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Are We Ready for an Avian
Flu Pandemic in America?

YOWUSA.COM, 21-March-2006
Dale Caruso

…Continued

Garrett says that, "The entire world would experience similar levels of viral carnage, and those areas ravaged by HIV and home to millions of immuno-compromised individuals might witness even greater death tolls. In response, some countries might impose useless but highly disruptive quarantines or close borders and airports, perhaps for months. Such closures would disrupt trade, travel, and productivity. No doubt the world's stock markets would teeter and perhaps fall precipitously. Aside from economics, the disease would likely directly affect global security, reducing troop strength and capacity for all armed forces, UN peacekeeping operations, and police worldwide."

The majority of the world's governments not only lack sufficient funds to respond to a superflu; they also have no health infrastructure to handle the burdens of disease, social disruption, and panic. The international community would look to the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe for answers, vaccines, cures, cash, and hope. How these wealthy governments responded, and how radically the death rates differed along worldwide fault lines of poverty, would resonate for years thereafter.

The Classic OOPS

In January 1976, 18-year-old Private David Lewis staggered his way through a forced march during basic training in a brutal New Jersey winter. By the time his unit returned to base at Fort Dix, Lewis was dying. He collapsed and did not respond to his sergeant's attempts at mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

In subsequent weeks, U.S. Army and CDC scientists discovered that the virus that had killed Lewis was swine flu. Although no other soldiers at Fort Dix died, health officials panicked. F. David Matthews, then secretary of health, education, and welfare, promptly declared, "There is evidence there will be a major flu epidemic this coming fall. The indication is that we will see a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of flu. In 1918, a half million people died [in the United States]. The projections are that this virus will kill one million Americans in 1976."

Flu ResearcherAt the time, it was widely believed that influenza appeared in cycles, with especially lethal forms surfacing at relatively predictable intervals and in 1976, scientists believed the world was overdue for a more lethal cycle, and the apparent emergence of swine flu at Fort Dix seemed to signal that another wave had come. The leaders of the CDC and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) warned the White House that there was a reasonably high probability that a catastrophic flu pandemic was about to hit. But opinion was hardly unanimous, and many European and Australian health authorities scoffed at the Americans' concern. Unsure of how to gauge the threat, President Gerald Ford summoned the polio-fighting heroes Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin to Washington and found the long-time adversaries in remarkable accord: a flu pandemic might truly be on the way.

On March 24, 1976, Ford went on national television. "I have just concluded a meeting on a subject of vast importance to all Americans," he announced. "I have been advised that there is a very real possibility that unless we take effective counteractions, there could be an epidemic of this dangerous disease next fall and winter here in the United States. ... I am asking Congress to appropriate $135 million, prior to the April recess, for the production of sufficient vaccine to inoculate every man, woman, and child in the United States."

Vaccine producers immediately complained that they could not manufacture sufficient doses of vaccine in such haste without special liability protection. Congress responded, passing a law in April that made the government responsible for the companies' liability. When the campaign to vaccinate the U.S. population started four months later, there were almost immediate claims of side effects, including the neurologically debilitating Guillain Barré Syndrome. Most of the lawsuits -- with claims totaling $3.2 billion -- were settled or dismissed, but the U.S. government still ended up paying claimants around $90 million.

Swine flu, however, never appeared. The head of the CDC was asked to resign, and Congress never again considered assuming the liability of pharmaceutical companies during a potential epidemic. The experience weakened U.S. credibility in public health and helped undermine the stature of President Ford. Subsequently, an official assessment of what went wrong was performed for HEW by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a Harvard professor who is currently president of the Institute of Medicine.

Fineberg concluded:"In this case the consequences of being wrong about an epidemic were so devastating in people's minds that it wasn't possible to focus properly on the issue of likelihood. Nobody could really estimate likelihood then, or now." In 1976, some policymakers were simply overwhelmed by the consequences of being wrong. And at a higher level [in the White House] the two -- likelihood and consequence -- got meshed."

Fineberg's warnings are well worth remembering today, as scientists nervously consider H5N1 avian influenza in Asia. The consequences of a form of this virus that is transmittable from human to human, particularly if it retains its unprecedented virulence, would be disastrous. But what is the likelihood that such a virus will appear?

Hard to Kill

Over the course of this brief but rapid evolution, the H5N1 virus developed in ways unprecedented in influenza research. It is not only incredibly deadly but also incredibly difficult to contain. Garrett says that "The virus apparently now has the ability to survive in chicken feces and the meat of dead animals, despite the lack of blood flow and living cells; raw chicken meat fed to tigers in Thailand zoos resulted in the deaths of 147 out of a total of 418. The virus has also found ways to vastly increase the range of species it can infect and kill.

Burning ChickensIf proximity to infected animals is the key, why have there been no deaths among chicken handlers, poultry workers, or live-chicken dealers? The majority of the infected have been young adults and children. And there has been one documented case of human-to-human transmission of the Z+ strain of the H5N1 virus -- in late 2004, in Thailand. Several more such cases are suspected but cannot be confirmed. According to the WHO, there is "no scientific explanation for the unusual disease pattern."

Assessing and understanding H5N1's virulence in humans has also proved elusive. "The Z strain of the disease, which emerged in early 2003, killed 68 percent of those known to have been infected. In H5N1 cases since December 2004, however, the mortality has been 36 percent. How can the fluctuation over time be explained? One disturbing possibility is that H5N1 has begun adapting to its human hosts, becoming less deadly but easier to spread. In the spring of 2005, in fact, H5N1 infected 17 people throughout Vietnam, resulting in only three deaths. Leading flu experts argue that this sort of phenomenon has in the past been a prelude to human influenza epidemics."

 


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Garrett also says that "the medical histories of those who have died from H5N1 influenza are disturbingly similar to accounts of sufferers of the Spanish flu in 1918-19. Otherwise healthy people are completely overcome by the virus, developing all of the classic flu symptoms: coughing, headache, muscle pain, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, high fever, depression, and loss of appetite. But these are just some of the effects. Victims also suffer from pneumonia, encephalitis, meningitis, acute respiratory distress, and internal bleeding and hemorrhaging." An autopsy of a child who died of the disease in Thailand last year revealed that the youth's lungs had been torn apart in the all-out war between disease-fighting cells and the virus.

Bad Medicine

According to test-tube studies, Z+ ought to be vulnerable to the antiflu drug oseltamivir, which the Roche pharmaceuticals company markets in the United States under the brand name Tamiflu. Yet Tamiflu was given to many of those who ultimately succumbed to the virus; it is believed that medical complications induced by the virus, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, may have prevented the drug from helping. Garrett adds, "It is also difficult to tell whether the drug contributed to the survival of those who took it and lived, although higher doses and more prolonged treatment may have a greater impact in fighting the disease.

A team of Thai clinicians recently concluded that "the optimal treatment for case-patients with suspected H5 infection is not known." Lacking any better options, the WHO has recommended that countries stockpile Tamiflu to the best of their ability. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is doing so, but supplies of the drug are limited and it is hard to manufacture."

What about developing a Z+ vaccine? Garrett says, "Unfortunately, there is only more gloom in the forecast. The total number of companies willing to produce influenza vaccines has plummeted in recent years, from more than two dozen in 1980 to just a handful in 2004.

Global Reach Can Push Healthcare to the Edge

The potential for a pandemic comes at a time when the world's public health systems are severely taxed and have long been in decline. This is true in both rich and poor countries. The Bush administration recognized this weakness following the anthrax scare of 2001, which underscored the poor ability of federal and local health agencies to respond to bio-terrorism or epidemic threats. Since that year, Congress has approved $3.7 billion to strengthen the nation's public health infrastructure.

Anthrax BacteriaBut despite all this, a recent event underscored the United States' tremendous vulnerability. Garrett explains, "In October 2004, the American College of Pathologists mailed a collection of mystery microbes prepared by a private lab to almost 5,000 labs in 18 countries for them to test as part their re-certification. The mailing should have been routine procedure; instead, in March 2005 a Canadian lab discovered that the test kits included a sample of H2N2 flu -- a strain that had killed four million people worldwide in 1957. H2N2 has not been in circulation since 1968, meaning that hundreds of millions of people lack immunity to it. Had any of the samples leaked or been exposed to the environment, the results could have been devastating. On learning of the error, the WHO called for the immediate destruction of all the test kits. Miraculously, none of the virus managed to escape any of the labs."

But the snafu raises serious questions: If billions have been spent to improve laboratory capabilities since 2001, why did nobody notice the H2N2 flu until about six months after the kits had been shipped?

Adds Garrett, "Even with all of these gaps, probably the greatest weakness that each nation must individually address is the inability of their hospitals to cope with a sudden surge of new patients. Medical cost cutting has resulted in a tremendous reduction in the numbers of staffed hospital beds in the wealthy world, especially in the United States. Even during a normal flu season, hospitals located in popular retirement areas have great difficulty meeting the demand. In a pandemic, it is doubtful that any nation would have adequate medical facilities and personnel to meet the extra need."

"National policymakers would be wise," she says, "to plan now for worst-case scenarios involving quarantines, weakened armed services, and dwindling hospital space and vaccine supplies."

In 1971, the great American public health leader Alexander Langmuir likened flu forecasting to trying to predict the weather, arguing that "as with hurricanes, pandemics can be identified and their probable course projected so that warnings can be issued. Epidemics, however, are more variable [than hurricanes], and the best that can be done is to estimate probabilities."

Since Langmuir's time a quarter of a century ago, weather forecasting has gained a stunning level of precision. Garrett puts it this way, "...although scientists cannot tell political leaders when an influenza pandemic will occur, researchers today are able to guide policymakers with information and analysis exponentially richer than that which informed the decisions of President Ford and the 1976 Congress. Whether or not this particular H5N1 influenza mutates into a human-to-human pandemic form, the scientific evidence points to the potential that such an event will take place, perhaps soon.

[1] [2] [3]

 

How Our Government Will Signal the Arrival of Planet X — Bob Fletcher, Investigator

How Our Government Will Signal the Arrival of Planet X — Bob Fletcher, InvestigatorPeople follow different paths to the truth about Planet X, with an enduring hope that one day, our government will finally disclose what it knows.

Like UFOlogy, the hope is that if you create a pile of pictures high enough, perhaps at some point the truth will reach critical mass and voila-disclosure. Unfortunaetly, just like Marxism, it's one of those inspiring fantasy goals that can never be achieved.

This is why Planet X investigator, Bob Fletcher, producer of the IN-COMMING DVDs, has come at this from an entirely different directions. Bob followed the money and found that more was spent on preparation for Planet X than anyone could imagine. GO

Yowusa.com Planet X
System Update No. 1

This program presents an overview of the Planet X system, how it moves through our solar system and why we always seem to observe it near the Sun and not behind us, plus recent observations of three planets in the Planet X system captured by ocean buoys located in the Gulf of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

Detailed explanations of the first three Planet X events projected for the tribulation time line are presented: covert visitations, deep impact, and the perihelion alignment of the Planet X system as it will be seen from Earth. These projections by the Guides appear in the book, Being In It for the Species The Universe Speaks.

 
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