Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Hoofbeats In The Distance?
The flu epidemic of 1918 took more lives in one year than the total dead of World War I.
It will happen again.
Airplanes... god damned airplanes. If you hadn't already read The Hot Zone years ago, you should.
Meanwhile, shiver me this.
Indonesian Capital May Be Facing a Bird Flu Epidemic (Update1)
Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Indonesia's capital Jakarta and its surrounding areas may be facing a bird flu epidemic after at least four people died from the disease, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriantono said.
The government plans to spend 134 billion rupiah ($13 million) this year to cull poultry in the affected areas, Apriantono said in a phone interview in Jakarta.
"It may be right that it is an epidemic in Jakarta and Tangerang,'' which is 25 kilometers (16 miles) west of the capital, Apriantono said. "So that's why we are concentrating on our efforts in Jakarta and Tangerang.''
Indonesia confirmed its first bird-flu deaths on July 20, after a man and his two daughters died from the virus. The fourth human fatality, a 37-year-old woman, was confirmed to have been killed by bird flu on Sept. 10, Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said on Sept. 16.
Avian influenza has infected more than 100 people in Asia and killed about half of them since 2004, three health agencies, including the World Health Organization, said last month.
More than 140 million chickens have been slaughtered in Asia because of concern that H5N1 virus may mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans.
As humans are unlikely to have immunity to a mutated strain of H5N1, the World Health Organization is concerned it may trigger an influenza pandemic like the one that led to more than 40 million deaths worldwide in 1918. All cases of human infection in Asia are believed by health officials to have come from animals.
Indonesia also plans to draft a law that will allow it to punish farmers who refuse to kill their poultry, Apriantono told reporters yesterday after a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to discuss ways to halt the spread of the avian influenza virus.
"The problem is so huge and the international community's capacity to reach each and every chicken farmer is very small,'' Benni Sormin, assistant country representative for the Food and Agriculture Organization in Indonesia, said in an interview.
The Indonesian government has set up a polymerase chain reaction lab to test blood samples for the H5N1 virus in eight provinces. The technique, which is known as PCR, is used to create copies of specific fragments of DNA. PCR amplifies a single DNA molecule into billions of molecules.
So funny I could die.