Thursday, December 08, 2005

Avian Flu Update Dec 9

Ukraine reports additional mass bird deaths although they haven't been definitively linked to Avian Flu. This happened in villages surrounding the originally infected region.

EU bans Ukrainian Poultry. The same article mentions that the virus in Ukraine has been confirmed to be H5N1. I had a report with more on that but lost it. Internet is buggy so won't be able to look that up.

As I said before, I understood that Ukraine depends on poultry imports so I don't know how this affects anything. I'm going to try to look up some more info on this.

Update: Ukraine Poultry exports seem to be limited to Russian and Belarus as mentioned here in the previously unknown web site (at least to me) called the "Poultry Site". It seems that the various bans on Ukraine Poultry Imports aren't going to have much of an effect if any.

An interesting note. In this report, the Ukrainian head of Veterinarian Medicine sought to calm public fears by stating that there are no reports of Avian Flu. This was in September, the time that people are now claiming that the first cases were reported.

Also noted is the continuing smuggling of poultry into Ukraine because of high import tariffs.

This statement by Birdlife International that migratory birds are not at fault for spreading the flu seems more dedicated to saving migratory birds than common sense.

''The limited outbreaks in eastern Europe are on southerly migration routes but are more likely to be caused by other vectors such as the import of poultry or poultry products. The hypothesis that wild birds are to blame is simply far from proven,'' said Rands.

I might buy into this if the area in Ukraine was a hub for imports but it sounds like a remote rural area that probably produces its own poultry. Yea, I guess they haven't proven wild birds are to blame but at this late date, nobody has proven my imaginary friend Bobo the monkey boy isn't the greatest practitioner of traditional celtic dance in the last century.

The US National Center for Policy Analysis warns US hospitals may help spread flu pandemic. Conditions in Ukraine hospitals are appalling. It is not unusual to find a stray dog or cat lounging in the hallways and treatment is dependent on bribes to doctors and nurses. They are simply not paid enough to live on their salaries alone. I can't confirm it now but I am pretty sure that needles are reused. Well, PCVs are not allowed to donate blood for safety reasons so that should tell you something. I would imagine a Ukrainian hospital would be the perfect environment for such a virus to spread.

In the same article, a report from the US Congressional Budget Office predicts that a US pandemic would cost $675 billion if 30 percent of the population were infected, the infection rate for the last 3 pandemics.

US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, said the report assumed a 2.5 per cent mortality rate, that the pandemic would last for three months and that 30 per cent of the workforce would become ill and miss three weeks of work.

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