Date: April 24, 2009
Abstract: A deadly swine flu never seen before has broken out in Mexico, killing at least 16 people and raising fears of a possible pandemic. World Health Organization officials said the flu has killed about 60 Mexicans.
Here are some facts about the virus and flu viruses in general:
1. The World Health Organization has confirmed at least some of the cases are a never-before-seen strain of influenza A virus, carrying the designation H1N1.
2. Although it's called swine flu, this new strain is not infecting pigs and has never been seen in pigs. The threat is person to person transmission.
3. It is genetically different from the fully human H1N1 seasonal influenza virus that has been circulating globally for the past few years. The new flu virus contains DNA typical to avian, swine and human viruses, including elements from European and Asian swine viruses.
4. The World Health Organization is concerned but says it is too soon to change the threat level warning for a pandemic-- a global epidemic of a new and dangerous flu.
5. When a new strain of flu starts infecting people, and when it acquires the ability to pass from person to person, it can spark a pandemic. The last pandemic was in 1968 and killed about a million people.
6. Seven people in the United States have been diagnosed with the new strain. All have recovered, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects more cases.
7. Flu viruses mutate constantly, which is why the flu vaccine is changed every year, and they can swap DNA in a process called reassortment. Most animals can get flu, but viruses rarely pass from one species to another.
8. From December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza were confirmed. All but one person had contact with pigs. There was no evidence of human-to-human transmission in those cases.
9. Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to those of seasonal influenza -- sudden onset of fever, coughing, muscle aches and extreme tiredness. Swine flu appears to cause more diarrhea and vomiting than normal flu.
10. Seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people globally in an average year.
11. In 1976 a new strain of swine flu started infecting people and worried U.S. health officials started widespread vaccination. More than 40 million people were vaccinated. But several cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe and sometime fatal condition that can be linked to some vaccines, caused the U.S. government to stop the program. The incident led to widespread distrust of vaccines in general (Reuters, 2009).
Date: September 7, 2009
Source: Pub Med
Abstract: A jackrabbit die-off near a metropolitan airport was observed by an airport contractor. Further investigation determined that this die-off was probably due to epizootic tularemia. Because of proximity to areas of heavy human traffic and fears of transmission of tularemia to humans, the local health district and department of emergency management organized a multiagency response involving local animal control, environmental health, public health, law enforcement, and airport personnel, in addition to state and federal agencies. The tularemia epizootic subsequently ended, and no cases of human tularemia occurred. In our after-action analysis, we identified several lessons learned: the importance of animal illness surveillance, which can serve as a warning for potential human illness and epidemic; the usefulness of pre-event planning, training, and exercises in facilitating a coordinated response; the usefulness of an effective communication system with the healthcare community; the importance of responders being familiar with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Category A bioterrorism agents when considering a rapid response; and the fact that attempts at environmental control may result in perturbations in animal populations with unintended consequences (Pub Med, 2009).Title: Pneumonic Plague Now in China
Date: November 5, 2009
Abstract: Two people have died, a town of 10,000 is under quarantine, and the area within a 17-mile radius around it has been sealed to contain a pneumonic plague outbreak:
Chinese authorities have put a whole town in quarantine after an outbreak of horrifying pneumonic plague.
[efoods]Two people have died from the highly contagious disease, an even more powerful brother of The Black Death – the bubonic plague believed to have wiped out a quarter of the population of Europe in the 14th Century.
Pneumonic plague is one of the most virulent and deadly diseases on earth, usually fatal within 24 hours.
It attacks the lungs and kills nearly everyone who catches it unless they get rapid treatment with antibiotics.
A dozen people in the stricken town of Ziketan have so far been infected. The disease spreads fast and is passed from person to person by coughing.
Authorities in northwest China have sealed off the remote town of 10,000 people and begun a treatment and quarantine programme.
Residents are terrified, shops have been shuttered, homes disinfected, face masks distributed, there has been panic buying and streets are deserted, witnesses reported.
The World Health Organisation said it was in close contact with Chinese health authorities and that measures taken so far were appropriate.
It looks serious, but the Chinese regime being what it is, they aren’t limited by anything in their choice of means to keep the disease from spreading. People are just worker ants for them (Infowars, 2009).
Title: Death Toll Still Rising In Ukraine's Flu Outbreak
Date: November 5, 2009
Source: Monsters & Critics
A total of 95 persons have died from flu-related symptoms since the disease struck Ukraine's western provinces late last month, said Zinovy Mytnik, vice health minister, in comments reported by the Interfax news agency.
A total of 633,877 Ukrainians nationwide have registered with health authorities as suffering from the flu, though some have recovered since the disease's late October outbreak, Mytnik said.
Ukraine's Ministry of Health on Wednesday gave a total of currently infected at some 470,000.
The particularly virulent A/H1N1 flu strain, or swine flu, was likely responsible for a significant proportion of the infections, based on laboratory testing thus far, Mytnik said, speaking at a Kiev press conference.
Since the beginning of the flu outbreak, Ukraine's Health Ministry had sent 31 samples from persons infected with flu to a British laboratory to be checked for the presence of swine flu, of which 15 tested positive.
A former Soviet republic, Ukraine lacks a modern public health infrastructure and, since the beginning of the flu outbreak in late October, has seen severe shortages of even simple medical supplies such as protective masks and flu remedies.
No Ukrainian laboratory is capable of testing for the presence of swine flu, Mytnik said.
International medical assistance continued arriving in Ukraine on Thursday, with European Union nations taking the lead. Top contributors were Slovakia, Austria, Hungary and Poland - the last being the first country to respond to a Ukrainian October 31 appeal for foreign aid, according to an Intefax report.
EU-donated medical supplies en route or already in Ukraine included protective masks, respiration equipment and surgical gloves.
Emergency shipments of the swine flu treatment Tamiflu, produced in Switzerland, first began arriving by cargo plane to Ukraine on Sunday.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, on a visit to the western city of Chernovtsy, near the epicentre of the flu outbreak, said government efforts to control the flu's spread were working.
'There is no need to to invoke a national emergency,' she said, according to a Korrespondent website report.
Tymoshenko's government has attempted to control the flu outbreak with the imposition of a partial quarantine of eight western provinces most badly hit by the disease, a military-style mobilization of state-owned fabric and clothes factories to mass-produce protective masks, and limits to allowable public gatherings.
In the midst of a campaign for Ukraine's presidency, Tymoshenko has, since the beginning of the flu outbreak, repeatedly attacked the private health industry, accusing drug manufacturers of inflating prices artificially and pharmacists of hoarding medical supplies.
A government consumer protection agency in Lviv, one of the worst-hit cities in the flu outbreak, on Thursday filed a class-action suit against local health officials, accusing them of conspiring with private health suppliers to price-gouge consumers of medical supplies, the Unian news service reported (Monsters & Critics, 2009).
Title: Bio-Terror Drill In Ukraine Weeks
Before Mystery Virus Outbreak
Date: November 9, 2009
Source: Conscious Ape
Abstract: An international bio-terrorism ‘table top’ exercise was conducted in Ukraine and five other central and eastern European countries just four weeks before the outbreak of a deadly virus in Ukraine.
According to the Interpol Website, the exercise was carried out in conjunction with the World Health Organization under the premise that “the plague had just been unleashed … by unknown evildoers”. It was billed as “a Tabletop Exercise on Preventing Bioterrorism”.
The website goes on to explain that the “event took place from 29-30 September in Warsaw, Poland”, and that the countries involved included Belarus, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, Slovakia… and Ukraine.
A little over a month later Ukraine remains in the grip of a deadly and rapidly spreading virus which some believe is a form of pneumonic plague.
Not that this in itself says anything other than that a bioterrorism exercise was carried out and that, coincidentally, one of the participating countries is now in a state of hysteria over a real outbreak.
But it is a remarkable coincidence that some four weeks later this particular region of the world should fall victim to what many fear could be a real bioterrorism attack, as deaths from the mystery virus in the Ukraine continue to rise at an alarming rate.
Schools and universities remain closed, many dare not leave their homes without a face mask and there is a ban on public gatherings which has been extended to at least the end of November. 155 deaths have been recorded in the past week, most from viral pneumonia.
Nearly a million Ukrainians have received treatment for ‘flu-like’ symptoms since the outbreak on October 29.
The country’s presidential elections have been postponed until May 2010 (Conscious Ape, 2009).
Title: Zimbabwe Anthrax Outbreak Under Control
Date: December 31, 2009
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: The anthrax outbreak that hit two of Zimbabwe’s districts is now under control, the nation’s Veterinary Services Department has announced.
The announcement comes on the heels of increase vaccinations that inoculated more than 1,100 castle in the Seke district over the last week.
The farming areas of Seke and Selous were hit by the anthrax outbreak, which killed one person and 25 cattle. Seke’s outbreak is now under control and the vaccinations have moved to Selous and Mhondoro.
“We have finished vaccination of animals in the Seke area and have moved to Selous commercial farming area,” Dr. Chenjerai Njagu, Department of Veterinary Services deputy director field services, told Xinhua. “Today we expect to start vaccinations in Mhondoro communal area where we expect to vaccinate 100,000 animals,” he added.
Njagu said that a shortage of vehicles in the Karoi district impeded monitoring and disease surveillance exercises meant to curb the disease.
“Under normal circumstances the department is supposed to carry routine farm inspections meant to alert farmers and pick diseases outbreak before they get out of hand,” Njagu said. “Because of transport shortages we have been forced to ask our farmers to provide transport for our officers to and from the farms.”
The anthrax outbreak was not reported early, Njagu said, and occurred in communal areas and some farms.
Anthrax outbreaks are normally
recorded in Zimbabwe during the rainy season as sprouting grass brings the
soil-borne disease from the soil (Bio Prep Watch, 2009).