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Cateland

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Originally posted at http://www.cateland.com Nov 18, '05

I got another thought provoking email from my buddy, John, today. He's good about sending stuff that makes me think about my life and the world around me and expert investing tips that would make me rich - if I had any money to invest. Anyway, here's the train of thought his latest communication put me on: Bird Flu.

Every day we hear the word 'pandemic' conjoined with 'Bird Flu'. Most of us haven't got a clue as to what Bird Flu is, how it spreads or how many people have died from it. Let me clue you in...

World-wide, there have been a total of 62 deaths, none anywhere outside of
Asia. To put it in perspective, 36,000 Americans die annually from what we call 'flu' or influenza, with that number increasing anywhere from 16,000 - 20,000 deaths every year. Mainly the very old and the very young are infected.

Bird Flu aka Avian or Influenza A, is not spread human-to-human; you must come in contact with an infected bird's poop or food contaminated with it. (Yuck!!!) Here's what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says about it:

"Although it is unusual for people to get influenza virus infections directly from animals, sporadic human infections and outbreaks caused by certain avian influenza A viruses and pig influenza viruses have been reported. These sporadic human infections and outbreaks, however, rarely result in sustained transmission among humans."

What the scare is about is whether or not the virus will mutate into the type that travels from human to human. It has not done so. The reason the flu has hit in
Asia is a matter of lifestyle. Not many Americans run around playing with chickens...

Ranking just below the
US in population, Indonesia has had five recent Bird Flu deaths - all victims either very young or very old - out of a population nearing 210 million. China, which has seen the most animal infections, hasn't reported a single human death while Vietnam reports 34 victims.  Here in America we still have room to breathe, so to speak. Asian countries suffer from massive overcrowding, lower sanitary standards and live in much closer proximity to animals like chickens, pigs and cows. Indonesia - about three times the size of Texas - has a population almost as large as our in an area less than 1/10 the size. As the world's population continues to skyrocket, it forces us closer together and closer to nature and the viruses and bacteria that has always been there. Just as human waste carries a high threat of disease, animal feces do, too, and this is where Bird Flu hides. In Third World countries your chances of coming in contacted with contaminated food is much, much higher than in the US.

Another word we're hearing quite a bit is 'Tamiflu". This is the supposed wonder drug that "is believed" to successfully treat the H5N1 - or deadly strain - of Bird Flu. Roche, which manufacters the drug, refuses to allow a generic version (remember the name Gilead if you read this) - thereby controlling the drug entirely - and are exempt from any lawsuits filed as a result of ingesting the drug, thanks to recent passed legislation. This comes on the heels of an announcement that 12 children in Japan died after taking the drug. (Our Health Department claims it was just a coincidence.) Roche also recieved a HUGE amount of money to prepare for this possible pandemic. Good old Donald Rumsfeld was once CEO of Gilead Science, Inc., the company that held the patents for Tamiflu before they sold them to Roche. Rumsfeld still collects royalties, so to speak, in amounts that are nothing to sneeze at. Why does this remind me of Cheney and Halliburton?

Are we at risk? IF the virus mutates to a type that spreads from human-to-human and IF the virus spreads to the
US then, yes, we are at risk. However, when you compare the death rates of Bird Flu vs. our annual flu outbreak...

How can you protect yourself from this dreaded pandemic? Get a flu shot, eat right and don't panic. Oh, yeah, don't believe everything you hear on the news.

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MACJR

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Thanks for posting this Cateland. I have been trying to tell people this for a while but I did not take the time to be as in-depth about my thoughts or dig up the supporting facts. You point out all the things I should have said. 

 

In fact, it was this very issue that had me leaving a message board not too long ago. I liked the board, I liked the people there, but the board owner did not want to hear my views on politics... especially my views on Bush and his administration or about all the scams and fear tactics they are using against us, the American people - and the rest of the world.

 

Why are so many people blind to this, or unable or unwilling to stand up and say enough is enough? Personally, I feel people should be as outraged as I am at all the financial gain scams that benefit our highest elected, and appointed, officials and the fear tactics they use to manipulate us all. I believe we should all be demanding that the Bush administration be held accountable.

 

Anyway, just my views and it is nice to find someone who shares at least some of them.

 

Amos, the owner of the board I left, is a good guy but sometimes he is not open to debate. I am.

 

 

MACJR


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Kirock

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Hey! You two aren't by any chance related are you?

 

That was an excellent post on the Bird Flu, explaining what it really is, and why the chances of it spreading are so small. I think there are a lot of people who don't yet understand that it can only spread from birds to people right now, and not from person to person. Most of the news stories seem to overlook directly speaking that fact, or they bury it in the story so that it's very easy to miss.

 

And Mac, I think I can see what happened at the other board now. The way your post was worded, it sounded like you were saying Bush and his administration were responsible for the Bird Flu, when I think you meant Bush and his administration were responsible for "the hype" about the Bird Flu?

 

That really makes sense now that the connection between Rumsfeld and the company that makes Tamiflu has been pointed out.

MACJR

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Yep, Cateland is the wife of my Uncle Art. I guess there must be some shared family values at work here. Some of the common values between Uncle Art and me seem to reflect with his choice of a wife because I have recently found that Cateland and I share some opinions too. 

 

I have only recently established contact with Cateland online. I seldom get to see Uncle Art and Cateland because they do not live local, or even in the same state as I do. I live in WA (Washington) and they live in NV (Nevada – near Snake for those who know what I am talking about).

 

I have only met Cateland in person twice; the most recent time was at Grandma’s 80th birthday (I will have a set of pages for this soon). This is when she gave me her e-mail address. After Cateland and I started talking via the internet we found that we had a few things in common. And when I found her article about the bird flu, I couldn’t resist but to ask her to join this board and specifically if she would post her article here.

 

Yeah, I suppose my quick and short snit I posted on the Amos board could have been miss-read that way Kirock.  :\

 

Actually though, because of their (the Bush Administration's) early push to hype bird flu vaccine, I did suspect them of more sinister things but that is not what my post was meant to reflect. The Bird Flu is more than likely just a naturally occurring excuse to make money… but I did fear it could have been more at first.

 

 

MACJR

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ManInBlack

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Reply with quote  #5 
This just in...

Bird Flu strikes a Florida trailer park



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chevy

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I guess they'll be looking for a synthetic vaccine now.


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The thing that surprises me with any new illness, not just bird flu is that everyone panics over it and tries to get there first for the vaccines.  Quite honestly with something like this I just wonder if the vaccines will actually protect should they become available and necessary for use.  If I understand it correctly isnt the flu vaccines supposed to be last years germs anyway?  How does that help with the current flu version especially if it is mixed with bird flu?   

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticStar

The thing that surprises me with any new illness, not just bird flu is that everyone panics over it and tries to get there first for the vaccines.  Quite honestly with something like this I just wonder if the vaccines will actually protect should they become available and necessary for use.  If I understand it correctly isnt the flu vaccines supposed to be last years germs anyway?  How does that help with the current flu version especially if it is mixed with bird flu?   

 

Exactly!

 

The hype is to make everyone feel that they should get a flu vaccine to prevent getting the bird flu, should the bird flu become more easily transmitted to humans. The problem with this is that if the bird flu virus does mutate enough to become more easily transmitted to humans, any vaccine designed for the un-mutated version of bird flu will more than likely be totally ineffective to a mutated version of the virus.

 

The only way they will be able to make a vaccine for a bird flu virus that is easier for humans to catch is after the virus does mutate… and it would take months after the virus mutated before enough vaccine could be made available to the general population. In effect, the risk of a pandemic is always going to be with us, no matter if you take a flu shot or not.

 

So, net results of the bird flu hype, it is a gimmick to get people to buy a drug that may or may not be of any use to them. Even in the best of times, it is a gamble that they made the right vaccine for the flu that becomes dominate that year… and even then, that vaccine is only good until the virus it was made for mutates.

 

There is nothing wrong with trying to be prepared and trying to reduce the risk of catching the flu that they have made a vaccine for. But, there is usually two or three flu virus out each year and the vaccine, if I remember right, is only designed to be effective for one flu virus. The vaccine makers always have to gamble that they chose to make the vaccine for the flu that will be the worst for that year… and they do not always choose right.

 

Personally, I find this hype over the bird flu to be a criminal attempt to scare people into buying a product that may be of absolutely no help to them should the dreaded threatened pandemic actually hit.

 

 

MACJR


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waltcesca

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Reply with quote  #9 

MACJR, I read that there are over two hundred different strains of the flu virus! This makes it even harder to come up with a vaccine for the type thaqt is making the rounds in any given time span!


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