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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 13-Nov-05
Hong Kong fears bird flu cases may "explode" in spring

Web Log - November, 2005

Hong Kong fears bird flu cases may "explode" in spring

Meanwhile, people are wondering whether Canada is stonewalling.

High-level officials that manage all of Hong Kong's hospitals are planning for "an explosion of bird flu cases in the city early next year," according to a Reuters story that quotes a Chinese-language newspaper.

"Spring is the peak season for human influenza," according to the officials. "Once the human influenza virus mixes with bird flu, it will pose a big threat."

Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in Vietnam in 2004 and 2005 <font size=-2>(Source:</font>
Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in Vietnam in 2004 and 2005 (Source:

The adjoining graph, which depicts bird flu outbreaks in Vietnam for the last two years, shows that major bird flu outbreaks occur with the Tet holiday.

As we wrote about in January, 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) feared that a human-to-human bird flu pandemic might start with last season's lunar new year (Tet) celebrations, when many people would be travelling, and more poultry would be transported, slaughtered and consumed.

A pandemic didn't occur at that time, but the concern is renewed as the new Tet holiday approaches in 2006. The Chinese New Year celebrations raise similar concerns, and that will occur around the same time, on January 29, 2006.

Bird flu virus mutation is basically a numbers game. A human to human transmissible virus will be formed when somebody simultaneously gets the ordinary human flu and the pathogenic H5N1 bird flu at the same time. At that time, the genes from the two forms of the virus can recombine to form an H5N1 virus that can move easily from human to human.

It's the far greater numbers of recombination opportunities that make a pandemic much more likely this year than last year. Bird flu has been spreading so rapidly (among birds) in China, that China has mobilized its 2.3 million man army to fight bird flu. In fact, H5N1 bird flu has been dramatically changing, expanding its reach both geographically and genetically. Thus, the opportunities for recombination to form a human to human virus are exponentially greater this year than last.

Further research out of Hong Kong shows why H5N1 bird flu is more dangerous to young people than it is to older people. Influenza is generally far more dangerous to older people, because they have weakened immune systems to fight off the disease than younger people. But the stronger immune systems of younger people actually make H5N1 more dangerous to young people than to older people.

The new research, appearing in an article in Respiratory Research magazine, shows that when a human contracts H5N1 virus, the person's lungs overreact by generating a "storm" of cytokines, chemicals that are produced by the immune system. The stronger the immune system, the greater the overreaction, and the more cytokines that are produced. The result is that young and healthy victims are more likely to die, because the cytokines flood the lungs and make breathing impossible.

Finally, there's an ongoing mystery about whether H5N1 has been detected in Canada. As we reported on October 31, Canada's Public Health Agency issued a press release saying that bird flu had been found in Canada, and that tests were ongoing to determine whether it was the H5N1 strain. According to the press release, these tests would "take up to a week."

It's now been two weeks, and Canada has not announced the final results. Conspiracy buffs wonder if Canada is stonewalling; after all, a finding of H5N1 in Canada would be major international news, and would be bad for business in both Canada and America. Others say that it's simply taking longer than expected to complete the very complex tests. Canada should release its results as quickly as possible to dispel confusion.

I'd like to end this article with a word about credibility.

If I were writing for the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, I would have automatic built-in credibility, but writing for web site means that I have to work twice as hard if I want to be credible. That's why I quote only the most reliable sources, and make it clear whether something is an established fact, a prediction from Generational Dynamics, or my own opinion. Readers of this web site can be certain that they're getting an honest, credible story.

I first started writing about bird flu over a year ago, in October, 2004, when my study of multiple sources led me to believe that a bird flu pandemic sometime soon was very likely. Nothing can be certain, of course, but the possibility of a bird flu this winter is significantly high, and the possibility that I and/or a number of my readers will not survive is also significantly high. I say that because it's my best estimate of the situation. I make no money from this web site, except to sell an occasional book, and I make no money from any of the subjects discussed, so I have nothing to gain or lose by making these statements.

But that's not all. I keep thinking about the spread of bird flu in China, and the mobilization of its 2.3 million man army to "fight bird flu."

China as a country is becoming increasing convulsive and unstable. Its bubble economy was close to bursting anyway, but now with the spread of bird flu, everything is speeding up.

The mobilization of the army is extremely significant. Bird flu has provided a convenient excuse for the mobilization, but you can be absolutely certain that the army will be performing other kinds of exercises besides practicing how to kill chickens. They'll be performing "attack Taiwan" exercises and "attack Tokyo" exercises and maybe even "attack Seoul" exercises.

Furthermore, that army will never be demobilized again -- at least not without a major war.

The situation is extremely serious and dangerous, and getting more dangerous every day. The risk of a serious international crisis this winter is significantly high.

If I'm wrong about these things, no one will be happier than I am. But I've said this a couple of times before, and I'll say it again: If you've planning to make some advance preparations for a possible crisis or emergency, such as by stocking up on 2-3 months of food (such as canned goods), then now is the time to do it. (13-Nov-05) Permanent Link
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