Avian flu resurgence heightens worry of swine flu combination.
With new bird flu virus cases surfacing in Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand and Âu Lạc (Vietnam), the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a possible rise of avian flu occurrence from poultry, saying that those in direct contact with the birds are most at risk. WHO’s Philippine office in Manila has announced that it is also closely monitoring the situation for potential merging of the swine and bird flu.
Experts fear that such a combination could result in a virulent and deadly new strain.
Professor Niels Becker, Director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at Australian National University, explained how modern poultry farms multiply the risk of viral changes. Prof. Niels Becker – Director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University: In these days where we have large farms of poultry, for example where the hens are very close to each other and able to spread easily from one hen to another, we have a potential melting pot of emerging viral infections. There are, then, very, very large numbers of birds, each infected with a very, very large number of viruses, and that means that the mutations from birds to humans is facilitated, is more likely.
While far more swine flu deaths and cases exist than can ever be confirmed through testing, the total official tally continues to mount, with 7,909 lives lost worldwide. Among the countries with recently risen official death tolls are Ukraine, with 388 fatalities, Jordan reporting her eighth fatality, Kuwait recording 27, Qatar with an increase to 8, Mongolia to 18, Turkey to 112, Sweden to15, and Costa Rica to 40. Romania and Estonia have also reported their first swine flu deaths. In regional updates, European swine flu death rates have been doubling since mid-October nearly every two weeks, with deaths reaching 169 within this past week alone.
We send our prayers to all those suffering due to swine flu and bird flu. Our thanks Dr. Becker and others who are working to bring updated information to the public. Let us all take bold measures to ensure protection of our families and selves by eliminating animal farms, the unnecessary frontlines for new disease, as we choose instead the wholesome and humane plant-based fare.