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this 'Bird Flu' is scaring my relatives

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this 'Bird Flu' is scaring my relatives

Old 03-17-06, 11:15 AM
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this 'Bird Flu' is scaring my relatives

I get an email from a relative that they can get me in on a deal for something called 'tamiflu' for $130 if I want some. I guess this is supposed to cure people with bird flu??

Ok first off, I dont watch network news. What is getting people so scared about this bird flu? As far as I know not one human has caught it.

Ive heard this mythical sickness being compared to some epidemic in the 1900's. Most people didnt have plumbing or disinfectant back then either so whats does then have to do with now?

Every year thousands of people die from REGULAR FLU and nobodys scared about that.

I remember the SARS panic where hundreds of people died in China from a 'mutant flu' (from cats?). We can surmise the people who died of this disease in China probably werent living in ideally clean conditions (dont they still share communal toilets in some places there?)

Several people in Chicago actually got the SARS disease and you know what -- they got better. I can look up the article if people dont believe it.

Before that there was the "West Nile Virus" which came from birds. It was supposed to wipe out humanity also. One guy in Illinois died from it, He already had kidney failure and was terminally ill before even catching it.

So why are people so afraid of some imaginary illness? Why is the government throwing millions and millions of dollars at this 'problem'? Is it just a pork project? Some money making scheme for the pharm companies so that my relative will plunk down cash for a 'cure'? Do they run hourly updates on 'Bird Flu Watch 2006' with a rotating 3D icon on Fox news?
Old 03-17-06, 11:18 AM
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People are dumb?
Old 03-17-06, 11:20 AM
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Your relatives should only be scared if they're parakeets or canaries.

The media diverts attention to stupid stories of terrible things that will probably never happen so that we won't pay attention to the terrible things that ARE happening, such as the fact that our country is governed by the biggest pack of crooks since the Harding administration.
Old 03-17-06, 11:21 AM
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some people just have to have something to stress out over
and when some people stress out, it stresses others
Old 03-17-06, 11:24 AM
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I told this story to my coworker and she says "so are you going to buy some?" She was dead serious.

Why are people afraid of a flu that hasnt killed or EVEN INFECTED anyone? SARS had more validity and that fizzled out in this country like it was the common cold.

Im sorry this is just pissing me off. Its a hoax thats fooled people I care about.
Old 03-17-06, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Save Ferris
Ok first off, I dont watch network news. What is getting people so scared about this bird flu? As far as I know not one human has caught it.
True in the US. In Europe and Asia, people have caught it and around 100 have died.

Also on West Nile, several dozen (maybe more??) have died.

So it is neither a pandemic, nor an isolated case, but somewhere in between.
Old 03-17-06, 12:12 PM
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They have had confirmed cases of the bird flu in humans and it has killed a high percentage of the infected. I believe the concern is that if the current form of the virus mutates, it could spread very quickly and get out of control.
Old 03-17-06, 12:13 PM
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I bet more people in those countries die of pneumonia, influenza or dysentery.

They said the same things about SARS and it was just as threatening, but once it came to US shores it died out. Look at this article:

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=News&id=197189

SARS came right from China directly to Chicago and infected a mans family. They all survived just fine. Even old and infants. If someone can fight off the regular flu, theres no reason to think they cant fight off any of the so called mutant flus.

Last edited by Save Ferris; 03-17-06 at 12:15 PM.
Old 03-17-06, 12:18 PM
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Bird Flu is supposed to be in our country by fall of '06.

The concern is if it mutates it can be passed from human to human.

Right now you kind of have to get it from a bird.

If it mutates, it can cause a lot of trouble. Think about how many people catch the flu every year.
Old 03-17-06, 12:28 PM
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Its just amazing how many people are choosing to freak out about this. Why do people start automatically assuming you'll die if you get this bird flu? High statistics?

How do you explain SARS being a dud in America? Has West Nile killed anyone who didnt already have a compromised immune system??

SARS was STATISTICALLY more dangerous than your bird flu. It had already mutated to people. Then it comes to Chicago and infects a 3 year-old and a 76 year old and they recover. You have to admit its the different living conditions that can save us from dying of the flu.
Old 03-17-06, 12:55 PM
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Um, people have died from the bird flu. And the WHO and CDC have a lot of info on their pages.

The WHO says (bolding mine):
"Of all influenza viruses that circulate in birds, the H5N1 virus is of greatest present concern for human health for two main reasons. First, the H5N1 virus has caused by far the greatest number of human cases of very severe disease and the greatest number of deaths. It has crossed the species barrier to infect humans on at least three occasions in recent years: in Hong Kong in 1997 (18 cases with six deaths), in Hong Kong in 2003 (two cases with one death) and in the current outbreaks that began in December 2003 and were first recognized in January 2004.
A second implication for human health, of far greater concern, is the risk that the H5N1 virus if given enough opportunities will develop the characteristics it needs to start another influenza pandemic. The virus has met all prerequisites for the start of a pandemic save one: an ability to spread efficiently and sustainably among humans. While H5N1 is presently the virus of greatest concern, the possibility that other avian influenza viruses, known to infect humans, might cause a pandemic cannot be ruled out....

Altogether, more than half of the laboratory-confirmed cases have been fatal. H5N1 avian influenza in humans is still a rare disease, but a severe one that must be closely watched and studied, particularly because of the potential of this virus to evolve in ways that could start a pandemic"

So far, AFAIK, only people iwth direct contact with infected birds have gotten sick. But as more birds are infected, (and now cats, and other animals) there are going to be more ways for humans to be exposed and potentiallly get it, even if it never mutates to become directly transmissable from human to human.

I wouldn't say I'm scared by this now, and I am not going to buy Tamiflu or anything else, but the bird flu is being considered to potentially become a big problem by the CDC and the WHO.
Old 03-17-06, 01:00 PM
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I would not buy tamiflu because there is only so much of it, and there are people who need it. If everyone who is paranoid buys it, there won't be enough of it.

I like to stock up on canned food, not just because of a bird flu or whatever, but because after 9/11 who knows what could happen. Maybe a gas line gets hit, or an electrical plant. I don't know. But I like to keep enough canned food and bottled water where I can survive for two weeks.
Old 03-17-06, 01:23 PM
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Now, I realize for so many people it can be exciting to think of crazy scenarios where the country is ravaged by some exotic threat. There are lots of movies about the subject every summer. Take a look at what the CDC says about the common flu:

Every year in the United States, on average:

5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and;
about 36,000 people die from flu.
source: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm

Every YEAR in the USA?!

Arent those numbers more 'scary'?

Ok so STATISTICALLY this potential bird flu could be MORE dangerous than the flu? You mean like SARS? Its hard to find statistics for SARS but damn, that one was STATISTICALLY more dangerous too. That is only when it is in an impoverished country with filthy living conditions.

Last edited by Save Ferris; 03-17-06 at 01:25 PM.
Old 03-17-06, 01:34 PM
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Again from the WHO site:
"How serious is the current pandemic risk?
The risk of pandemic influenza is serious. With the H5N1 virus now firmly entrenched in large parts of Asia, the risk that more human cases will occur will persist. Each additional human case gives the virus an opportunity to improve its transmissibility in humans, and thus develop into a pandemic strain. The recent spread of the virus to poultry and wild birds in new areas further broadens opportunities for human cases to occur. While neither the timing nor the severity of the next pandemic can be predicted, the probability that a pandemic will occur has increased."

OR the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/qa.htm
"Unlike seasonal influenza, in which infection usually causes only mild respiratory symptoms in most people, H5N1 infection may follow an unusually aggressive clinical course, with rapid deterioration and high fatality. Primary viral pneumonia and multi-organ failure have been common among people who have become ill with H5N1 influenza. "

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/outbrea...ent.htm#assess
"The avian influenza A (H5N1) epizootic (animal outbreak) in Asia and parts of Europe is not expected to diminish significantly in the short term. It is likely that H5N1 infection among birds has become endemic in certain areas and that human infections resulting from direct contact with infected poultry will continue to occur. So far, the spread of H5N1 virus from person-to-person has been rare and has not continued beyond one person. No evidence for genetic reassortment between human and avian influenza A virus genes has been found; however, the epizootic in Asia continues to pose an important public health threat."



While the regular flu hits a lot of people, it doesn't kill very many (generally old, young, sick, etc). The bird flu is much more likely to kill you if you get it even if you were healthy to begin with. And it's new and is spreading; and once it gets in an area, since it affects wild birds, there's not much we can do to eradicate it (other than killing all the wild birds, which isn't somthing we want to do or even would be able to necessarily). If this were a purely domesticated animal problem we'd be better able to control it. But we can't control birds, and the infected ones can migrate and spread the disease to other types of birds.

I guess, in that comparison I'm more afraid of the bird flu.
Old 03-17-06, 01:35 PM
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Save Ferris,
for keeping some sanity and perspective when thinking about the bird flu. I agree that this is a marketing hoax. Fear drives people to do stupid things. Not that I think the bird flu is fake or that it can't kill people. But MANY MANY bugs can kill people. Many do on a MUCH MUCH larger scale than bird flu, but we don't talk much about those (TB, malaria, Hep C, etc, etc,). Bird flu gets a lot of attention because it's new, and thus, sensationalistic, and thus sexy for the media.

Let's say it IS really deadly. That it kills the host in more than 50% of cases. First off, note that it is over 50% of laboratory confirmed cases that die. Which cases do we confirm via laboratory? Usually the most severe ones. You see the point I'm making?

Second of all, if it WERE really deadly, it actually DECREASES the likelihood of an epidemic. The diseases that "succeed" the most are ones that are both highly infectious AND doesn't kill the host for a long time. This is the reason we don't see Ebola taking out the entire African continent. It's also why rabies doesn't wipe out whole populations (and no, it's not because of the vaccine).

Last edited by hahn; 03-17-06 at 01:38 PM.
Old 03-17-06, 01:39 PM
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I heard the US Secretary of Health on the radio earlier this week telling people to stock up at least a couple of weeks' worth of non-perishable food in the event of a pandemic which causes disruption in transportation of food. He was serious. He said that every expert agrees that it's a matter of when, not if, there's a flue pandemic. While he also said that no one can say that the H5N1 virus will be the one, when you get people in authority spouting that shit you can bet people are going to panic.
Old 03-17-06, 01:44 PM
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I don't think the CDC and WHO are into the whole scaring people for media reasons thing. Nor do I think the government say that this could be a threat just to scare people. I do think the press can play it up, but that doesnt' mean there isn't a threat.

From the govt's page (http://www.pandemicflu.gov/general/)

"Health professionals are concerned that the continued and expanded spread of a highly pathogenic-and now endemic-avian H5N1 virus across eastern Asia and other countries represents a significant threat. The H5N1 virus has raised concerns about a potential human pandemic because:

It is especially virulent
It is being spread by migratory birds
It can be transmitted from birds to mammals and in some limited circumstances to humans, and
Like other influenza viruses, it continues to evolve.
Since 2003, a growing number of human H5N1 cases have been reported in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, and more than half of the people infected with the H5N1 virus have died. These cases are all believed to have been caused by exposure to infected poultry. The concern is that H5N1 will evolve into a virus capable of human to human transmission."

Last edited by datagirl7; 03-17-06 at 01:48 PM.
Old 03-17-06, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
I heard the US Secretary of Health on the radio earlier this week telling people to stock up at least a couple of weeks' worth of non-perishable food in the event of a pandemic which causes disruption in transportation of food. He was serious. He said that every expert agrees that it's a matter of when, not if, there's a flue pandemic. While he also said that no one can say that the H5N1 virus will be the one, when you get people in authority spouting that shit you can bet people are going to panic.
Shit like this is why I'm pissed off at the "officials" in healthcare. One can attach the word "expert" to these claims and suddenly the statements take on a magical aura of truth. I'd like to know who can claim to be an "expert" on this topic when it's only come up in the last few years. Notice how many of the public health statements contain the word "may" in them. I'm starting to wonder if the CDC is receiving funding from Roche Laboratories (the makers of Tamiflu).
Old 03-17-06, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by hahn
Second of all, if it WERE really deadly, it actually DECREASES the likelihood of an epidemic. The diseases that "succeed" the most are ones that are both highly infectious AND doesn't kill the host for a long time. This is the reason we don't see Ebola taking out the entire African continent. It's also why rabies doesn't wipe out whole populations (and no, it's not because of the vaccine).
The wild bird hosts that are the main spreader of this currently, often don't die because of the disease.

http://www.pandemicflu.gov/avianbirdflu/
Wild birds worldwide carry avian influenza viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, avian influenza is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, very sick and kill them.

Again, I'm not saying the bird flu is something to be freaked out about as some people cleary are, on the other hand it's not something to completely ignore.
Old 03-17-06, 01:46 PM
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Has this been transmitted human to human yet?
Old 03-17-06, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by datagirl7
I don't think the CDC and WHO are into the whole scaring people for media reasons thing. Nor do I think the government say that this could be a threat just to scare people. I do think the press can play it up, but that doesnt' mean there isn't a threat.
No, maybe not consciously. But let's face it - it's an INTERESTING topic because it's new. The exact same doomsday scenarios were predicted for HIV. And there, at least there was better rationale - human to human transmission, LONG incubation periods. Have you forgotten what kind of panic the world went into over SARS?

To be fair, I don't think the CDC and WHO are trying to whip the public up into a panic. If you read their statements on many other diseases, they issue the same cautions. However, the media IS focused on this particular disease which makes it seem like the danger from bird flu is greater than any others.

Also, the more cynical side of me would note that the CDC and WHO also compete with other agencies for government funding (WHO gets them from various countries) and private donations. While I don't believe they consciously seek to scare people, I think they would easily justify talking up the bird flu to remind people of the necessity of their existence. Don't kid yourself - there's big business and politics involved with these organizations. They're not immune to making what they may perceive as gentle health warnings to indirectly benefit their existence. Especially if those health warnings hold the TINIEST kernel of truth or potential truth in them. They do good work, but most of the time, they're unrecognized and taken for granted. A marketing blitz now and then keeps them alive.

Last edited by hahn; 03-17-06 at 02:02 PM.
Old 03-17-06, 01:50 PM
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Yes, according to the CDC and WHO, but it's very rare.

From the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-inf...flu-humans.htm

H5N1, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, 1997: Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) infections occurred in both poultry and humans. This was the first time an avian influenza A virus transmission directly from birds to humans had been found. During this outbreak, 18 people were hospitalized and six of them died. To control the outbreak, authorities killed about 1.5 million chickens to remove the source of the virus. Scientists determined that the virus spread primarily from birds to humans, though rare person-to-person infection was noted.

The WHO says:http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian..._faqs/en/#isit
"Though rare, instances of limited human-to-human transmission of H5N1 and other avian influenza viruses have occurred in association with outbreaks in poultry and should not be a cause for alarm. In no instance has the virus spread beyond a first generation of close contacts or caused illness in the general community. Data from these incidents suggest that transmission requires very close contact with an ill person. Such incidents must be thoroughly investigated but provided the investigation indicates that transmission from person to person is very limited such incidents will not change the WHO overall assessment of the pandemic risk. There have been a number of instances of avian influenza infection occurring among close family members. It is often impossible to determine if human-to-human transmission has occurred since the family members are exposed to the same animal and environmental sources as well as to one another."

Last edited by datagirl7; 03-17-06 at 01:53 PM.
Old 03-17-06, 01:56 PM
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For those that dont know, Hahn here is a doctor.

Datagirl, I see you latch on to statistics from rural China and Cambodia but these places have very little in common with the conditions HERE in the USA. The places where people are dying most likely dont even have running water. These people are impoverished and usually working on chicken farms with no regulatory standards for cleanliness. The common flu would probably be very serious for these chicken farmers.

Please think about this then look at this article: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/515996?rss

"President Bush outlined a long-awaited national preparedness plan for pandemic influenza Tuesday, asking Congress for $7.1 billion in emergency spending to boost the country's readiness for an outbreak that could include avian influenza. "

Thats just the first article my search found. Im sure there are more recent ones.

Now ask why theres so much hype when theres so many more worthy causes for concern?
Old 03-17-06, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by hahn
No, not consciously. But let's face it - it's an INTERESTING topic because it's new. The exact same doomsday scenarios were predicted for HIV. And there, at least there was better rationale - human to human transmission, LONG incubation periods. To be fair, I don't think the CDC and WHO are trying to whip the public up into a panic. If you read their statements on many other diseases, they issue the same cautions. However, the media IS focused on this particular disease which makes it seem like the danger from bird flu is greater than any others.
I can agree with that. I dont' think it's a terrible threat nor something to be ignored. It's just one potential thing out there that could get ugly. The CDC and WHO have to try to determine what's a threat before it really becomes one. So they have to keep track of things like this and inform everyone about what's going on.

It is definitely the media's flavor of the week recently To some extent that's good, as some people dont' know about it and may be travelling somewhere that is affected, on the other hand it's bad as it can freak people out even though in the US, your current chances of getting it are essentially nil.
Old 03-17-06, 02:07 PM
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I remember the hype and fear spread by SARS which was actually backed up by terrifying photos of chinese people dying. Then it came to my city and poof--it was gone. It really goes to show you cant compare a crowded apartment block in China with one here. People are different and the disease acts different among different communities.

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