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F*ckin' bird flu.

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Diablos

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/21/AR2005092100638.html

Indonesia Warns of Possible Bird Flu Epidemic

By Alan Sipress
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, September 21, 2005; 9:33 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Sept. 21 -- Indonesia could be on the brink of a bird flu epidemic if the virus continues to accelerate, the country's health minister warned Wednesday as the number of suspected cases in the capital continued to mount.

Siti Fadillah Supari's remarks came as a pair of young girls with bird flu symptoms died in Jakarta hospitals and two days after the government declared it was taking "extraordinary" measures to stem the spread of the virus, including the mandatory hospitalization of anyone with suspicious symptoms.


The health ministry has already confirmed four previous deaths from avian influenza, most recently a 37-year-old Jakarta woman who died two weeks ago. Since then, at least 10 other people have been admitted to hospitals with high fevers and breathing difficulties symptomatic of bird flu, including the two girls, ages 5 and 2, who died Wednesday. Indonesian health officials said they remain unsure whether these children had bird flu and are awaiting further test results from a specialized Hong Kong laboratory.

Though bird flu was first detected in Indonesian poultry more than two years ago and then spread across the majority of the country's provinces, health ministry officials had minimized the threat, saying the virus was not infecting humans as it had elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

But after a 38-year-old auditor and two of his daughters died from the disease in a wealthy Jakarta suburb two months ago, the health ministry and officials from the World Health Organization stepped up efforts to control its spread. Apathy has quickly shifted to alarm with a large, front-page headline in the Jakarta Post asking Wednesday: "Bird flu outbreak: Is it time to panic?"

Even as Supari urged calm, she reflected the confusion and anxiety now taking hold. The minister initially told journalists Wednesday that the virus was already epidemic in Indonesia but later called reporters to say she had misspoken, clarifying that she believed only that the disease could become epidemic.

Since early last year, bird flu has killed at least 63 people in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia and infected an increasing number of bird species in 12 countries across the breadth of Asia.

United Nations health experts warn the virus could either mutate or obtain new genetic material allowing it to spread more easily among humans, sparking a global pandemic and killing tens of millions of people. So far, only a few victims of bird flu are suspected of contracting the disease from other people, in nearly all cases other family members.

In Indonesia, Jakarta's governor shuttered the country's largest zoo on Monday after 19 birds tested positive for avian flu. He said it would remain closed for at least three weeks while the facilities were sterilized. But prospects for reopening any time soon dimmed when officials reported a day later that a zoo vendor and guide had possibly come down with the illness and been admitted to the capital's leading infectious disease hospital. Test results are expected this week.

On Tuesday, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono summoned his top health and agriculture advisers to discuss steps to contain the outbreak. Officials said the government would import enough of the anti-viral drug oseltamivir to treat 1,000 people, and provide free medical care for those believed to be infected.

Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyanto added that the government would carry out a mass cull of poultry and pigs wherever there was a serious outbreak. Indonesian officials had long rebuffed the advice of international health experts that birds be slaughtered in areas of infection. Instead, Indonesia has relied on a national poultry vaccination that government veterinarians and farmers acknowledged has been sorely under funded and spotty at best.

Apriyanto had previously said the government could not afford to carry out culling because it did not have the money to compensate farmers for their lost livestock. But agriculture officials said this week they would spend $13 million this year to slaughter sick flocks and were seeking a new law to punish farmers who refuse to cooperate.

Well, that's some real comforting news. :\ I saw a special on I think ABC about the bird flu... concern seems to be rising at a rapid pace.
 

heavy liquid

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This thing could become a nightmare. Here's the link to the special you saw, Diablos:

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Primetime/Investigation/story?id=1130392&page=1

"Right now in human beings, it kills 55 percent of the people it infects," says Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow on global health policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. "That makes it the most lethal flu we know of that has ever been on planet Earth affecting human beings."

The draft report of the federal government's emergency plan, obtained and examined by ABC News' "Primetime," predicts as many as 200,000 Americans will die within a few months. This is considered a conservative estimate.

While there is no vaccine to stop the flu, there is one medicine to treat it. Called Tamiflu, it is made by the Roche pharmaceutical company in Switzerland. Roche has been selling Tamiflu for years.

...

He later admitted that only 2 million are currently on hand, but asserted that no other country is in a better position.

Officials in Australia, however, have 3.5 million courses of treatment, and in Great Britain, officials say they have ordered enough to cover a quarter of their population.

"I think at the moment, with 2.5 million doses, you are pretty vulnerable," warns professor John Oxford of the Royal London Hospital.

...

"Do we wish we had ordered it sooner and more of it? I suspect one could say yes," admits Leavitt. "Are we moving rapidly to assure that we have it? The answer is also yes."

When asked why the United States did not place its orders for Tamiflu sooner, Leavitt replied, "I can't answer that. I don't know the answer to that."

Even leading Republicans in Congress say the Bush administration has not handled the planning for a possible flu epidemic well.
 

Zylander

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Australia
 

suaveric

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Belfast said:
West Nile, Mad Cow, SARS, blah blah blah...

Don't kill 55% of people they come in contact with. If this mutates to the point where it can spread like the normal flu.. Imagine just how many people get the flu every year, which has to be like 1/3 to 1/2 the population. Then imagine half of those people just dropping dead.
 

Diablos

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Incognito: You say it as if you will have control over who dies of the flu or not. It could kill you, it could kill everyone in your family, your friends. Do they deserve that?

Even if Bush did the best he possibly could there's no way you could make enough of that medicine for the entire nation in under 5 years. That being said, his administration's ignorance of the problem, while not surprising, still pisses me off because we have to start making the medicine as fast as possible. The sooner the better.

That animated image scares the hell out of me... it's spreading quite fast...

I want to know how this flu developed... it's just unbelievable.

It's really hard to fathom that Tamiflu is the only medicine out there that can treat this.
 

Incognito

Troll
Jun 6, 2004
14,588
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Whew, it's a good thing I'm not a bird.

:lol :lol :lol :lol :lol

diablos: yea, i know. i was just joking. birdflu would KO me in round1. scary stuff all around.
 

eLGee

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Loretta, relax. I've been involved in every ridiculous TV-induced panic there is. Poison pills, SARS, West Nile, Northface, Southfork, East River, monkey pox, pop rocks, toilet snakes, mad cow, bird flu, swine flu and quite frankly every other flu that you can really only catch if you're actually fornicating with the animal it's named for.
 

demon

I don't mean to alarm you but you have dogs on your face
Jun 8, 2004
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Ugh. And my best friend is moving to Thailand next week for half a year. Scary. :(
 

Doth Togo

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heavy liquid said:
This thing could become a nightmare. Here's the link to the special you saw, Diablos:

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Primetime/Investigation/story?id=1130392&page=1

While there is no vaccine to stop the flu, there is one medicine to treat it. Called Tamiflu, it is made by the Roche pharmaceutical company in Switzerland. Roche has been selling Tamiflu for years.

...

He later admitted that only 2 million are currently on hand, but asserted that no other country is in a better position.

Officials in Australia, however, have 3.5 million courses of treatment, and in Great Britain, officials say they have ordered enough to cover a quarter of their population.

"I think at the moment, with 2.5 million doses, you are pretty vulnerable," warns professor John Oxford of the Royal London Hospital.

...

"Do we wish we had ordered it sooner and more of it? I suspect one could say yes," admits Leavitt. "Are we moving rapidly to assure that we have it? The answer is also yes."

When asked why the United States did not place its orders for Tamiflu sooner, Leavitt replied, "I can't answer that. I don't know the answer to that."

Even leading Republicans in Congress say the Bush administration has not handled the planning for a possible flu epidemic well.

Yeeeeeeeea... I don't think the Bush administation handles very much well these days.
 

heavy liquid

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Doth Togo said:
Yeeeeeeeea... I don't think the Bush administation handles very much well these days.

No doubt. ;) I really hope that this thing doesn't spread, because we won't be anywhere near prepared enough.

"I think at the moment, with 2.5 million doses, you are pretty vulnerable," warns professor John Oxford of the Royal London Hospital.

"The lack of advanced planning up until the moment in the United States, in the sense of not having a huge stockpile I think your citizens deserve, has surprised me and has dismayed me," he admits.

Faced with worldwide demand, the Roche company, which produces Tamiflu, has organized a first-come, first-served waiting list. The United States is nowhere near the top.

Leavitt says deciding who gets the 2.5 million doses of Tamiflu currently on hand in the United States is part of the federal government's response plan. However, he also admits that thought has motivated the government to move rapidly in securing more doses of the medicine.

"It isn't going to happen tomorrow, but if it happened the day after that, we would not be in as good as a position as we will be in six months," he says.

However, in the end, even the country's top health officials concede that a killer flu epidemic this winter would make the scenes of Katrina pale in comparison.

"You know, I was down in New Orleans in that crowded airport now a couple weeks ago," Frist says. "And this could be not just equal to that, but many multiple times that. Hundreds of people laid out, all dying, because there was no therapy. And a lot of people don't realize for this avian flu virus, there will be very little effective therapy available early on."
 

Doth Togo

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If this flu strikes the western hemisphere (North America / South America), you would be wise to get your ass to Europe and pay cash for a vaccination. If Canada is higher on the list than the US, you know what? I'mma make a nice quick little day trip right up to Quebec City.
 

heavy liquid

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Jun 6, 2004
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Doth Togo said:
If this flu strikes the western hemisphere (North America / South America), you would be wise to get your ass to Europe and pay cash for a vaccination. If Canada is higher on the list than the US, you know what? I'mma make a nice quick little day trip right up to Quebec City.

Well, it's not really a vaccination, but rather medicine to treat it:

While there is no vaccine to stop the flu, there is one medicine to treat it. Called Tamiflu, it is made by the Roche pharmaceutical company in Switzerland. Roche has been selling Tamiflu for years.

It makes me wonder if the medicine would do any good for people who had not yet caught it? Also, would a foreign country give the medicine to a non-citizen? They probably wouldn't have much to spare themselves.
 

Doth Togo

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heavy liquid said:
It makes me wonder if the medicine would do any good for people who had not yet caught it? Also, would a foreign country give the medicine to a non-citizen? They probably wouldn't have much to spare themselves.

Black market.

- or -

Canada and France both offer the medicines to non-citizens. It might be issued on a priority basis, but unlike the US health care system, foreigners wouldn't be turned away.
 
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