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Bird flu could kill up to 58,000 Canadians

Chris

Well-Known TRIBEr
No need to panic
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Bird flu could kill up to 58,000 Canadians

Health Canada's preparedness document says pandemic would hit children, elderly


By ANDRÉ PICARD
From Thursday's Globe and Mail

If avian flu becomes pandemic, as many public-health officials fear, it could kill as many as 58,000 people in Canada alone, according to Health Canada.

As part of a detailed pandemic preparedness plan, epidemiologists estimate that a new strain of influenza, such as one that jumps from birds to humans, could kill 11,000 to 58,000 Canadians in a matter of weeks.

Those hardest hit would likely be young children and the old, whose immune systems are least able to fight off infection.

The disease could also put 35,000 to 138,000 people in hospital and leave between 4.5 million and 10.6 million others too sick to work, which could have a devastating economic impact.


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AVIAN INFLUENZA
Health Canada influenza site
Health Canada Travel Medicine Program
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization: Avian influenza fact sheet
WHO avian influenza site
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations

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"Obviously, our goal is to minimize death, serious illness and social disruption, which is why we have developed a pandemic preparedness plan," said Arlene King, director of the immunization and respiratory diseases division of Health Canada.

In a normal year, influenza kills 4,500 to 9,000 Canadians, and more than 500,000 people worldwide. New flu strains develop each year, but vaccines are available and many people have at least partial protection because they have been exposed to flu in the past.

The danger of a pandemic arises only when an entirely new form of influenza emerges. A strain of avian flu, H5N1, is spreading among birds in Asia. With the deaths yesterday of two sisters in Vietnam, it has killed 10 people.

While that number is modest, the widespread infection of chickens and other poultry in at least 10 Asian countries and the growing number of cases in humans has public-health officials fearing the worst. The worry is that H5N1 could swap genes with a human influenza virus, creating a dangerous strain that could spread from person to person.

It is that possibility that public-health officials are girding for worldwide. They met yesterday in Bangkok for an emergency conference to co-ordinate the response to a potentially deadly outbreak. The emphasis now is on culling and quarantining birds, but surveillance has been stepped up and laboratory work on developing a vaccine is under way.

The World Health Organization estimates that a pandemic flu could spread around the world in about six months, posing a "serious global threat to human health."

While the WHO has not released detailed mortality estimates, officials say an avian influenza outbreak could rival the Spanish flu pandemic, which killed up to 40 million people in 1918-19. Two other pandemics occurred in the past century: so-called Asian influenza in 1957 and Hong Kong influenza in 1968.

Since then, vaccines were developed to protect against influenza.

According to the WHO, it would take about one month after a pandemic strain is identified to produce a "seed flu strain." After that, it would take manufacturers four to six months to develop a vaccine to protect humans against avian influenza.

But Dr. King said Canada is so well prepared that it could produce a vaccine from the seed strain within 48 days: Canada is the only country that has a contract that ensures a secure domestic supply of vaccine. The government signed the deal with Shire Pharmaceuticals Group PLC of Laval, Que. It has a plant that is able to manufacture six million doses a month.

(An influenza vaccine cannot be produced instantaneously because the key component needs to be grown in chicken eggs. With the avian flu, there is an added technical problem: Exposure to H5N1 could kill the chickens that lay the eggs. But Dr. King said that problem could be overcome using a method known as reverse genetics, in which vaccines are made in cell culture instead of eggs, although it is much more expensive.)

The pandemic preparedness plan, to be published in about two weeks, is designed to guide the actions of government and health officials. It spells out priority lists for immunization, plans for minimizing exposure and even "recovery plans" for health-care facilities after a pandemic.
 
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KickIT

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Adam
I'm a vegetarian, therefore I'm fine.

what does 'transmissible between humans' mean?

Means that you can contract the disease (and die) even though you don't eat chicken. Oh the ironing.

*c*
 

Adam

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by KickIT
Means that you can contract the disease (and die) even though you don't eat chicken. Oh the ironing.

(dead batteries in your sarcasm meter?) ;)
 

Adam

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Vote Quimby
And the culling of the herd begins...

Agreed. Old people and kids are just taking up space anyway.

I've got a 2 year old nephew. Kid doesn't do shit. We have to cook for him, clean for him. Fuck, you're 2, cut the umbilical cord already.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Adam
Agreed. Old people and kids are just taking up space anyway.

I've got a 2 year old nephew. Kid doesn't do shit. We have to cook for him, clean for him. Fuck, you're 2, cut the umbilical cord already.

A Modest Proposal.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
 
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OTIS

TRIBE Member
My girl works at Toronto western hospital.. I'm gonna shit a sitar if this hits Canada like that.
 
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man_slut

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Ditto Much
grew up on one, disaster waiting to happen.

In fact maybe I should write the documentary on it. Wait a second maybe I have a new calling and reason.

I toured one of these places as well. It's frigin gross!
 
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