On a farm in West Bengal, India, two chickens were just confirmed to have died of the H5N1 avian flu. While tests are still pending on another case, it is likely that the same pathogen killed 2,000 poultry and other birds that were recently discovered lifeless in a village in the same region. The highly lethal avian flu is passed to humans from contact with sickened birds or ingestion of their meat.
Meanwhile, the similarly animal-borne swine flu just saw another outbreak among thousands of pigs in Denmark and is believed to have been transmitted from humans. Medical experts have expressed concern that continued viral exchanges as these are bound to lead to new, more lethal mutations.
In a swine flu update, death tolls have risen to 21 in Georgia, 77 in the Czech Republic, 41 in Finland, and 93 in Greece. India and Egypt, with 1,116 and 214 fatalities respectively, have been reporting continual rises in their death tolls daily. Within a one-week period in January, mainland China recorded 2,183 newly confirmed cases and 51 deaths, with fatalities that now total more than 700. In still other countries, swine flu cases and even deaths go largely unrecorded, with the 21,921 people reported to have perished worldwide considered a severe underestimate.
With our condolences for the lives lost, we pray that those afflicted by ailments like the swine and bird flu recover and that such livestock-related illnesses come to an end. Let us hasten that goal by changing to an organic vegan society, in which both humans and animal co-inhabitants are graced with natural and healthy lives.