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TERMENI importanti pentru acest document

Bird flu and its (possible) consequences

What’s avian influenza (bird flu)?

Bird flu in Asia and Europe

How does it affect our economy?



Sales of natural products

Sales of medicines

Political consequences

Bird flu and its (possible) consequences (Inleiden, eerste slide overlopen met de inhoud)

What’s avian influenza (bird flu)?

Bird flu is an infection caused by avian influenza viruses. These viruses occur naturally among birds. Birds worldwide carry them in their intestines, but usually don’t get sick from them. But bird flu is very contagious and might make our domesticated birds very sick and it might even kill them.

The risk from bird flu is low to most people, because the viruses do not usually infect humans. But confirmed cases of human infection from several subtypes of avian influenza infection have been reported since 1997. Since January 2004, about 160 human cases have been reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). More then 50% died…Luckily infection from one person on another has not yet been reported.

Influenza viruses change constantly. So they might adapt over time to infect and spread among humans.

Bird flu in Asia and Europe

Outbreaks of bird flu occurred in eight countries in Asia during late 2003 and early 2004. More then 100 million birds got killed. By March 2004 the outbreak was reported to be under control. Then in June new outbreaks of bird flu were reported by several countries in Asia. Today the virus is already in Europe… In Romania and Croatia.

How does it affect our economy?


Why should we be afraid in first place? It’s only in Turkey yet. That’s more then 2000 kilometres away from here.

Well, flu pandemics already have their reputation for being very contagious and sometimes very deadly. For example, the pandemic in 1918, caused by a H1N1 strain and known as the Spanish Flu, has killed 40 million people worldwide.

Also we can see that the virus has already mutated the past few years. When it first infected humans in Hong Kong in 1997, H5N1 killed 35 percent of those who caught it. By early 2003, the virus killed 68 percent of those who caught it. The virus is becoming tougher.

Britain for example has a widespread urbanisation, high population density and a large number of foreign visitors. All factors which increase the country’s vulnerability dramatically. Britain is at the highest risk of a bird flu outbreak if the virus starts passing from human to human. This according to a map of probable global impact of a pandemic.

The businesses have been given a warning by the British government. They will not help them out if the feared flu pandemic hits Britain. Companies should make plans of their own. The WHO and the government agree that 15 million is the most likely number of casualties if the virus mutates. This only in a period of 6 months. In other words, about 10 percent of a company’s staff would be at home.


One hundred and fifty million birds have been killed because of bird flu. Also more then 80 people died… So it’s normal that travellers are flocking to their doctor to ask if it’s safe in countries like China, Croatia, Turkey …

For the moment, experts agree that bird flu is an animal disease that not a problem is for humans. It’s really rare that humans get infected. And only after close contact with sick birds.

So here’s a tip:

If you’re going to one of the affected countries, relax and enjoy, but stay away from wild birds… Do not touch carcasses, feathers, raw eggs, raw meat… You can eat boiled eggs and chicken dishes because cooking kills the virus. Also leave hiking shoes outside the hotel.

But even with this being said by experts, Turkey’s tourism industries were plunged into a crisis as travellers cancelled their hotel reservations. For Turkey this is a real big problem, because its main revenue is tourism.

Sales of natural products

Sales of eggs and chicken also have dropped dramatically! Even in our country, where there is no danger at all, there are people who avoid chicken and eggs. Despite you can eat them without putting yourself at any risk, as long as it is well cooked.

Next problem is the birds that get killed. Pour families can’t afford to give up their birds because they are essential for their survival. The Turkish government announced that it will provide compensations to the farmers. But even then it’s still a problem. The farmers do not get any money on the spot; they have to apply after the birds are killed.

Sales of medicines

There are companies that can benefit from this situation. Roche for example. It is the Swiss company that produces Tamiflu. Tamiflu together with GlaxoSmithKline's Relenza are the only two drugs currently being sold that studies say may help people infected with bird flu.

Roche recently started outsourcing Tamiflu to 7 other sites. The company itself has 6 sites where it produces Tamiflu. Producing Tamiflu is very complex and takes quite some time. About fifty countries already have placed orders totalling more than $1.4 billion for Tamiflu. Including countries like USA and Japan.

GlaxoSmith Kline says it recently spent $2 billion to expand their facilities for manufacturing Relenza.

February, 2

Scientists say they have produced a vaccine against the H5N1 strain. The vaccine could protect mice. They used a genetic engineering technique that can be easily scaled up for stockpiling the drug.

They say it can be produced much more quickly than other vaccines and they can produce enough to protect people at risk.

If a flu pandemic would occur, this would be the best hope to prevent millions of deaths…

Political consequences

First of all bird flu spreads very quickly in Turkey. Twenty outbreaks are reported across the country. At least 2 children have already died and more then 100 people are in hospitals under observation. How could this happen?

Joseph Domenech of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said: “Turkey provided us with a double problem. First their detection was not early enough, so the virus could was able to spread for weeks. Secondly, we do not understand why so many people have become infected.” Well, scientists think the virus could have been mutated to a form which is more easily transmissible from birds to humans. But scientists in England who are studying virus samples from Turkey have not detected any changes. Their work continues.

There is also another reason. Turkey responded too slowly to the outbreaks due to a poor policy. This might affect Europe in the decision if Turkey can join the European Union.

Secondly, if there would be a worldwide influenza pandemic, Canada would have one of the best flu-pandemic plan on the planet. That’s why Canadians have agreed to give advanced diagnostic training and equipment in other countries. Therefore Canada has gone to Vietnam several times, where the bird flu first broke out. Like this, researchers have been able to study and analyse the viruses’ characteristics.

Many countries have tried to learn from Canada even the United States. An important factor in this case is, that countries may refuse to export vaccines until their own populations are safe.

But even Canada has a lot of work to do: utilities must be operating, garbage must be picked up and emergency services must be able to respond to every single crisis.

Still, the most important question is: can Canada limit the impact of flu at home, even if plans elsewhere go wrong?

Politica de confidentialitate



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