2008 the year of the Flu Pandemic?

I have been following the H5N1 virus for a while now.
Since the year 2003, the bird flu virus repeatedly seems to appeare out of no where, for no visible reason, mostly in a remote (from the point of view of the west) country in the far east and then, after a short period of local panic, the virus disappears, again for no provable reason.
We have gotten used to this peak-a-boo game, with the deadliest of potential dangers to mankind to such an extent, that there are “journalists” taking bets against the chance of a pandemic-in-our-time.
There are others who think that bird flu is a social network tool and have regular get together shindings and a jolly good knees-up.
This year is different however.
The year started with the H5N1 virus ruling the roost, so to speak, in 10 countries just in the first 15 days of the year!
This time the outbreaks of the virus seem to be spreading much faster over a much wider area.
Portugal, Dominica, Israel, Benin, Vietnam, China, West Bengal in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar have all been hit by outbreaks.
On Wednesday, a fourth swan died of the H5N1 virus in the Abbotsbury reserve in Dorset, southern England.
So can this be the year that the dreaded pandemic visits mankind once again?
With the US Presidential election in full swing, will any one pay attention to what could be a vast shadow creeping silently over all of us?
Come to think of it, did any of the Presidential Candidates mention bird flu in any of the debates?
Is it even politically correct to mention the bird flu virus these days?
I mean would the color of the poultry and the birds (other than the totally white British swans) come into play?

15 Responses

  1. Hmmm…..

    No mention of Egypt in the article above. Matter of fact the news media is ignoring the outbreak in Egypt, which by the way runs the entire length of the nile in the country from the Aswan dam in the South to the Nile Delta in the North. This outbreak is covering an area of 95% of the population of humans and fowl in the country. I do not know for sure how bad it is there as it seems the government is suppressing the media and no news is getting out. So postings are saying it is in the hundreds now of cases at the hospitals. The Minister of Health there was quoted today as saying 4,000 cases, but that is a loose translation and I am having to find an Arabic translator as the message is from an interview with the Health minister and posted on an Egyptian website in Arabic.

    Does anyone know what is really going on in Egypt?

  2. BFNF,

    Your blog may be small, but it packs a might punch.

  3. You forgot to mention recent & ongoing outbreaks in Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Southern Russia. Also, since October 2007, there have been three confirmed (4 if you count the 2 incidences in Pakistan seperately) incidences of limited Human-to-Human transmission of the virus amongst close relatives.

    This number does not include four additional suspect cases in Indonesia where people have died from the H5N1 virus without any known cause or sick poultery in the area. The Indonesian government did not investigate the cases. Neither does this number include suspect clusters in Egypt.

    If this recent trend continues to escalate, then yes, 2008 will be the year of the pandemic and no one will be prepared for it.

  4. This will no doubt sound morbid, grisly or gruesome but here goes anyway: I love the picture with this article!

    And yes, as so often repeated by myself, after the 8-8-08 at 8:08 p.m. Olympics (yikes with the numbers) is over, flublogians had better be more vigilant personally, keeping up to a greater degree with the flu community news.

    What presidental election?!! That’s another “oh my god” thing for me. I’d like to wet their lips and stick them all on a wall.

    Read your kind words on Year of the Rat post, thank you, I needed that.

    Hey victoria! tee-hee, we have a new place to blog.
    And now, I’ll be back in a week after handling euro’s that can hold a virus for hours or days, so the Swedish say.

  5. Nearly 56,000 birds have died from the disease in eastern India, where authorities have begun slaughtering another 400,000 animals, most of them chickens.

    Bird flu has killed at least 217 people worldwide since it began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003

  6. Why no mention that last year worldwide cases plummeted 24 percent from 2006 and even fell below 2005 levels? The actual number for last year was a mere 85. That’s within the CDC’s estimate range of the number of Americans alone who die EACH DAY of plain old seasonal flu. Why no mention? That’s a rhetorical question.

  7. I must admit Sandra, I do like BFNF, they know how to stick the boot up the you know where. They call a spade a spade. Yay! Remember to pack your Tamiflu.

  8. Michael Darling,

    Let’s agree to disagree on the veracity of the WHO H5N1 infection and death numbers. No government on earth has been entirely truthful about infection and death rates, the blaring example being Indonesia. In many of these countries there is little control. The WHO most certainly does not have the true tally.

    I am more interested in the infection and death rates that will occur in India, Pakistan etc sometime in the next four weeks. No protection appears to have been used in the infected areas. Indeed, many of the sick birds have been eaten or sold. So we will have to wait and see.

  9. Hey victoria, agree with the comment on BFNF you made. I’m not one to pussyfoot around, never have been. Would love to be more gentle with myself and others though, sigh.
    BTW, can’t take Tamiflu. Can barely take any medications (narcotics), my system just doesn’t handle them.
    Cannabis is a different story though but our gross and misaligned government won’t allow it. The propaganda about it too is all lies, hope you realize this and I haven’t offended you.
    While in Amsterdam and partaking in the Coffeeshop’s there not once did I have an upset stomach. Hereditary digestive problems that our illustrious medical doctor’s just can’t seem to understand how to make it right.

  10. Sandra,

    Don’t you think that it is about time that we started corresponding properly? I do.

  11. Victoria, we are just about to relaunch a pandemic forum that was create a long while back but was never fully developed by KC, who is the “conceptualiser” of our team.

    The reason for the relaunch of the forum is mainly to let you and Sandra communicate properly 🙂

    Also, we would like to request that you guys be the moderators of the forum since I know of no other two peolple who have more common sense!

  12. I would be honoured.

  13. I am sorry to say that I cannot be a moderator for BFNF, as I will be very busy with company work. Sorry again.

  14. Yes victoria, it’s time we started corresponding properly. Have been wanting to approach you with the idea too. Can only “hope” our friendship will survive. Shall I email you at your business web site???

    Tell me more birdflunewsflash on what it takes to be a moderator. Time involved? and so on.

    Have been in San Diego the last 10 days, am leaving to return home on 12th of February. Did not bring my yahoo email password with me so cannot check email. Honestly didn’t think I’d be going online while here.
    Am using my sisters laptop for now, considering purchasing a laptop also as travel will be continuing for me this year.

  15. Sandra,

    Fantastic news here goes


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