The growing Danger from the Zoonoses.

Zoonoses are defined by the WHO as “Diseases and infections which are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and man”.
 
In an article in the scientific American today, David Biello says that the best way to beat bird flu and other zoonotic diseases, he says, is to keep humans and wildlife healthy.
 
A zoonotic agent may be a bacterium, virus, fungus, parasite, or other communicable agent.

Zoonoses cover a broad and growing range of diseases and they can be transmitted by bacterium, virus, fungus, parasite, or a number of other (also growing) agents.

A recent study shows that these zoonoses such as H5N1 bird flu, West Nile and Ebola now account for as much as 58 percent of human pathogens and the number is growing fast.
 
In just the past five years, WHO has identified more than 1,000 epidemics stemming from such pathogens.
 
“There are more flu infections in more countries than ever before,” said veterinarian William Karesh, head of the Field Veterinary Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), during a WSC Conferance in New York City last week.
 
These diseases are hard to stop because they are not only spread by wild animals, mosquitoes and the like but, even more commonly, by billions of livestock animals, such as chickens, ducks and geese raised for food in vast factory farms.
 
Zoonotic outbreaks are triggered by a range of factors, including man-made changes to natural habitats that bring humans into contact with wildlife as well as airplanes and other forms of transport that allow “speedy, long-range dissemination of any disease agent,” says veterinarian Arnon Shimshoni of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 
“There is an artificial distinction between the health of wildlife, livestock and people,” Karesh said. Sickness in one of these groups, can mean sickness in all.
Credits:
 
 
 

Combodia Fights the Bird Flu virus

Here are three video news bulletins from the Apsara News Cambodia, telling us about the efforts of the Government of Cambodia, Border authorities, in their fight against the H5N1 virus.
Interesting.
 Video 1. 
Video 2.
Video 3.

Animals To Humans Infectious Diseases Map

From the BBC, a map of the world, showing risk levels of emerging diseases transmitted from wildlife.
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The researchers say the majority of hotspots are located in lower-latitude developing nations.
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Electing the Bird Flu President USA

It is clear to us all that the next President of the USA is likely to encounter all kinds of serious problems.
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Many believe that in addition to all the domestic, economic and diplomatic disasters facing the next US Presidet, there could well be an added disaster of the Bird Flu pandemic looming just over the horizon.
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So we have been taking a look at the candidates for the job of the President of America and the way we all feel about them during the election process.
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During the last few months one thing has become very clear about the way the Americans elect their President.
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The US election 08 clearly tells us that in America, no matter how qualified a woman is, she has very little chance of getting the top job, against a man who wants the same job.
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It is much more important for the Americans to see how the woman looks, sounds or pleases them in some other way, than it is to see if she is the best qualified for the job.
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We can all deny this but if we are really honest about it, we would all have to admit this as a fact.
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It is like getting a male pilot with only one year training to fly a jumbo jet, because he is a man and “he inspires us”, as opposed to a woman who has flown jumbo jets for decades and has weathered all kinds of storms, but “we do not like her”.
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But then that is how George W was elected.
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Was he not the guy you could have a drink with?
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Of course the fact that GW had no idea about running a country, was no problem as he could always “surround himself with the best”!
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We deserve what we get and should not moan about it after the fact.

free Tamiflu for all visitors to Indonesia?

You have to hand it to the Indonesians for their chutzpah, in launching the new Visit Indonesia 2008 tourism campaign, at the same time as we hear about at least five Indonesians apparently infected with the deadly bird flu virus.
The campaign slogan, inaugurated by Indonesian Tourism Minister Jero Wacik last week, is also plastered on Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda planes, Website and on its promotional TV ads, with a tag line: “Celebrating 100 years of a nation’s awakening”.
Some have suggested that the new slogan should be “free Tamiflu for all visitors to Indonesia” instead!
The country is embarking on the campaign to revive its flagging tourism industry which recorded a drop of about four million foreign tourist arrivals, in 2006.
Some of the reasons for the drop in tourism are:
Indonesia’s has not been in the good books of its Gods and the country has had to go through multiple disasters one after the other.
There was the devastating 2004 year-end tsunami, followed by severe flooding and there have been several volcanic eruptions since then.
Also, due to numerous air crashes, some involves its national carrier Garuda, air travel, which is a necessity for residents of the country’s far-flung islands, saftey has also become an issue.
To top it all, the European Union has banned Indonesian air carriers flying over the EU airspace!.
Then there have been a series of bombings by Islamic-based extremist group which operates under the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) organization in the Southeast Asian region has kept tourists further at bay.

A Jakarta court has just opened the trial of Abu Dujana, who is being charged with plotting terrorist activities, including in possession of explosives.

He is being blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, which resulted in the death of 202 people, mostly Australian tourists.

However, the most worrying problem for the potential visitors to Indonesia is of course the Bird Flu virus, which has killed more people in Indonesia to date, than any where else in the world.

Siti Supari, the controversial Indonesian Health Minister has not made things easy for her country, by taking on the WHO and other global agencies by refusing to let the world scientific community have the tssue samples, from the Indonesian victims of theBird Flu virus.

The government’s apparent poor handling of the on-going bird flu health scare which undoubtedly will be on the mind of tourists visiting the country.

May be they should offer free Tamiflu to all tourists to Indonesia, just in case.

Source:

http://www.eturbonews.com/470/indonesia-launches-2008-tourism-campaign-howls-protest

Bird-Flu Mutates to Mix with Swine-Flu

Researchers have identified a new strain of swine influenza—H2N3—which is a mutated virus gene, composed of avian and swine influenza genes.
H2N3 which belongs to the group of H2 influenza viruses that last infected humans during the 1957 pandemic.
Department of Agriculture Seal

The research team at Agricultural Research Service, studied an unknown pathogen that in 2006 infected two groups of pigs at separate production facilities.

Both groups of pigs used water obtained from ponds frequented by migrating waterfowl.

Molecular studies indicated the unknown pathogen was an H2N3 influenza virus that is closely related to an H2N3 strain found in mallard ducks. But this was the first time it had been observed in mammals.

Influenza viruses have eight gene segments, all of which can be swapped between different virus strains.

Two of these gene segments code for virus surface proteins that help determine whether an influenza virus is able to infect a specific host and start replicating—the first step in the onset of influenza infection.

In the newly isolated swine H2N3, the avian H2 and N3 gene segments mixed with gene segments from common swine influenza viruses.

This exchange—and additional mutations—gave the H2N3 viruses the ability to infect swine. Lab tests confirmed that this strain of H2N3 could also infect mice and ferrets.

These findings provide further evidence that swine have the potential to serve as a “mixing vessel” for influenza viruses carried by birds, pigs and humans. It also supports the need to continue monitoring swine—and livestock workers—for H2-subtype viruses and other influenza strains that might someday threaten swine and human health.

Results of this study were published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s chief scientific research agency.

The research Scientists:

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) veterinarians Juergen Richt, Amy Vincent, Kelly Lager and Phillip Gauger conducted this research with Iowa State University (ISU) visiting scientist Wenjun Ma, ISU veterinarian Bruce Janke and other colleagues at the University of Minnesota and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The ARS veterinarians work at the agency’s National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa.

Sources:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=1261

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

Bird Flu may be “Hushed Up” in Pakistan – Health Minister!

Here is an amazing statement by the current “caretaker Health Minister” of the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, as reported in the news item below, via Daily times: 

NWFP caretaker Health Minister Syed Kamal Shah told Daily Times that so far around six to seven cases of the disease had been reported in the province.

He added two of the patients had died in November and that officials were awaiting results of the samples that they had dispatched to the NIH.

“If the results come out to be positive then the samples would be sent to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for further confirmation,” he said.

“I am trying to get the results but poultry is a big industry with many stakeholders, some of whom may want to hush up the issue.”

“The strain detected in the Bird Flu-infected people is called H5N1, which is the most dangerous of all other strains,” he added.

Shah also said that currently there were three people in the hospitals of Peshawar and Abbottabad. However, he declined to say something about the infected doctor.

He said over 70 percent of the poultry industry was based in NWFP and added that “closure of the industry is under-consideration, as human lives are more precious and important than any industry.”

Sources:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C12%5C18%5Cstory_18-12-2007_pg7_28

www.birdflubreakingnews.com