By KATE WALKER
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Amidst growing concern over China's ability to control outbreaks of avian influenza, a report published in the online journal Respiratory Research Friday revealed that an H5N1 pandemic may disproportionately affect the young and healthy.
Hong Kong scientists studying the virus have discovered that H5N1 attacks its host by overwhelming the immune system in a "storm" of inflammatory proteins, 10 times more than in the annual "seasonal" influenza.
The affected proteins are those responsible for regulating the immune system's response to an attack. In the case of H5N1 infection, the drastically altered balance of proteins in the immune system leads to "an uncontrolled inflammatory response in the lung" and may explain the lung inflammation so common in sufferers of bird flu.
The study suggests that the young and healthy may be more susceptible to an avian-influenza pandemic, as their immune systems put up more of a fight against the disease, leading to the "storms" outlined in the report.
British insurers are concerned that they may be unable to cope with a bird-flu pandemic, especially if it affects those between 30 and 50, as that is the demographic most likely to hold life-insurance policies.
Although British insurance companies are the first to express concerns over the financial impact of avian influenza on their industry, today's Respiratory Research report indicates it will soon be a matter of global concern.
-- New Scientist has reported that China's Liaoning province has reported three new outbreaks in the past 24 hours and that there are indications of a suspected human case in the region.
However, 121 people in Liaoning province who complained of fever have been found not to be infected with any form of avian influenza.
-- Contrary to Thursday's reports that the two birds found infected with a form of avian influenza in Kuwait were not carrying a dangerous strain of the disease, a wild flamingo was found to have suffered from the deadly, high pathogenic strain of H5N1.
The bird did not die of bird flu but was destroyed by Kuwaiti authorities.
-- An 18-month-old Bangkok toddler has been confirmed as Thailand's 21st case of avian influenza.
The boy was taken to hospital as soon as he displayed flu-like symptoms and is said to be recovering.
-- Also in Thailand, newly appointed Public Health Minister Pinij Jarusombat spoke out against bird-flu cover-ups and said that any public official found guilty of such an attempt would face severe penalties.
Under the new policies, in place since Nov. 4, doctors found guilty of falsifying patient information with regard to avian influenza would be charged with breach of conduct and considered in breach of medical ethics.
The minister was responding to earlier charges by the Senate Public Health Commission that coverups had taken place in Thailand.
-- Rockeby, a Singaporean company, has launched 10-minute bird-flu testing kits, it was announced Friday.
Although the World Health Organization does not currently endorse any tests for avian influenza, it plans to standardize international testing for the disease.
An American test mentioned in Wednesday's Fluwrap will be released through the WHO in January. When asked about the Rockeby test, WHO officials declined to comment.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
Similarities between 1918 and H5N1 viruses:
So the good news is, if this does mutate into virus causing a world wide pandemic, it will be less lethal, with perhaps at least 80% of those of us afflicted surviving.
"It struck in the Pittsburgh area in October and November of 1918 and claimed 4,500 lives. Some 22,000 cases were recorded.
In October 1918, new cases were reported in the hundreds daily and deaths numbered 175 per day. The epidemic surged to a peak around the end of October and then, gradually, the number of cases began to fall.
No one at the time knew that a virus caused influenza. Sadly, in Pittsburgh, 700 children became orphans as a result of the epidemic.
This is a rather poorly-written article. Immune cells secrete cytokines as a part of any immunological response, so the article fails to explain exactly what may set H5N1 apart from most pathogens in its stimulation of the immune system. Hyperstimulation of the immune system is one thing, but this piece makes it sound like something that happens with every inflammatory response is out of the ordinary.
I wonder if we'll now see folks make a run on corticosteroids at online "pharmacies."
The purpose of the FluWiki is to help local communities prepare for and perhaps cope with a possible influenza pandemic. This is a task previously ceded to local, state and national governmental public health agencies. Our goal is to be:
- a reliable source of information, as neutral as possible, about important facts useful for a public health approach to pandemic influenza
- a venue for anticipating the vast range of problems that may arise if a pandemic does occur
- a venue for thinking about implementable solutions to foreseeable problems
OK, so if I'm reading this right the best treatment for someone with H5N1 might be to give them AIDS?
How about vice-versa? Might H5N1 cure AIDS?
Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?
Thinking outside the box, in fact, thinking that the box is all wet, is a good thing. Often wrong, but a good thing.
Our troops were coming home from the Great War in Europe, had used aspirin successfully on the battlefield to fight fever, and aspirin was just being unleashed on the civilian population by Bayer. The primary initial defense that the body has against viruses is fever, as virus's don't function above 102 degrees. If you hold down the fever with aspirin, Tylenol or TamiFlu, then you allow the virus to build up in your body, until it risks overwhelming you with viral pneumonia. Many are lost each year to this, but the sudden onset of the use of aspirin in 1918 would have made for a dramatic onslaught of such deaths the first flu season.
This comes from Brother Jonathan, a site that has a number of "interesting" and controversial theories, at least one of which will appear to be nut case conspiratorial to almost any given reader. So believe it only if your independent judgement leads you to agree with him.
LETTER: 1918 FLU AND SARS POSTED: 04/28/03
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Reader Question "WHAT CAUSED THE DEADLY 1918 FLU?" My question: Before there was aspirin and cold and flu meds there was a world wide epidemic of flu that killed millions. It was during the First WW. At that point the only thing they could do was put people to bed and keep them warm. Why did so many die? --- Nancy
The source of the "1918 Flu" which is also incorrectly called the "Spanish Flu" has been a medical mystery. But the mystery is solved.
The beginning of the 1918 flu season started in November 1918. This also was the end of WWI marked by Armistice Day November 11, 1918. Thus millions of soldiers from the trenches in Europe all were sent home. What they took with them was normal flu from China which occurs each year, and they also took with them the newly marketed aspirin.
Aspirin was patented by Bayer AG after Dr. Hoffmann's synthesis of acetyl-salicylic-acid in 1899. Bayer mostly marketed its new Aspirin in Germany, but during WWI the use of Aspirin came into general use in the field medical hospitals as the only effective mild pain reliever and a treatment for coughs, colds and fever.
Thus the "deadly" 1918 Flu was caused by the new use of Aspirin to treat soldiers during the war. The result of reducing the fever from influenza is massive growth of the flu virus in the lungs and thus Atypical Pneumonia or simply Viral Pneumonia almost always resulting in death.
Since this first occurred worldwide at the end of WWI it was called the "1918 Flu." In the last several years, medical archaeologists have tried to obtain tissue samples from people who died from the 1918 Flu to find why it was so deadly.
So far the virus samples seem to be no different from other flu virus samples. They cannot explain why it was so deadly. It was not the flu virus which made it so deadly - it was the first worldwide use of the new pills called Aspirin to treat the flu which killed millions in 1918.
According to the latest CDC statistics, "Influenza and Pneumonia" are the deadliest infectious disease compared to the deaths from all causes, such as car accidents, murder, heart disease, cancer etc. Normally during the annual flu season Pneumonia Flu deaths range from about 3 percent during the summer to about 10 to 12 percent during the winter. The normal flu season runs from about November to April.
There are actually two related diseases. Influenza is a viral infection which attacks the lungs and causes fever and cough. And then there is Viral Pneumonia caused by improperly treating the influenza with aspirin, and NSAIDs. There is a separate type of Pneumonia caused by bacteria which should not be in this category. The improper treatment of influenza with Aspirin, and later NSAID synthetics and now even Anti-viral medications such as TamiFlu are the cause not the cure for Atypical Pneumonia, now improperly named SARS.
The first worldwide use of Aspirin to treat influenza was during WWI resulting in the millions of deaths from the 1918 Flu. Each year since then the number of worldwide cases of Influenza is about 10 to 100 million resulting in an average death rate of about 1 million worldwide. Most of all of those deaths could be prevented by simply not reducing the fever during the onset of influenza.
SARS could be stopped overnight, if doctors would separate flu from Atypical Pneumonia by not treating the fever with drugs.
Editor, BroJon Gazette
Here's a Bird flu article. Haven't even read it yet, looks like actual info.