H5N1 Bird Flu found in Germany

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MayberrySaint, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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  2. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I disaster yes. IF it ever happens and that is a big if.

    Secondly I think they need to look at other potential contagion vectors than migratory birds. Factory farm birds don't get outside so exposure to wild flocks just doesn't happen. The question needs to be, "What is it about factory farms that happens that brings it into these facilities? If it was truly migratory birds that where the contagion vector then small private flocks would be the ones where it shows up and not in the factory farm setting.

    It would seem there is a big piece of the puzzle missing.
     
  3. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Wild birds are a huge problem around large, confinement facilities. As feed is delivered to these operations, there is spillage around the feed tanks. In addition, most feed tanks leak at the auger boot leaving feed on the concrete pads under the tanks. Workers can easily track in bird droppings on their boots as they enter the facilities. Also, confinement facilities are not bird-proof and birds can get into these buildings very easily. The other area that leads to contamination into large facilities is via the feed mill and feed trucks. There is no way to bird-proof feed facilities and grain trucks/trains entering and leaving these feed mills. Many common diseases are spread wild bird to domestic farm animals (TGE, Avian Influenza, Swine Influenza, PRRS, etc.).

    I'm not sure I understand your big IF...other strains of bird flu/swine flu (H1N1, H2N1, etc.) have entered the US and caused problems throughout the swine and poultry industries. The difference between these strains and the new H5N1 strain is the others while causing some human infections were neither lethal nor able to mutate to a flu that could be transmitted human to human. The big IF regarding H5N1 is not when it will arrive in North America or whether it will infect poultry operations but rather it's ability to mutate to a virus that can be transmitted human to human. As long as it stays in a form that can be transmitted only bird to human, the chances of a pandemic are extremely low and can be controlled through the slaughter of infected animals. If the virus mutates, all bets are off.

    The reason that large confinement operations have more disease outbreak is simple:
    1. More animal density per cubic foot of air space. If virus or bacteria are present, the animals are exposed to a much higher density of disease-carrying pathogens.
    2. More disease vectors...feed trucks weekly that travel from farm-to-farm, dead animal/bird trucks weekly visiting the farm, transport trucks to take animals to slaughter, field service employees going from farm-to-farm.
    3. Compromised immune systems due to confinement.
    4. Presence of chronic, low-grade infections present in all confinement operations.

    Most backyard flocks or herds, while exposed to more migratory/wild birds and animals, do not have to deal with the constant threat of disease introduction as compared to the confinement operations.

    What will probably happen in regards to H5N1 Avian flu is that the disease will enter North America...large operations will be infected and control measures will be put in place to slaughter the animals/birds and the outbreak contained with no viral mutation.
    The biggest risk factor is in areas with large poultry and swine operations in close proximity. Eastern NC is a prime example. Influenza viruses love to use pigs as vectors to mutate within. The scenario would be:
    1. H5N1 infects large poultry operation.
    2. Virus is introduced to large swine operation and mutates (no mutation, no worry).
    3. Human workers on swine operation become infected.
    4. These workers transmit disease throughout the population.

    The control measures are the critical step once the disease enters the US...testing and culling of infected flocks/herds. Unfortunately, this testing is in the hands of corporate leaders who have the eye on their bottom-line. From personal experience, the reaction time is somewhat lacking because CEO's are loathe to spend money on monitoring procedures. Hopefully the USDA and CDC will force companies to initiate testing and culling procedures quickly. It does appear that the Germans have done this. They are nothing if not efficient.
     
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Your IF and my IF are obviously the same from what you wrote.

    The top four points you made point out the real problem and danger. It is not directly wild bird contact. The very points that you mentioned should be stressed by the media but never are. The industry as a whole might be forced to tighten up and they wouldn't like the effects to their bottom line as you mentioned.

    It might just push consumer prices up and the outcry over that would be politically damaging.

    The other issue with H5N1 is that it could likely become even more antibiotic resistant than it already is due to the high rate of antibiotic usage in the industry. Realistically we have created the ideal invironment for this to happen due to our agriculture practices. IF we really wanted to try to lessen the risk of mutation the USDA and CFIA etc. would draw a hard line before it gets out of hand. But that would cost them money and popularity. So a hard proactice stance will not happen.
     
  5. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Excellently spelled out, Andy. If you add in the changes in cost of grains due to the methanol production push, the cost of all food in the grocery stores must rise. In fact we see it happening already. In the local stores here they post notices about the huge increases in the price of dairy products being the result of alternative fuel production and high fuel costs. I do think the public will just take increased costs with no outcry for a long time, just like they adapt to high gasoline costs. People in America are still "rich" by world standards. Heck, so many times in the store when I see people with government assistance food cards they are not bying basic foods but processed garbage or expensive cuts of meats. I'll get off my soapbox now and prepare a real meal from natural whole ingredients that will cook in my solar oven today [​IMG]
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I beg to differ that there is no wild bird contact with big factory operations. Heck, I open my shed doors and wrens fly in to investigate. I've seen some of them with the big sliding doors. What happens when they open one and a wild bird flies in? Bet they would have a heck of a time catching it, if they even noticed.
     
  7. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Quote:Viruses are all resistant to antibiotics...but your contention is correct regarding bacterial infections like salmonella and e. coli.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2007
  8. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Thanks for the correction mayberry. Too many hours and not enough sleep.

    Up here, in most operations, the only way a wild bird could get in is through the ventilator fans and they never shut down. Double doors stop fly ins through main entries. So obviously things are done a little differently here.
     
  9. aran

    aran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    just my two cents worth as a physician albeit im not an infectious diseases expert. Having said that I do have a separate degree in molecular biology and genetics and have a pretty good understanding of virology. The virus in question and indeed the vast majority of these types of viruses mutate in two different ways...by antigenic drift ( accumulation of point mutations within the genetic sequence leading to slight differences in surface antigens etc) and by antigenic shift ( swapping of genetic sequences between 2 genetically different viruses coinfecting the same host leading to expression of totally new surface antigens etc). The mutative potential of these viruses is astronomical hence the new flu vaccines for humans released every year...the vaccine has to be new each year because the viruses change in that time. The truth is however that the drift happens continuously where the shift happens rarely or at least MUCH less frequently. When the shift happens and an animal virus becomes capable of infecting humans and then being transferred human to human, a pandemic happens. H5N1 is a strain of influenza A. HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) is a strain/subtype of H5N1 influenza A. So far no human to human transfer ( theoretically) but with the way that these viruses change their antigens and virulence factors its a matter of when as far as im concerned not IF!
     
  10. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Quote:Yes you are correct. Canadian operations are much more secure due to the requirements of winter weather. The units on the prairie in the Great North don't resemble our units down south. Here they are designed for maximum ventilation and are generally wide open in the hot weather. Bird wire is in place but through improper maintenance, low quality employees, etc. many incidences of biosecurity breeches occur.
     

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