So what do you all think about the hyp regarding the "bird flu pandemic"? Do you think it is just hype and if not what would you suggest to prepare for it?
I think the whole thing is pretty interesting from a science point of view. Especially the developments/insight into the 1918 flu.
Bet that sales of antibacterial cleaning and personal hygine products go way up. For goodness sakes, one of these days we are going to sanitize ourselves to death!!!
Personally believe that there is nothing like hand washing with plain soap and hot water water along with exercise and a heallthy diet to keep onself fit and at less risk from colds and flu.
I'm not particularly worried and think the stress of worrying too much about this is as harmful.
Are we *really* at all that great a risk from this???
Oh Rosa... you speak my mind! :o) The flu hasn't even mutated to be able to pass human to human. I agree that if it did and spread, it could become quite the problem in China.
My BF's nephew has grown up paranoid of germs, and he isn't OCD... it's from tv. People enjoy having this kind of fear to focus on... better than focussing on the bad stuff going on around us... and it makes good copy. I agree that the gov't should stay on top of these things, but do we have to hear about it every day? I think the media controls our life, tells us what to think and what to fear.
My Grandfather contracted and survived the 1917 flu... good ole Welsh genes! So... I still jog, wash my hands and eat right. I NEVER get sick, and I have had human immunodifficiency virus for over 20 years... good ole Welsh genes! :o)
I think it's potentially a very serious problem indeed. Many birds migrate across the world, so it can easily be spread worldwide. It CAN affect humans, and has killed off quite a few already.
It has already reached Europe and Russia, and in Indonesia it has become a major problem already. That's perilously close to Australia. With international travel so prevalent, it's only a matter of time before it hits other continents.
I heard recently that it has been found to be closely related to the Spanish Flu that killed off millions of people world-wide, at the end of World War 1. They have actually recreated the Spanish Flu virus so that they can study it and try to find a vaccine against the avian flu.
I don't think we should go into immediate panic mode, but I do think every country in the world who can, should start preparing for the possibility of a pandemic. It would be irresponsible not to.
Below is some info on avian flu.
Think you will find the articles interesting on what they have to say on bird to humand and then human to human transmission.
Panic, not yet. Some concern, definately. I still don't think the risk factor is very high (yet) for the general public here in the US.
Here is a link that might be useful: CDC on Avian flu
I have a book on plagues that says a lot of plagues originate in Southern China... the weather is perfect for it and people live closely with their livestock... I think it is good to be prepared, but since we have better hygiene here, better diet and don't live with our livestock, things might not be as bad. When or if it mutates to be passed human to human...then things are different. If it doesn't, I don't see any possibility of reaching here at all. Unless you spend a lot of time with your chickens and don't wash your hands.
we're over due for a pandemic- the last one was before I was born, in the mid-to-late 60's, if I remember right.
don't think much of a virus that kills its host, but then, I'm not in charge of common sense in the virus nation, either.
I know that there are parts of the world that are desperately overcrowded, and highly vunerable to an outbreak. I also know that here, the damage done by the panicking, greedy, and the ignorant will be triple the actual loss of life from the bug itself. Quack remedies, hospital mistakes, people being abandoned or persecuted for sneezing in public...
that worries me more than the flu itself.
me? ok, I'll admit it, I'm planning for it- I'm the only one left in the family TO plan for it.
echinacea for tea, and powdered vitamin C to stir into things. Thyme for its anti-viral, raw cranberry juice, and horseradish (both of which I use more for their 'wake the dead' properties than anything particular aspect of the virus)
beyond that? not much you can do besides treat the symptoms- fever, respiratory distress. there, I'll admit, I'm prone not to force willow tea on people- and I prefer a Sudafed to a decotation of me huang, since it's easier to keep track of the dosage.
I'm noticing that no one's actually talking about how to TREAT people. that makes me wonder. it's possible they haven't really figured out what combination of therapies gives people the best shot at fighting it off.
Thanks for providing the link to the site with all the information on the bird flu. I have saved it and will study it at my leisure.
I am more concerned with what effect the genetic engineering being done on animals will have on the transmission of viruses. And when I read of the scientists resurrecting past diseases, I shudder to think of the possible scope of tragedies that the future may hold.
chinacat... I am not sure where I learned this, but a virus that actually kills it's host, specially before transmission is called a "dumb virus". Pretty applicable. :o) I have never had the TRUE flu... Knock on wood!
yeah, haven't had much time to catch flu in my life but have a plenty good immune system : )
anyway, as luck would have it the subject of bird flu cam up in a boilogy lecture the other day.
the important thing about it is *drumroll* its a virus!
therefore not technically alive, its on the boundry between complex chemical reactions grouped together and life.
it can't survive on your skin, it needs the corret host cells. antibacterials are of no use against it.
soap is more effective against it as its purpose it to remove stuff from your skin, not kill stuff.
as far as i remember bird flu is human transmittable or it will be soon as viruses mutate incredibly fast.
long story short; the way to fight a virus is to be healthy before it gets you so ur body can deal with it.
Here is a link that might be useful: general info on viruses,
That the flu scare is increasing the use of antibacterial soaps is worrisome in itself.
Here is a link that might be useful: antibacterial soap breeds resistant bacteria?
Ignorance causes people to do the silliest things... Like Mr. Shortarse said... soap's job is to wash germs OFF the skin, not killing them... I think that's why they add detergents and stuff, at least it makes it foamy, people have to have bubbles or they think the soap isn't working. This is why you need to scrub yer hands together while washing them... gets the germs to slide off... It is a myth that soap kills germs, a myth that people like my BF, just can't let go.... it slides them off the skin...
Having survived 2 pandemics (I don't remember the first as I was a baby and the 2nd, the Hong Kong flu I remember all too well as I was so sick) I figure I will or won't survive the next and aside from trying to be as healthy as possible figure there isn't much I can do. So I'm wondering, do those of us who have contracted avian flu before have a better chance of quickly developing defenses if exposed again?
Antibacterial this and antibacterial that scare me more, like some above already stated. Somewhere between too filthy and too sterile is a healthy living environment. I try for that happy medium.
I seem to remember that 'happy medium' being a state called homeostasis-
and the same teacher used to point out that we survive in a very narrow range between light and dark, boiling and freezing, etc...
I'm one of those peole who ate their fair share of dirt as a kid- and I grew up to have a far healthier constitution than my more properly brought up friends, and a few of them even acknowledge it, and have stopped dragging their children to the doctors because they sneezed, or got their hands dirty.
my mom's still convinced, however, that my going barefoot in october is more unhealthy for me than her dank old house (I joke about my achilles' sinus cavities- they really are my weak point, and the old homestead never fails to trigger an allergy attack)
I am stocking up on zicam (zinc gluconate) nose spray, which I use every night that I think I may have been exposed to cold viruses. I have not had a cold in over a year now, and I think it might also work with the flu...
I'm more worried about precipitous destruction of poultry flocks, and the subsequent shortage of eggs. Could a couple of birds be kept safely in a basement, or would there still be vectors to allow them to catch the disease? (This may be one of the dumb actions we were being counseled against, above, in this string...)
What precautions should bird pet owners be taking? Can the virus be introduced on birdseed?
eibren, I got this from the CDC...
How does bird flu spread?
Infected birds shed flu virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with contaminated excretions or surfaces that are contaminated with excretions. It is believed that most cases of bird flu infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. The spread of avian influenza viruses from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.
Spread of Avian Influenza Viruses among Birds
October 14, 2005
General Information on
Avian influenza viruses circulate among birds worldwide. Certain birds, particularly water birds, act as hosts for influenza viruses by carrying the virus in their intestines and shedding it. Infected birds shed virus in saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Susceptible birds can become infected with avian influenza virus when they have contact with contaminated nasal, respiratory, or fecal material from infected birds. Fecal-to-oral transmission is the most common mode of spread between birds.
Most often, the wild birds that are host to the virus do not get sick, but they can spread influenza to other birds. Infection with certain avian influenza A viruses (for example, some H5 and H7 strains) can cause widespread disease and death among some species of domesticated birds
Looks like those of us that grow herbs outdoors could be at risk, if we do not use precautions.
I wonder how long the virus is viable once on a surface such as a leaf.
Well, I wouldn't worry too much about it, since it hasn't spread to the US yet. When it does, the CDC might have info on the viability of the virus. Lots of viruses can't live long without moisture and body heat. Really... I wish the media would quit talking about it. But then, we enjoy worrying... gives us something to do.
Just wash your hands and think nothing of it.
Adding to the fear, a local TV news broadcast recently reported that the flu virus can live for 8 hrs. on surfaces around us. The keep everyone in constant fear philosophy is so rampant! At least the government is now looking into whether the antibacterial craze is doing more harm than good.
viruses cant sustain themselves as i may or may not have said earlyer, they don't feed, they just insert DNA into ur cells,
basically goes STOP CODE:MAKE VIRUSES
the stop code makes the cell stop doing its normal functions, the the second bit is self explanatiory
just in casse anyone was wondering, water birds are more at risk because they leave their feceas in the water and drink it lots, and feed from it.
i'm in the UK, an island but home to many migratory birds during summer and winter. we also have high population density. luckily i'v been exposed to basically everyting under the sun. happy dirt, and cat and dog and chicken infused childhood
provided you wash your herbs first (i hope you do) the outdoor hers isn't really a problem as far as i can see
oh and homeostasis is the controlling of the internal environment, keeping oxygen and heat and water etc. levels stable inside your body, very complex with hormones and monitoring stations and feedback loops
scaremongering (especially tabloids) is more of a problem than the virus in my opinion, it puts the populace under stress, increasing our vunerability to infection.
oh and on the herbs again UV light "kills" viruses because it destroys nucleic acids (RNA and DNA (and ATP)) rendering the virus noting more than a protien case.
as for transmition between people, it probably wont be long as viruses mutate fast, and having had bird flu before wont mean much either i don't think as flu viruses mutate so your no longer immune quite fast. on the plus side if you survived before your obvoiusly capable of surviving so thumbs up
keeping birds safe and sound in a basement would possibly work, but theres also te problem that if a significant percentage of the population is gone there will be inbreeding weakening future stock, that and you'd have to make sure that you don't traips any bird poo into the enclosure, that and a host of other problems unfortunatly
battery hens are gonna be a major problem though. consider hundreds of possible carriers in filthy dung laden conditions. many opertunities to mutate and for workers to be infected. yet another argument against battery poultry (aside from the obvoius moral ones)
hmm i'm posting very long posts atm
hope this is clarifies some stuff
Recommended reading: The Stand by Stephen King.
It's probably more educational than the propaganda provided on the boob tube.
Seriously, I agree that the scare tactics aren't making anyone more healthy or more capable of surviving anything.
No one's scared of drug resistant TB, which kills WAY more people... so why the bird flu? We were scared of anthrax for a short minute.... always good to have SOMETHING to worry about...
It would seem that it might make sense to try to develop a vaccine for domesticated birds, at least, instead of killing off thousands of them wherever the virus crops up.
Additionally, if mosquitos can infect us with things, why not develop a vaccine for wild birds that can be spread by mosquitos?....
Bye the way, to keep in the herbalism component, has anyone besides me ever fed borage to ducks?
When I had ducks in my backyard, I would feed them borage if they started quacking too much, and it would quiet them down. (I just put it in their water tub.)
This raises a possible new line of discussion: herbs for poultry!
Apparently the Chinese are not going to rely on herbal measures to protect their poultry--they're planning to immunize all of them! Wish our country would do the same, at least with the breeding stock. Maybe there are disadvantages to the vaccine, as there was with the oral polio one.
I've seen some reports that the Koreans have found that kim chee kills the virus, as does any other sort of vegetable pickle (sauerkraut, brined cuke pickles) that uses that sort of bacterial fermentation. It's actually the bacteria that fights the virus, rather than the cabbage.
I have a persistant wheezing cough left over from a bad cold. My doctor prescribed an Albuterol inhaler of the type used by asthema sufferers. A friend who's studying herbalism gave me cow parsnip root. I think the cow parsnip is doing more good. He told me the local tribes used to use it as a profalactic (spelling?) when they went visiting those who might be contagious with colds and flu. It helps destroy incoming pathogens as they enter through the mouth and throat, as well as being soothing for those already sick. A half inch piece of pencil sized dried root, stuck in my cheek and ignored (not chewed or sucked on, as it's strong enough without that) provides several hours of either occasional, easy, productive cough, or no cough at all. It has a bitter turnip/horseradish like flavor, but it's easy enough to ignore.