Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Birds!

Uh oh, two political posts in a row. Sorry.

I was trying not to post anything about the bird flu 'pandemic' because it isn't. But something caught my eye today that pissed me off so I thought I'd chirp in.

First, some facts. The bird flu, H5N1, has been around for awhile. This particular straing first popped up in 1997 and killed six people in Hong Kong. It came up again in 2003, only killing one person. Second, in it's current form it can only jump from birds to humans, not from human to human. It would have to mutate to do that and the chances of it mutating in such a manner are slim. In fact, it's been watching since 2003 for just such occurance. So why is it a big deal all of a sudden? Who knows. For more facts about the bird flu, go here.

Now, the avarian flu, bird flu, H5N1, whatever you want to call it, is not pandemic since it doesn't transfer from human to human. It's not even endemic for the same reason. And if it were to start transfering from human to human, there is nothing that says it will certainly turn into a pandemic. In my opinion it is just a bunch of hype to increase rating and to distract people. So the government should take some steps, maybe put out a website addressing avarian bird flu, to calm people down, right? Sure, but why on EARTH would you call it www.pandemicflu.gov?? Jesus H Christ, what the fuck is that?

But that's not what really pisses me off about that. What really really really gets my goat is this: Lawmakers reject emergency bird flu funds. Are you fucking kidding me? It's the one thing Bush did right in this mess was to ask for $7.1 billion dollars so we could start producing vaccine and the like in case a flu ever became pandemic. It takes time for this stuff to ramp up and the flu vaccine shortage last year just screams we need more infrastructure in place. What the hell is wrong with these people? If you want to cut money from somewhere so you can fund responsibilities that are the federal government take money from pork programs that make no sense like The Bridge to Nowhere.

And don't even get me started on the f'ing tax cuts for the wealthy that these dipshits are still trying to push through at the expense of social programs that could actually help victims of the hurricanes this year.

2 comments:

Antijen said...

I agree that the hype is building up the H5N1 flu into much more than it presently is. Right now, you're right, it's only been shown to spread via bird-to-human contact, with maybe 2 suspected but not proven cases of person-to-person contact between family members.

But medically, this flu is very different than the average influenza virus that gets around every year. Usually, the flu hits infants and the elderly hardest, and young healty people are normally spared with mild cases. The current H5N1 "avian flu" aggressively infects the lungs, causing a severe immune overreaction. With that, the lungs can't function and people die of respiratory distress.

So no, don't panic... but if it does manage to switch to person-to-person transmission, we're in trouble, because it's so new that we have no antibodies against it. Spending money to make vaccines -- SMART.

Ryan said...

Right, the typical flu we all know and love is the seasonal flu. H5N1 has only hit a few times before, in 97 and 03. It didn't make the jump either time, nor is it likely to do so this time.

And right, because it hasn't made its round in the people population we don't have the antibodies. So why on earth are we not funding research? Boggles the mind.