Swine Flu Nonsense Round Up
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.
Grist and David Kirby of HuffPo discussed Mexican Press reports tying the initial swine flu outbreak to a factory pig farm partially owned by the US conglomerate, Smithfield Farms. Smithfield moved to Mexico after it was heavily fined for releasing pig excrement into the public water supply. According to the Mexican Press, the farm had dumped pig waste into a nearby lagoon. The lagoon was accessed by wild birds. The virus then cycled between bird, pig and man until it finally jumped the shark.
How ironic then, that Senator Susan Collins was busted by Dana Houle stripping $900 million worth of pork from the stimulus fund for pandemic flu preparedness.
So much for increasing our supply of anti-virals, developing a vaccine, or otherwise beefing up our public health infrastructure. But don't worry. Collins has a better idea. We can place special resonance imaging scanners to detect fevers at the border.
Meanwhile, pork futures plummeted. The CDC promptly renamed the "swine flu" the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, claiming deference to Jews and Muslims who don't eat pork, and might fail to seek help for symptoms out of fear of being associated with pigs.
The majority Muslim government of Egypt ordered the slaughter of the approximately 300,000 pigs owned by Christians even though they were not infected with the flu virus. This presents another threat, as most organic waste was fed to the pigs and there are no immediate plans to dispose of it in other ways.
If you wonder why the CDC really changed the name of the flu, then check out this video in which pork and pop and junk food lobbyists show up in force at a National Academy of Sciences meeting on childhood nutrition, taking copious notes on all that is said (big hat tip to Jill Richardson for the link):
I have my own idea for a name. Why don't we call it "The Smithfield Farms Flu"?
Two weeks after his famous seccession speech, Governor Rick Perry has declared Texas a disaster area.
Finally, let's not ignore the filth about swine flu currently being spread by right wing hate radio broadcasters. Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and Michael Reagan have proposed numerous preposterous theories. For example, Muslims deliberately created the swine flu virus and introduced it to Mexico knowing that illegal "mules" would carry it over the border.
Please...if you hear garbage like this, DISPUTE it. So far, swine flu in the US has been mild. A secondary epidemic of pogroms might not be!