November 3, 2005
Re "Bush's Flu Plan Stresses Vaccine," Nov. 2 I could drain the English language dry in describing the colossal foolishness of President Bush's plan to vaccinate 20 million Americans against the current strain of avian flu. Why so? Because the current strain of avian flu, due to its lack of human-to-human transmissibility, poses no significant threat. The virus must mutate to achieve the feared scenario of rapid human-to-human transmission while retaining its lethal potential. Vaccination against the current strain will most likely provide little to no protection whatsoever against the new, deadly, mutated strain.
January 15, 2012 |
In recent weeks I've had occasion to wonder whether Talmudic scholars of yore ever debated the question of what to do when a nice Jewish boy came down with swine flu. Less shameful than a diagnosis of trichinosis, perhaps, in which the subject would surely be harshly judged for his complicity in having partaken of undercooked pork. Yet hasn't a swine flu victim also ingested (or at least inhaled) the virus one way or another? Admittedly, this was not foremost on my mind when, in 2006, my wife and I purchased a drug called Tamiflu.
August 3, 2005 |
Russian veterinary officials said an outbreak of an avian flu strain that can infect humans had spread to another region in Siberia. The outbreak began in the Novosibirsk region in early July and has killed thousands of domestic fowl. Last week, the veterinary service identified the virus as the H5N1 strain, which can kill people, but no human cases have been reported in Russia. The same strain has been reported in a village in the adjacent Altai territory and in the Tyumen region farther west.
October 26, 2005 |
People should not panic about a possible influenza pandemic, despite the spread of a deadly strain of bird flu, leading health officials and politicians said. More than 60 people in Southeast Asia have died of avian flu, and the outbreak among birds has made its way to Europe. Margaret Chan, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization, said people should remember it is still relatively difficult for humans to catch bird flu.
February 4, 2007 |
Authorities scrambled to contain the country's first outbreak of the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu in domestic poultry after the virus was found at a farm run by Europe's biggest turkey producer. About 2,500 turkeys have died since Thursday at the Bernard Matthews farm near Lowestoft in eastern England. Authorities said all 159,000 birds there would be culled over the next few days. The strain tends to be transmitted to poultry by migrating wildfowl.
February 5, 2006 |
A Hong Kong laboratory recognized by the World Health Organization has confirmed four more human bird flu cases in Indonesia, including two deaths, a senior Indonesian Health Ministry official said. Hariadi Wibisono, the ministry's director of control of animal-borne diseases, said that raised Indonesia's confirmed human bird flu cases to 23. Although the H5N1 strain of avian flu mostly affects birds, it has infected 161 people and killed 86 of them since 2003, according to the WHO.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 24, 2006 |
The San Diego Zoo is preparing to spend at least $500,000 to protect its 3,000 birds, some of which are very rare and found only in captivity, from avian flu. Officials say past threats, such as exotic Newcastle disease three years ago, have prepared them for the steps to take -- including vaccinating and possibly quarantining birds, and spraying delivery truck undercarriages with disinfectant -- if bird flu reaches the U.S.
January 31, 2004 |
Three more areas in China reported avian flu cases Friday, raising concerns that the world's second-largest poultry producer was on the verge of a major outbreak. New cases make it imperative that China, the world's most populous nation, quickly assess the scope of the disease within its borders and the tools available to contain it, the World Health Organization said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 9, 2005 |
With at least 11,000 airline passengers flying from Asia to California each day, the state would be more vulnerable than most should a deadly flu virus break out in the Far East, health authorities say. Despite stepped-up efforts to prepare for such a catastrophe, California -- like the rest of the nation -- is strikingly underprepared, these experts say.
February 9, 2004
"Beijing Has a Problem: Its Man in Hong Kong" (Feb. 3) gives an impression that China's Central People's Government has lost faith in Hong Kong's chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa. The impression is speculative and unfounded. China's leaders have repeatedly pledged firm support for the Hong Kong government led by Tung. Hong Kong has had to deal with a series of hard challenges in the last six years, from the Asian financial crisis to severe deflation, avian flu and SARS. The economy has recovered substantially since the middle of 2003, and the recovery is in no small way because of the government's initiatives.