Why is the Indonesian Government sending out the troops and culling poultry across the island nation?
Indonesia asks troops to fight bird flu
January 27, 2007
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the military chief to deploy soldiers to help fight the disease, Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi told reporters.
The sense of alarm was highlighted by the country's welfare minister earlier in the day.
"Even though our continued effort is giving some significant progress, we are still on highest alert," Aburizal Bakrie, said at a ceremony to receive 100,000 sets of protective equipment donated by the United States.
Later in the article:
Experts fear the more the virus spreads in birds, the greater the chances it might mutate into a form that causes a flu pandemic in humans. Millions of people could die.
© 2007 Reuters
And from Yahoo! News.com, a little more on the level of anxiety;
Indonesia on highest alert over bird flu: minister
JAKARTA (Reuters) After a spike in cases this year, Indonesia moved to ban backyard poultry in the capital and surrounding provinces...
Millions of backyard fowl live in close proximity to humans and keeping backyard chickens is ingrained in Indonesia's culture...
The bold highlights are added.
The "100,000 sets of protective equipment donated by the United States" seems to be the impetus for all the head lines this week. To this date there is no evidence that the Bird Flu can jump to humans except through direct and prolonged contact with infected birds.
So the specific, donating of protective equipment, which created the media interest, hides the broader context; Why all the Hoopla over Bird Flu in the first place?
From the UN body, the WTO which is studying the outbreaks World Wide notes in this Question and Answer format, that there is no evidence of human to human transmission;
What is the significance of limited human-to-human transmission?
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.
Here's a different point of view from The Guardian Unlimited
So who's really to blame for bird flu?The fear mongering going on in the 'Hit and Run' media is predictable; it sells copy and is a distraction from real problems, as the Gaurdian points out, like industrial animal production.
A stream of statements and strategy documents from august bodies such as the World Health Organisation reinforce the "wild birds and backyard poultry are the problem" plot-line. This must come as music to the ears of the intensive poultry producers, who heartily resent the good press that organic and free-range poultry generally receive. For once it is free-range birds that everyone is worried about, not the caged laying hens and tightly packed broiler birds...
Real Problems like these ones; pointed out in a good sum up of the current Science and Business interests at play around this thing;
Signs of the Times
Dr. Pushkar Kulkarni
Bachelor of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry (Bombay Veterinary College)
Contact: India (Res.): 91-251-2489216
E.mail: email@example.com, kk_pushk
First of all, I would like to tell every one that bird flu is nothing but money generating gimmick of certain companies/politicians. So far only 55 people have died of so-called bird flu (7000 died by lighting last year alone) so are we having a lighting epidemic, rubbish? These death were due to Respiratory sym, but not confirmed for H5N1. How many people handling birds have died because of diarrhea? Must be more than 55 in the last few years then we can say we are in a Salmonella epidemic???
Next, who stand to gain by all this? Roche by selling --Tamiflu. Who has the patent for Tamiflu: lesser known company Gilead. Who is the major shareholder of this company??? Can any one guess??? Donald H. Rumsfeld was chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, where he remained until early 2001 when he became defense secretary in Bush's Cabinet. The model suggests the parallel to the brazen corruption of Halliburton Corporation who's former CEO is Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney's company has so far gotten billions worth of US construction contracts in Iraq and elsewhere.
Who else stands to benefit? Bush campaign funders, Bilderberger spokesman Etienne F. Davignon and Reagan-Bush former secretary of state George P. Shultz, both of who are also on the board of directors of Gilead. Another member of the Bush circle is Lodewijk J.R. de Vink, who sits on the board of Hoffman-La Roche, Gilead's partner.
! In other words, bird flu will generate outrageous profits for insiders like Shultz, Rumsfled, Davignon and de Vink.
By the way what is Tamiflu (Generic name: oseltamivir phosphate)??? It's a extract from star aniseed (our very own Garam masala – curry powder) and each dose is $ 100 so even if 15% of the world have one dose then the total sale will be just $100 billion.
Since last year media started this "Tamasha" by highlighting the news! from other countries. Our Poultry Industry suffered losses due to those rumors during that year and now millions of farmers will loose their jobs & be bankrupt but only a few people will make money. I know it is going to be late & millions are going to loose their livelihood in India, Chicken is being sold at Rs 4/kg in some places. Think of the state of the Farmer & unlike other countries he is not going to be compensated (only farmers in Navapur, Nandurbar are being compensated).
So, it my sincere request to all of you that spread this information to everyone, buy, cook and eat poultry products (chicken & egg) without hesitation and try to save the livelihood of millions of poultry farmers in India. Remember that anything cooked over 70 degrees is safe.
Those who need more information are welcome to mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some people* don't think Dr. Pushkar Kulkarnis' corporate greed observations go far enough.
They are afraid this is either the early stages of a Biological Attack on Asia; or the pretext necessary to launch such an attack, without getting caught in the world of domestic public opinion.
*(This link was obtained by two search perameters on MY google: Bird Flu + Bio-war. There's lots more - including juxtaposed submissions.)
Viewers would see a natural progression of the crisis; resulting in an unending holocaust; with deniability intact.
China must be aware of this possibility but for now, they are playing along in the interests of free trade despite the exstreme end game the idea postulates. After all, they control domestic health management, and will continue to; weighing as they must, the advanced genetic science information they are recieving from the west; verses the political and economic verticies.
I'm watching with no opinion either way. Noting who benefits; Who's in a position to engineer this kind of play; Who loses.
It's good to see some qualified experts coming forward, pointing out the facts.
Dr. Henry Niman PhD. is a geneticist and owner of several money making patents and an apparently brilliant thinker, has an unorthodox way of seeing the whole thing.
A view that may be confirmed by events on the ground this year.
But not everyone agrees with Dr. Niman even though Nationaly recognized bodies such as NIAID and the WTO seem to be acting upon the good doctors suppositions.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviews' Jennifer Bails writes;
But Henry Niman's warnings -- sounded to the international press -- have not convinced fellow researchers. Niman's detractors refer to him as a "prophet of doom" who stands to profit from his overzealous penchant for crying "Pandemic!" without proof or proper qualifications.
Dr. Henry Niman is convinced that specific parts of the DNA in viruses can mutate independantly of the whole; and as such speed the evolution of the chemical 'keys' in the virus, increasing the liklihood of the development of 'human receptor specificity'.
A "quick leap forward" hypothesis.
His peers point out that the only segmented mutations that appear in nature are the result of human engineering, or Gene Splicing. The intensive nature of present day farming would suggest a possible vector for such a 'great leap forward'. But Genetisists point out that any such mutation towards human receptor specificity would take time, and a lot of luck.
Here are some skeptical voices in the scientific community as concerns Dr. Niman's thoeries:
Wendy Orent Bio anthropologist with a Ph.D from the University of Michigan from an article published in the New Republic Online
The expert predictions don't take into account the evolutionary events necessary to turn an avian flu virus into a mass human killer. In ignoring the evolution of infectious disease, flu experts, science writers, and public health officials are leading us down the same path we've followed too many times before...
Dr. Anthony Fauci Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) M.D. Cornell University Medical College
One migratory bird does not a pandemic make.
Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist and associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.
The fear is out of proportion to the current risk.
Flu virologist Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, a microbiology professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. A part of the team of scientists who recreated the deadly 1918 flu strain
Focusing only on H5N1 ... I think is a little bit shortsighted.
Daniel Perez, an assistant professor at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
The chances of getting hit by avian influenza from wild birds is the same as getting hit by a lightning bolt.
Dr. Richard Schabas, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario:
Those pundits who have been predicting disaster all this time, I think it's time for them to take a good hard look at what has happened and what hasn't happened, and maybe re-evaluate their assessment.