Posted by: bklunk | December 11, 2006

But Those Darned Birds Fly

As usual Mina19 has an interesting perspective.  I wonder though how we are to keep the critical areas from connecting.

Bird Flu Death Toll

According to an article in Medical News Today, the death toll based on information provided by the World Health Organization for the Bird Flu stands at 258 cases of humans infected with the virus. The article states that

Indonesia has had the most cases this year. Viet Nam, which had 61 cases last year, has not reported any so far in 2006. The total number of cases for 2003 was 4, in 2004 it was 46, in 2005 it reached 97, and so far this year the number stands at 111.” (

It is amazing that in 2003 with just 4 cases it has reached 111 cases in a matter of 6 years. This information definentely came as a shock to me because as you can see from the numbers the cases aren’t growing slowly but spreading at a much faster rate.

According to the World Health Organization, the following countries reported the numbers of humans infected with the virus:

2006 Cases 8 Deaths 5
2005 Cases 4 Deaths 4
2006 Cases 2 Deaths 2
Total Cases 6 Deaths 6
2003 Cases 1 Deaths 1
2005 Cases 8 Deaths 5
2006 Cases 12 Deaths 8
Total Cases 21 Deaths 14
2006 Cases 1 Deaths 0
2006 Cases 15 Deaths 7
2005 Cases 19 Deaths 12
2006 Cases 55 Deaths 45
Total Cases 74 Deaths 57
2006 Cases 3 Deaths 2
2004 Cases 17 Deaths 12
2005 Cases 5 Deaths 2
2006 Cases 3 Deaths 3
Total Cases25 Deaths 17
2006 Cases 12 Deaths 4
Viet Nam
2003 Cases 3 Deaths 3
2004 Cases 29 Deaths 20
2005 Cases 61 Deaths 19
Total Cases 93 Deaths 42

2003 Cases 4 Deaths 4
2004 Cases 46 Deaths 32
2005 Cases 97 Deaths 42
2006 Cases 111 Deaths 76
Total Cases 258 Deaths 154

Based on this information, if you were to actually pinpoint the locations on a world map you can see that the affected areas are: Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Southeast Asia. Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Djibouti, and Azerbaijan are very close to each other and this is helpful in understanding how pandemic that begins in one country can spread to the region. The other affected area consists of China, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. These areas are very close to each other as well. It is important to prevent the connecting of these two areas: the West (Africa) and the East (Asia). If the Bird Flu virus is not controlled it can spread veyr quickly to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and this could causes grave losses for Asia as well as the world.

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  1. Hey Mina, I haven’t been following your blog, but I am curious if you have come across the ages of the people who have acquired the bird flu, and more importantly the age of the people who have died from it. I’ve heard that the flu is only deadly to infants and the elderly.

  2. Ben, in response to you question, from my understanding (Mina or anyone else can correct me if I’m wrong) the bird flu is deadly for all humans, regardless of age. It also kills something like 50% of everyone who catches it. However virtually all the cases have been found in people who have been in close contact with birds.
    About the post, I don’t think it is that simple. It is virtually impossible to stop the spread of the bird flu between birds and regions once it has reached the magnitude it has. As Professor Klunk stated, “Those Darned Birds Fly.” You can’t simply close your borders to keep out the bird flu, as the birds don’t follow international laws. They just fly around wherever. The fact that the same strain of bird flu has been found in both of these regions suggests that they are already connected via the migratory routes of the birds.
    Instead i believe it is very important that we do everything we can to develop a vaccine which can prevent a pandemic if the bird flu ever develops the ability to be transmitted from human to human. States and the international community as a whole must make careful plans on what they will do in the event a pandemic takes place. Such a pandemic likely will have a devastating effect on the world economy, and we have to lesson that impact as much as possible.

  3. I know this isnt my topic… but i know a little bit about it from my microbiology class… and in response to Ben’s question this is what i know.

    up until november 29, of this year, a total of 154 people have actually died from avian influenza (world wide), of those 154 people, 90% have been under the age of 40. So in response to your question, no it doesnt just affect the elderly or infants. The regular flu, (not caused by birds) is more likely to result in death if the person is old or really young (usually have a suppressed immune system).

    The odd thing about this flu is the ages of the victims. Of all the people between the ages of 10 and 19 who are infected with the avian flu, 74% die. Thats an increadibly large amount in comparision to the amount of all the people 40 and over who are infected. Of all the people who are 40 and over that get infected with the bird flu, only 36% die. usually teenagers dont die as easily from diseases as older people do (they have a more active immune system) any idea why this is killing teenagers?

  4. And a little add on to mine and Michael’s posts… Not only do those darned birds fly, but they also pass their disease onto other animal vectors that can give the disease to humans… the only one i know of that has been proven so far is transmission through pigs.
    Just a little food for thought: we cant eat cows because of mad cow disease, we cant eat fish because of the mercury content, and now no pigs and poultry… what do we do? all turn vegetarian and eat genetically altered plants that we have no clue of the side effects? next time you sit down to dinner, think of what you could be eating… yummy!

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