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Notes on the 1918 Flu Pandemic and relationship to Swine Flu

Notes on the 1918 Flu Pandemic and relationship to Swine Flu

Influenza A virus was first isolated by RE Shope* in 1931 from swine and by W. Smith, et al.**, in 1933 from humans, approximately 15 years after the 1918 “Spanish” flu world pandemic. Recently, RNA sequences of the 1918 virus have been studied by researchers at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in Maryland, which had stored specimens of 70 human autopsy cases of the 1918 flu pandemic.* In addition, influenza RNA was extracted from a preserved bird from the 1915-1918 era stored at the Smithsonian Institution. The work done confirms that the 1918 virus was an H1N1 virus and was closely related to swine and human H1N1 viruses that Swope isolated in the 1930s. However, both 1930 human and swine viruses were genetically distinct from the 1918-era archived wild bird virus from the Smithsonian. Hence, the researchers hypothesize that the virus causing the 1918 pandemic was unlikely transmitted directly from birds to humans or pigs. Rather, they think that the H1N1 pandemic virus likely circulated among swine and/or humans for some period, undergoing drift, before leading to widespread illness in 1918. Source:

video on World Health Global Influenza Surveillance Network

The Threat of Pandemic influenza
Are We Ready?
(Free scientific lectures (2005) to download)

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Call it "intensive animal farming", "factory farming“, or "industrial farm animal production.” A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists prefers the term “confined animal feeding operations.”
No matter what you call it, it adds up to the same thing. Millions of animals are crowded together in inhumane conditions, causing "significant environmental threats and unacceptable health risks for workers, their neighbors and all the rest of us".

The first case of H1N1 swine flu virus was discovered in a North Carolina factory farm in 1998. Within months of the 1998 emergence, the virus showed up in Texas, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Dr. Robert Webster, one of the world’s leading experts of flu virus evolution, blames the emergence of the 1998 virus on the “recently evolving intensive farming practice in the USA, of raising pigs and poultry in adjacent sheds with the same staff,” a practice he calls “unsound.”

"Influenza in pigs is closely correlated with pig density,” said a European Commission-funded researcher studying the situation in Europe.

Given massive concentrations of farm animals within which to mutate, these new swine flu viruses in North America seem to be on an evolutionary fast track, jumping between species at an unprecedented rate. Changes in animal husbandry, including increased vaccination, may be spurring this evolutionary surge after years of stability, according to science writer Bernice Wuethrich in Washington DC.

Hundreds of industrial-scale hog facilities that have sprung up around Mexico in recent years, and the thousands of people employed inside the crowded, pathogen-filled confinement buildings and processing plants.

Cheaper labor costs and a desire to enter the Latin American market are drawing more industrialized agriculture to Mexico all the time, wiping out smaller, traditional farms, which now account for only a small portion of swine production in Mexico.

Smithfield operates massive hog-raising operations Perote, Mexico, in the state of Vera Cruz, where the outbreak originated. The operations, grouped under a Smithfield subsidiary called Granjas Carrol, raise 950,000 hogs per year, according to the company Web site. The Mexico City daily La Jornada has also made the link. According to the newspaper, the Mexican health agency IMSS has acknowledged that the original carrier for the flu could be the “clouds of flies” that multiply in the Smithfield subsidiary’s manure lagoons. Residents [of Perote] believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak.

The inhumane conditions of large scale pig farming, that depend on vaccinations and mutilations, should finally make us question the sustainability of our pig industries. Maybe this “sting in the tail” is payback time! We ultimately reap what we sow!

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Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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Swine Flu Symptoms
Info you NEED to know about Swine Flu Symptoms