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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bird Flu Moves Into Romania And Turkey

The other H5N1 shoe is probably about to drop in Europe, and that means the risk to Iraq is growing by leaps and bounds. It also means that the risk to our troops is growing in leaps and bounds, which means that the domestic risk in the US is growing by leaps and bounds.

Yesterday Romania announced that it had sent samples from three domestic ducks found dead on the Danube Delta to England so that they could be tested to see if they had been infected with H5N1. The liklihood was that these birds had died from avian flu spread by migrating waterfowl, because ducks (unlike chickens) are generally resistant to bird flu. The likely explanation is that the waterfowl which brought H5N1 to Russia, Mongolia and Siberia earlier this year had started migrating south and had arrived on the Danube Delta. Birds were dying months ago on the Volga Delta.

Today we discover that at least 460 birds are dead on the Danube Delta. Late yesterday Romania had announced that it had quarantined the village where the birds were found. Today there is an unconfirmed report that three humans are now ill in Romania. I think this is an error, but I may be wrong. (Update: I have just spent an hour plodding through news reports written in language which I read poorly, and I am sure this report is wrong. Also the rumor about a human death in Hungary is wrong.) The village cited is quarantined along with six others that have had bird deaths. Reuters does not report illness in humans, but culling of the birds has begun.

About 2000 turkeys were killed in the northwest of Turkey because they were thought to have become ill from bird flu. Turkish Press:
The first reported outbreak of bird flu in Turkey has killed some 2,000 turkeys in the northwestern province of Balikesir, a government official there said Saturday.

Deputy governor Halil Yavuz Kaya told Turkish CNN television that a quarantine had been imposed on a turkey farm in the province's Manyas region.

Manyas is home to a nature reserve known for its wide variety of birds.
This is an exact duplicate of the spread of H5N1 in China and then to Russia. There have been unconfirmed rumors for weeks that birds were dying in northern Iran. Southern Iraq has wetlands, and it is overwhelmingly likely that within a month or two this strain of H5N1 will show up there. See this prior post regarding Iraq and H5N1. The Iraqi population and our armed forces is at risk.

In August I asked people to blog about the risk to our troops and ask their congressional representatives and senators whether antiviral drugs were being stockpiled for the use of our troops:. Today I am repeating that request. The State department has been stockpiling Tamiflu for embassy personnel and their families. Has the same been done for our troops? We have the right and the duty to ask!

Obfuscation is the name of the game, when ot comes to reporting about human cases.

There is no single standard for reporting either bird or human infection rates- and there is certainly no standards for reporting on death cause by secondary infections, brought on by avian flu.
No. I am seeing some word of a DoD plan but I can't find it.

It isn't just obfuscation. Take the Toronto example. According to one of the ICU doctors, there was a viral infection involved. He claimed it was flu.

But what seems to have produced the high death rate was a bacterial infection. And they know their stuff, and it took them over 10 days to figure it out.

It is just not that easy to figure these things out.
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