The flu that flew, part 1

Welcome to Flu Jersey

It's been six months since I told you in the Daily Dose about the H5N1 "bird flu" virus - the one that's been creeping across Asia, Africa and Europe. (Daily Dose 10/18/2005). I told you at the time that it seemed likely -- according to the World Health Organization's experts, anyway -- that the virus would mutate into a form capable of wiping out millions of us. But since then I've realized that this bird flu pandemic is just another one in a long list of government scams crafted to invoke panic and fear among the masses. (Don't believe me? See the March issue of Real Health Breakthroughs to find out how certain people in the government stand to make millions from promoting such a scam.)

So if all this is true, you're probably wondering why I'm still calling it a pandemic. It's because it's still likely to kill millions

Of birds, that is. If you're a duck or chicken, it's a good chance your goose is cooked - so to speak.

But unless you're a circus freak who bites the heads off live chickens, or a worker in a poultry yard (mostly non-citizens nowadays), you've got nothing to worry about as far as infection with H5N1 goes. That's the reality, despite the warnings, even those I may have sounded myself.

After all, the Avian disease has only killed 113 people worldwide since it started raising fears in 2003 -- and most of those happened in the densely populated Asia -- the type of setting that would have quickly bred a mutation if one were going to occur.

To my knowledge, NONE of these cases were transmitted from person to person, but from livestock or poultry to humans with high degrees of exposure to the animals and their droppings. And not to minimize human deaths, but 113 people dead worldwide in 3 years doesn't fit into even an alarmist's definition of "pandemic."

In fact, I'd be willing to bet that more people have died from CHOKING on chicken over this same period.

But that hasn't stopped the press, the government, and Hollywood from trying to cause widespread panic now that a form of avian flu virus has reached the good ol' U.S. of A. According to a May 1st Associated Press article, health authorities in New Jersey have detected an influenza virus in a live bird market in the city of Camden, prompting the market owner to "depopulate" (I can only guess what that means) his flock of birds.

Although authorities from the National Veterinary Services laboratory were quick to announce that the virus is NOT the killer H5N1 variety, the AP article maintains that further testing is pending at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As much as I hate to say it, this seemingly harmless "false alarm" portends the possibility that if H5N1 actually does reach the U.S, life may soon never be the same again

For birds!

Now, I hope I'm wrong, but the evidence doesn't point to a happy ending here for our feathered friends. The disease has prompted some nations to ban poultry imports from countries in which the virus has been detected. But since birds also do this thing called "flying," this hasn't stopped the virus's spread.

Apparently, that's up to governments (not really, but everyone seems to think it is). And ours is on the case in a big way. Oh, goody - now I feel better.

More details in the next Daily Dose and keep your eye out for the upcoming June issue of Real Health Breakthroughs to see what government has in store for you if a pandemic should occur.

Never playing "chicken" with the truth,

William Campbell Douglass II, MD