Friday, April 24, 2009

Swine Flu and the Next Pandemic

Back in 2005, I noted that the next major global pandemic was likely to come out of China or Southeast Asia due to the fact that the Chinese routinely mix the excrement of humans, pigs, fish and fowl and then dose it with massive amounts of antibiotics in order to keep fish healthy in over-crowded fresh-water aquaculture ponds

Now comes word that 5 new swine flu cases have appeared in California and Texas, and that "the unusual strain of the respiratory infection is spreading from person to person."


The Center for Disease Control says "We don't think this is time for major concern around the country."

They are probably correct.

That said, this is how it will start, mark my words.

  • Follow Up:
    It looks like things are heating up, Voice of America reports: "Mexican and U.S. officials are taking emergency steps to contain the possible outbreak of a new multi-strain of swine flu that has killed at least 20 people and may be responsible for scores of other deaths.Mexican health officials confirmed at least 20 deaths associated with the new flu strain Friday and ordered the most sweeping shutdown of public gathering places in decades. Authorities closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in the capital, Mexico City, to try to contain any possible outbreak. Many people in the capital were wearing face masks while in public. Authorities say 1,000 people have become ill."

    Without being too alarmist, this thing is spreading way too fast and it is not too benign and it is not even normal flu season. Not good. Even more not good is that New York health officials began testing 75 students at a Queens school on Friday, suspecting flu.

    "The new virus has genes from North American swine influenza, avian influenza, human influenza and a form of swine influenza normally found in Asia and Europe, said Nancy Cox, chief of the CDC's Influenza Division."

  • Related Posts
    ** Populations, Oceans and Influenza
    ** Sharing Death and Disease Across Species
    ** China, Export Fish, Antibiotics & the Next Plague


smartdogs said...

Thanks for reminding why I don't eat Chinese seafood.

foxstudio said...

Well, that takes care of the prawns and probably the tilapia, too.

babysweet said...

Thanks again, Asia!

babysweet said...

Looks like you called it, Patrick - several confirmed cases in the private school in Queens.

The GOOD news is it's NOT flu season (people are not jammed indoors) and this appears to be a relatively mild flu virus at the moment, provided you live somewhere with adequate testing facilities and medical services.

Terrifying though, how random and disconnected the cases seem to be - even SARS could be tracked to a certain extent.

Good on the CDC for being so on top of the situation - so far, at least. They really do seem to be monitoring and tracking things efficiently, as well as trying to keep the public panic to a minimum.

PBurns said...

This is very bad stuff though -- it is moving around MUCH too fast.