NPR reported that this dreaded disease, H5N1 or better known as “Bird Flu”, is back and more virulent than ever. If it was the same ole, same ole but on a different day, it wouldn’t raise any alarm bells. Tragically, however, it is a new strain, one that is not affected by any current vaccine.
A flu virus of this nature resides low in the lungs and that is what makes it difficult for the body to rid itself of it. Researchers have discovered that the Spanish flu of 1918 was a strain of H5N1 and notably those with the strongest immune system were among the group that suffered the most losses. The immune system sent an enormous amount of white cells to the lungs to destroy the virus but without the ability to communicate properly to the “command center” as it were, they just keep coming, so much so that the fluid builds up in the lungs and the person drowns in their own body fluid. National Geographic refers to this as “cytokine storm”.
The cytokine system is the alarm mechanism of the immune system. A component that is capable of boosting the immune system while modulating the cytokine response mechanism would be the ideal way to support the body’s defense system. This protein would would reduce inflammation and fluid build up in the lungs. Its known as a cytokine modulating protein. The following article is a summary of some of the latest information on H5N1 Published: August 29, 2011.
Bird Flu Back Again, U.N. Agency Warns
A new vaccine-resistant strain of avian H5N1 influenza has begun circulating in poultry flocks in Vietnam and China, posing “unpredictable risks to human health,” the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Monday.
“In Vietnam, which suspended its springtime poultry vaccination campaign this year, most of the northern and central parts of the country — where H5N1 is endemic — have been invaded by the new virus strain, known as H5N1-220.127.116.11,” the FAO said in a statement.
No cases of human infection with the novel strain have yet reported by the FAO or its sister group, the World Health Organization. Vietnam has remained free of human infections with any avian H5N1 strains this year, according to WHO.
The FAO indicated that Vietnam’s veterinary services had been alerted to the threat and the county is “reportedly considering a novel, targeted vaccination campaign this fall.”
The new strain is “apparently able to sidestep the defenses provided by existing [poultry] vaccines,” the agency said.
The ongoing H5N1 flu virus epidemic, which was first detected in 2003 when humans began falling ill and dying, has affected wild birds as well as domestic poultry. That has aided the disease’s spread out of eastern Asia, and its reintroduction in areas where it was thought to have been eradicated.
The epidemic in bird flocks peaked in 2006 and hit a low in 2008 after aggressive poultry slaughters in affected countries.
But the FAO indicated that poultry infections have been rising again. It said nearly 800 outbreaks had been identified since January 2010, compared with about 300 in 2008.
Recent poultry infections have been spotted in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Romania, and Bulgaria.
The FAO’s chief veterinary officer, Juan Lubroth, said the H5N1 virus was most entrenched in Egypt, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam.
Most recent human H5N1 infections have been in Egypt, with another small outbreak under way in Cambodia, according to WHO.
A total of 49 human infections and 25 deaths have been confirmed in 2011, with roughly half in Egypt.
Since 2003, the WHO’s human case count worldwide now stands at 565, with 331 deaths.