Thursday, March 30, 2006

In Pandemic Just Wave Hello

Since hands are a primary manner in which disease is spread, the recommendation is that in pandemic we should stop shaking hands.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

First Vaccine attempt not too promising

The first real attempt at creating and stockpiling a bird flu vaccine had some difficulties. It produced an immune response in only about half of those who received it. So more of the vaccine would be needed. That reduces the number of people who could be served in a pandemic. The current version is already outdated as the main virus has changed. Scientists are working on the newer virus. And of course, no one knows if it would be of much use against the virus that would be the mutated form which would spread from person to person.
The good news is that it seemed very safe even in very high doses.

"These findings mean there is only enough H5N1 vaccine now in the U.S. stockpile to protect about 4 million Americans in a pandemic, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said. These would likely be key health-care workers and people working to make the vaccine.

Everyone else would have to wait while a pandemic spreads, relying on public-health measures such as social distancing -- meaning closing businesses, schools and using masks, gloves and other protective equipment -- in the meantime."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Schools Should Make Plans

"In North Carolina on Tuesday, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings joined Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to encourage schools to prepare. Spellings said schools must be aware that they may have to close their buildings — or that their schools may need to be used as makeshift hospitals, quarantine sites or vaccination centers."

"Federal health leaders say it is not alarmist or premature for schools to make preparations, such as finding ways to teach kids even if they’ve all been sent home."

"At the college level, the American Council on Education, a higher education umbrella group, has alerted thousands of college presidents about the need to prepare for bird flu.

Federal health leaders have advised each college to establish a pandemic response team and plan for outbreak scenarios that could close or quarantine their campuses."

NYT articles

Here are some bird flu aritcles. Especially ineresting is the Denise Grady video on Bird Flu. Click on video: key facts on bird flu. Note there are two parts, so let it load twice. Thanks Ann for this input.

NY Times articles

Emergency Survival Lists

This list is a bit longer than your government's. Secretary of Health and Human Services suggested maybe an extra can of tuna fish under youre bed each week might be a hedge against pandemic. But a skim might jog some ideas for those of you who are stockpiling. Somewhere in between the two lists is one that should meet your comfort zone. For items that don't store for years, I've taken to thinking about sale prices and also cycling that stuff through the local food pantry if no emergency develops.

(I'll collect and add lists to the bottom as I find them.)

Survival .com lists:
We get lots of requests from folks who are stocking up on
supplies and wonder what kind of items they should be
including. The following items, garnered from postings on
the avianflutalk forum should prove helpful if you're still
working on your list.

100 Items to Disappear First ...from Muskrat

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. of
thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to
become dried, for home
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If
scarce, stockpile
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats &
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice - Beans - Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must
be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size.
PLASTIC ONLY - note - food grade if for drinking.
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item,
longer-term lighting is
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister
use is dangerous
without this item)
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and
Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk - Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in
every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all furthest-out for Expiration
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {"Strike Anywhere" preferred.) Boxed, wooden
matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from
freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, "No. 76 Dietz"
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas,
feelings, experience;
Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water,
transporting - if with
49. Men's Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste,
Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers,
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves
a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. "Survival-in-a-Can"
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress's
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Libby's List

1. table salt
2. broth
3. baking soda
4. sugar
5. caffeinated tea
6. aseptic packaged soy and rice milk (as much as
7. pediasure* (as much as possible)
8. cans of chili
9. yeast
10. splenda (large box from Costco)
11. creamer
12. pasta
13. canned potatoes
14. juice (juice boxes and other)
15. applesauce
16. pancake mix
17. syrup
18. “chicken” noodle soup
19. canned fruit
20. cocoa (packets ­ 6 boxes; baking cocoa ­ 3)
21. coffee (as much as possible)
22. lentils
23. flour
24. powdered creamer
25. spaghetti sauce
26. canned tomatoes
27. macaroni and cheese
28. tofu
29. self-rising flour
30. canned refried beans
31. jello
32. gingerale
33. Gatorade
34. cream of wheat
35. saltines
36. nuts
37. canned salmon
38. canned tuna
39. sauerkraut
40. veggie bacon

More from Libby:

Here's my OTC meds list. It's even more individualized than
the food list as we're looking at alternative remedies for
high blood pressure, asthma, and depression (just in case we
run out of meds)..... Disclaimer: I'm not recommending any
thing to anybody. This is just what we are personally

1. Extra Strength
2. Robitussin
3. Pediacare
4. Pain Patches
5. Rubbing Alcohol
6. Kids’ Tylenol
7. Astralagus/Immune system boosters
8. Pediatric Electrolytes
9. mucinex
10. chloraseptic throat spray
11. masks
12. Benadryl (25 mg + pediatric dose)
13. Primatene
14. valerian (only as needed for relaxant) ­ High Blood
15. garlic ­ High Blood Pressure
16. Hawthorn Tea­ High Blood Pressure
17. daily calcium (800 mg) ­ High Blood Pressure
18. Magnesium (300 mg) ­ High Blood Pressure
19. Essential oils: to help w/ sleep ­ basil, clary,
jasmine, rose, chamomile ­ depression
20. B complex (50 mg, good for asthma too) ­ depression
21. folic acid (400 mcg daily) ­ depression
22. s-adenosylmethionine (800 mg bid) ­ depression
23. more essential oils: eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary ­
24. homeopathic remedy for restlessness and anxiety ­
arsenicum album (30 c prn)
25. tea tree oil
26. lemon oil
27. peppermint oil
28. goldenseal/Echinacea
29. flu homeopathic remedies: gelsemium, bryonia, rhus
toxicodendron, eupatorium perfoliatum
30. medicinal teas
31. dry mustard
32. vit E, C (x2), A (25-50,000 i.u.), zinc supplements,
multi (x2)
33. monistat
34. vapor bath
35. Tums EX
36. ibuprofen
37. bed pan
38. cough patches
39. pepto bismol
40. aspirin
41. Vaseline
42. humidifier and filters
43. vicks
44. immodium

Here's a list of miscellaneous items.....

1. razors
2. shaving cream
3. peppermints
4. shampoo/conditioner
5. kid shampoo
6. lotion
7. next size clothing for kids , including shoes and
8. playdoh
9. markers
10. paint (for kids)
11. lamp oil
12. pull-ups/ diapers
13. wipes
14. Kleenex
15. pads
16. tampons
17. paper towels
18. cleaning supplies
19. laundry detergent
20. cat food
21. litter
22. handkerchiefs
23. Clorox wipes
24. chuks
25. seeds
26. flashlights
27. Clorox bleach
28. toilet paper
29. garbage bags
30. paper plates, etc.
31. dishwasher detergent
32. dish soap
33. toothbrushes
34. toothpaste
35. floss
36. bottled water
37. Lysol spray
38. batteries
39. swiffer
40. duct tape
41. packing tape
42. long matches

Emergency Pantry: The List ...from worriedlilchic

Baking mixes (Pie crust mix plus canned pie filling
Baking powder
Baking soda
Bay leaves (delicious in beans, and insects avoid foods like
flour with a bay leaf stored inside the bag)
Bottled drinks and juices (not refrigerated type)
Brown Sugar
Bullion, concentrated broth
Butter flavoring, like Molly McButter. Freeze for storage if
you can.
Canned beans
Canned broth
Canned chicken breast
Canned chili
Canned diced tomatoes, other tomato products, and sauces
Canned French fried onions for green bean casserole
Canned fruit
Canned milk, evaporated milk
Canned pie filling (don't overlook, great item)
Canned pumpkin
Canned Salmon
Canned soups
Canned stew
Canned sweet potatoes
Canned Tuna
Canned veggies
Cans of lemonade mix, other canned dry drink mixes
Cheese dips in jars
Cheese soups, like cheddar, broccoli cheese, and jack cheese
Chinese food ingredients
Chocolate bars
Chocolate chips
Chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup squeeze bottles (about
that dry milk, again)
Coffee filters (also for straining silt out of water)
Corn Masa de Harina or corn tortilla mix
Corn meal
Corn starch for thickening
Cream of Wheat
Cream soups (good for flavoring rice & pasta, too)
Dried eggs
Dried fruit
Dried onion (big containers at warehouse stores)
Dried soups
Dry cocoa
Dry coffee creamer (big sealed cans, many uses including
making dry milk taste better)
Dry milk powder
Dry Mustard
Flour, self rising flour Flour tortilla mix for flour
tortillas, wraps, and flatbread
Garlic powder
Granola bars (not great shelf life)
Hard candy
Honey (also reputed to reduce viral load in throat and
Hot chocolate mix
Instant coffee if you drink it, or coffee and a manual drip
cone or similar
Instant mashed potatoes
Jarred or canned spaghetti sauce
Jarred peppers
Jellies and Jams
Kool Aid
Lard, Manteca (good in beans, substitute for bacon or salt
pork, tortilla making, many other uses)
Large packages dry pasta, thinner type saves fuel
Marshmallow cream
Mayo packets from warehouse store, if you must, not really a
good value.
Mexican food ingredients
Nestle Table Cream (substitute for sour cream, cream, or
half-and-half) in lots of ethnic stores, including British)
Nuts (freeze if you have room)
Oil (Shelf life not great, freeze if you have room)
Olive oil
Olives, green and black
Onion powder
Packaged bread crumbs
Pancake mix, one step, and other mixes that already have the
eggs in them
Peanut butter, nut butters
Pet food
Pickles, relish (not refrigerator case type)
Powdered sugar
Power bars
Ravioli or any canned pasta you can stand
Real butter or favorite margarine-keep frozen until disaster
if you can. Butter keeps a long time in cool temps)
Rice (cheap and filling)
Salsa and hot sauces (Franks Hot Sauce!)
Spam or Treet :( !
Spices and herbs your family likes
Stovetop Dressing mix
Summer sausage ( cheaper around holidays)
Sweetened condensed milk
Trail mix
Ultra pasteurized milk (expensive)
Vanilla (improves dry milk, too)
Velveeta (watch carton date, freeze for storage if possible)
Vienna sausage
Yeast, if you think you would use it. May be frozen.
Baby food
Pet food



We take the grocery store for granted. In the event of a panic (like the first case of bird flu in the USA), just think how very few frightened shoppers that it would take for your neighborhood grocery to run out of a product like rice. A few determined families could take most of it! The stores could be stripped bare in minutes. Our advice is not to wait.

We made our list based on shelf life, availability, and price. We then researched recipes to find the products most commonly used. Cross-off what you or your kids dislike. Be cautious of big sizes of perishables, since waste will quickly nullify any savings. Some items have a long shelf life, but must be used quickly after opening. Perishables might be available for a short time, but this list is comprised of storage foods, those that can be stored for many months or even for years. Check every expiration date- we found same brand bags of flour (on the same shelf) with a two-year difference in the expiration date!

This list probably contains some items that you usually try to avoid. A lady checking me out in the grocery store noticed that I was buying a lot of sugar and flour (on sale for a good price). She haughtily informed me her children do not eat sugar, or much flour. I asked her what her kids would eat if the food supply were interrupted, like in hurricane Katrina. She said they would eat fresh vegetables. I wonder where she thought the fresh vegetables would come from?

Try to "rotate" a decent supply of food and still always have plenty on hand in case of an emergency. But many of these items have a very long shelf life, and can be used strictly as emergency storage. This list is designed for some variety, so that the kids and teens in our "pod" don't meltdown from boredom. No one can tell you how much to buy, but try to work your way toward a three month supply.

Of course, you probably won't go out and buy all of this. Realistically, if you had to, you could purchase only bulk size bags of rice, dried beans, flour, shortening, possibly corn, along with some source of Vitamin C. You could last a very long time for very little money. For very basic survival, we would recommend that you have your water purifier, cooking supplies, and a way to stay warm before an elaborate variety of food- but better food (and some games) will be a real help in an extended "lock-down".

Emergency Pantry: The List

Baking mixes (Pie crust mix plus canned pie filling =cobbler)
Baking powder
Baking soda
Bay leaves (delicious in beans, and insects avoid foods like flour with a bay leaf stored inside the bag)
Bottled drinks and juices (not refrigerated type)
Brown Sugar
Bullion, concentrated broth
Butter flavoring, like Molly McButter. Freeze for storage if you can.
Canned beans
Canned broth
Canned chicken breast
Canned chili
Canned diced tomatoes, other tomato products, and sauces
Canned French fried onions for green bean casserole
Canned fruit
Canned milk, evaporated milk
Canned pie filling (don't overlook, great item)
Canned pumpkin
Canned Salmon
Canned soups
Canned stew
Canned sweet potatoes
Canned Tuna
Canned veggies
Cans of lemonade mix, other canned dry drink mixes
Cheese dips in jars
Cheese soups, like cheddar, broccoli cheese, and jack cheese
Chinese food ingredients
Chocolate bars
Chocolate chips
Chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup squeeze bottles (about that dry milk, again)
Coffee filters (also for straining silt out of water)
Corn Masa de Harina or corn tortilla mix
Corn meal
Corn starch for thickening
Cream of Wheat
Cream soups (good for flavoring rice & pasta, too)
Dried eggs
Dried fruit
Dried onion (big containers at warehouse stores)
Dried soups
Dry cocoa
Dry coffee creamer (big sealed cans, many uses including making dry milk taste better)
Dry milk powder
Dry Mustard
Flour, self rising flour Flour tortilla mix for flour tortillas, wraps, and flatbread
Garlic powder
Granola bars (not great shelf life)
Hard candy
Honey (also reputed to reduce viral load in throat and esophagus)
Hot chocolate mix
Instant coffee if you drink it, or coffee and a manual drip cone or similar
Instant mashed potatoes
Jarred or canned spaghetti sauce
Jarred peppers
Jellies and Jams
Kool Aid
Lard, Manteca (good in beans, substitute for bacon or salt pork, tortilla making, many other uses)
Large packages dry pasta, thinner type saves fuel
Marshmallow cream
Mayo packets from warehouse store, if you must, not really a good value.
Mexican food ingredients
Nestle Table Cream (substitute for sour cream, cream, or half-and-half) in lots of ethnic stores, including British)
Nuts (freeze if you have room)
Oil (Shelf life not great, freeze if you have room)
Olive oil
Olives, green and black
Onion powder
Packaged bread crumbs
Pancake mix, one step, and other mixes that already have the eggs in them
Peanut butter, nut butters
Pet food
Pickles, relish (not refrigerator case type)
Powdered sugar
Power bars
Ravioli or any canned pasta you can stand
Real butter or favorite margarine-keep frozen until disaster if you can. Butter keeps a long time in cool temps)
Rice (cheap and filling)
Salsa and hot sauces (Franks Hot Sauce!)
Spam or Treet :( !
Spices and herbs your family likes
Stovetop Dressing mix
Summer sausage ( cheaper around holidays)
Sweetened condensed milk
Trail mix
Ultra pasteurized milk (expensive)
Vanilla (improves dry milk, too)
Velveeta (watch carton date, freeze for storage if possible)
Vienna sausage
Yeast, if you think you would use it. May be frozen.

Baby food
Pet food


List from Kansas:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been preparing for several years to respond to any possible attack that could threaten the public health and safety of the state’s residents. Now, a $1.1 million grant will help the organization and the state’s other emergency response organizations prepare to fight pandemic flu.

What is pandemic flu?

Pandemic flu is a virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person. Currently there is no pandemic flu.

How can you prepare yourself and your family?

Store a supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.

  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
  • Teach your children to stay away from others as much as possible if they are sick. Stay home from work and school if sick.

Items to have on hand for an extended stay at home:

Food and non-perishables:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, and soups
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter or nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Bottled water
  • Canned or jarred baby food and formula
  • Pet food

Medical, health and emergency supplies:

  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment
  • Soap and water, or alcohol-based hand wash
  • Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Thermometer
  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Vitamins
  • Fluids with electrolytes
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Portable radio
  • Manual can opener
  • Garbage bags
  • Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers

We also have a list posted on our website that you can
access by going to


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Calls for scepticism

"Traditional skepticism is missing in discussions of pandemic flu."

Here is a call for discussion which again argues that bird flu talk has raised fears unnecessarily. I don't experience that as most of the people I talk to are not afraid or even aware.

But it wold be nice if this writer is right and there is nothing much to worry about:

Feds don't want another Katrina

At a bird flu summit in Richmond, Va., the Health and Human Services Secretary had a warning for local officials.

Secretary Mike Leavitt said the federal government can not be relied upon to protect states from a potential flu pandemic.

Leavitt said communities that assume the federal government will come to the rescue will be wrong.

The secretary made his remarks at a summit with local governments, schools, and health and emergency services officials.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Notes from Wall Street

"How stocks do this time depends on what plays out:

•Best-case scenario. Markets will cheer if the virus never becomes transmissible from human to human. In that case, Luskin says, investors can make money investing in companies that make vaccines and testing therapies.

Examples, he says, include Gilead Sciences, the inventor of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, which is being stockpiled by governments around the globe; Hemispherx Biopharma, which is seeking final approval for its anti-viral drug Ampligen; and Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese vaccine maker.

•SARS-like scenario. A mild pandemic that is contained could add up to a buying opportunity, says Citigroup’s Heldman. Many of the stocks likely to decline from flu-related panic selling, such as airlines (Continental), hotels (Hilton) and shopping malls (Simon Property) would likely enjoy rebounds.

•Worst-case scenario. That’s if a full pandemic hits, the economy shuts down, people die. Airlines, hotels and other businesses that involve travel or crowds will fall sharply. Citigroup says shares of drug companies, vaccine makers, and hospital and health care stocks (Tenet, Community Hospitals) will rise. Home entertainment providers, such as Blockbuster, should fare well. So, too, could safe investments such as Treasury bonds and cash.

But, “The losers will come under severe pressure,” says Heldman. Adds Luskin: “It will be like Hurricane Katrina on a global scale.”

Woody Dorsey, behavioral market strategist at Market Semiotics, says
the fact that the virus can spread quickly and cause widespread havoc means it is likely to be more damaging to the economy and financial markets than a terrorist attack or severe hurricane.

“We’re moving into a ‘bio-era’ where computer viruses, physical viruses and fear move around the world quickly,” he says. “It’s the downside of globalization.”

For more of the article..................

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In the US cats may be the culprits

"At that point, the population that most worries the world's infectious disease trackers is not so much the nation's human population -- the virus has yet to evolve into a form that easily infects humans. It is not even domestic poultry, since most U.S. commercial bird flocks are sealed away in covered buildings, never coming in contact with wild birds.

What keeps some scientists up at night is the 75 million household cats, plus the 40 to 60 million feral cats roaming the countryside, some of which are sure to eat infected birds. "If it gets into cats in this country it will spread like crazy," warns Larry Glickman, a professor of epidemiology at Purdue University School of Veterinarian Medicine. "Many of these cats sleep in bed with their owners. The potential that they could spread it to humans is very large."

Impact on VooDoo Practices

Why the Current Flu is not human to human

"Ordinary flu viruses spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, blasting out tiny droplets carrying the germ to others. For that to happen, the virus has to be perched in the right places to be ejected by a cough or sneeze. The new work suggests H5N1, by contrast, infects humans too low in the respiratory tract for that to occur."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Perhaps Composting Kills Virus

Why H5N1 is such a Killer

here is a little more detail on how this flu kills:

"Why this new virus is so deadly is not entirely understood, although scientists have hints.

Influenza viruses invade cells lining the throat and windpipe, where they replicate and cause inflammation but are eventually suppressed by the immune system. In some cases, the microbe invades the lungs and leads to viral or bacterial pneumonia. Some H5N1 strains, however, have two features that make them even more dangerous.

Normally, the flu viruses can replicate only in the throat and lungs. With H5N1, however, the protein that triggers replication can be activated in many other organs, including the liver, intestines and brain. What is usually a respiratory infection can suddenly become a whole-body infection. Simultaneously, a second "defect" in the virus unleashes a storm of immune-system chemicals called cytokines. In normal amounts, cytokines help fight microbial invade
rs. In excessive amounts, they can cause lethal damage to the body's own tissues."

full article:

Flu and Religion

Bird Flu Affect on a Buddhist rite:

The Way We Raise chickens creates disease

Big chicken farms gave birds the flu
Sunday March 19th 2006, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Article

The industrialization of poultry raising is the culprit, says WENDY ORENT, and migratory birds are usually victims, not carriers

Chicken has never been cheaper. A whole one can be bought for little more than the price of a cup of coffee from Starbucks. But the industrial farming methods that make ever-cheaper chicken possible may also have created the lethal strain of bird flu virus, H5N1, that threatens to set off a global pandemic.

According to Earl Brown, a University of Ottawa flu virologist, lethal bird flu is entirely man-made, first evolving in commercially produced poultry in Italy in 1878. The highly pathogenic H5N1 is descended from a strain that first appeared in Scotland in 1959.

People have been living with backyard flocks of poultry since the dawn of civilization. But it wasn’t until poultry production became modernized, and birds were raised in much larger numbers and concentrations, that a virulent bird flu evolved.

When birds are packed close together, any brakes on virulence are off. Birds struck with a fatal illness can easily pass the disease to others, through direct contact or through fecal matter, and lethal strains can evolve. Somehow, the virus that arose in Scotland found its way to China, where, as H5N1, it has been raging for more than a decade.

Industrial poultry-raising moved from the West to Asia in the last few decades and has begun to supplant backyard flocks there. According to a recent report by Grain, an international nongovernmental organization, chicken production in Southeast Asia has jumped eightfold in 30 years to about 2.7 million tons. The Chinese annually produce about 10 million tons of chickens. Some of China’s factory farms raise 5 million birds at a time. Charoen Pokphand Group, a huge Thai enterprise that owns a large chunk of poultry production throughout Thailand and China as well as in Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Turkey, exported about 270 million chickens in 2003 alone.

Since then, the C.P. Group, which styles itself as the “Kitchen of the World,” has suffered enormous losses from bird flu. According to bird-flu expert Gary Butcher of the University of Florida, the company has made a conscientious effort to clean up. But the damage has been done.

Virulent bird flu has left the factories and moved into the farmyards of the poor, where it has had devastating effects. Poultry may represent a family’s greatest wealth. The birds often are not eaten until they die of old age or illness. The cost of the virus to people who have raised birds for months or years is incalculable and the compensation risible: In Thailand, farmers have been offered one-third of their birds’ value since the outbreak of bird flu.

Sometimes farmers who don’t want to lose their investments illicitly trade their birds across borders. In Nigeria, virus-infected chickens threatened with culling are sold by the poor to even poorer people, who see nothing unusual in eating a sick bird. So the birds — and the bird flu virus — slip away to other villages and other countries.

Some researchers still blame migratory birds for the relentless spread of the bird flu virus. But Martin Williams, a conservationist and bird expert in Hong Kong, contends that wild birds are more often victims than carriers. Last spring, for instance, about 5,000 wild birds died at Qinghai Lake in western China, probably from exposure to disease at commercial poultry farms in the region, according to Grain. The virus now in Turkey and Nigeria is essentially identical to the Qinghai strain.

Richard Thomas of Birdlife International, a global alliance of conservation organizations, and others dispute the idea that wild birds carried the flu virus from Qinghai to Russia and beyond. They point out that the disease spread from Qinghai to southern Siberia during the summer months when birds do not migrate, and that it moved east to west along railway lines, roads and international boundaries — not along migratory flyways.

What evidence there is for migratory birds as H5N1 carriers is contained in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers examined 13,115 wild birds and found asymptomatic bird flu in six ducks from China. Analysis showed that these ducks had been exposed earlier to less virulent strains of H5 and thus were partly immunized before they were infected with H5N1. On this slender basis, coupled with the fact that some domestic ducks infected for experimental purposes don’t get sick, the study’s authors contend that the findings “demonstrate that H5N1 viruses can be transmitted over long distances by migratory birds.”

Even so, the researchers conceded that the global poultry trade, much of which is illicit, plays a far larger role in spreading the virus. The Nigerian government traced its outbreak to the illegal importation of day-old chicks. Illegal trading in fighting cocks brought the virus from Thailand to Malaysia in fall 2005. And it is probable that H5N1 first spread from Qinghai to Russia and Kazakhstan last summer through the sale of contaminated poultry.

But an increasingly hysterical world targets migratory birds. In early February, a flock of geese, too cold and tired to fly, rested on the frozen waters of the Danube Delta in Romania. A group of 15 men set upon them, tossed some into the air, tore off others’ heads and used still-living birds as soccer balls. They said they did this because they feared the bird flu would enter their village through the geese. Many conservationists worry that what happened in Romania is a foreshadowing of the mass destruction of wild birds.

Meanwhile, deadly H5N1 is washing up on the shores of Europe. Brown says the commercial poultry industry, which caused the catastrophe in the first place, stands to benefit most. The conglomerates will more and more dominate the poultry-rearing business.

Some experts insist that will be better for us. Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota, for instance, contends that the “single greatest risk to the amplification of the H5N1 virus, should it arrive in the U.S. through migratory birds, will be in free-range birds … often sold as a healthier food, which is a great ruse on the American public.”

The truly great ruse is that industrial poultry farms are the best way to produce chickens — that Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods and Charoen Pokphand are keeping the world safe from backyard poultry and migratory birds.

But what’s going to be on our tables isn’t the biggest problem. The real tragedy is what’s happened in Asia to people who can’t even afford the cheap industrial chicken. And the real victims of industrially produced, lethal H5N1 have been wild birds, an ancient way of life and the poor of the Earth, for whom a backyard flock has always represented a measure of autonomy and a bulwark against starvation.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Impact on English Racing Pigeons

When I was a teenager I had quitea flock of racing pigeons. Too bad.

Racing pigeons
Sunday March 19th 2006, 10:57 am
Filed under: Article

Racing pigeons ‘face bird flu cull’

A SCIENTIST advising the government on measures to prevent the spread of avian flu in Britain has warned that pigeon fanciers may have to cull their prize birds if pandemic strikes.

Dr Douglas Fleming, director of the Royal College of General Practitioners research unit, said that racing pigeons may have to be slaughtered to prevent a spread of the virus.

Urban pigeon lofts, many of which are close to residential properties, could also have to be cleared and disinfected or destroyed to ensure that people living nearby are not at risk.

His comments follow a warning by ministers that Highland shooting estates could be stopped from releasing game birds into the wild to prevent the spread of the flu. Free-range and organic poultry farmers have been told they will have to confine their flocks in sheds.

The moves are in preparation for the arrival of avian flu in Britain after the disease was confirmed on a French turkey farm last month. It was probably carried there by wild birds whose migratory routes also pass over Britain.

Fleming, a member of the government’s joint committee on flu, fears it is inevitable that the H5N1 strain will arrive here. “If we got to a situation where the virus was widespread throughout the country serious policy decisions would have to be made, which could restrict close contact between birds and humans,” he said.

“If this was the case then the sport of pigeon racing would have to be stopped in this country. If you got a flock of pigeons that were affected, or suspected to be affected, we would have to have a cull.

“It would be the same as the precautions that were taken during the foot and mouth outbreak. You have got to look at whether pigeon fanciers could catch the virus from the bird.

“Also, if a person suffering from normal seasonal flu handles a bird suffering from avian flu, you have the potential for the viruses getting together and a new virus developing. Obviously we need to limit the opportunities for that.”

Fleming is to address a conference on pandemic flu co-organised by NHS Scotland and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, in the capital later this month. He was involved in attempting to contain Britain’s last flu pandemic in 1969.

“Quite clearly it is only a matter of time before avian flu comes into this country, just the same as it has come into France,” he said. “You cannot stop wild birds from flying across borders and spreading the disease.”

Peter Bryant, general manager of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, insisted there was a low risk of racing pigeons contracting bird flu.

The pigeon racing season is due to start next weekend and Bryant said voluntary restrictions had been implemented to address concerns of pigeons bringing bird flu into the UK.

“We would normally be racing from France and Belgium but we have taken the pragmatic approach and decided not to go ahead with that in the current climate,” he said.

“If there is an outbreak in the UK we expect to have some restrictions placed on us. We are in regular contact with the government and will implement any advice they give to us.”

Joe Murphy, spokesman for the Scottish National Flying Club, admitted that pigeon fanciers were concerned for the future: “A lot of our members are worried about what will happen if bird flu does arrive here.

“People involved in the sport are not stupid and, if the disease did come, they would want to keep their birds inside. Some champion pigeons can sell for as much as £110,000 and people would not want to take any risks with them.”

A Scottish executive spokeswoman said any gathering of birds could pose a risk.

“In the event of an avian flu outbreak in Scotland, an immediate response would be to withdraw the licence for bird gatherings, therefore including pigeon racing, until the epidemiological situation had been clarified,” she said.

More than 10,000 Scots regularly take part in pigeon fancying with clubs and associations existing from Shetland to the Borders.

By Marc Horne

Friday, March 17, 2006

The two sides of the issue

Well, here are the two sides of the issue, one suggesting we need to get ready, the other suggesting everyone seems to be over reacting.

I'd sure be happy if Marc Seigel is right. He seems the only writer on this topic who takes this view of it. I agree with him that people should not panic about eating chicken. In fact, if that brings the price down here on chicken breast, I'll stock up my freezer at the sale price.

I don't like the way Seigel understates the arrival of bird flu here. No one now doubts that the bird to bird version will come. He should not suggest it might not.

And on the issue of whether it will mutate or not and then whether that mutation would be a killer of humans or not. Who knows?

I'm getting ready just in case. But I feel less panic everyday because I get closer to where I have done what I could to increase my odds. Then it is all how the virus cards flop, turn and river.

Panic is rather a waste of energy.

I sure don't see anyone I know overreacting. Where in America is this panic I keep hearing about? I think people are underreacting. And ignoring. Most are just too busy for bird flu at least until it really mutates and becomes something. Well, I can appreciate that.

And a discussion that seeks to balance a little:

Thursday, March 16, 2006




Well, the roundtable question today on WAMC was "Are You Prepared for Birdflu."

What a mosh pit of misinformation!

Half the time was spent making jokes about shucking corn.

No one knew any of the percentages even of the current deaths in the world and misstated them. Then when the math showed 50% were currently dying, that was just too much for the WAMC staff of experts, so they went to the arugment that the virus would certainly diminish in strength if it mutated.

One woman liked Israeli alternative medicine suggested grape leaves as an anti viral approach and also mentioned the blackberry extract by which I guess she meant the elderberry extract Sambucol.

One woman called to whine that those who live paycheck to paycheck can't stock up on food. Her point was the government would have to come up with a better plan.
No one told her that Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggested that such people buy one extra can of tuna fish a week and put it under their bed.

One fellow suggested it was all a government conspiracy so that they could impose martial law.

Buying a gun for home protection was a joke.

Luckily one speaker had just experienced a few days without power in his community and shared how astounded he was that all the food in his local store just disappeared off the shelf. This had changed his level of preparedness he said.

Well, I gotta go. I found a great sale on Price Chopper olive oil and Starkist tuna at Price Chopper this week.

Automobile math

Two people have asked me why I am worried about bird flu pandemic rather than car accidents.

Let's run those numbers.

About 40,000 die in car accidents every year here in the USA where there are 295,724,134 people, give or take a person or two.

0.14% deaths to car accidents

5% to 50% deaths to a pandemic.

Even using the best case scenario, for every 14 people who die in a car crash there will be 500 who die after crashing into that little old virus. And if the virus is strong 5000.

So if cars and a strong virus competed in a killing contest in my home town, the automobiles would take out the people shopping and working at Miller's Market at any given moment, while the virus would eliminate every person living in 3 complete towns the size of Averill Park (pop 1554)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How Much fear is healthy?

I've been thinking about this all week.

Personally, I think no fear at all is very unhealthy. But that is just me.
Then again this is my Blog. And these are my notes. To me.

Sandman in this article thinks 95% of us will survive a pandemic. And he is a risk communication consultant. Where did he get that figure? Not from any scientist I've been reading.,8599,1173650,00.html

Remember Webster's math from the previous post on odds:

"Society just can't accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die. And I think we have to face that possibility," Webster said. "I'm sorry if I'm making people a little frightened, but I feel it's my role."

Hungary?? Who would have imagined?

I'm ready to celebrate.

For tomorrow maybe:

Even Odds

Just in case you want to place a bet or two:

Notes on author Webster:,2512,407_2030_3957,00.html

Notes from the Oprah show:

Bird flu may not mutate into a disease as serious as the
1918 pandemic, but Dr. Osterholm says the law of probability
proves a pandemic will eventually strike again. "People
have to understand that this is not science fiction," he

"[Pandemics] are going to happen. This is why [a] group of
infectious disease [experts] are trying to wake the world
up, shake them and say, 'You've got to understand this.
Even if the bird flu isn't the one that does it, another
one's going to.'"

Like the people of New Orleans learned, this is not the time
to panic and feel hopelessness. It's the time to be

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chlorine fights flu virus

While you are putting that extra can of tuna fish under the bed as Mike leavitt, Secretary of health and Human Services suggests you do, in some safer spot stockpile some common household bleach and use it to disinfect places which might hide flu virus. This is a good thing to do if goose or duck feces is likely to be on your deck or dock or swimming raft.

A recent study by the National Institute of Nursing Research showed that hot water and bleach are more effective in reducing viral infections, such as flu, than antibacterial products. This is not unexpected because antibacterial products work only on bacteria, whereas bleach destroys both viruses and bacteria. "

6 months from outbreak to vaccine

If the virus mutates to a human to human virus, it will take 6 months from the time scientists learn which virus mutated until the vaccine reaches the average citizen. During these 6 months you will need to hunker down away from people to prevent the spread of the virus. Without a vaccine, if the virus has the strength of the current H5N1, it will kill about 55% of the people who catch this flu, and closer to 90% of the young (under 40) who catch it.;_ylt=ArmNYD5yS9PvdPqg6fmC03KKOrgF;_ylu=X3oDMTA4NW41NTlyBHNlYwMxNzAx

H5N1 and the Economy

I talked to my kid Keith today who is in investments. He hears nothing about bird flu nor does his wife who as a studying nurse is well connected to the medical community.

He just thinks I'm crazy I guess. And the more I talk, the more I think he thinks that.

How does this agree with announcement today by the International Monetary Fund?
He works for an investment company. Wouldn't they want to have some contingency plans even if the collapse of the economy is partial and temporary?

A good Overview

Cross section of quotes from those who should know:

What would the airlines do?

Who Owns knowledge in an impending pandemic

Here is an interesting politcal issue developing around the bird flu that Elizabeth submits from her reading. The question is of ownership of knowledge. With a pandemic as a potential threat, it seems logical to give away knowledge as quickly as possible so that anyone can figure out solutions.

However, knowledge is power and money. Sometimes if scientists have it, they need to keep a tight lid on it in order to get competitive grants which pay their salary and in order to advance their professional careers.

I've had a similar kind of dilemma presented to me. Some have said that if I present in an open Blog that I am stock piling food, masks, and gloves against the possibility of a pandemic, that when pandemic comes, the unscrupulous and dysfunctional will come and try to take them from me. So I'd be smart to stay quiet about my preparations.

I quess my religious training and my career choice works against keeping useful knowledge to myself. At any rate, it isn't much of a practical issue at this point because as far as I can tell no one is reading this Blog anyway.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Flu and War

Maybe the bird flu will answer the question of when the troops come home.

Who will be able to control what they may bring with them?

"In 1918-19 the enormity of the pandemic was not uppermost in most peoples' minds, due partly to the tendency of human nature to shut out bad experiences, and the fact that most were more concerned with the concepts of the war. Indeed, influenza may have played a role in ending the conflict as soldiers were too sick to fight and more men, on both sides, died of influenza than were killed by weapons."

from one of the links offered in the history link at the right.

Penguin warning video

But we don't look so prepared here,0,7951619.story?coll=ny-health-print

No flu in US survey proves

And more good news in this article, if temporary. No flu was expected to have arrived here yet, and this survey of wild birds shows that none did. That means it certainly is safe to swim with the ducks so far and also suggests that there won't be any surprises on Burden Lake. With this monitoring, we will know it is around before it gets here.

I rowed out to the island and third lake and watched the mallards and the geese for a while today. One pair was pretty territorial. I had to go around the ice to get there. It was pretty windy. But it was warm and springlike and the birds were looking mighty fine indeed.

vacination doesn't reach everyone

Here is some good news on measles. It demonstrates that with some energy we can fight wide spread epidemic disease. But it also demonstrates that these vacines often do not get to everyone and then not for a while. Often the poor are the last to receive them. Here is a vacine available since 1960. It took 46 years to reach some people.

and when it does get to people, in poorer countries there is little quality control and counterfeiting is big business.

Bought Some Masks and Gloves

I have researched a bit on maks and gloves. From what I heard the very best is the P100 but the cost is high. The minimum is the P95. I found an inexpensive place to buy them. They are one size fits all so I can give some to the kids too without fitting. Again the larger half face reusable respirators wth thro away filters were more highly recommended by people who use these every day, but thesedisposables are cheap and easy. Some of the pros doubted if average folks like me would clean a half face respirator well enough. These masks I just use to go to the market and throw away.

I saw an special advertised on this site:

But I bought them on this site because they were cheaper still:

But the original site really sold me and gave me lots of information including pictured directions on how to use them.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Interesting church response

Lucky Pete's contribution .

From good old Lucky Pete in Florida:

Lucky Pete wrote:
"Sorry Dewey I don't know how to get this directly on your Blog."

And he sent me a picture of one article by Marc Seigel. The text can't be read, but I found the original link and I'll post it here with a couple other typical Seigel articles. it is from November of 2005 so it may be a bit dated, but Seigle still has the same kind of message today. Basically, he argues that the odds of avoiding pandemic are better than he sees reported, and he wants to make sure we don't suffer from panic rather than pandemic.


Dewey's response:

Thanks Peter,

The way to put a comment on my Blog is to hit the comment button at the bottom of any article. You can't really easily post more than what you write yourself. I have to do that, so sending the e-mail was the way to go. But now you can comment if you like.

I could not really read the picture of the article, but I could make out enough to find the original and post it as a link. Marc Seigel is one of the few voices I am hearing who downplays the pandemic scenario so it is good to have it up on this Blog.

I'm not in a panic. I just want to prepare and I'm enjoying reading about the history of these pandemics and learning interesting facts about the way they work.

And I am not trying to spread panic in the website either.

Just discussion.

But I have to tell you that lately I don't trust the judgement of my fellow Americans. Some of the responses I get are just denial that anything is even possible, or an inability to want to even think about what they might do in a disaster, and an unwillingness to listen to what is being explained outside the box of their own mental paradigms.

Lots of people are just too busy, but I don't think that is all of it.

I think it may just be that no one has much faith in any authority anymore. They think everyone in power is in a conspiracy against them, and that everything is hype. I have to tell you that I had the same reaction when they warned us about the coming snowstorm in NYC and we went there anyway. I thought it was exaggerated hype. then the record snow cam while I slept in Manhatten. Well, it worked out fine (it was, after all, just a snowstorm even if it ended up being the largest in the history of NYC.)

And I understand why many people did not evaculate when Katrina hit because when I was in New Orleans a few years ago, I asked people if they feared a major hurricane and I heard how used to the hyped warnings they had become. I also remember visiting a Voo Doo Priestess there. She told with pride about how all her followers had gathered on the edge of the ocean and used VooDoo prayers to keep a hurricane away. I had been wondering what happened during Katrina and then one night after the hurricane, I heard another VooDoo priestess on the television. They asked her about her powers to keep the hurricane from harming people, and she said that it was not the hurricane that had done the damage, but the levees. So she was still in her old thought patterns, and you could just see that she was not going to process any new information.

That scares me more than the disasters.

I have probably been around too many craps tables and watched how much the players want to make craps a game that is not based on randomness and how they mold their beliefs to try and give reason to the random rolls, so they can get some control over it. And that is what this bird flu is. One dice roll after another with our hope that one bad number does not come up.

I do think we are better prepared than they were in 1918 and will do much better. I'm glad to hear suggested by Marc in one of the articles that the evolved flu might come out in a much more weakened state. That makes sense and is a good news guess. Fewer deaths then and less disruption of our lives.

And many people I respect, who I know are not afraid to tell the truth, like Ward Stone the other night, say that they believe technology will get us through this thing even if it hits. The problem is the delay between the time they might know a pandemic strain has developed, and the time they might actually give the little guys like you and me the vaccine. During that time it is best to be hunkered down in the bunker.

About the only thing I am doing that does not fit into some other personal agenda of mine is buying masks. And actually I've been thinking of wearing whatever I buy when I go on the plane to Vegas. Too often I catch something. I bet a good respirator would keep me from many of the flus and colds of traveling.

The rest of my preparations are just reorganizations of what I need anyway. I need to get some sort of house generator for emergencies, and I might as well match it to the pandemic emergency scenario while I do it, and get it now before some other emergency hits. I like stocking canned goods on sale. And I've been wanting my buddy to take me rabbit hunting so a 22 is not just for protection in case the world goes crazy and wants to invade my house.

But I have to say that all these emergencies have made me feel like some people avoid panic by just not thinking very much, or very well, and by not opening their minds up to ideas that surface as the discussion continues. Then when the SHTF they will panic or expect somebody to take care of them. I don't expect in emergency that the government should take care of me if I can do it for myself now. And even if they should, I don't think they know how.

I did hear today, however, from a doctor who believes that the government might have a good chance up in Alaska of containing the bird flu there when it comes in fomr the Berring Straight with migrations of wild birds. I have not heard that from anyone else. Most are sure that the migration South will carry the bird flu with it. That sure would be great if it did not happen! I also felt good today to hear that the ducks are spreading the disease, but not dying like the swans. I suppose that is not good for controling the disease, but I've been watching mallards here all day, and I felt better thinking they might not die in this unless somebody shoots them in ignorant panic.

Marc Seigel is trying also to sell his book, so some people have been skeptical that he has a hidden agenda. If no bird flu evolves, then he gets lots of credit. But I'll take him as a sincere, if a minority, voice among doctors and scientists.

I agree with him that panic does not help. But preparation might, if the worst dice roll. Discussion is always a good thing. And he agrees with that. He has been appearing on discussion round tables and representing his postion on this issue.

And I know that you will survive, whatever comes. Because you are Lucky Pete. I wish I'd get lucky on some free rooms in Vegas in March. Not much coming in the mail these days that says free. But that is for another Blog.

Warnings against mass slaughter of birds

This Russian makes a pretty compelling argument against massive bird slaughter:

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Immune responses

I posted a basic explanation of what a Cytokine Storm is in the link at the right. I've been reading about it in many places because it seems to present some counterintuitive information about how H5N1 virus seems to kill. Some of the articles I found were just a bit too technical, written more for medical people than for me. This one seemed to explain Cytokine Storm on my level.

Usually, we think of the flu as taking out old guys like me more often than the healthy young. That is because we are old and our immune systems have weakened. It is the same reason so many old ones die of pneumonia. And this is what the common flu does each year and what we are used to.

However, the history of both the 1918 killer and this H5N1 is that both diseases take a larger proportion of young people than of folks over 40. And one possible explanation of that is this concept of the immune system reacting so strongly that it kills off the good and bad alike. and when it takes out the ability of the lungs to function, the young ones die quickly. The same healthy immune system that helps the kids fight the yearly flu and colds, contributes to their quick deaths when H5N1 strikes.

I sent that site and a few other sources to my organic and health food friend Debbie, and she responded arguing that a strong immune system is still the best defense. She is not a proponent of vaccination either. "A healthy body is the best defense" against any illness, sums up her argument. My other reading explains that pandemic is a different thing and that so many young, healthy people die because their strong immune system takes out vital organs like the lungs.

Here are Debbie's thoughts:

"Yes, I've read about cytokine storm before. It is my belief, however,
the immune system had to be either already in distress or somehow not
working properly for this condition to actually occur. They blame an
overactive immune system, not a healthy, properly working one. There is
world of difference because an overactive system obviously has some
sort of
disturbance which could make it just as dangerous as an underactive
one. For
an immune system to overreact in this way means that something was
out of balance. The body is a remarkable machine that was built to
whatever we throw at it. It adapts quickly to overcome
etc. but it can only take so much abuse before it shuts down. Kind of
never changing the oil in your car I guess, after a while it gets so
up with residue it clogs the engine and bye-bye car......or life.

To achieve proper balance we all need to follow a whole foods diet and
regular exercise. This is our ultimate best defense against bird flu,
cancer, and/or any other imaginable disease, virus or illness. If
people are
not willing to do that, then yes, they are definitely more susceptible
contracting viruses and disease and may have to resort to prescription
to aid their ailing bodies. But in reality it becomes a vicious cycle
because the drugs actually tax the already struggling immune system
more which means more drugs are needed and the cycle
concepts aren't new, they've been around for thousands of years."

I welcome discussion of this idea. It seems crucial for developing a strategy for defense. The overwhelming strategy I am reading consists of quarrantine and then vaccination with the newest vaccine available. The quarrantine is to keep us and our children alive while the government and scientists respond to particular evolved version of the H5N1 virus and get an effective vaccine to us. It is necessary because the flu is so deadly and chooses the young as its common victim. Ward Stone explained to the group of caged bird enthusiasts that quarantine was important for them, their children, and their birds until such time as science caught up with the mutation of the virus.

I think Debbie's thoughts are that medicines including vaccines are as much a danger as they are a benefit and good nutrition and a natural life style will keep us and our children safe.

What do you think?

Finally, Debbie finishes with that same theme I got from my friends at the tavern the other night.

"In my opinion, Dewey, you'd be doing A LOT more to protect yourself if you started researching healing nutrition instead of worrying so much about contracting the bird flu."

Cathy and Melanie said the same kind of thing. I assume they are thinking that it is sort of ironic for me to establish a site aimed at avoiding bird flu. I imagine their thoughts to be something like:

Why doesn't this guy get to the gym, lose some weight, and eat
responsibly. He's killing himself every day while he worries about this Boggieman Flu bug that is mostly media hype anyway.

Well, you are all certainly right about my life choices being stupid for me. It isn't that I don't believe you. I just don't seem to act in my own best interest. I am glad that my kids' lives are not based on my personal eating habits. My entire family would be doomed for sure. As it is, when I eat poorly and drink too much, and absorb carcinogins in the poker rooms of Vegas, all my bad choices risk only my own health.

However, on bird flu prevention I seem to be ready and able to act early. I guess it is because I worry not only about my own risk of death from H5N1, but that of the millions who might be affected by pandemic, most of them in the prime of life with plenty of fun ahead of them, if we can keep them safe.

All that being said, I sure hope that Deb and Cathy and Melanie are right. And I hope Steve is right when he rants that this is all just one big joke and there will be no pandemic for a hundred years. Imagine no pandemic or Cytokine Storm comes, and I still keep to my unhealthy ways and die of cancer. My kids still get to live until their own retirement years. Not a bad scenario.

Better than what I read about 1918 flu:

"It was an awful disease, which, due to the war and the accompanying censorship and the jolly peace that followed, was half forgotten until Crosby's book in 1976. It was also a peculiar disease. Although it eventually struck a broad portion of the population, it had seemingly started among the young and most fit, and from beginning to end it would be most efficient at killing individuals whose immune systems were the best H. sapiens can produce. There are no usable statistical measures, but here and there doctors in hospitals, nurses in wards, sailors on ships, and soldiers in barracks reported that it was the most robust, strongest, most fit, disease-free athletic sorts who suffered the worst. Post mortem studies on such victims of the 1918 epidemic often showed enormous damage to the lungs, which could not at that time be explained. Years later, it was realized that such victims had literally drowned in the waste products of their own powerful immune reactions to the virus. As Crosby put it, "a springtide of fluids overwhelms the lungs." Thus in 1918, in contrast to other flu epidemics, many robust young people died of the influenza itself -- rather than from secondary infections of pneumonia-causing bacteria, the standard cause of death among those with weaker immune systems. They died so rapidly that pneumonia-causing bacteria had had no time to establish secondary infections."

172 Bird Flu photos with commentary

For a slide show of bird flu photographs just click on this site and hit the play arrow:;_ylt=AvYKG.Ah7jXFgGpteKFFPYZa24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTA3bGk2OHYzBHNlYwN0bXA-

House Generator Thoughts

We are going to get a house generator. We were leaning toward a whole house generator that goes on automatically when we are away traveling. It runs on propane. The propane company will not place more than one tank for an emergency generator so that is just a few days of supply. Not really enough to feel safe continuing to travel if we heard of a power outage. Of course, they will come and refill it so most times it would be fine.

In pandemic, however, perhaps they would not refill. Then I am stuck looking for propane.

I can put a huge underground tank in, but then the cost of all of it is really huge, more than we want to spend.

Alternatively, I can get an much less expensive gas generator and pay less for installation. A 5 gallon can of gas lasts a day. I have to be here and turn it on, so for traveling I have to do that or find someone to do it for me.

In pandemic it seems a better choice because I feel more confident that I can find gasoline myself than I can find propane and while I probably don't want to store a lot of gas, three vehicles kept full of gas could be siphoned in emergency until gas was available.

Then also we could try it and see how it worked for travel too. If we still felt vulnerable for non pandemic or big emergency times, when we were traveling and the power went off, we could get a propane system later and have both systems. Maybe we would buy the propane generator at the same time as a new propane kitchen stove and in that way convince the propane guy to put in more than one tank.

Okay, what do you think?

I am leaning toward the second choice.

CATS and a Stone marten

Lots of cats in the news lately. Some readers have been writing to me about that news and we talked about it over dinner last night with friends. Now it has also infected
a stone marten:;_ylt=Arzl7u_3ltd.lYBaTszE0p1a24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTA3czJjNGZoBHNlYwM3NTE-
As I see it there are three very different concerns:

CONCERN ONE: Most scary is the idea that we could catch the flu from the cat. While this does not seem to be happening, it cetainly seems a tnreat to have the living virus right in the house with you. One question would be if in cat feces the virus was alive and ready to infect people. So far there has been no cases of the virus moving from cat to person.

The thing keeping us fom getting bird flu is that the receptor binding protein in the virus is not a good fit for humans. Here is a description of how that works:


How do viruses reproduce?

All viruses reproduce by taking over the reproductive mechanism of a host cell, so the first thing a virus must do is get into a cell by passing through the cell's membrane. They do this by means of their receptor-binding protein. These proteins are encoded in the viruses' genetic material and they stick out from the surface of the virion. They are attached either to the capsid or part of the envelope, depending on the type of virus. These proteins cause the virion to bind to specific receptors on the host cell in a manner similar to the way a key fits into a lock. This interaction between the host cell's receptor and the virus' receptor-binding protein is crucial and causes the "specificity of infection". This specificity usually limits a viruses' infection to specific types of cells and specific animals (or plants or bacteria) depending on the virus.
For example, HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) has receptor-binding proteins that attach to specific types of human white blood cells. Because of its specific receptor-binding protein, HIV cannot infect skin cells or lung cells so it is not infectious by touch or by breathing it in. In addition, HIV does not infect monkeys because the receptors on monkey cells are not the right shape to accept HIV's receptor-binding protein. However, a related virus, called SIV, can infect monkey cells because it has evolved a receptor-binding protein that attaches to monkey white blood cell receptors.

The interaction between a viruses' receptor-binding protein and the host cell's receptor(s) is an on going battle in molecular evolution. The specificity may change as the virus evolves a new gene for its receptor-binding proteins or the host cell evolves new genes for its receptors. This evolution can produce viruses that unexpectedly switch to a new host; either a new type of tissue or a new type of animal.


So people who get rid of their cats because they feel they might cath the flu from them may be overreacting. On the other hand a few months ago people who got rid of pet chickens were also believed to be overreacting. This same article says that. Now it does not seem to be overreacting to get rid of pet chickens.

CONCERN TWO: The real scientific fear is that the cat is sort of an experiment to see if this virus has the opportunity and the will to evolve into something that will infect other animals. It is all a crap shoot. But when the dice roll "yes" for the cat, it seems more likely that they may roll "yes" for us. The odds are still huge, but remembering the lottery analogy, every spreading infection among bird populations is the virus buying yet another lottery ticket toward having a reeptor-binding protein that fits humans.

If nothing else, it looks like a lot of cats are going to die as the flu spreads. Many others will be abandoned by owners, some to shelter and some just set free. This is already the case in Europe.,,3-2076346,00.html

Note that this is not really breaking news. It is just that we don’t get much variety and no depth in our news, just the same stories over and over with sound bites.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Clean up

Not much detail here but Elizabeth sends this:

It reinforces the idea of washing hands often and disinfecting worrisome areas. Ward Stone said in summer the virus can only live hours outside the host. In winter it is months.

My doctor friend says he thinks that gloves are more important than masks, meaning he things virus is transmitted by hands more than air. I'll be researching disposable gloves.

Monday, March 06, 2006

effect of the 1918 Pandemic

Generator thoughts

Until today we had planned on getting what we thought was the state of the art generator, one that would ake over all the electrical needs of the house if the power went out, going on automatically and run by propane.

Well, we have changed our minds because we don't feel we can count on the propane.

The distributor said he would install small tanks of propane that would last 2-3 days. This isn't much good if we are in Vegas and the power went out in any major way, because the propane guy also needs the power to pump the propane into his truck and then deliver it.

For about 3 grand I can have a huge propane tank sunk in the yard, so that would bring the cost of the generator to around 7 grand.

A five gallon can of gas will run a gas generator for about 24 hours. True, someone has to be home, but for the difference in price, I can hire someone to start it up in an emergency until one of us gets home.

And in a shortage of fuel I sure feel like I can take my car and find some gasoline a lot easier than begging someone to bring me some propane.

We are still thinking. But the cheapest and the best I think is to go with the gas, noisy as that might be. In a pandemic breakdown of services, it seems the simplest. In a winter power outage like the one last month, it seems a very reasonable solution.

Mask resources

I can see that it is going to take me a while before I buy masks, but I thought i'd at least start by listing the best information I have found.
This is a thread on a bulletin board with just regular people posting the information, but they do link to mor official sites. Actually, this kind of information always seems to me better than the stuff on the official boards. I'll keep updating this post as I find more mask information and I'll redate it, when I update so it rides up at the top:

Bird Flu and AIDS

Sometimes people draw anaolgies between bird flu and AIDS. This artical puts that in a little perspective.

And here is one about the interaction of the two diseases:

Ward Stone Spoke Tonight

East Greenbush Library
7PM Monday Night- tonight

Ward Stone spoke on the coming bird flu tonight. He was positive about the ability of science to face even pandemic and win the battle, but he did think it a very good idea if the virus mutated to a person to person virus that people pull their children out of school and just stay home for a while. He thought that time period between he diagnosis of the flu and the development of the vaccine would be a few months rather than a couple years. He also thought that the natural highway for the bird to bird disease to enter was up in Alaska with infected birds coming across the Berring Straight and moving South.

He was not very reassuring about the number of people who are trained and work for the State to handle these kinds of diseases. He is the only State Wildlife Pathologist. With him are 2 biologists and one secretary. Helping also are seasonal $10 an hour technicians. One of them has already indicated he will quit when the bird flu hits.

His perspective too was that power is put in the hands of administrators that are more concerned with power and money allocation than with actually getting to the problems of solving the bird flu. They make decisions but do not know anything about science, so they make them based on their political agendas.

On the positive side he thought that they would deal with this when it comes. He would work with the Health Department which he thought was very well prepared to meet the challenge and with the Cornell Labs. It took over a month to firm up a diagnosis for West Nile. He feels this flu needs to be diagnosed and that diagnosis confirmed in 24 hours. He felt the UK had dealt very well with the virus in its current form.
On the practical side he felt there was no need to kill wild birds unless an infection was identified, and that we would have plenty of warning when it was time to stop feeding. He recommended a 5% solution of household chorline to disinfect feces on my dock, raft, shoes, etc. Right now if bird feeders are disinfected with %5 solution of chlorine (soaked in it for a hlaf hour) , some redpoles and pine cisterns would escape a current epidemic of salmonella and it might be that he will look for a 2 week no feed session for that. so once the bird flu hits the country I'll do that disinfecting too as routine.

I did not get time to ask about repirators, but he did stress that this is a respiratory disease, most often entering the body by being breathed in. His staff have upgraded their equipment with new suits and fancy repirators with carbon filters and fans.

In the summer the virus should not have much time to live outside a host, perhaps a few hours as compared to a few months in the winter. Since he thought household pet birds would be fine if brought in and protected from outside sources of the virus, it seemed he did feel that we would be fine too if we were isolated and then finally vaccinated.
He does want to be informed of dead birds and is especially anxious about dead swans. We have none here but there are some regulars on Nassau Lake.
He did not think that it was very likely that Burden lake ducks and geese would be the first to have the flu in the state, but that the birds around New York City were vulnerable.

What practical decisions:

Quarantine is the solution I hear everywhere. Stay away from direct contact with birds and if it mutates with people until the vaccination comes. Drop out for a while.

Separate from contact with sources of infection. Respirators.

Disinfect with chlorine solution. I'll do the dock and the float and the stairs and the path of grass that we walk on every morning if this thing is in the area. The way I cut grass the ducks and geese do not poop on a wide area of lawn but it is good to stay away from the shoreline and no bare feet. I'll be wearing swimming shoes.

Resume life after the vacinations are possible. The flu may go through one season or go and then come back. The vaccine should help. New vaccines in future years might be necessary if the flu evolves so it can resist the current one, but we are most vulnerable the first time because our bodies have no natural defenses. Once we introduce them to the virus, they will move to protect us.