Thursday, April 05, 2007

The chickens come home to roost


A) The H5N1 pandemic has so far caused some 166 (correction: Now 184) deaths of humans; Indonesia (63), Vietnam (42), China (14), Egypt (12), Cambodia (6), Azerbaijan (5). Turkey (4), Iraq (2) and Nigeria (1), according to the World Heath Organization.
B) Globally at least 200 million birds have died or been slaughtered because of the disease.
C) It is said that “The avian flu virus dies at 70°C,” so well cooked chicken is safe to consume.
D) "A person can contact bird flu if he is in direct or close contact with infected or dead birds, and will show symptoms like fever exceeding 38 degrees C, chest pain or respiratory infection symptoms like cough,"
E) The European Union and some other countries clear out infected farms by "slaughtering" the chicken on the farm and clear out the surrounding farms within 50km (at least) as well and burn the chicken in special furnaces.

I wonder if the GCC countries will implement measures that resemble anything close to what these countries are doing, i predict "Rebranding" and sale under different names. i.e here is a news article on an incident that occurred in Kuwait [i lost the link, sugerrrr, i will find and link it later on].

Self explanatory news clips:

  • March 29, 2007 - Egypt Seeks to Bar Live Bird Trade Over H5N1 Fears - (Reuters); CAIRO - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (Telfone Omomee) proposed a law on Wednesday to bar trade and transport of live birds to help prevent the spread of the bird flu virus that has so far killed 13 Egyptians, state media said.
    Since the outbreak of bird flu in Egyptian poultry in February 2006, 29 Egyptians have contracted the H5N1 virus. Most of those who fell ill were reported to have had contact with sick or dead household birds.
  • March 24, 2007 -
    Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Agriculture is dealing with an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu at a farm in the Eastern Province, reported the Saudi Gazette. The ministry carried out tests on turkeys, parrots, peacocks and ostriches on the farm and found evidence of the virus, after which all the birds were culled and the entire area sterilised. Investigations are underway to trace the source of the outbreak.
  • March 31, 2007 - Bird flu far from safe (Kuwait Times)
    KUWAIT: Despite assurances from the Minister of Health, Maasouma Al-Mubarak that there were no human infections with the bird flu virus, the situation was not as safe as announced, reported Al-Rai.
    The Chairman of the Board of the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, Eng Jassim Al-Bader disclosed how serious the situation actually was in the infected Wafra farms, saying, "We already have over 65 teams comprising 400 employees working on fighting the virus and burying all the infected birds in a large trench," adding, "over 1.1 million birds have already been buried." He also urged all citizens and expatriates not to transport live birds into or out of Wafra until official notification.
  • April 08, 2007 - Dead Pigeons Cause Panic – (The Saudi Gazette)
DAMMAM - RESIDENTS here are afraid that a recent rash of dead pigeons is because of bird flu, the Arabic language daily newspaper Al-Madina said Saturday.
Many pigeons at the Iskan buildings in Dammam are sick and cannot fly, residents said, while others died starting several days ago.
However, Dr. Abdul Jaffar, administrative head of bio-security for poultry farms in the Eastern Province said on Tuesday, “There is no cause for alarm over these reported deaths.”
“The bird deaths reported are about pigeons and sparrows that are highly resistant to the bird flu strain. The reported are due to other diseases” that don’t affect humans,” he said.

Hogwash! I don't claim to be an expert, but it's a bit suspicious that the incident occurred not very soon after the H5N1 virus was discovered.

Informative Sites:
1) Out Ministry of Health has a dedicate web site:

What's weird here is that it the site explains what actions will be carried out when an infected bird is discovered in Bahrain, its a reactive measure rather than a pre-emptive one. What gives? Is the MoH stating that the disease will be duped by first allowing it onto our land, then surrounding and overcoming it by the sheer number of our armed forces. Aaaaaah, maybe we can get the chickens to cross the road all at once, SPLAT, that would surely do it. Scratch that.... I suggest you read what’s on the site and come to your own conclusion.

2) The International Hospital of Bahrain has a web site that provides a lot of information:

3) A Blog that is tracking the H5N1 virus.

My Action Plan for Control and Prevention of Bird Flu
STOP eating the chickens, i think they are pissed off. They don't seem to like being fried, roasted, grilled, filleted etc ... (drooll, drool yummy).

On a serious note,
The disease seems to be getting closer to our shores and we urgently need to be educated on the subject matter to enable an efficient prevention and eradication measure. We also need to be more cautious of what we eat, from where and how we eat (I mean the food), hygiene is of the utmost importance.

We should be asking questions like;
1) Have there been any incidents in Bahrain yet?
2) Are the Health and Emergency services adequately trained?
3) Is the government doing enough?
4) What do i as a citizen have to do?
and , and, and.......

The Government of Bahrain must exercise complete transparency on this matter; there should be educational programs on TV advising us on the dangers, the do's and the don'ts. We need to know the facts and the most responsible party in this matter should be our Government. This is not the time to cover up (not that they are doing so, but from past....). SO, Answers pleessseeeeeee.

Wouldn't it be cool if the only side effect of the virus was that people ran around clucking like chickens and laid eggs thus eradicating world hunger?

[ I suggest you guys google the word 'cluck' and see how many weird sites you get]. sheesh!