Friday, July 21, 2006

H5N1 in Bulgaria and Indonesia

H5N1 is suspected in the deaths of domestic poultry in Bulgaria this week, tests in the UK are awaited to confirm if this is the case.

Indonesia reports death number 42 putting the country in the same top league for H5N1 deaths as Vietnam. As far as the world media is concerned these deaths are so few that it regards it as no big deal. The problem is that with every death and infection the chances of H5N1 changing and jumping to humans increases. Recent studies have indicated that H5N1 has mutated to become more capable of of infecting humans in Indonesia.

The H5N1 season will begin from about August, and I wonder if the next 9 months will herald the start of the worldwide pandemic that so many fear.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

H5N1 joke compliments of Tina

During my many conversations about H5N1 on the internet a person called Tina shared this joke with me. I am sure that whilst there are many jokes around about H5N1, the resulting panic from a pandemic in any unprepared country will be no laughing matter.

A bear, a lion and a chicken meet.

The Bear says: "If I roar in the forest, the entire forest is shivering with fear."

The Lion says: "If I roar in the jungle, the entire jungle is afraid of me."

Then the Chicken says: "Big deal. I only have to cough, and the entire planet sh*ts itself."

H5N1 a few months on

It has been a few months since my last post but it appears H5N1, like myself, has taken things a bit easier after it arrived on the European scene in a big way. H5N1 continues to grow and establish itself slowly and silently throughout the areas of africa, europe and asia.

In England we had a minor scare when a swan turned up in Scotland with H5N1. The swan appeared to be a visitor from outside of UK so the scare quickly passed when no other incidents were found.

In Indonesia there is talk of human to human transmission on a limited scale. Indonesia is one of the most heavily populated areas in the world where there is no centralisation and life is basic across a thousand or more islands.

In Hungary some wonder drug against H5N1 is proving to be a hoax according to some people. Not that I will give any credit to any claims of a vaccine as the H5N1 human version of the virus has yet to emerge.

Ukraine appears to be the latest country to fall to the H5N1 world tour.

WHO continues to hold onto their secret database of genetic data on the virus. One can only speculate that drug company financial interests directs the WHO's decision to keep their database secret.

Our heros in Recombinomics have picked up some slight variations in the H5N1 virus which makes it more easier to pass onto humans.

There probably will be no more significant events in relation to H5N1 until the birds begin their mass movements again. In the meantime H5N1 will continue its relentless spread across the globe and more humans will die.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Austria: Cats get lucky

A couple of cats in Austria, despite being down on a few of their nine lives, are said to be quite alive after being found to have been infected with H5N1. Although these cats may consider themselves lucky to be alive other cats may not be so sure. German cat owners are a fearful lot, and the last thing German cats need right now is more negative publicity causing further stampedes to the vets and animal shelters with rejected moggies.

WHO shows some muscle

The WHO opened their three-day Geneva meeting of wise folk to address the spread of an "aggressive" chicken virus by showing some muscle. Um well sort of. I mean there was no sumo wrestlers but the squeaks and well meaning tough words did sort of make them look tough... sort of.

WHO rolled out their top influenza expert and H5N1 terminator, Margaret Chan. It was not exactly Jackie Chan but Margaret was the best WHO could come up with at short notice. Margaret opened the debate with the startling statement that "the first thing would be to try to stamp it out before it really took hold." Yes Margaret good plan um bit late but a good plan. I mean in 2004 when H5N1 was stuck in a Vietnam backwater it would have been a jolly good plan. H5N1 has sort of branched out a bit, but it is good to hear that despite invading a couple of dozen countries around the world that H5N1 is still considered as not having taken "hold".

After plan A, Margaret even had a plan B. Plan B was to "curtail" the spread of H5N1. Um Margaret do you also have a plan C?

Margaret said that with such an "unpredictable virus like the influenza virus" that everyone must be prepared to see some "surprises". Observers have remarked that experts coming out of WHO are always identifiable with the constant look of surprise etched on their faces, rather like the type you get when hit in the face with a rubber chicken.

Our resident H5N1 terminator, Margaret, was now warming up, and said that collective actions was required and that WHO was not without its defences. It was unclear if Margaret was in fact when referring to defence was thinking about the hulking military trained security who guarded the WHO building. Collective actions can mean many things to a Goverment expert, and can range from a nice get together for a collective chat about chicken viruses over a cup of coffee in Geneva, to bold actions like collective statements that most Governments ignore anyway.

Margaret was not without her secret weapons. Quarantine and the firm around the corner from the WHO building, Roche, with its wonder drug, Tamiflu, was considered the frontline WHO weaponary of choice that would kick H5N1 ass... well tickle it anyway.

Margaret then amazed with some magical H5N1 figures that any self respecting H5N1 expert must be capable of to be taken seriously. Margaret was awarded a score of 10 out of 10 by an appreciative audience of fellow experts for observation and orginality when Margaret said that "events in recent weeks justify our concern."

Margaret sort of let the WHO tough stance down a bit with a rather unpositive set of statements, along the lines that H5N1 was slowly mutating to become a human killer, in which humans with no immunity would die by the million, collapsing entire nation economies, and generally being really rotten to human beings.

Margaret finished on a roll stating that even if the pandemic could not be stopped then at least quarantine could buy countries enough time. Observers were not sure to what use the extra time would be used, but another Geneva based positive thinking exercise over coffee may well be on the cards.

Indonesia: More H5N1 deaths?

Many deaths of birds or humans where H5N1 is mentioned has to end with a question mark as for some reason the experts are slow at identifying H5N1 as each case arises. For a rather "aggressive" virus like H5N1 this is not good news because by the time the scene of crime experts have concluded the killer was H5N1 the said killer has probably been able to get through a dozen more victims. New suspected victims blamed on H5N1 recently is a pregnant women and a ten year old who have both died with symptoms suspected to be H5N1 related in Indonesia. Indonesia is the last country anyone with sense would want to be in right now as H5N1 settles in for a long stay in one of the world's more populated nations.

Sick birds and water

An interesting report from Yemen described what sick birds do when ill. Recently doves in Yemen were found to be ill in what was suspected to be H5N1. In fact the doves were suffering from Newcastle disease. The birds were exhausted, hardly moved and could be easily caught. The birds when touched were very warm showing that they had a high temperature. What the feverish birds do is find water sources and will then proceed to drink as much as they can, whilst also soaking their heads and bodies in the water to cool their fever. There is no reason why birds with H5N1 would not act in the same way as these doves with Newcastle disease when suffering a fever. H5N1 if shed into a water source is active for a certain period of time, and if a human or other animal comes into contact with the contaminated water then it does not take much imagination to guess the consequences.

Georgia: State of Emergency

London experts with the usual speed usually reserved for British Rail was on hand to confirm a dead swan from Georgia died of H5N1 after nine days delay. During the nine days H5N1 was meanwhile happily saying hello to more Georgia wild birds. On hearing the news... nine days later... the Georgian President declared a state of emergency and started the process of the extermination of all domestic birdlife in the affected region. Things must have been getting very interesting on EastEnders recently.

Bahamas: H5N1 "exaggerated"

At the time of writing the echo of the gun that shot experts and goverment officials in the foot recently is bouncing around the vicinity of the Bahamas much to the amusement of flamingos and tourists.

Not a few days ago the Bahamas Government and experts were telling the world about mass deaths of flamingos with H5N1 mentioned in frightened tones as being the suspected cause. The Bahamas got lots of publicity and the tourists stayed at home. Realising that possibly chicken viruses and the Bahamas tourist economy did not mix the Bahamas Government started talking about other causes that included death by old age and death by dog. It is not known if the deceased flamingos prefered death by dog to chicken flu virus, but may have prefered an alternative of living if it was also offered as an alternative. We are now told by Bahamas experts that the numbers of deceased flamingos was exaggerated and in fact only about five flamingos kicked the bucket. The conclusion was that either the experts were bored or failed to bring an abacus with them when they counted the dead birds. Tourists can now rest assured that H5N1 has yet to visit the Bahamas and that the whole H5N1 issue was just voodoo.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

H5N1 Panic Indicators

Reporting of H5N1 is a bit slow at the weekends due to the fact that many of our heros, like those in our Weybridge Laboratory are enjoying EastEnders, fishing or probably both activities at the weekend. As our experts travel back to work during the week reports pick up and so I expect lots more exciting news of H5N1 movement over the next few days. It appears half of the world need the experts at Weybridge, England, to be on hand to tell them the news that H5N1 has visited their chickens, but EastEnders is a very important part of Britains heritage so the world must be patient, especially as things can get very exciting on the EastEnders soap at times.

So what does a non H5N1 expert like me who has no interest in EastEnders look for from a virus with attitude? Well I am very interested in the movement of H5N1 towards England on account of me living there. It is all very well reporting on killer viruses doing in the native population in exotic countries, with unpronouncable names, that are a million miles away, but having a virus that could kill you in your own backyard generally takes on a new meaning, especially when it comes to the subject of self preservation. I am a coward you see. I view a killer chicken virus in the same way I would view a hungry pitbull. Generally I prefer not to be in the vicinity of both occurrences, on account of my love of life, especially my own.

All this said what am I looking for? For Britain I am watching for any movement of H5N1 flying West, especially towards Normandy, Brittany and the Netherlands. When H5N1 reaches these countries then I know H5N1 will be in Britain within a few days.

I am of course also interested in what H5N1 will do in the Americas. Good early warning points are Alaska and Hawaii as these countries are on the flight path of bird migrations over the coming months. How the US public will view all this is hard to say as they have been brought up on decades of disaster movies where the population is saved just in the nick of time by a brilliant scientist or hero like Rambo. So one will have to wait so see if a country, that has spent an impressive amount of money on protecting the public from terrorists and their own citizens, are ready to handle a chicken virus. Noting what happened in New Orleans after a hurricane visited, I believe the USA will be ready for a whole rerun of the Cosbys to forget the whole horrid thing when H5N1 finally does touch down. The joke doing the rounds is that George Bush intends to address the bird flu issue by bombing the Canary Isles, however one cannot put it past the US President to take out Turkey as an afterthought, being as it is an Islamic country after all. Further south is South America and it is hard to say how H5N1 will be able to cope in hot wet countries where even the fish have teeth.

Then there is H5N1 itself. I am watching those genes resorting themselves into new terrifying combinations as H5N1 views humans as the main course after the chicken starters have been served. This area is very hard because apart from
Recombinomics there are few other sources of information about genetic changes in H5N1. People in WHO like to horde their data you see as there is money to be made from developing vaccines for billions of people who will possibly start dying from a chicken virus at anytime soon. It is a new and promising market for the businessman with the right connections, so one cannot blame WHO for showing a shrewd interest in making a quick killing when the time comes. Another way of following the progress of H5N1 is the trail of dead bodies it leaves behind. For instance if minks and cats start dying in their millions there is a strong hint that H5N1 has changed its genetic code to become an expert cat or mink killer. The same could be said about humans. In most cases, except for China, the deaths of humans by H5N1 is reported quickly. When the body count increases beyond a certain number even the most thick observer can conclude there is something wrong.

So there you are. Now you know what I am watching for amongst the latest H5N1 trends. Personally I consider H5N1 watching is better than train spotting. Train spotters may disagree with me on this point, but I am unable to compare H5N1 to train spotting on account that the Government closed down the railway in my town 40 years ago. Watching H5N1 is great fun and plus I have a subject to write about in a blogger.

Burkina Faso: "Massive" Bird Deaths

Lots of rarely heard of countries are popping up along with reports of possible H5N1 visits. Burkina Faso, a small forgotten country in the Black Sea area of the Mediterranean has reported devastation of poultry farms and "massive" deaths of ducks, guinea fowls, turkeys, pigeons and even of vultures in the same period. The report did not specify if the vulture was a politician but the death of vultures shows that H5N1 is not particularly selective about what bird species it kills. Burkina Faso residents were aso on hand with a stopwatch to see how fast the mystery guest could kill a bird and it was said that it could kill a chicken in two minutes and an entire farmyard of poultry in 30 minutes. I await confirmation from the Guinness Book of Records if this is a new record for killer viruses.

Switzereland/France: H5N1 Spreads

H5N1 is making itself at home in Switzerland and France. Switzerland reports new cases of H5N1 bringing to 11 the new H5N1 cases, with more cases said to follow. France also reports H5N1 is on the move but it is moving further south towards the Mediterranean. Either experts are being a bit slow on reporting H5N1 or H5N1 has gone on a lunchbreak because reports in recent days does not show much movement by H5N1 towards the West or North of Europe.

Poland: Good Morning Poland!

Polish residents woke up to the news they did not want to hear that H5N1 has touched down for the first time in Poland. A swan, being a particular favoured species of H5N1, was found dead at Torun in northern Poland. More cases will no doubt start to be found in Poland in the coming days before H5N1 gets to grips with Polish chickens and humans.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

H5N1 infects via insects?

India being a very intellectual country provided a very detailed report on how H5N1 spreads to their citizens recently. Of interest amongst the many facts Indian experts revealed, that an English expert would rather hide with lottery win predictions, was that 1 gram of infected H5N1 material is enough to infect 1 million chickens. H5N1 can be shed through excretion, fluids and even from the dust that gathers on infected bird feathers.

The article also mentioned previous methods of how avian viruses spread which include flies that visited contaminated sites. One can then conclude from this report that flies, mosquitoes, fleas and other insects may also be able to carry H5N1 to unwilling hosts.

Uganda: H5N1 makes contact?

Thousands of chickens in Uganda have in the last week visited the proverbial bucket and have given it a good kick on poultry farms in the East and Central areas of Uganda. The chicken deaths are being blamed on H5N1, who is always a good candidate for blame for chicken deaths these days.

Azerbaijan: H5N1 makes it a family affair

Officials in Azerbaijan suspect that an entire family in the country has had an unwelcome visit from H5N1. The family of six are all suffering from severe pneumonia with two death so far.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Asia: More humans die

China reported a 32 year old man and Indonesia a 3 year old toddler had become deceased as H5N1 developed an increased liking for humans.

Germany: H5N1 closes in on Berlin

Berlin is facing another horrible threat. During the Second World War it was the Soviets. Today it is a chicken flu virus. Panic stricken Germans in Berlin have learnt that H5N1 is now within the surroundings of the city with the virus detected in a coot, a wild swan and a kestrel. The cats of Berlin are also understood to be getting nervous as well.

Europe: bird flu psychosis

Some sources have described the European reaction to H5N1 as a psychosis as a French Mayor bans chicken from the menu in schools, Germans abandon their cats, and the Italians and Greeks cease to eat poultry completely. This is a bad time for cats and the poultry industry in Europe. Good news for British cats and the British poultry industry is that H5N1 panic has yet to break through into the British mind, who is more interested in events going on in EastEnders than what a small virus is doing to chickens, cats and a couple of European industries in countries that Britain has beaten in a couple of wars.

England: Council takes action

Following the death of a duck from H5N1 in Lyon, France, an English council has started issuing advice on H5N1. Southend Council has provided a helpline along with safety advice to people and businesses in the Southend area. Meanwhile in East Anglia, where most of the British poultry industry is based and many councillors have some sort of link with poultry, the councils have been impressively inactive.

Lack of Cooperation Promotes H5N1

H5N1 is enjoying unopposed growth as countries across the world infected by H5N1 have not cooperated with the experts fighting to control the virus. Wetlands International who is one of the organisations working against H5N1 has named Sudan, Turkey, Tunisia, Iran and Nigeria as amongst those who are choosing not to cooperate due to fears of what H5N1 is doing to their respective poultry and tourist industries. H5N1 has a similar reputation of destruction of poultry and tourist industries as the proverbial bull in a china shop. Countries with H5N1 face a dilemma of whether they shoot the chicken first or break the egg. Meanwhile H5N1 is quietly moving through the aforementioned countries saying hello to as many new found friends as possible.

Armenia in Denial

With all neighbouring countries now announcing visits from H5N1 it is only Armenia left denying there is a problem. Unofficial reports say Armenia has a problem however the wise leaders of Armenia for reasons known only to them deny there is an H5N1 infection in their country. UNICEF who is a UN charity dedicated to children's issues has become concerned enough to issue posters to Armenian children and their parents in handling and keeping poultry. It appears H5N1 will soon have a close but fatal realationship with Armenian children compliments of the Armenian Government.

WHO calls an H5N1 Conference

Is there a sense of rising panic in WHO one wonders with experts and governments beginning to loose control of both containing H5N1 and also controlling their people's growing fear. WHO has today announced plans for a 3 day meeting at its headquarters in Geneva next Monday in an attempt to organise a universal strategy against H5N1. WHO stated:

"Even if the pandemic cannot be stopped, public health interventions might buy time to allow countries to further strengthen their response systems, as well as accelerating the production of pandemic vaccine."

Reading between the lines it is obvious WHO has not only lost control of dealing with H5N1 but is aware that something very nasty is about to happen. Perhaps WHO may like to buy a couple of British lottery tickets?

Turkey: H5N1 spreads

Perhaps H5N1 likes the name of Turkey because it has that sort of ring that reminds you of the bird that most British like to eat at Christmas. That said H5N1 is getting settled in Turkey and is killing off birds and humans alike in its wake. Six areas of the province of Rize in Turkey has just seen a rise in the activity of H5N1.

England: Pigeons Pose H5N1 Threat

Shortly after my little report on pigeons in London I read an interesting piece by Keith Hall today about pigeons being identified as a potential problem to urban areas if H5N1 takes wing into England.

During a press briefing today a Dr Bob McCracken, a former president of the British Veterinary Association, admitted that all British birds would be a threat to public health in the event of H5N1 infections in Britain. Our good doctor was unable to say to what extent wild birds could carry or spread the disease but admitted H5N1 would be difficult to control.

Whoops! Does this little message not sort of clash with those messages from our British experts and politicians who have gone to some serious lengths to say that there is nothing to worry about with H5N1? Still our EastEnders loving British will be too absorbed with the latest plot in EastEnders to notice, which according to the EastEnders website is focussed on Keith who like our experts seem not to be able to say the right things without putting their foot in it.

Americas: H5N1 in N. America?

An interesting warning has just been issued by Recombinomics Inc that suggests that H5N1 has landed in North America already. The conclusions of Recombinomics is as a result of new combinations in the genetic structure of H5N1 that involves sources that come from the Americas. This all could just be a theory but then Recombinomics has a rather good track record of getting their predictions right.

The WHO continue to guard their own information on the genetic movements of H5N1 to only a few labs around the world, and mere mortals like me just like to ask the silly question of why? Is there an economic reason for an organisation dedicated to world health keeping quiet on the movements of a malevolent virus with a tendency to kill anything that it meets?

Pakistan: Family wiped out by H5N1?

A report on a cloth merchant called Rashid Ali has surfaced who is a resident of Gujranwala in Pakistan. Mr Ali was rushed into hospital with acute pneumonia and showing H5N1-like symptoms. After two days of treatment Mr Ali sneezed and kicked the bucket. Over 11 days his 19 year old brother and his mother also died in similar circumstances.

It appears that the official figures are only the tip of the iceburg but the majority of the deaths of humans, birds and other assorted species from H5N1 go unreported. Still one must ask when the Titanic will be sailing, who is sailing in the Titanic and when will the Titanic and the said iceburg meet. One prediction is clear that the band will continue to play even as the Titanic sinks beneath the waves.

WHO and Experts Clash

Experts around the world are suggesting WHO (World Health Organisation) is behaving in a manner that is a hazard to public health. The subject of this criticism is the way that WHO is witholding information on H5N1 sequences that can tell the experts a lot about the ongoing mutations of H5N1. It is this lack of cooperation between organisations, experts and world governments that is a source of encouragement to H5N1. Still whilst the great minds and the leaders feed their egos by not sharing and helping each other H5N1 is happily sharing its DNA with everyone and everything who comes its way.

England: London Media Reporting

Taking a break from the reporting of council corruption and drug crime London regional newspapers decided to try for something different and reported on bird flu. One set of regionals hunted down some experts to talk to them who came up with such memorable quotes such as "The UK is considered to be one of the best prepared countries in the world." The expert in question was referring of course to the grand claim that Britain was ready for H5N1 and would be kicking ass when it showed up. Good good I am thinking. Then I remembered that British weatherman in 1987 who denied that a hurricane was coming. Still even experts are known to make mistakes. Evidently the local London experts have got their plans down to the comma and full stop of who was making the tea when H5N1 visits London.

Another approach by our H5N1 reporting London reporters is to interview the vets on their local patch. Matthew Wilson, of the Young Veterinary Partnership was on hand for an interview with the Hounslow Guardian, and looked very expert like and perhaps was a Government Expert in the making. We had such enlighten statements such as dogs are safe from H5N1 ... although nothing was mentioned about gold fish. One interesting quote on H5N1 infection was this:

"The virus, which survives in droppings and nasal discharge, is transmitted by close contact with either the birds themselves or material they have contaminated such as food, water and clothing."

So perhaps Londoners will not suffer death by chicken but rather by death by pigeon. Pigeons are a part of London culture as much as trigger happy policemen are with users of the London Tube system. It is not uncommon to be travelling along to find an unwelcome addition to your nice new clothing. Pigeons are London's answer to chickens in the country. The London people have a love hate relationship with their pigeons. Pigeons help Londoners to diet because rather than eating all their sandwiches Londoners get a primitive urge to share their expensive food with the London pigeon population. Pigeons return the favour by then crapping on Londoners. Predictably pigeons with H5N1 will share their illness with Londoners in this ongoing ancient pigeon-Londoner symbiotic relationship they have with each other.

France: H5N1 Knocks French Ego

Every country has a symbol of national identity, a sort of national ego if you like. Britain has Dot from EastEnders whilst France has a cock, or a better term a Gallic Rooster. The French eat, sleep, talk and play with their Gaulish cocks which makes them feel very secure. For the French the loss of their cocks to H5N1 is causing a national identity crisis. Lets face it whilst the English can lock their other national icons like their ravens into the Tower of London, the French are having a national identity crisis as their cocks are killed off by a virus, with no respect for national icons regardless of where they stick their cocks. I am still awaiting British plans on securing our own national icon, Dot from EastEnders, from a visit from H5N1.

Sweden: H5N1 goes Mink?

There are a lot of rich people with more money than sense who like to wear mink coats. Is it possible that all the fame and publicity for H5N1 has given it a similar taste for mink? A deceased mink in an area where H5N1 is actively wiping out the bird population in Sweden has been sent for tests for H5N1 infection.

Romania: H5N1 goes Rampant

Romania is the sort of country H5N1 likes with a largely rural population lacking proper sanitation and services most countries are used to. 40 villages are said to have opened their doors to H5N1 with more communities set to be joining over the coming days. Romania is a good candidate where H5N1 can get onto intimate terms with humans during its journey of extermination of everything with two legs on the planet.

Germany: Cats Feeling Rejected

Since the discovery that a cat had run out of 9 lives on the Baltic island of Ruegen pussies throughout Germany have been trying to handle a growing sense of rejection by their former loyal owners. Cats are generally pretty smart creatures and enjoy a pampered lifestyle of being stroked, fed and being looked after by overgrown primates called humans on account of their looking cute and cuddly. Sadly the deceased Ruegen pussy is not in the good books of German pussies everywhere as cats by the hundred find they are suddenly no longer the much loved creature of German households and end up in animal shelters throughout the land feeling a little rejected. Some cats are also feeling slightly worried, as owners they thought loved them, are entertaining homicidal tendancies towards them by asking for advice on putting them down.

Batam: H5N1 visits

Obscure little islands may be missed by the human being but not a terminator like H5N1. Batam is an isle not far from Singapore who will give visitors the red carpet treatment with money prepared to visit and invest in the economy. H5N1 tends to be disliked by many of the communities it visits but is said to handle the rejection quite well and is determined to visit every community on the planet regardless if the virus is invited or not. Batam is the latest community to be visited by H5N1 but the authorities decided to leave the red carpet in the attic on this occasion.

Azerbaijan: H5N1 goes domestic

Taking a rest from wiping out wild birds in Azerbaijan H5N1 decided to pay a visit to a poultry farm for the first time much to the alarm of the chickens. H5N1 on visiting a new country prefers to visit the wild feathered variety, followed by the domestic variety, and finishing off with the odd human or cat depending on how it feels. H5N1 is said to be looking forward to getting to know the human variety in a more intimate way.

H5N1 warming up in Austria

A report with a photo of a vet collecting a dead bird at a power plant showed that H5N1 was warming up for a marathon killing session in Austria. A marathon is a race of 26 miles and H5N1 boasts official verdicts of 22 cases in Austria to date. Our heros in Weybridge, England, will soon mark case number 26 in Austria so that H5N1 can begin the serious work of killing and destroying birds, with perhaps a few people thrown in for good measure in Austria.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mystic Meg & Experts Dazzle

In order to be an expert one must have studied very important subjects like the mating habits of a sea urchin; studied for a lot of years equally interesting subjects, including if canaries prefer Mozart or Queen whilst nest building; and have lots of interesting titles and letters after your name. Together with these qualities a couple of weekend courses with Mystic Meg will get you a title of "Government Expert".

Enter Professor Sir David King who has a grand title of Government Chief Scientist. In between episodes of EastEnders millions of fish and chip eating British cat owners were told that it was more likely they would get a win on a lottery ticket than catch H5N1. Magical numbers and figures dazzled reporters and the British public alike as Mystic Meg, who we all know was very fond of lottery tickets, pronounced that the British was safe from H5N1.

News reporters can be a cynical lot sometimes on account that they never get a winning lottery ticket so they all wandered into the office of another "Expert" called Professor Neil Ferguson. Biology and figures was right up Professor Ferguson's street as he is a Professor of Mathematical Biology at Imperial College, London and is a bit of a wizard on the subject of viruses. More magical numbers appeared to reinforce that warm happy feeling of safety that the British Public have become accustomed to from British Government experts. Professor or can we say Uncle Neil, perhaps with that warm knowing smile that the British Public have come to trust, then added that mystical touch, our Meg was always fond of, and said that H5N1 had taken on a "mythological status".

Our Experts have encouraged us to continue to buy lottery tickets and Bernard Matthew products whilst watching EastEnders. Needless to say the gentleman who will soon learn about his huge lottery win will be slightly upset at also being told he has also been infected with H5N1 and will be dead within 48 hours.

Turtle Doves Die but the Partridge is Safe

At Christmas in England superstitious people, who Rome used to throw to the lions for their Saturday night entertainment, sing a song involving golden rings, pear trees and a variety of named birds. These devout people, who on a Sunday promote a sort of cannibalism eating the body and drinking the blood of a holy man, who must be now seriously regretting his profession of being a holy man rather than the safer job as an insurance salesman, must be seriously concerned that one of the birds they sing about are currently kicking the bucket in huge numbers in the African country of Mauratania. Turtle Doves are in the last few days singing their last song. And yes you guessed it H5N1 is getting the blame... or credit... depending on what side of the fence one is sitting on in the great debate of if H5N1 is being victimised or it is just being rather nasty to life in general.

Turtle Doves we are told like to gather around ponds for a nice chat as birds do, but unfortunately either they have had a slight disagreement with each other, or they had a gatecrasher on their little gathering. It is reported that there are "massive deaths" of Turtle Doves. The followers of the holy man, who would rather his followers would stop reminding him about the painful incident with the nails and the large piece of wood, will be pleased to learn that the Partridge in a Pear Tree was not mentioned as being a casualty in the latest report blaming H5N1.

French experts have been sending samples to various labs around Europe to determine who the gatecrasher was in the Turtle Dove convention. This has been forced upon experts because the Turtle Doves were unable comment on what happened on account of them being dead. Our heros in Weybridge, England will be on the case in the noble tradition of Holmes and Watson to track down this mystery gatecrasher.

Meanwhile Mystic Meg has said that if H5N1 is not contained in Western Africa it will go "rampant" into the rest of Africa. H5N1 must be pleased as it is getting a reputation of being "rampant" with the birds. Still Mystic Meg did not elaborate if the containing of H5N1 involved a cold shower or a weekend with Dot in EastEnders.

French Birds Party With H5N1

Perhaps it is H5N1 who is partying with French birds rather than the other way round? New statistics of French birds who have boasted their last tango with H5N1 are a heron, a duck and nine swans. One suspects that either H5N1 likes to dance with slightly larger French birds, including swans, or that nobody has bothered asking the smaller feathered variety, for example the sparrow, what they thought. H5N1 has been enjoying the company of the French feathered community in the East of France so perhaps Western France and Britain will need to wait a bit for their turn at the much talked about last tango. H5N1 I am told is a good dancer.

H5N1 Bumps off Humans

Having successfully bumped off another human in Indonesia recently H5N1 is being blamed for the death of a female in the Nassiriya area in southern Iraq. H5N1 has been very successful in killing off humans in Indonesia in recent times but it is just warming up in Iraq.

Goodbye Bahamas!

Mystic Meg was right when it was claimed that H5N1 had touched down in the Bahamas that it was just all voodoo. The alarmed Bahamas officials immediately saw a drop in one of their major sources of income, tourism, and the noise of brakes as the officials went into reverse was quite deafening. Obviously tourists are as important to the Bahamas as chickens are to Bernard Matthews in England. In the excellent tradition of British Rail, who has provided wonderful examples of why trains do not run on time like leaves on the line, we are told by the wise men of the Bahamas that all the flamingos died of old age. Whilst the Bahamas have a higher than normal number of flamingos kicking the bucket from old age the buckets and spades of tourists will once more be contributing to the Bahamas tourist economy.

Hello Serbia!

The Baltic tour by H5N1 reached Serbia as H5 said hello to the unhappy chickens of the region with our heros at the Weybridge Lab, England still to confirm if N1 had joined the party. Serbia is well known for their genocide of human beings and H5N1 would be an unwelcome addition to the culture of mass destruction of life, even if it is just to the winged variety.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

British Politician Talks Turkey

Or perhaps he was talking bull. MEP Robert Sturdy fluffed up his political feathers as International Trade spokesman and waded into the fray to demand immediate bans on poultry coming into Britain from foreign parts to protect the British poultry industry. Stating that half of poultry comes from East Anglia our political champion, referring to former French bans on British beef during the BSE crisis, suggests a British ban on French poultry.

Fearing that the Government would mishandle the H5N1 crisis our political hero has demanded that bans are made on all poultry coming into England from infected countries, adding a few sage words made by recent Government Experts/Mystic Meg, before making his way onto the next vote winning issue.

It is good to see that turkeys continue to brighten up British lives in politics. H5N1 you see Mr Sturdy is not going to be stopped by a poultry ban, as it travels on the wings of wild birds who will be happy to bring H5N1 to our many poultry outlets in East Anglia. And now the French are reading such undiplomatic bird droppings about banning their poultry one would be forgiven if the French and other countries may desire to ban British products when H5N1 begins to make contact with our native chickens.

Dagestan taken over by H5N1

Reports from Dagestan say that 50% of crows and 30% of waterfowl now have H5N1 as the chicken virus rolls through the republic like a warm knife through butter. Vaccine is being sent with many settlements now under siege from H5N1. Amazingly no human cases have been reported as H5N1 busily contents itself instead by wiping out entire bird species in the republic.

Greek Swans Die

Swans have a hard life as no matter which country they visit H5N1 is there waiting to say hello. Greece reports today 3 more of swans have been done in by H5N1.

Indonesia in hot seat

H5N1 regards humans as much as a crocodile does its next meal in Indonesia. Two more suspected cases of human H5N1 infection made their journey into hospital today to join others as Indonesia trys to get to grips with an aggressive H5N1 version with a penchant for humans. The latest victims as a 12 month old and a 20 year old.

Since 2003 WHO reports H5N1 has infected 173 people and killed 93 of them which equates to a 50% mortality rate in humans. Studies however reported that in under 15's the mortality rate rises to 90%.

British Experts Get Active

Encouraging movements on the anti-H5N1 front were being made today as British scientists realising that H5N1 was making a move towards British chickens have banded together for a study of H5N1. It is unclear what the scientific community of Britain hope to achieve in this study but it is rumoured that the study will ask if H5N1 is infectious to birds and if H5N1 really does kill chickens. Boffins are said to be excited at the prospect of extensive dinners and opportunities to feel important as they discuss their theories about chicken viruses.

Malaysia Chicken- Eating Campaign

The Malaysian government who are well known for positive tough action are addressing a problem that their people have stopped eating chicken in the H5N1 crisis. Malaysia is another country that entertains visits from unwanted guests. The problem for the Government of Malaysia is they are able to hang another unwanted visitor, called the drug trafficker, but they have some practical problems of repeating their successful formula for drug runners against chicken viruses. Instead a major campaign is underway to encourage Malaysian citizens to cease being chickens and back to eating the meat they fear to eat. H5N1 looks forward to more human infections in Malaysia as part of this growing campaign by the Government of Malaysia.

H5N1 causes unrest in Egypt

Workers in the poultry industry were not impressed with their Government closing their poultry businesses in the wake of the H5N1 infections sweeping Egypt. Traffic were brought to a standstill as hundreds of workers from the poultry industry marched in protest at Government restrictions in Cairo.

French Cat Owners Panic

The deceased German cat has reportedly started a mass panic of upset French cat owners who are bombarding various animal organisation phonelines asking for advice about H5N1. The French take their pet care very seriously with food shops and beauticians dedicated to satisfying feline and canine's every whim. As Niger face mass starvation the French face their own crisis of coping with the potential loss of their pampered pets to H5N1.

H5N1 invades Bosnia

Bosnia became the latest country to join the growing European Club of friends of H5N1 as two unfortunate swans were confirmed as dying from H5N1 by the boffs at the Weybridge reference lab in England. Most of the Baltic states now enjoy an unhappy relationship with H5N1.

H5N1 spreads in Hungry

Hungry reported H5N1 was getting to grips with seagulls when two new cases of a dead duck and a seagull was reported. H5N1 continues to exhibit a skill of infecting any bird it comes into contact with as it switched from infecting ducks to sea birds.

H5N1 defeats Niger

H5N1 is reported as winning the fight in Niger as officials report a lack of equipment to cull the poultry at the centre of the infection. These are hard times for Niger whose population live in little better than mudhuts and 1 in 4 children die before the age of 5. Locusts and droughts also have left many in the population short of food with H5N1 now capable of killing through a combination of infection and starvation in this extremely poor country.

Young find H5N1 Disagreeable

There appears to be a difference of opinion between H5N1 and the younger generations according to more recent research by experts. Occasionally an expert makes an interesting deduction from H5N1 deaths in humans that young people find an infection from H5N1 more disagreeable than older people. This is an interesting reversal of standard opinion as it is usually the older person who kicks the proverbial bucket when meeting a human version of flu.

According to Tony Cunningham, another of those experts that come into daylight from the dark corners of institutions around the world at a time of national peril, is that in a study of human deaths from H5N1 the virus had killed 90% of all under 15's that it had infected. Mr Cunningham believes that H5N1 infection in young people causes the immunity system in a young person's body to overreact leading to the destruction of the lungs and death. Baby Boomers around the world are not enthusaistic about this theory, as young people are required to fund Baby Boomer pensions, and support the nursing homes that Baby Boomers will soon be visiting on their slow journey to that nice man with a grin in a black robe holding that oversized sickle.

World gangs up on France

France feels like the kid when everyone gangs up on him as 43 countries are reported as banning poultry products from France. H5N1 is a great believer of equality and it is believed would be happy to visit each one of the banning countries to say hello to their chickens. Members of New Labour in Britain would be envious of the politically correct multicultural stance that H5N1 employs in that it will happily infect and kill anyone regardless of religion, culture or colour.

Iraq: H5N1 Grabs Another Human

Iraq has a lot of problems at the moment which H5N1 likes because viruses hate interfering busy bodies getting in the way when it is happily killing people. With officials busy worrying about trigger happy Amercian soldiers, bombs and suicidal individuals H5N1 is busy doing what it knows best, infecting and killing birds and the occasional human being. Two people were the unlucky participants of an H5N1 visit and sadly are in a better place far from this mortal plain of guns and bombs. H5N1 continues to get to know Iraqi citizens and a third citizen is reported as fighting off the unwelcome advances of the chicken virus.

Switzerland Sweats

Imagine the feelings of a postman when he knows he has to open a gate with a hungry pitbull behind it to post a letter and the reader can appreciate the feelings of officials in Switzerland who have sent off samples to our beloved experts in England to test for H5N1 in dead birds in Switzerland. Switzerland like most countries have the ability to work out the H5 part of the virus but get into a muddle when they have to identify the other bit. N1 must find this very amusing that many countries have to send their samples to EastEnders fans in Britain to confirm for H5N1 infection. Still H5N1 is not complaining as it is very busy establishing itself in new areas. The greater the delay the more new friends H5N1 can make. Switzerland is feeling a little hot and bothered about becoming another country on the H5N1 friends list.

Recombinomics v H5N1

Anyone who has watched the Terminator films will be delighted to hear the H5N1 has a worthy adversary in Recombinomics. The folk of Recombinomics are dedicated to the study and reporting of the mutations of viruses. If there are any folk who can develop a useful weapon against H5N1 it is Recombinomics. Yep H5N1 is a Terminator with attitude and it will be down to our heros in Recombinomics to develop a Terminator against a Terminator. Henry L Niman of Recombinomics is going into the arena against H5N1. Place your bets ladies and gentlemen please.

Link: Recombinomics

H5 visits Ethiopia

Occasionally H5 and N1 part company for a few days as they check out the scenery of new countries. 6,082 chickens on an Ethiopian farm had a bad week when H5 visited in the middle of February. Usually experts are able to say hello to H5 initially but take a little longer to welcome N1. N1 understandibly must find this annoying that H5 gets the credit for all the Chickens that the duo enjoy killing.

H5N1 V China: Qinghai Lake

Some folk refer to the "aggressive" H5N1 virus as the Qinghai version. In otherwords the Qinghai version is the Rambo of the H5N1 versions and likes to throw it's weight about a bit by killing the odd human being that gets in its way.

This version originates from China and was noted for its killer instinct at Qinghai Lake, China. China is the sort of country that means business and hates being beaten, especially by lifeforms smaller than a George Bush braincell. However size is not a big problem for H5N1 which is more intelligent and homicidal than a George Bush braincell.

H5N1 paid a little visit to Qinghai Lake, China and killed a few birds. China felt that H5N1 was not expressing the spirit of the revolution then sent in a small army of experts to exterminate the virus. H5N1 appears to have enjoyed the challenge and exterminated much of the wildlife, residents and many of the officials sent to kill it. News reporters had a little disagreement with officials about the need to report such negative little incidents like a murderous virus than had reduced China's population slightly by the odd hundred people. With the media mostly toeing the official line the officials of China were happy as was H5N1.

Nigerian mistrust helps H5N1

Farmers in Nigeria who rely heavily on poultry for food and their income in a country with a poor infrastructure, education and communications system, have been encouraging the spread of the H5N1 virus with their lack of cooperation with experts and officials from their Government.

Having watched the officials shoot all the ostriches on a farm Nigerian farm workers were asked to come forward for health checks. Most fled.

"Most of them feared they would end up like the ostriches, to be shot dead for having the virus," said one of the more enlightened of the Sambawa Farms workers, Ibrahim Hassan, who turned up promptly for medical checks.

Decades of corruption by Government officials have given Nigerian civilians a healthy scepticism of their rulers. It is proving a challenging time for hard tried Nigerian officials as farmers either hide or violently defend their chickens against their Government's actions to control H5N1, due to fears of loss of means of self support and lack of compensation. Nigerian chickens and farmers facing death by H5N1 or by Nigerian official have voted for H5N1. H5N1 is said to be encouraged that Nigerian farmers have voted for H5N1 over their leaders.

Pakistan Goes H5

Rivalry between India and Pakistan continues with Pakistan playing host to a visiting H5 virus after H5N1 enjoyed the hospitality of Indian chickens. Pakistan is a wary country and does things occasionally by half. That is Pakistan decided to invite H5 virus but excluded N1. N1 waits expectantly on the border with Pakistan in India whilst experts take 3 weeks to make tests, in between watching soap operas, as to if H5N1 can enjoy a party in Pakistan or not.

H5N1 adds Niger to African Tour

Having enjoyed a few weeks stay in oil rich country Nigeria H5N1 has decided to spread its wings and explore neighbouring African countries. Niger becomes the latest country to entertain H5N1 with Niger ducks making their feelings known that they are already sick of the aggressive attitude of H5N1. Two domestic flocks of Niger ducks are currently reluctantly entertaining H5N1 in their communities.

Russian Spirit Dogs H5N1

Russians are putting up a dogged fight against H5N1 with 1.3 million chickens culled to curb the growing problem from H5N1. The Russians it should be remembered have faced invasions from the French of Napoleon, the Germans of Hitler and consider that they can beat the "aggressive" actions of a chicken virus. Backed by huge supplies of vodka the Russian spirits are said to be strong.

H5N1 on holiday in Bahamas?

H5N1 experts welcomed an opportunity of beautiful women, pretty sunsets and golden sands as Bahamas officials reported a possible additional visitor from H5N1 today.

Large numbers of flamingos that enjoy visiting the second largest flamingo colony outside of Africa at Inagua, Bahamas, are mysteriously dying. Bahama's officials say they have never seen so many flamingos die in a short space of time. H5N1 experts welcomed the expenses paid trip to the Bahama's and promised they would look into the mystery. Asked if the Bahamas H5N1 mystery was a sign that the H5N1 was moving towards the Americas Mystic Meg replied it was all voodoo.

H5N1 gets aggressive in Sweden

Government experts in Sweden are set to announce that they may be joining the European Club of H5N1 countries today. Germany and France have already joined this club of countries who have been able to demonstrate an affinity for H5N1, which the virus is said to very much appreciate. Britain as usual has shown a reluctance to join another European convention that it says is not in its financial interests.

Sweden reports that an aggressive virus is knocking out some wild ducks. The virus that pundits consider is H5N1 is possibly getting lessons from Vinnie Jones, John Prescott and Simon Cowell and is said to be "aggressive". British officials despite facing a virus with attitude have asserted the rights and independence of British chickens and refuse to budge on Britain becoming a member of the new European Club.

Tower Ravens Go Undercover

Britain quietly prepares for a new invasion from Europe from the air but this time any bomb is more likely to be that warm, sticky smelly variety. H5N1 is on the move and is coming to a chicken near you.

Taking no chances with H5N1 is the guys and ravens of the Tower of London. The ravens of the Tower of London have been shut into the Tower until further notice. It is usually only those who displeased the reigning British monarch that were shut up in the Tower for a stretch ... usually on a rack. So what are these legendary ravens? These special birds date back to distant British legend of a guy called Bran who lost his head and ended up for some reason buried under the Tower of London; at least his head did and the rest of his body ended up in a lost property section somewhere in Britain. Legend has it that if the ravens of the Tower died, or decided to take a short vacation, it was said that Britain and the Monarchy would fall.

The Republican movement has alas suffered a setback when it was decided that the ravens would be placed out of harms way from H5N1 infection by spending their days inside the Tower, last occupied by the German Nazi, Rudolf Hess. We are told the kingdom is no longer under threat, and whilst British chickens are sweating it out the ravens are enjoying meals served by their very own top rated chef.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Local Media reporting of H5N1

The growing debate about H5N1 is now filtering down from the hallowed heights of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to the British mortals who spend their days watching the EastEnders soap opera on TV, read the Sun and invest in a very successful British fish and chip industry.

One localised media outlet ran the story of a mother appealing to the Experts... and Mystic Meg... to reassure her about the safety of her children from H5N1. There is nothing better than to throw a frightened single mother together with a couple of toddlers and a baby to get a good newspaper selling story about H5N1. The story was complete with photos and the single mother looked hopelessly bewildered and vulnerable. Enter British Expert and Mystic Meg to save the day and round off a good local story.

Another local media outlet had another approach. In a smelly, untidy looking backwater of Suffolk is a town called Haverhill. It is a town that the planners forgot about, or more importantly bypassed, in favour of more important towns like Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge. Haverhill is a town with a serious inferiority complex and likes to feel sorry for itself. Haverhill is one of those sad little towns that likes to complain about anything, hates people stupid enough to help it, but loves those who makes a mess of things in the town, because it means there is more to complain about.

Tucked away amongst the two streets that the good folk of Haverhill calls a town centre is a little office of hardworking reporters. The reporters of the local weekly newspaper, the Haverhill Echo, work very hard to put the town on the map, and sell newspapers. Nothing will get in the way of a good story that can be talked up a bit. For instance a Friday night fight between two drunks is reported as a fullscale street riot or a little bump between two vehicles may be described as bloody carnage on the roads. If heaven forbid the Haverhill Echo editor disappears whilst on holiday one wonders if an alien abduction story could not be sneaked in somewhere.

The Haverhill Echo hates to be left out on important national issues. If an event is good enough for the nation then it is good enough for Haverhill, especially if the Haverhill Echo can sell newspapers.

Through Haverhill trickles a little river of about a few inches high and the size slightly wider than the shopping trollies that gather there on a regular basis at frequent intervals along the route. The river is helped on its way with regular outflows of sewage and chemicals from the many little pipes that flow out of the many businesses that the Haverhill Echo promotes with nice red stickers with "HavPride" on them. It is a river that no self respecting duck would be seen dead in let aone from bird flu.

Still this did not stop Haverhill Echo reporting on an H5N1 scare with a big headline "SWAN IN BIRD FLU SCARE". The scare happened in a village called Great Abington where a swan was found dead. Great Abington is a village miles away from Haverhill and has as much in common with Haverhill as Buckingham Palace has with a mud hut in Outer Mongolia. To get the local angle the Haverhill reporters wheel out the Haverhill hero from a village just on the edge of Haverhill in Sturmer. Our hero finds a dead swan in a far more majestic and "real" river in Great Abington and reports the incident to the Government Experts/Mystic Meg. The Haverhill Echo reporters move into gear now. This is a huge crisis and it is "a major alert" as the Haverhill Echo reporters put it. 100 people worldwide are reported as dead from H5N1 and the "lethal strain" was reported to have hit Hungry (Writer note: Hungry is not part of Haverhill and the town residents who can be easily confused hopefully will become aware of this soon). The dead swan was "rushed" to a lab for tests, where less than panic stricken Experts in between watching EastEnders tested the swan, and with some impressive turns of speed, that Experts occasionally can achieve, announced 5 days later that their test for H5N1 was negative on the swan. Mystic Meg was on the case with a quote in the Haverhill Echo that the Experts knew all along that H5N1 in the swan was "very unlikely". Experts were on hand to "reassure" frightened Haverhill residents with that warm knowing smile frightened people come to trust that all was safe and secure.

The Haverhill Echo photographer must have been off with flu as no photos, complete with a frightened vulnerable single mother with a couple of anxious children, were added to the story by our enterprising local reporters. Nonetheless local Haverhill residents are watching their little shopping trolly filled stream with fearful expressions for any sign of a dead swan, duck or Big Bird from Sesame Street, and have a telephone number to call in the event of such an event occuring.

Government Experts

Governments around the world as part of their war effort are sending out their educated experts to tell the media, the uneducated masses and each other to inform and educate about H5N1. Propaganda is an ancient form of mass control that is useful to keep the panic stricken public hordes from deserting whole industries in droves and clearing chemists, fuel suppliers and food shops in a basic need to survive. All credit to the propaganda machine as so far this is working. The common people are still feeling happy and safe that all is normal and they are in safe hands. Meanwhile...

What I love about British Government experts is their ability to see into the future. I think that Mystic Meg has been employed with her crystal ball to help things along a bit. Give the Government their due this strategy is working. The British Public are feeling warm and safe in the hands of the British Government experts ... and Mystic Meg.

The Experts and Mystic Meg have prepared us for the worst. They say that when H5N1 comes knocking on Britain's door that it will be staying, like an unwanted family relative, for about 5 years. The Experts and Meg also give some figures on the number of deaths if a pandemic would happen. These figures change like the British weather depending on how the Government or the Expert feels at the time. It is my belief that if the Expert had a bad night's sleep the night before then the statistic for deaths may go up a little, or the Expert just out of a bit of mischief may add a few zero's on the end of the figure. The good news is that the British Public have a memory that runs to about the length of time between two episodes of the British soap opera EastEnders. The Experts will always finish off by reasuring the trusting British public that all is well, and nothing horrible will ever happen, and even if it did then they have a secret weapon ready to magically resolve all problems. An Expert with some authority has also said that an H5N1 pandemic will never happen. Nobody has consulted with H5N1 on what the virus thinks of all these sage predictions by our Government's great minds, which is rather rude because H5N1 has rather different ideas.

I am wondering if I would rather trust a bookmaker with my money or a British Government expert and Mystic Meg over H5N1 predictions. Now what was that bookmakers web site address again?

H5N1 kills a cat

H5N1 took time out recently from infecting birds and decided to jump on a new species - cats. The location of the death of the feline is an H5N1 hotspot that is the Baltic island of Ruegen, Germany. Lots of birds have been dying of H5N1 for the last month or so at Ruegen so H5N1 has been enjoying itself. Until recently the German cat was also enjoying itself, no doubt not believeing its luck when food fell practically into the cat's paws. Unfortunately for the cat his last meal was an H5N1 bird, the cat fell ill and then died. The dead cat was found by German officials at Ruegen and tested for H5N1, which was confirmed.

The world media then carried the story of the deceased feline in shock and horror. The shocked media woke the world up that H5N1 had jumped species to cats. The cat-loving community of the world then went into panic. News reporters are a little slow on the uptake sometimes. This news of the deceased German cat is not a big surprise. Cats and dogs have been dying in large numbers anywhere an outbreak of H5N1 happens. Cat and dog deaths just have not been reported in the media often or followed up by experts until now. Since the 2003 outbreak tigers, civit cats and other felines have been recorded as dying of H5N1. Lab experiments have shown that infected cats not only die from H5N1 but they also spread it to each other. Cat infection by H5N1 is not a new thing.

The Ruegen cat is a martyr to bringing to the world attention that H5N1 infects cats as well as birds. The unlucky feline ran out of 9 lives perhaps due to many days of happy feasting at Ruegen. One more victory to H5N1.

Introductions on H5N1

H5N1 known as bird flu has been causing havoc around the world for the last few years. It is a disease of birds and it has an impressive mortality rate. For humans H5N1 is affecting the food industries associated with poultry but H5N1 is also seen as a potential human killer. For instance half of humans infected by H5N1 die from the disease.

This is one impressive disease that is causing alarm and dismay amongst humans on a daily basis. An interesting war has been raging between humans and a little virus for several years. H5N1 was a virus of the 1990's that briefly appeared then vanished again until 2003 when it appeared in East Asia. During 2003 and 2004 most of the world dismissed H5N1 as an East Asian problem and failed to address it when H5N1 was mostly confined to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Little help came and Vietnam lost the battle. During 2005 H5N1 invaded other countries. China, Russia and many other asian countries. H5N1 moved west and north and by Feb 2006 was in Europe, India, most of the Middle East and Africa.

One thinks that in the new global village everyone would be working together against this threat. Umm you would be wrong! Everyone is doing their own thing, keeping secret about the scale of their problems for economic, security, political or other selfish reasons. Teamwork is an alien concept to the global village. Not that the virus cares as it is happily establishing itself in every nation of the world and killing at least half of everything it comes into contact with.

H5N1 is very interesting to me as it is history in the making. H5N1 has the hallmarks of something with potential to do a big dent in human population numbers around the world. This is my record of a war. H5N1 v's mankind. H5N1 is winning.