Bird Flu Update

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Bruin63, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. Bruin63

    Bruin63 Member



    Here's an update that I found on my news service, thought I would share it with thoes of you who are concerned, as I am about this New Bird Flu.
    Since I eat only Chicken, I am Praying that this will end, or an answer is found, before it hits the USA.
    Then what will I eat? E-Gads.
    sharonk

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Americans' Bird Flu Concerns Addressed By MIKE STOBBE, Associated Press Writer
    Sun Oct 16, 2:52 PM ET



    ATLANTA - Americans fearful of bird flu are peppering health officials with all sorts of questions: Is it safe to have a bird feeder in my yard? If I see a dead bird, should I report it? Is it still OK to have turkey at Thanksgiving? The answers are yes, no, and yes.


    Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been handling an avalanche of phone calls from the public and the media.

    "It's been insane," said Dave Daigle, a spokesman for the CDC, which has been getting an average of 447,000 hits a day on its avian flu information Web page.

    That's more than the CDC got from people wanting to know about the flu shot shortage last October or the West Nile virus outbreaks in 2003. And bird flu isn't even here.

    It is just now infecting poultry in eastern Europe. So far, it almost never spreads between humans and in two years has infected 117 people, all in Asia. More than 60 have died.

    But in the past couple weeks there has been tremendous attention on the virus and U.S. government plans to cope with a possible global outbreak. Health experts believe the bird virus may one day mutate to a form that is not only deadly, but easily spread among people.

    The U.S. government has started stockpiling Tamiflu and other medicines that scientists believe might be effective against a pandemic virus.

    Some people wonder if they should do the same thing. The manufacturer of Tamiflu, which was created to treat ordinary human flu, advises the drug be taken within 48 hours after flu symptoms begin. So some health officials agree it might be wise to have a supply at the ready, especially if a shortage develops.

    But people should suppress the urge to pester their doctors for Tamiflu prescriptions, said Dr. Charles Woernle of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

    Those who hoard Tamiflu will reduce supplies for the elderly and others at risk of serious illness and death from conventional flu, he said.

    "You'd be denying some folks who have definite, immediate needs," said Woernle, Alabama's assistant state health officer for disease control and prevention.

    Debbie Crane, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said if people really want to take precautions, they should eat right, wash their hands and take common-sense steps to bolster their health and immune systems.

    She also suggested getting a flu shot. The vaccine for the upcoming flu season doesn't confer protection against bird flu. But protecting people against conventional flu could make them stronger against a new illness, health experts say.

    One more thing: Quit smoking, Crane advised.

    In North Carolina, officials estimate that 5,600 state residents could die in a bird flu pandemic. Meanwhile, about 10,000 residents of that state die annually because of tobacco use, Crane noted.

    Here are answers from CDC and global health officials to some of the questions worried Americans have been asking:

    Q: Is it safe to keep a bird feeder in the yard?

    A: Yes.

    Q: If I see a dead bird, should I report it?

    A: No. While there has been avian flu in the United States, it has not been the H5N1 strain that has spread through poultry farms in southeast Asia and into eastern Europe.

    Q: We keep a small flock of chickens. Should we get rid of them?

    A: No.

    Q: If I feel fluish, should I ask my doctor to perform a particular test to check for the bird flu virus?

    A: You may ask your doctor to conduct either a rapid diagnostic flu test or a lab test for influenza. If you have a recent travel history to an area where bird flu is endemic, inform your physician.

    Q: Should I buy Tamiflu for my home?

    A: Tamiflu is effective at treating ordinary flu and scientists believe it may help combat human infections caused by the H5N1 virus. However, the effectiveness of any antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu could change depending on how the virus changes.

    Q: Is it safe to eat poultry? Does freezing/cooking destroy the bird flu virus? Is it safe to serve turkey for Thanksgiving?

    A: Eating properly handled and cooked poultry is safe. The U.S. government has banned imported poultry from countries affected by bird flu, including H5N1. In addition, European health officials say cooking kills the virus and they are assuring Europeans it is safe to eat chicken.

    ___

    On the Net:

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/

  2. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. The news media is whipping the public into a frenzy over this. I think we all should be concerned and taking precautions, but if this level of media coverage continues, people are going to panic at the first signs of a virus. One good thing may come from it; people may finally get serious about hand washing, including health care workers.

    Love, Mikie
  3. Bruin63

    Bruin63 Member


    NIH Uses Live Viruses for Bird Flu Vaccine By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer
    Sat Dec 17,11:37 PM ET



    In an isolation ward of a Baltimore hospital, up to 30 volunteers will participate in a bold experiment: A vaccine made with a live version of the most notorious bird flu will be sprayed into their noses.

    First, scientists are dripping that vaccine into the tiny nostrils of mice. It doesn't appear harmful — researchers have weakened and genetically altered the virus so that no one should get sick or spread germs — and it protects the animals enough to try in people.

    This is essentially FluMist for bird flu, and the hope is that, in the event of a flu pandemic, immunizing people through their noses could provide faster, more effective protection than the troublesome shots — made with a killed virus — the nation now is struggling to produce.

    And if it works, this new vaccine frontier may not just protect against the bird flu strain, called H5N1, considered today's top health threat. It offers the potential for rapid, off-the-shelf protection against whatever novel variation of the constantly evolving influenza virus shows up next — through a library of live-virus nasal sprays that the National Institutes of Health plans to freeze.

    "It's high-risk, high-reward" research, said Dr. Brian Murphy, who heads the NIH laboratory where Dr. Kanta Subbarao is brewing the nasal sprays — including one for a different bird-flu strain that appeared safe during the first crucial human testing last summer.

    "It might fail, but if it's successful, it might prevent hundreds of thousands of cases" of the next killer flu, Murphy said.

    FluMist is the nation's nasal-spray vaccine that prevents regular winter flu. Developed largely through Murphy's lab, it's the only flu vaccine made with live but weakened influenza viruses.

    The new project, a collaboration with FluMist manufacturer MedImmune Inc., piggybacks cutting-edge genetics technology onto that vaccine to create a line of FluMist-like sprays against different bird flus.

    "That is a great, great idea," said Dr. John Treanor of the University of Rochester, among the flu specialists closely watching the project.

    Regular winter flu shots are made with killed influenza viruses, and the government is stockpiling experimental bird-flu vaccine made the same way. But those bird-flu shots don't work as well as hoped. They require an incredibly high dose, delivered in two separate injections, to spark a protective immune response in people.

    "In theory, a live-virus vaccine might actually work better. We don't know that because we've never tried one before," Treanor said.

    Influenza is like a magician, constantly changing its clothes to avoid detection, thus making it difficult to develop effective vaccines.

    Studding the virus' surface are two proteins called hemagglutinin — the H in H5N1 — and neuraminidase, the "N". They act as a wardrobe: There are 16 known hemagglutinin versions, and nine neuraminidases.

    They're also what triggers the immune system to mount an attack, particularly hemagglutinin, the protein the body aims for when it makes flu-fighting antibodies.

    When people catch the flu, they usually get H1 or H3 flu strains, which their bodies can recognize because variations have circulated among humans for decades.

    Occasionally, genetically unique strains emerge. Until 1997, H5 strains had never been seen outside of birds. The virus essentially put on a coat that human immune systems didn't recognize. The result: Since 2003, a particularly strong H5N1 strain has infected more than 130 people in Asia, killing at least 70.

    H9 and H7 strains also recently have jumped from birds to people, although so far they haven't been nearly as dangerous.

    Researchers hope to create at least one live-virus nasal spray for each "H" subtype, a project costing about $16 million of the NIH's annual $67 million budget for flu vaccine research.

    "The hemagglutinin is the major protective antigen, so that is what we're focusing on," explained Subbarao, a molecular geneticist who heads the project.

    First on her list are the riskiest known bird flus: H5N1, with human tests planned for April. H9N2, which recently underwent the first round of human testing in an isolation ward at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Then an H7 strain, followed by an H6 strain believed to share genes with the H5N1.

    "By no means are we confident we're picking the right strain" to make first, because flu mutates so easily, Subbarao cautioned.

    She chooses vaccine strains from those that U.S. scientists who are monitoring influenza in Asia cull from ducks, chickens and geese, and ship home for research.

    Subbarao must customize those strains for safe vaccination: First, using a new technique called reverse genetics, she selects genes for bird-flu H and N antigens and removes genetic segments that make them dangerous. Then she adds the remaining gene segments to the regular weakened FluMist virus.

    Stocks of the custom virus are grown in fertilized chicken eggs. Each is then carefully cracked by hand to drain out virus-loaded liquid that in turn is purified and put into a nasal spray.

    In a high-security section of the lab, Subbarao dons a biohazard suit and exposes vaccinated mice to various bird flu strains.

    Then it's time for human testing — in a hospital isolation ward just in case the weakened virus could infect someone.

    It shouldn't, because "those problems don't exist in FluMist," said Murphy, citing studies of regular FluMist in day-care centers where youngsters routinely pass viruses back and forth.

    Some studies have found that people can shed virus shortly after receiving regular FluMist. But, "to spread infection, you'd need much more (virus) than replicates in the nose," he said.

    Hopkins researchers gave the first of Subbarao's vaccine candidates — the H9N2 spray — to 30 volunteers last summer. To be sure they couldn't spread the virus by coughing or sneezing, the volunteers underwent daily tests of their noses and throats.

    The vaccine appeared safe. Scientists now are analyzing whether it also spurred production of flu-fighting antibodies, a sign that people would be protected if they encountered the H9N2 strain. Subbarao expects results by February.

    In April, pending final Food and Drug Administration permission, Subbarao will put an H5N1 spray to a similar test.

    Here's the catch: Each flu strain has subtypes. An Indonesian version of H5N1, for example, was recently discovered that differs from a Vietnamese strain on which Subbarao's nasal spray — and the government's stockpiled shots — are based. She's now testing whether her vaccine protects mice against that new Indonesian strain.

    If a novel flu strain begins spreading among people, how will Subbarao tell if her stored nasal vaccines are a good match to fight it?

    NIH also will store blood samples from the people who test those sprays. Say a new H9 strain sparks an outbreak. That virus will be tested against those blood samples, and NIH could predict within a day which spray candidates work. If one does, the government could order doses manufactured from that frozen stock; if none do, scientists would have to try to brew a new vaccine.

    How quickly doses could be manufactured is a different issue. All influenza vaccines, shots or spray, currently are brewed in chicken eggs, a time-consuming process that other research is seeking to improve.

    "These are research projects," Murphy stresses — the nasal-spray concept could fail.

    But he's optimistic. Live-virus vaccines, he maintains, are better immune stimulators.

  4. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Are producing and selling it on a first-come/first-served basis to countries wanting to amass a stockpile. The U.S. dragged its feet and ended up 37th on the list. While we will still get Tamiflu in this country, other countries will be getting the majority of Tamiflu produced. In case of an outbreak, there won't be nearly enough to go around. As stated in the one article, Tamiflu may or may not work as the virus mutates, so this may or may not be a big problem.

    Mother Nature has her ways of thinning the heard and a flu pandemic may be a way of doing this, unfortunately.

    Love, Mikie
  5. lenasvn

    lenasvn New Member

    There have only been 60 some deaths in 3 long years, all handeling birds continuously, and having repressed immunesystem. A regular seasonal flu kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. Just a perspective on this scare. Birds have H5 flu every year, it is the only thing we know for sure, and they are found dead here and there every year. This strain from the regular H5 they have found is asign of maltreatment of birds by poor Asian farmers. I would consern myself more about the regular flu, then. I remember the Avian flu scare. It really didn't go far, but media beat things up pretty good, didn't they.
  6. Sbilek

    Sbilek New Member

    Couldn't resist jumping in here guys, first off, the answers in the Q and A section certainly have me in a panic over the bird flu. Just kidding, guys, my usual sarcasm.

    If you want an interesting read, go to Mercola's site, in the search engine type in Rumsfield, then look for Bird Flu Hoax.

    In a nutshell, to sum it up, the company Gilead gave it's rights to Roche (the manufacturer of Tamiflu) the right to market and sell Tamiflu. Gee, what a coincidence, Rumsfield was the Chairman of Gilead, still a major stockholder. Hmmmmmmmm, guess he would profit handsomely from all these sales of Tamiflu? Can anyone put 2 and 2 together? I sure can.

    Does anyone remember last year, the usual scare tactics with the flu vaccine, then when the flu shots were contaminated, everyone rushing to get what little flu shots there were, everyone in a panic, then the info came out, oh, don't panic everyone, no real need for everyone to get the flu shot, until all of a sudden there was this overload of available flu shots, then info came out again about the urgency to get your flu shot, how we're all going to die.

    As the last person so aptly pointed out, if you really do some research on the statistics of deaths of the flu, you'll find that the statistics are coming from Third World Countries, from people that are starving, old and very sick, and the common cold would have killed them.

    Sbilek
  7. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Avian flu is like the Spanish flu, most deaths were due to the immune system reacting to the virus; hence it has generally been the younger and fitter ones who have died or been critically ill.

    So far this particular strain has not occurred as a person to person infection; there will likely be some mutations. So a human epidemic, if it occurs, may not be exactly the same as the present Avian flu. In some Asian countries contact with domestic birds and other animals that provide a source of food, is a way of life (cultural) and not restricted to the poor. Likewise the way animal produce is displayed, sold, and cooked.

    The media is good at creating fear and panic, govts are notorious for following their own agendas, and corporations are well known for putting their profits first.

    I don't believe anyone should be panicking or getting fearful until we know there's is something to get overly worried about. Better IMHO to just observe the situation and see what develops.

    I posted a while ago on alternatives that should help if the Avian flu ever becomes a human epidemic and remains much the same as it is now. There are two lists, one for normal flu, and the other for Avian flu which can trigger an overreative immune/inflammatory response.

    Tansy
    [This Message was Edited on 12/18/2005]
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I do not live in fear of the bird flu but I don't dismiss the possibility of a pandemic either. So far, this strain hasn't mutated to the point where it transfers between humans. It's been a bird-to-bird and a bird-to-human illness. Thing is that once it does mutate, and the odds are good that it eventually will, it could spread very rapidly. Other thing is that there is a high death toll with this illness, much higher than with our usual strains of flu.

    I think it would be remiss of our govt. to ignore this potential problem but I don't think people ought to panic about it either. Once a pandemic begins, it's too late to be working on vaccines. Problem is that a virus can mutate so fast that working on a vaccine too far in advance may not help either. Last year, the WHO guessed wrong about which strains of flu would hit and as a result, the flu vaccine didn't protect against the strain which caused the flu.

    That the vaccine must be grown in chicken eggs causes it to be time consuming. I believe I read that there is a better way and a faster way to produce it. If it is more expensive, it would explain why the vaccines are still being produced using eggs. The pharmaceutical companies and our govt. have too cozy a relationship. It doesn't usually work for the good of our citizens.

    Many predicted catastrophies never come to pass and I'm not going to put any energy into worrying. The media will continue to fan the flames of fear, especially when news is slow. I pray that a way to end this nasty virus is found one way or another and that the cure isn't worse than the virus.

    Love, Mikie
  9. Bruin63

    Bruin63 Member

    Being Informed about what is being done, in Research, is a good idea. Does it Hurt to be up to date on what is being done?
    Of course not, I don't put these articles up to Scare anyone either.
    Do I believe everything I read, no, but I do read, and I have been interested in All kinds of Virus's.
    For years, and I like to share what I read, dosen't mean it's what is going to Happen, but what could happen.

    I have allergic reaction to Eggs, Iodine, etc. and I don't get the Flu shot, so I do try to keep abreast of what is going on in the World of Virus.


    Hand washing is a Must, also carrying Handcleanser's in my purse helps too. Staying away from crowds, and out of COld weather, has reduced my being sick.

    What I don't think it is, is it's a Hoax and that is because a Former Classmate who was living in Malisa, recently died, and they aren't sure , yet what the cause was.
    Probably not even related, but it did get me to wondering, about this.
    I do know he had a lousy Immune System, and Heart problems, so we wait, for an answer, from the family as soon as they know.

    Sincerely,
    sharonk
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I do appreciate your sharing what you have learned with us. I think the media can go overboard, especially the cable news channels, and increase the overall levels of fear and dread. After a while, people can only take so much and they stop watching. This is unfortunate because we do need to keep informed. Your info is helpful and is presented in a level-headed way.

    Thanks again. I do hope we can keep up with this virus as time goes on. The naysayers point out that only a few people have died and that so far, the spread has been relatively slow. Also, to date, it does not appear that the virus has mutated so that it can be spread from human to human. This is all true.

    What is also true is that most viruses do mutate and sooner or later, this one likely will too. When and if it does, it will likely spread rapidly and have the potential to become a deadly pandemic. I don't think we can afford to stick our heads in the sand nor do I think we should panic.

    There is a lot of room between these two extremes. Your info helps those of us who want to keep informed to do so. As I said, I'm not going to panic nor live in fear but I sure like being kept abreast the latest on this virus and potential treatments.

    Love, Mikie
  11. Bruin63

    Bruin63 Member

    I think you know, after what almost 6 years now? That I am keenly interested in Stealth Virus.
    I live with one, and my life is Miserable, because it will never go away.

    I worry about getting a Cold, and not getting well, but it dosen't keep me out of the Rain, or cold when I have to do something. In fact Rainy days are good, because more folks stay at home. ;o)

    I truly do not mean to Upset anyone, or to cause them to worry.
    But I do love to read as much Research as I can, and it's amazing how much is out there.
    Understanding it is a whole different Ball game. lol

    Maybe by someone else reading the same article, and them making a coment or two, about something, in it, that can, sometime's, make it more clear to me.

    Hope your finding some new dig's ok, and can get moved ok.
    That's a Big feat, for sure.

    Hope Everyone has a Wonderful Christmas, and stay Warm.
    sharonk

  12. Bruin63

    Bruin63 Member

    Thought I'd tell you, that even tho, I don't post on most of your Post's, I do read them, here and on another board.
    I find them very Interesting, and even if we are of different opinions on some things. It seems we do come across some of the same websites, lol, Cyberspace can be a Small World too. lol.

    Sharonk
  13. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of communicating with some amazing people; thank goodness for the Internet and our cyberspace friends.

    love, Tansy
  14. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Yes, the stealth viruses, especially HHV-6, are so hard to live with. I have put moving on the back burner for now, and maybe for good. I got exposed to my neighbor with Shingles and have been very sick ever since. Yesterday, I started to run a slight fever and it was still here today. I've been taking Acyclovir since yesterday and today, I added Doxycycline. The TF's usually keep my own immune system on its toes, but this is too much for it to handle alone.

    My specialist told me to stay away from anyone with Shingles. They really don't know all that much about the Herpes-Family Viruses and the damage they can do down the raod. Every time I get around someone with Shingles, it makes me very sick. Could be that it reactivates one of the Herpes Viruses in my system. I probably still have some mycoplamas which my own immune system takes care of. When I get run down, it's possible that they try to take over again. Or, it could be a secondary bacterial infection of another kind.

    In any case, about an hour after taking the Doxy, I started to feel a bit better. I've been sick three weeks now and need to get rid of whatever this is.

    Viruses are so much smarter and more adaptable than bacteria, generally speaking. Our immune systems are so complex. Between the two, it is a fascinating area of research. As I understand it, pathogens have played into human evolution and helped shape modern humans.

    I share your interest because stealth pathogens have played such a big part in my own illnesses. Thanks again and please, keep us updated with anything you find.

    Love, Mikie
  15. tansy

    tansy New Member

    you are ill again after being close to someone with shingles. I think some of our symptoms become worse when the IS starts to respond to somethings else then it can feel like it's active but not so efficient; just like when herxing.

    Some of us have found we actually feel a lot better for a day or two before a new virus doing the rounds effects us, it's as if the IS stops going haywire' or is distracted for a while.

    I often feel our symptoms occur because the IS is switched on then does not switch of again whilst at the same time failing to keep other pathogens at bay. Drs Gow and Kerr picked up indications of this in their gene expression work.

    A young student at the local university who was Dx with ME/CFS developed shingles; he was very ill with it and suffered terribly but afterwards his ME/CFS went into long-term remission. I wonder if that's because a similar virus making and keeping him ill, was successfully targetted by the IS, or the IS having been activated is now able to keep the original virus from reactivating.

    I am also sorry to learn you have had to delay moving home.

    love, Tansy [This Message was Edited on 12/20/2005]
  16. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I almost missed this as I haven't been online much. Strangely, I did feel much better the couple of days prior to getting sick. I have felt as though my IS has been in overdrive. That usually works well for me when I'm exposed to something, but this time, it isn't working. That's why I've resorted to the meds to give the IS a break.

    I hope you are doing well. I feel hot and sweaty today so maybe a Herx is imminent. I wasn't looking to move home. FL is my home now, but my kids and new grandson live in GA about 600 miles north of me. My daughter wants me to move closer but I'm having second thoughts. Until I'm more stable, I'm not going to make any decisions. Still...I miss my adorable little grandson. He is soooooo sweet.

    Take care and thanks for your info and good wishes. I do think a lot of our probelms are not so much the pathogens themselves but how our IS's respond to them.

    Love, Mikie