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Bird flu (H5N1) in Asia

  1. Feb 4, 2004 #1
    I think I better start a new thread on this topic. :wink:
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/02/04/birdflu.update/index.html
    This link provides us with quite updated information about the outbreak of bird flu. Although many regions in south-east asia have loads of chickens died of H5N1, there isn't any H5N1 case in Hong Kong yet.

    Experts don't rule out the possibility that the virus can jump between humans. However I don't think this outbreak will become a pandemic of human as every country is now trying their best to prevent the spread of the disease. Moreover, we got experiences from the outbreak of SARS last year and probably know how to handle the situation once more people started to be infected. Also, there aren't many human infections at this stage. Slaughtering of chickens will continue though, until everything is okay.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2004 #2

    jimmy p

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    According to New Scientist

    "For the WHO, the priority is now to prevent the epidemic triggering a human disaster. So far, fewer than a dozen human cases of bird flu have been confirmed in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, though there could well be many more unrecognised cases."

    Then another section says

    "So far at least, the virus seems incapable of human-human transmission. The great fear is that someone infected with both human flu and bird flu will give rise to a lethal hybrid that can spread from person to person."
     
  4. Feb 4, 2004 #3

    Monique

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    I was just about to say that..

    The way these things work is that an avian virus cannot infect humans, and human virusses cannot infect birds. BUT both avian and human virusses are able to infect pigs. It is in the pig where exchange of genetic material takes place between the avain and human virus, allowing direct bird-human transmissions.

    In my opinion if the number of humans infected rises, the chances of the virus to gain genetic material that allow it to infect other humans should happen at some point after that.

    But I am not a virus expert and haven't read up on the H5N1 virus characteristics, so let's hope it won't happen.
     
  5. Feb 4, 2004 #4

    jimmy p

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    Uh isnt that EXTREMELY lethal then? make sure you stay away from pigs..
     
  6. Feb 4, 2004 #5

    Monique

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    There is a debate in xenobiotics, where organs in the future can be transplanted from pigs to humans. The danger is that pig pathogens will also be able to infect humans, giving rise to new diseases.

    I saw a lab in which they want to create an artificial liver.. they weren't allowed to use pig liver cells for that purpose, they will need to find a way to use human liver cells for that.
     
  7. Feb 4, 2004 #6

    chroot

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    Xenotransplantation has not had much success anyway, has it? I was under the impression that it took a half-dozen pig livers to metabolically equal one human liver, and the results were always disappointing...

    - Warren
     
  8. Feb 4, 2004 #7

    Monique

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    Um, that's a good point: I am not sure.. The main problem at the moment would be preventing the rejection from such xenobiotic material, the pig needs to be engineered to be non-immunogenic to a human.

    But for the liver you could just keep the system ex-vivo, just like a dialysis machine. For people experiencing acute liver failure this would be a good initial therapy.
     
  9. Feb 4, 2004 #8

    chroot

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    I believe this is what was done, ex-vivo. If I remember properly, the pig livers kept dying, and had to be replaced often. Obviously wouldn't be good in-vivo. :-x

    - Warren
     
  10. Feb 4, 2004 #9

    Monique

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    Ah yes, these researchers were setting up immortalized human cell lines and are trying to grow them in a container perfused with artificial blood vessels or something through which the blood can stream.
     
  11. Feb 4, 2004 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    Thanks KL :smile:

    I heard last night that this has infected migratory birds.
     
  12. Feb 4, 2004 #11

    jimmy p

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    thats different to what has been said in NEW SCIENTIST...but then it is almost a week old...they said

    "There are reports of mass die-offs of rare birds in zoos in Thailand, and pigeons are said to be piling up in the streets in Bangkok. However, regular monitoring of migratory birds in Thailand has not revealed any signs of the virus."
     
  13. Feb 4, 2004 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    This was on a special report on NBC...I think.
     
  14. Feb 5, 2004 #13

    Tsu

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    I was under the impression that they have used pig's heart valves to repair human hearts for many years. IIRC, my ex brother-in-law's father was the recipient of one of these.
     
  15. Feb 5, 2004 #14

    Monique

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    Maybe the US has different regulations when it comes to this. Ofcourse when an animal is brought up in a sterile environment, there is no need to be afraid for pathogens.. that doesn't make the politicians less quenchy though :)
     
  16. Feb 5, 2004 #15

    jimmy p

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    WOAH WOAH WOAH!!! I may be taking steps backwards but WOAH!!! If pigs can carry human AND bird flu at the same time, doesnt this mean that the bird flu epidemic has to be treated with more severity because there is evidence that it was detected over a YEAR ago in Asia. Wont this also mean that thousands of pigs have to be slaughtered too so to prevent any superbugs. This is a serious matter indeed, more serious than i thought.
     
  17. Feb 5, 2004 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Uh oh...

    http://www.iht.com/articles/126685.html
     
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