I received an e-mail today from a friend who keeps a sharp eye on the bird flu and how it is progressing. This article at PR Web was worth reporting on Blogcritics. Its essential point is that:
Six months ago scientists estimated that the H5N1 virus needed to make about five changes to its gene structure for it to be deadly for humans. Now it requires only one last change.
The avian bird flu has been plaguing us for about 9 years, showing up in China as a disease that killed fowl and people who came in contact with fowl. It returned about 3 years ago, and has been getting stronger and more widespread with each passing season, seeding the entire planet with influenza that has caused millions of euros in damage in Europe and millions of dollars of damage elsewhere, mostly through the loss of poultry.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the last 30 months 190 persons have been infected with 55 percent of them dying from avian bird flu. In addition, the disease has begun to take a toll in causing nations to attempt to prevent the spread of the disease by banning imports from certain countries, notably France.
In the last several months, phrases like “gene mutation” and “recombination sequences” have been turning up more and more frequently in news reports.
Not too long ago, Recombinomics reported that the WHO was withholding data on recombination sequences of the H5N1 cluster of viruses.
In the PR Web report from 8 March it reports that:
It appears that it is inevitable that a bird flu pandemic will eventually occur. Some scientists expect that the last genetic change needed for efficient human to human transmission by the H5N1 virus may occur when migrating birds carrying the H5N1 virus begin their return journey in Spring. (Northern hemisphere). This means that there is a possibility that a pandemic could occur within two months.
If there is indeed a pandemic, it is very likely to kill tourism and make transport from one place to another an adventure filled with fear and terror. We are likely to see travel bans in some instances. If the pandemic is severe enough, it could break down societal structures altogether. There is no known cure for the avian bird flu. There is no vaccination to prevent it occurring. The only things one can do is to avoid direct contact with fowl, build up one’s immunity generally, and pray.Powered by Sidelines