In a warning to a conference of Southeast Asian health ministers, World Health Organization director general Margaret Chan said that "decades of failure to invest adequately in basic health systems and infrastructure," will be exposed by the tragic evidence to be left in the wake of the first flu pandemic in forty years.
In the same Agence-France Press report, the UN agency is cited in saying that "Some tropical countries were already reporting "moderate strains" on their healthcare systems amid surges in infections."
And last month, the 'swine flu' (AH1N1 or H1N1) strain, was already the world's most prevalent strain picked up in surveys by WHO.
A rapid rate of the spread of infection is often a hallmark of pandemics. Chan provided a rough projection for what we may see at peak transmission, possibly by the year's end,
"The number of cases could double every three or four days."
An amazing amount of gibberish has been uttered about
swine flu 2009 H1N1 virus in recent days. I would like to share some highlights (including antics of Collins and Perry) along with links to one or two items that actually make sense.
A number of organizations have been warning about the dangers of factory farming in the west, and the role farming may have played in the first outbreaks in Asia of Avian flu. The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Production published a report a year ago warning of the environmental dangers of factory farms.
Pandora's Pond detailed the role of contaminated water in the genesis of Asian bird flu. The gist of the article is that fish farms were located in close proximity to pigs and chickens, and human excrement was added to the water for enrichment. Humans, pigs and chickens can exchange the influenza virus. The excrement in the water spread a human strain of influenza to wild birds who then infected chickens. Pigs ate the chicken poop. The cycling of the virus between pigs, chickens and wild birds allowed an extremely virulent form of flu to pass from birds to humans. Fortunately, it was never easily spread from human to human.