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26th May 2005, 14:18
Recombinomics (http://www.recombinomics.com/News/05260504/H5N1_Qinghai_Phase_6.html):

Final Phase 6 Bird Flu Pandemic in Qinghai China?

Recombinomics Commentary
May 26, 2005

Officials have closed all China's nature reserves, including Bird Island, a tourist attraction on Lake Qinghai. They will attempt to vaccinate all three million farmyard poultry in Qinghai province within two days. One specialist said: "People do not need to panic and should be confident that the new cases will be brought under control as effective measures have been taken."

Reports coming out of Qinghai suggest H5N1 infections in humans and birds are out of control, with birds distributing H5N1 to the north and west, while people are being cremated and told to keep quiet. Reports from Chinese language papers detail over 200 suspected infections in over two dozen locations in Qinghai Province. In the most affected 18 regions, there are 121 deaths, generating a case fatality rate above 60%.

Even if only a small fraction of the deaths are H5N1 linked, the cases would move the bird flu pandemic stage from 5 to the final stage 6, representing sustained human-to-human transmission of H5N1. The high case fatality rate suggests the H5N1 in Qinghai has achieved efficient human transmission while retaining a high case fatality rate. If confirmed, these data would have major pandemic preparedness implications. These cases began almost a month ago and are now spreading via people who have previously entered the high risk area.

The official media comments coming out of China appear to be carefully worded, describing "new cases" being brought under control, inability to "see" human cases, or lack of "pneumonia" cases.

Several reports from Qinghai have cited limitations on discussing or reporting details. All nature reserves in China have been closed.

Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/birdflu/story/0,14207,1492463,00.html)

26th May 2005, 20:51
Well, I suppose that if it's going to happen, we'll find out all about it over here this winter...?! After all, there's no other practical way (short of suspending all transport of people and livestock into and out of affected areas and imposing an indefinite quarantine) until effective vaccines are produced in sufficient quantities and the whole world's population vaccinated - just think about polio and the decades we've had to stop it?!

Might as well get it over with? I'm feeling lucky... :}

Seriously though, the experts don't appear to be unduly alarmist... "Experts estimate a fifth of the world's population could be affected, with 30m needing hospital treatment and around 7.5m dying." (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4579777.stm) considering that further on the article goes onto recount that: Experts repeatedly warn such a pandemic would be far worse than the one which occurred in 1918, which killed between 20 and 40 million people. Which is a far cry from and what confuses me: If H5N1 kills 60% of those that catch it and 20% of the world's population of 6 billion (?) could catch it in a global pandemic...that's 1 billion people who could catch it of which 600 million would die. Which is a very long way from estimates of 7.5 million perishing?! :confused:

Whatever, if the pandemic happens, it would probably mean the end of:

House price-booms.
Life assurance companies.

But the upside could be a boom in:

Manufacturers of protective masks and self-contained breathing apparatus (not forgetting the drugs companies, sellers of magic potions etc.).
An exodus of urban-dwellers into the remotest parts of the land (and hence a mini-boom in places like the outer-Hebrides).
Funeral parlours (or at least shares in heavy earth-moving equipment mfrs. like Caterpillar and JCB).

The only saving grace of such a pandemic I was going to say, would be more breathing space for the world's remaining wildlife. But after reflection, all those urban-dwellers moving out into the sticks would probably mean the last straw for any furry creatures... :sad:

27th May 2005, 06:00
while people are being cremated and told to keep quiet Generally, the dead never have much to say during the funeral but then again, the Chinese government have never been known to take chances.

Seriously though, the pandemonium about SARs ruined national economies and plunged the whole Far East into a long, deep economic recession. Much ado about nothing.

In the most affected 18 regions, there are 121 deaths, generating a case fatality rate above 60%. - that'll be a total of 202 cases altogether then?

Once again The Experts are sending out wildly exaggerated warnings using wild, concocted figures that don't add up.

Not again please.

27th May 2005, 06:16
There I would have to disagree. SARS was contained by the heroic efforts of those experts and the medical staff who stood in harms way.

I note that the proposal is to to try and do something similar in this case. Production of a vaccine is difficult as the normal production means, incubation in eggs, is not possible as avian flu kills the host. The intention being to flood the affected areas with staff and isolate any suspects. The aim being to try and delay the speed and extent of any outbreaks whilst vaccines are developed and distributed worldwide.

If they succeed, of course, we will be told, no doubt, that there was never anything to worry about and the experts were just be alarmist again....

27th May 2005, 09:39
british threat of bird flu (http://www.therockalltimes.co.uk/2005/03/21/bird-flu.html)
Yep the Chinese saved the world from SARS and precious little kudos was forthcoming.............expect this to be no different.:E

29th May 2005, 04:24
SARS was contained by the heroic efforts of those experts and the medical staff who stood in harms way.
I suppose that's right from the perspective of those who looked on from thousands of miles away, without their livelihoods on the line.

Over here in the front line, we have a quite different point of view and we are very suspicious of the possible political motives. For example Ebola and its variations are much more dangerous and widespread than SARs ever was, but we don't see travel and trade restrictions being imposed on Africa.