Avian and Swine Flu News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on avian and swine flu
A “perplexing” Canadian study linking H1N1 to seasonal flu shots is throwing national influenza plans into disarray and testing public faith in the government agencies responsible for protecting the nation's health. Distributed for peer review last week, the study confounded infectious-disease experts in suggesting that people vaccinated against seasonal flu are twice as likely to catch swine flu. The paper has since convinced several provincial health agencies to announce hasty suspensions of seasonal flu vaccinations, long-held fixtures of public-health planning. “It has confused things very badly,” said Dr. Ethan Rubinstein, head of adult infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. “And it has certainly cost us credibility from the public because of conflicting recommendations. Until last week, there had always been much encouragement to get the seasonal flu vaccine.” On Sunday Quebec joined Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia in suspending seasonal flu shots for anyone under 65 years of age. Quebec's Health Ministry announced it would postpone vaccinations until January. B.C. is expected to announce a similar suspension during a press conference Monday morning. Other provinces, including Manitoba, are still pondering a response to the research. Dr. Rubinstein, who has read the study, said it appears sound. “There are a large number of authors, all of them excellent and credible researchers,” he said. “And the sample size is very large – 12 or 13 million people taken from the central reporting systems in three provinces. The research is solid.”
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the dangers of vaccines, click here.
The [UK] Health Secretary appeared on breakfast television this morning in a bid to reassure concerned parents after scientists warned that children should not be given Tamiflu. Instead he was confronted by a GMTV presenter who claimed that the drug had almost killed his daughter. Andy Burnham insisted that the Government was right to advise children to take the anti-viral drug despite a warning from researchers at the University of Oxford who called on the Department of Health urgently to reconsider its pandemic strategy. But he was tackled live on TV by Andrew Castle, Britain's former top tennis player, who said his older daughter, Georgina, had a respiratory collapse after being given the drug as a precaution during the containment stage of the pandemic. “I can tell you that my child - who was not diagnosed at all - she had asthma, she took Tamiflu and almost died,” he said. Georgina, 16, was given Tamiflu when five pupils at Alleyn’s School in south London were diagnosed with the illness in May. Castle, also a BBC tennis commentator, said he feared for his daughter’s life as medical professionals backed away from the potentially contagious child. He said: “Nobody checked that she had swine flu beforehand. The Health Protection Agency just handed it out at Alleyn’s School in south London and a lot of kids suffered in the school very heavily. It almost cost my older child her life." The study published yesterday warned that Tamiflu can cause vomiting in some children, which can lead to dehydration and the need for hospital treatment.
Note: Remember that the drug companies often place profits above public health. For an article showing how Donald Rumsfeld, former chairman of the board at the pharmaceutical which produced Tamiflu, personally made millions from the sale of Tamiflu during the avian flu scare, click here. To read an article with more information showing that Tamiflu and Relenza may not be safe for children, click here.
After a few days of breathless H1N1 flu coverage - some of it on his own network - CNN commentator Jack Cafferty noted that 13,000 people have died from the "regular ol' flu" this year in the United States, compared with just one confirmed H1N1 flu death. Cafferty then asked his audience to respond to his online poll asking "if swine flu coverage was overblown." He waited a moment, then said, "Hint: Yes." For a week, the flu story has whet cable TV's bloodlust with what the 24-hour cable news vacuum craves: mystery, death and great visuals that inspire fear. "Frankly, I've been a little horrified by how sensationalist and scare-mongering it is," said Vivian Schiller, chief executive officer of National Public Radio. No detail about the flu - often delivered without context - has been too tiny to go unreported, which means that cable TV viewers are getting coverage that is moment-to-moment but often not terribly useful. Conservative talk radio hosts have used fear about the flu to segue to anti-immigrant remarks and calls to close the U.S.-Mexico border.Just when the coverage appeared to be calming a bit Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden helped rekindle fears by saying on the "Today'" show that he "would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now." Health stories always attract huge audiences, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But viewers shouldn't expect as much breathless coverage when Congress begins debating an overhaul of the U.S. health care system over the next few months.
Note: For an excellent article showing how media fear-mongering of this and past flu emergencies have brought unprecedented profits to the pharmaceutical companies, click here.
The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses. And an official of the World Health Organization's European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International's research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria. The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany. The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn't die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses. Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a "serious error" on Baxter's part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event. On Friday, the company's director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected. "It was live," Christopher Bona said in an email. Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences.
Note: How on earth did the avian flu virus ever get into vaccines? Could it be that this was planned? For a powerful book by a Harvard-trained dentist suggesting there may be a hidden force behind the spread of deadly infectious diseases, click here. For more revealing reports on bird flu, click here.
Behind the county hospital's tall cinderblock walls, a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient ... sits in a jail cell equipped with a ventilation system that keeps germs from escaping. Robert Daniels has been locked up indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of his life, since last July. But he has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he suffers from an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. It is considered virtually untreatable. County health authorities obtained a court order to lock him up as a danger to the public because ... he did not heed doctors' instructions to wear a mask in public. "I'm being treated worse than an inmate," Daniels said. "I'm all alone. Four walls. Even the door to my room has been locked. I haven't seen my reflection in months." He said sheriff's deputies will not let him take a shower -- he cleans himself with wet wipes -- and have taken away his television, radio, personal phone and computer. His only visitors are masked medical staff members who come in to give him his medication. Though Daniels' confinement is extremely rare, health experts say it is a situation that U.S. public health officials may have to confront more and more because of the spread of drug-resistant TB and the emergence of diseases such as SARS and avian flu.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. What possible reason is there for taking away this man's TV, radio, cell phone, and computer? Are we being prepared for mass quarantines and imprisonment due to disease? For more, click here.
A human pandemic caused by A(H5N1) is by no means inevitable. Many researchers doubt it will ever happen. The virus does not infect people easily, and those who do contract it almost never spread it to other humans. Bird flu is what the name implies: mostly an avian disease. It has infected tens of millions of birds but fewer than 200 people, and nearly all of them have caught it from birds. But when A(H5N1) does get into people, it can be deadly. It has killed more than half of its known human victims -- an extraordinarily high rate. The virus lacks just one trait that could turn it into a pandemic: transmissibility. Everything hangs on transmissibility. But it is impossible to predict whether A(H5N1) will become contagious among people. Most bird flu viruses do not jump species to people. Some experts say that since A(H5N1) has been around for at least 10 years and the shift has not occurred, it is unlikely to happen. Others refuse to take that bet. The best protection in any flu pandemic will come from a vaccine, but scientists cannot tell ahead of time what strain the vaccine should protect against. There is no assurance that the next pandemic will even involve A(H5N1). It may involve a different strain of bird flu, and an A(H5N1) vaccine would not work for it.
Note: Many thanks to the Times for this rare article which largely dispels fears rather than increasing them. For more excellent information on the avian flu, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/avianflu
In a development health experts are calling alarming, two bird flu patients in Vietnam died after developing resistance to Tamiflu, the key drug that governments are stockpiling in case of a large-scale outbreak. The experts said the deaths were disturbing because the two girls had received early and aggressive treatment with Tamiflu and had gotten the recommended doses. Since 2003, avian flu has killed about 70 people, mostly in Vietnam and Thailand, and nearly all involved close contact with infected birds. Health experts fear the virus could morph into a form that spreads easily between people. The new report involved eight Vietnamese bird flu patients given Tamiflu upon being hospitalized in 2004 or 2005. Half of the patients died. Lab tests showed two of those who died...had developed resistance.
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The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu. Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million. In the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer. Rumsfeld isn't the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu. Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead's board, has sold more than $7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005.
The Coronavirus outbreak that started in China has spread concerns across the world. With more than 8,000 confirmed cases and at least 170 deaths, the virus is a global public health emergency, the World Health Organization declared Thursday. But the vast majority of the cases and all of the deaths are in China. Despite repeated statements from the CDC declaring the general risk to the American public to be low, fear in the U.S. has spread across social media. After news that a plane carrying roughly 200 Americans out of China would land in the U.S., some questioned whether they should be let back into the country, regardless of repeated screenings from health officials. "There's a lot of hysteria right now about that," says Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Riverside, school of medicine. Their concerns are better focused elsewhere, he says. More than 8,000 people in the U.S. have died from the flu this season, which peaks between December and February, according to CDC estimates. During the 2018-2019 season, the CDC estimates 16.5 million people went to a health care provider for the flu and more than 34,000 people died in the U.S. The prior season saw 61,000 deaths. Brown says, "We need to be much more afraid of the thing that's been killing us for years, which is the seasonal influenza." Good health practices can prevent both the flu and the coronavirus.
Note: Lots more excellent information on fear-mongering around the Coronavirus is available on this webpage and this one. An excellent video interview features a scientist who specializes in genetics. He has examined the genome released by the Chinese government in search of the origins of the Coronavirus. Watch the first 10 minutes at this link. His solid investigation strongly suggests "this particular virus has a laboratory origin." For a detailed analysis of the science, see this webpage.
Patients who suffered brain damage as a result of taking a swine flu vaccine are to receive multi-million-pound payouts from the UK government. Following the swine flu outbreak of 2009, about 60 million people, most of them children, received the vaccine. It was subsequently revealed that the vaccine, Pandemrix, can cause narcolepsy and cataplexy in about one in 16,000 people, and many more are expected to come forward with the symptoms. Across Europe, more than 800 children are so far known to have been made ill by the vaccine. The Pandemrix vaccine was manufactured by pharmaceuticals giant Glaxo Smith Kline, which refused to supply governments unless it was indemnified against any claim for damage caused. "There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increased the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children," Emmanuelle Mignot, a specialist in sleep disorder at Stanford University in the United States told Reuters. Among those affected are NHS medical staff, many of whom are now unable to do their jobs because of the symptoms brought on by the vaccine. They will be suing the government for millions in lost earnings. However, the vast majority of patients affected - around 80% - are children. Despite a 2011 warning from the European Medicines Agency against using the vaccine on those under 20 and a study indicating a 13-fold heightened risk of narcolepsy in vaccinated children, GSK has refused to acknowledge a link.
Note: Read about people in other countries who were damaged by the vaccine on this webpage. See powerful media reports suggesting that both the avian flu and swine flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. And watch a powerful CBS video describing how 4,000 Americans in 1976 sued for neurological damages caused by a swine flu vaccine that they agreed to take after falling for fear mongering about the flu by the government. 300 people allegedly died from the vaccine. For more, see the excellent resources in our Health Information Center.
Scientists who drew up the key World Health Organisation guidelines advising governments to stockpile drugs in the event of a flu pandemic had previously been paid by drug companies which stood to profit. An investigation by the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the not-for-profit reporting unit, shows that WHO guidance issued in 2004 was authored by three scientists who had previously received payment for other work from Roche, which makes Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), manufacturer of Relenza. Pharmaceutical companies banked more than $7bn (ďż˝4.8bn) as governments stockpiled drugs. "The tentacles of drug company influence are in all levels in the decision-making process," said Paul Flynn, the Labour MP who sits on the council's health committee. Although the experts consulted made no secret of industry ties in other settings, declaring them in research papers and at universities, the WHO itself did not publicly disclose any of these in its seminal 2004 guidance.
Note: For wide coverage from reliable sourcesof the swine and avian flu "fake pandemics" designed for corporate profit, click here.
Despite months of dire warnings and millions in taxpayer dollars, less than half of the 229 million doses of H1N1 vaccine the government bought to fight the pandemic have been administered -- leaving an estimated 71.5 million doses that must be discarded if they are not used before they expire. Between 81 million and 91 million doses of swine flu vaccine were injected into peoples' arms or squirted up their noses through the end of February, according to federal officials, leaving about 138 million doses unused. An estimated 60 million of those will be donated to poor countries or saved for possible future use. But doses already in vials and syringes will be thrown away if not used before their expiration dates pass. The prospect of millions of doses of the once-precious vaccine being discarded is the latest twist in the $1.6 billion program -- the most ambitious immunization campaign in U.S. history. The government-led effort produced a vaccine in record time, but unexpected production problems delayed delivery of the bulk of supplies until after the second wave of infections had peaked.
Note: Yet the pharmaceutical companies get to keep the huge profits from the vaccines, paid for by the taxpayers. For key reports from major media sources on the government and pharmaceutical corporation corruption involving bird and swine flu vaccines, click here.
Drug companies manipulated the World Health Organisation into downgrading its definition of a pandemic so they could cash in on a swine flu outbreak, it is claimed. An inquiry heard yesterday that the WHO allegedly softened its criteria for declaring a H1N1 flu pandemic last spring - just weeks before announcing there was a worldwide outbreak. Critics said the decision was driven by pharmaceutical companies desperate to recoup the billions of pounds they had invested in researching and developing pandemic vaccines after the bird flu scares in 2006 and 2007. As a result, millions of people have been vaccinated against a mild illness, and money that could have been used to prevent and treat major killers such as heart disease has been squandered. The claims, which emerged during the first of several Council of Europe hearings into the handling of the swine flu pandemic, were strongly rejected by the WHO. Following the organisation's declaration of a pandemic, the Department of Health warned of 65,000 deaths, set up a special advice line and website, and suspended normal rules so anti-flu drugs could be given without prescription. But with just 250 or so deaths in Britain and 14,000 worldwide, the WHO is being asked to account for its actions.
Note: For lots more on the swine flu "false pandemic" from reliable sources, click here.
More than half the scientists on the swine flu taskforce advising the [UK] Government have ties to drug companies. Eleven of the 20 members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have done work for the pharmaceutical industry or are linked to it through their universities. Many have declared interests in GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine maker expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the pandemic. The disclosure of the register of interests comes just days after a health expert branded the swine flu outbreak a 'false pandemic' driven by the drug companies which stood to profit. The Government is now trying to offload up to Ł1billion worth of unwanted swine flu vaccine. Last July, the Department of Health warned of up 65,000 deaths, with 350 a day at the pandemic's peak. But the death toll now stands at just 251. SAGE was created to give Ministers recommendations on how to control and treat the virus. Official documents show some members are linked to vaccine manufacturer Baxter and to Roche, which makes Tamiflu. GSK, Baxter and Roche stand to make up to Ł1.5billion between them from Government contracts related to swine flu.
Note: For lots more on the Swine Flu "false pandemic," click here.
The World Health Organization said it plans to conduct a review of its response to swine flu as policymakers in Europe prepare for an “urgent debate” on the influenza pandemic. Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said “false pandemics, a threat to health” will be a major theme of its next plenary session. Health authorities worldwide are assessing whether their response to swine flu is justified by its threat as cases retreat in the U.S. and Western Europe. The new H1N1 virus, which has targeted children and younger adults, has so far resulted in fewer deaths than attributed to seasonal strains, which kills mostly the frail elderly. Council of Europe parliamentarian Wolfgang Wodarg said last week he and several colleagues had called for a commission of inquiry into a “false pandemic” and the way it was handled at national and European levels, claiming pressure from pharmaceutical firms. The WHO moved to the top level of its six-step pandemic alert in June after the discovery of swine flu in Mexico and the U.S. in April.
Note: BusinessWeek deleted this article days after posting it. Could someone have pressured them to do this? If you click the above link, the article is gone, though you can still see a promo here and read it on BusinessWeek in the Google cache available here. For a link to the article on the Bloomberg website, click here. For revealing reports of the corruption surrounding the swine flu and previous health scares, click here.
A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety. Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in 2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved, the report said. Some were legally barred from considering the issues but did so anyway. In the report ... Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the centers failed nearly every time to ensure that the experts adequately filled out forms confirming they were not being paid by companies with an interest in their decisions. The report found that 64 percent of the advisers had potential conflicts of interest that were never identified or were left unresolved by the centers. Thirteen percent failed to have an appropriate conflicts form on file at the agency at all, which should have barred their participation in the meetings entirely, Mr. Levinson found. And 3 percent voted on matters that ethics officers had already barred them from considering.
European scientists and health authorities are facing angry questions about why H1N1 flu has not caused death and destruction on the scale first feared, and they need to respond deftly to ensure public support. Accusations are flying in British and French media that the pandemic has been "hyped" by medical researchers to further their own cause, boost research grants and line the pockets of drug companies. Britain's Independent newspaper this week asked "Pandemic? What Pandemic?." France's Le Parisien newspaper ran the headline: "Swine flu: why the French distrust the vaccine" and noted a gap between the predicted impact of H1N1 and the less dramatic reality. "Dangerous liaisons between certain experts, the labs and the government, the obscurity of the contracts between the state and the pharma firms have added to the doubt." In Britain, health authorities' original worst-case scenario -- which said as many as 65,000 could die from H1N1 -- has twice been revised down and the prediction is now for around 1,000 deaths, way below the average annual toll of 4,000 to 8,000 deaths from seasonal winter flu.
Note: It's quite interesting and telling that a thorough Internet seach showed that no major media picked up this article from Reuters News Agency
Americans are still debating whether to roll up their sleeves for a swine flu shot, but companies have already figured it out: vaccines are good for business. Drug companies have sold $1.5 billion worth of swine flu shots, in addition to the $1 billion for seasonal flu they booked earlier this year. These inoculations are part of a much wider and rapidly growing $20 billion global vaccine market. "The vaccine market is booming," says Bruce Carlson, spokesperson at market research firm Kalorama, which publishes an annual survey of the vaccine industry. "It's an enormous growth area for pharmaceuticals at a time when other areas are not doing so well," he says. As always with pandemic flus, taxpayers are footing the $1.5 billion check for the 250 million swine flu vaccines that the government has ordered so far and will be distributing free to doctors, pharmacies and schools. In addition, Congress has set aside more than $10 billion this year to research flu viruses, monitor H1N1's progress and educate the public about prevention. Drugmakers pocket most of the revenues from flu sales. But some say it's not just drugmakers who stand to benefit. Doctors collect copayments for special office visits to inject shots, and there have been assertions that these doctors actually profit handsomely from these vaccinations. Pharmacies also charge co-payments or full price of about $25 to those without insurance.
Note: For a revealing article questioning the efficacy of vaccines, click here. And for a powerful CBS '60 Minutes' news clip clearly showing how the profit motive in vaccines endangers public health, click here.
Health care workers are planning to take to the streets Tuesday at a rally in front of the Albany, N.Y. state capitol to protest mandatory vaccination. The rally is intended to call for "freedom of choice in vaccination and health care" and to protest mandatory vaccination for influenza and the H1N1 swine flu. "This vaccine has not been clinically tested to the same degree as the regular flu vaccine," Tara Accavallo, a registered nurse on Long Island, told Newsday. "If something happens to me, if I get seriously injured from this vaccine, who's going to help me?" While physicians, nurses, and medical technicians may not be known for their willingness to march on state capitols, a recent New York Department of Health requirement has sparked an unusually intense response. The August 13 regulations say that all health care workers who "could potentially expose patients" must be vaccinated for influenza by November 30 unless it would be "detrimental" to the recipient's health. This raises an obvious and important question: Under what circumstances can government officials order mandatory vaccination? And could the general public be ordered to roll up their sleeves for injections, even if there might be side effects beyond a sore arm or mild fever? The concern in New York also comes as skepticism of vaccination in general seems to be on the rise.
Note: For more on this protest, click here. Note that the U.S. government has granted immunity from lawsuits to the drug companies manufacturing the vaccines. So who will be responsible if there is a repeat of the 1976 swine flu vaccination campaign, where hundreds died and thousands were paralyzed by the vaccines?
In preparation for swine-flu vaccinations next month, Washington's Health Department ... temporarily suspended a rule that limits the amount of a mercury preservative [called Thimerosal] in vaccines given to pregnant women and children under the age of 3. Thimerosal has been eliminated from most vaccines in the United States, but it will be added to the bulk of the swine-flu vaccine. A vocal minority believes the compound could be linked to autism. About 15 percent of the vaccine supply will be mercury-free. Thimerosal will be added to the vaccine because it is being produced in vials that contain enough medication for 10 shots. The mercury compound kills bacteria, lowering the risk that the drug will be contaminated by needles used to withdraw separate doses. "Every time you introduce a needle, you run a risk of introducing a potential contaminant," said Dr. Tony Marfin, state epidemiologist for infectious disease. Mercury-free vaccine will be produced in single-dose vials. Nasal sprays do not contain mercury but are not recommended for children under the age of 2 and pregnant women, because they contain live, weakened virus. The law limiting the mercury preservative will be suspended for six months and applies only to the swine-flu vaccines. Once common in vaccines, thimerosal has been largely phased out in most wealthy nations. Children's vaccines in the United States are almost exclusively mercury-free, single-dose injections. After 1976's mass vaccination against a different swine-flu strain, about 500 people developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), and some died. Scientists still haven't figured out why.
Note: To watch a vitally important 10-minute clip from CBS's 60 Minutes revealing government complicity in the deaths of 300 Americans and permanent paralysis of thousands more from the vaccine during the 1976 swine flu scare, click here. This is the most revealing clip by far on the swine flu that we've seen. For much more information on the dangers of thimerosal in vaccines, click here.
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