Friday, 26 October 2012

Bird Flu - The Next Plague

The Bookshop Guru

Book Review: Everything You Need To Know About Bird Flu & What You Can Do To Prepare For It by Jo Revill

I thought this book I recently discovered at my local thrift shop would make an interesting book review, partly because it is a serious book about the potential threat from bird flu and the affects it will have should a pandemic human influenza occur in the near future and also because I like to review obscure interesting books rather than the common novels that everyone and their granny's review.

This book by Jo Revill is easy to read and appreciate the implications that would come from a pandemic caused by the jump of the virus which is endemic in wild birds and as yet to mutate into a form that would create panic among the world because of how lethal the strain of bird flu can be to humans. 

Bird flu or avian flu is a virus that is common among wild birds that migrate from country to country around the world. The problem from what I have read is that many of these species of wild birds are asymptomatic and they can carry the virus without showing any signs of symptoms associated with bird flu, which tends to make the problem more obtuse and difficult to track. Clearly if many birds are suddenly dying it is easy to first spot these birds and they can be tested for bird flu, but there is the problem as some do not as previously mentioned.

The strain H5N1 which was first recognised as a lethal form of bird flu in the years leading up to 2005 when the world woke up to the potential threat because of how the virus could potentially mutate to a human form of influenza. The problem with any preventative measures such as a vaccine are complicated by the fact that any vaccine could take up to 4 – 6 month to produce, because the exact genetic makeup of the subtype of the strain of virus will not be prior known before a pandemic is identified. The preceding months any available vaccines may offer little or no resistance against the new mutated strain (subtype) of the virus.  The current consensus is that vaccines based on the previous virus subtype H5N1 may offer some protection but this all depends on how the proteins used by the virus to attach itself to the cells of the organism it has infected namely us.

The current response by various governments around the world has been to stock up with either Tamiflu or Relenza or both in case of a pandemic affecting their populations. The problem with this is both one of not enough vaccines for everyone and if the vaccines will actually work against a new strain, as these viruses naturally mutate very fast and so it would be lucky if the old vaccines worked as a preventative or a treatment measure. It may be like sticking a plaster on a bullet wound.

The major problem with a virus which is airborne is how easily it can spread and attach itself to soft and hard surfaces such as clothes, keyboards, door handles, uncooked food etc. The virus is then easily absorbed into our bodies through wiping our eyes or mouth with our infected hands because the virus can live on surfaces for many hours. Once into our respiratory tract it attacks our white blood cells and causes our immune system to react, but because of our immune system does not have the antigens from a previous infection the immune system goes into overdrive and destroys itself eventually. This usually takes about 2-3 days and long enough for the host to spread the virus, which why a virus is so successful as a biological weapon or an invisible terrorist, it eventually kills the host , but only after a few days and time enough to replicate and spread itself.

The book explains what bird flu is and how it works, and also why the strain H5N1 could be so lethal to humans if the virus mutates enough to cause a human to human pandemic influenza.  The book offers practical advice, and endeavours to explain the semantics of why H5N1 is so potentially dangerous to mankind.

The book quotes from leading authorities both on the medical and economic implications a human influenza pandemic would cause.  There is a suggestion that 2% of the world economy would be lost and countless millions of deaths dependent on how lethal the virus was. I often think many people and including experts, often underestimate and are over optimistic when it comes to making predictions. There is a saying we are only 3 days away from chaos at any one time and it does not take many unrelated events for there to be a complete breakdown of civilisation.

Are you listening,  what are you dreaming?

As Jesus said, “belief is everything.”

In my latest book “It’s Never Too Late” read how dreams do come true, but be careful what you wish for. Understand the secret of greed and you will attain one of the secrets of prosperity. The book will also take you on a journey and explores love, money, luck, and much more.


Hey, Chuck. Did you bring any spending money? Viva la vida loca.

Conducting Survey into Precognitive Choices

Which would you prefer half-price digital or paperback?

 Read my latest book "It's Never Too Late" by Anthony Fox,  published by Chipmunka Publishing