By Karen Hansen - Apr 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am EDT
CBS News declared this morning that the President of the United States no longer calls this flu the swine flu and instead is being encouraged to refer to it as the Mexican flu?
Do you see what they want you to do? They want you to hate Mexicans rather than Factory Farms.
Hello- anyone remember when the Cattlemans Association took Oprah Windfrey to the Supreme Court?
BTW I researched some natural antivirals. See here: http://naturalantiviral.blogspot.com/
A New Avian Component?
from David Kirby April 26, 2009
Avian influenza viral components can easily mix with swine flu virus to create new bugs - and this can happen on both traditional hog farms and inside CAFOs, scientists say.
Last year, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production issued a lengthy report on factory farming that included research on emerging forms of avian-swine-human influenza viruses. The molecular forensics of rapidly mutating animal pathogens makes epidemiological investigations all the more challenging, it said. "Populations exposed to infectious agents arising in CAFOs are even more difficult to define as some agents - such as a novel avian influenza virus - may be highly transmissible in or well beyond a community setting," the Pew report stated.
The transmission of avian or swine influenza viruses to humans, the report said, (almost wistfully, in retrospect), "seems a rather infrequent event today."
But the commission also issued this grave and perhaps all-too prescient warning:
The continual cycling of swine influenza viruses and other animal pathogens in large herds or flocks provides increased opportunity for the generation of novel viruses through mutation or recombinant events that could result in more efficient human-to-human transmission of these viruses. In addition, agricultural workers serve as a bridging population between their communities and the animals in large confinement facilities. This bridging increases the risk of novel virus generation in that human viruses may enter the herds or flocks and adapt to the animals.
Reassortant influenza viruses with human components have ravaged the modern swine industry. Such novel viruses not only put the workers and animals at risk of infections, but also potentially increase zoonotic disease transmission risk to the communities where the workers live. For instance, 64% of 63 persons exposed to humans infected with H7N7 avian influenza virus had serological evidence of H7N7 infection following the 2003 Netherlands avian influenza outbreak in poultry. Similarly, the spouses of swine workers who had no direct contact with pigs had increased odds of antibodies against swine influenza virus. Recent modeling work has shown that among communities where a large number of CAFO workers live, there is great potential for these workers to accelerate pandemic influenza virus transmission.
"We met with a team of researchers from the University of Iowa who are studying avian flu, and their real concern was the very scenario that may have happened in Mexico - that avian flu may get into a swine CAFO and rapidly mutate and then get passed to workers, and then on to other people very quickly," Bob Martin, who was executive director of the now-disbanded commission and currently a Senior Officer at the Pew Environmental Group, told me.
"Their concern was that new strains of avian flu combining with swine flu could make the swine flu more deadly," he said. "And because viruses pass so easily between pigs and people, the new avian component could make swine flu more virulent."
Researchers such as Gregory Gray, MD, a University of Iowa professor of international epidemiology and expert in zoonotic infections, warned that CAFO workers could serve as a "bridging population" to rural communities sharing viruses with the pigs, and vice-versa. Other scientists suggested that CAFO workers could theoretically spread disease quickly to great distances. An outbreak of infectious avian flu on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, for example, could reach the Rocky Mountains within 36 hours.
The Iowa team was also worried that CAFO production could lead to another 1918-style global pandemic. One theory behind that calamity is that waterfowl cross-infected U.S. pigs with a new type of avian-swine super-virus that was quickly transmitted to farm workers, possibly in Iowa, who went off to military training camps for WWI, and then spread the pathogen worldwide
"One very big concern was that swine flu mixed with wild bird flu, or bird flu in a chicken CAFO, tended to be ripe for incubating new types of viral infections, especially since the animals are so densely packed together," Bob Martin said.
Hog CAFOs are supposed to be completely closed environments, in order to protect the pigs from outside diseases. Visitors are usually required to shower and don special protective clothing (again, for the animals' benefit) before going inside a confinement.
But these are not hermetically sealed environments, and pathogens can enter and exit a CAFO in a number of ways other than via swine workers (or flies, another proven vector of CAFO diseases).
To begin with, some swine CAFO's recover water from their waste lagoons and recycle it back into the animal housing, in order to wash out the barns while also cutting down on dwindling groundwater supplies (a particular concern in parts of Mexico, to be sure). But wildfowl routinely land in CAFO lagoons, where they can easily shed influenza virus into the water. This can also happen at facilities that use water from nearby ponds or rivers.
Here in the U.S., the National Pork Board had already urged all producers to take a number of steps to reduce the risk of avian-to-swine influenza transmission (A new advisory has also been posted today).
"It is in the best interest of both human public health and animal health that transmission of influenza viruses from pigs to people, from people to pigs, from birds to pigs and from pigs to birds be minimized," says the group's website, Pork.org.