccine and drug manufacturers from any liability for vaccine and/or drug injury. The Act also specifically exempts this new agency from the Freedom of Information Act. The history of injury and poor efficacy of vaccines and anti-viral drugs has been completely ignored in the debate. At end of this email I have included a more detailed statement from the National Vaccine Information Center.

Influenza vaccines in particular have a very poor record of efficacy. Often they do nothing for stopping the virus, because by the time they have been developed the virus has mutated. They have caused injury to thousands of people (Guillain Barr Syndrome). Their toxic components (including the mercury-based preservative thimerosal and the petrochemical solvent squalene) cause toxic injury and reduce immunity to other disease. Anti-viral drugs have a long list of horrific "side effects" because they interfere with intricate body processes.

The two bills, Senate S1873 and House HR3970 must be stopped. Our civil liberties and health are in great jeopardy. If passed, and when combined with federal power under existing law (BioShield 1), in the midst of an epidemic (or perceived epidemic) the entire population may be forced to be vaccinated with experimental, dangerous, immune-compromising vaccines and we will have no recourse. President Bush is promoting this Act as part of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza.

Please call your Senators and Representatives now and tell them that you oppose S1873 (Senate) or HR3970 (House) because they are an extreme violation of our civil liberties and a dangerous precedent in secrecy and removal of liability.

Jonathan Campbell
Posted by Wally, Friday, 4 November 2005 10:07:30 AM
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U.S. plan paints frightening bird flu picture
03 Nov 2005 20:56:22 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Nearly two million dead. Schools and public transit closed for days or even weeks. Hospitals overwhelmed.

This frightening picture of an influenza pandemic is envisaged in the official U.S. plan released this week.

H5N1 avian influenza has killed 62 people and infected at least 122 since 2003 -- hardly an alarming number. But the virus is sweeping through poultry flocks and has moved into birds in Europe.

Agriculture and health officials agree the H5N1 virus is probably unstoppable, and say it could mutate at any time to become a disease that sweeps just as easily among humans.

Experts have warned for years that an influenza pandemic is overdue and have a good idea of what it would look like. Three influenza pandemics occurred in the last century.

The 1918 pandemic was the worst, killing anywhere between 20 million and 100 million people globally, depending on the estimate. The 1957 pandemic killed an estimated 2 million people globally and the last one, in 1968, killed 1 million.

"An influenza pandemic has the potential to cause more death and illness than any other public health threat," the Health and Human Services department says in its new flu plan, posted on the Internet at

"If a pandemic influenza virus with similar virulence to the 1918 strain emerged today, in the absence of intervention, it is estimated that 1.9 million Americans could die and almost 10 million could be hospitalized over the course of the pandemic, which may evolve over a year or more."

Why paint such a frightening scenario?

"We felt that it would be important that we have a worst-case scenario to make sure our planning efforts were measured against that," said Dr. Bruce Gellin, a vaccine expert who is heading up HHS's pandemic influenza planning.
Posted by Wally, Saturday, 5 November 2005 11:10:45 AM
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World Bank pledges avian flu funds
From correspondents in Washington
November 05, 2005

THE World Bank has said it was preparing to disburse between $US300 million and $US500 million to help governments prevent a deadly outbreak of avian flu.

A statement from the World Bank said funds would start flowing to countries "within weeks" to help them combat the deadly virus.

"The bank is now finalising its plans for the new funding program, while at the same time preparing to take part in an international conference in Geneva on avian flu in poultry and birds and planning for a possible human pandemic," the statement said.

Governments around the world are concerned about H5N1, an influenza virus that at present is confined mostly to migrating birds and poultry.

It is a threat to humans who come into close proximity to infected birds, notably by breathing virus-laden nasal secretions or dried, pulverized feces.

"We have the financial resources to move quickly," said Jim Adams says, the Bank's vice president for operations policy and country services.

Adams said the Geneva meeting is designed to allow donors and the international organizations to sit at the same table as affected countries and identify needs at the country level.

"Obviously one of the things we can do is provide funding to support these country programs to supplement government resources, to strengthen the veterinary systems and to put in place culling and vaccine programs for animals," he said.

Adams says the funding mechanism, similar to that used by the bank for funding its AIDS programs in Africa, would allow low-income countries immediate access to grants and soft loans from the bank's lending arm, the International Development Association.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Bank are co-sponsoring the meeting from November 7 to 9, at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
Posted by Wally, Saturday, 5 November 2005 10:26:05 PM
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The animals are fighting back! Ha-ha. I guess we've tortured them for long enough. Karma's ah bitch.
Posted by Fiction Fanatic, Tuesday, 8 November 2005 12:26:11 AM
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Finally Medical Journal Admits the Truth About Bird Flu

The British Medical Journal recently featured an editorial on the bird flu in which they state the following:

The lack of sustained human-to-human transmission suggests that this AH5N1 avian virus does not currently have the capacity to cause a human pandemic.

Theoretical Speculation

While they do go on to say the virus could mutate with a influenza A virus and has the potential to acquire the means for rapid human to human transmission, it does not have this ability now; the preparation and warnings are entirely about a theoretical speculation.

No Lawsuits or Compensation Allowed

Meanwhile, the Bush administration's proposed $7.1-billion pandemic flu plan seeks broad restrictions on lawsuits against producers of vaccines and antiviral drugs, and makes no mention of how those injured or killed by adverse reactions could be compensated.

Yesterday's Wired magazine does an excellent review of detailing why this plan will fail. They conclude:

" will take at least five years to create enough manufacturing capacity to reach that goal. Then it will take another eight months to create a new vaccine that combats the specific strain that would be killing people. In other words, it would be 2011 at the earliest before every American could be vaccinated against a bird flu pandemic."

The other, even more serious shortcoming of the plan is that it would protect vacine producers and distributors except in cases of "willful misconduct," a term to be defined later.

Lawsuits Not An Undue Burden

Bush has called "the growing burden of litigation" one of the greatest obstacles to vaccine production. But critics have pointed out that lawsuits against vaccines are relatively rare; a recent study of the subject found only ten lawsuits related to flu vaccine over the past 20 years.

British Medical Journal October 29, 2005; 331(7523): 975-976
Posted by Wally, Wednesday, 16 November 2005 7:44:23 AM
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