A Closer Look — With Sharon K. Gilbert
Watching the World with Open Eyes
Originally Published: October 13, 2005
TAKE A LOOK at the content of the two news stories linked to below. The first appeared in the Lubbock Post on March 20, 1997. The second is from the Guardian’s October 6, 2005 online issue.
The stories are vastly different. Prior to this fall’s ramped-up fear mongering over avian flu, molecular biologists were routinely taught that avian flu is not transmissible to humans without an intervening, compatible host (pigs do nicely – think of them as a genetic mixing bowl). This is borne out in the 1997 article.
However, over the past few days, we’ve seen and heard horror stories of direct, bird-to-human transmission that should raise red flags to any reasonable scientist. Why does the Guardian’s story insist that the Spanish Flu “Spanish flu came straight from birds” and that it “didn’t mix with a human virus first, as had been believed.” [Note that pigs can incubate human viruses, just as humans can reciprocate with swine virus particles – leading to that lovely ‘mixing bowl’. This does not happen between birds and humans.]
I’ve spent several years researching the history of H1N1 (the so-called “Spanish Flu”), and it is a nasty bug. Besides attacking the respiratory system in the traditional way, the 1918 version of H1N1 had a hemorrhagic component. Lt. Col. Henry Welch, who tended patients at Camp Devons in Massachusetts, wrote this:
Many patients had the deadly hue of cyanosis, a blue so deep that many observers misjudged this for the return of “black death”. Source: “The Blue Death”
In the morgue, Welch and Cole (a fellow doctor) had to step over and around piles of corpses to observe an autopsy.
Autopsies were gruesome exercises as Cole observed:
When the chest was opened and the blue swollen lungs were removed and opened, and Dr. Welch saw the wet, foamy surfaces with real consolidation, he turned and said, “This must be some new kind of infection or plague,” and he was quite excited and obviously very nervous… It was not surprising that the rest of us were disturbed, but it shocked me to find that the situation, momentarily at least, was too much even for Dr. Welch. Source: “The Blue Death”
Interestingly, in July of this year, Sichuan China suffered an outbreak of an “Ebola-like” disease (the illness is reported to have included a hemorrhagic component). Officially, the government attributed the deaths to streptococcus suis, a swine bacterium. A little research shows there is reason to doubt this declaration.
There is no doubt that the world does indeed face some kind of avian flu crisis – at some future date, but why would both the media and our own government — yes, even President Bush — wish to engender panic with half-truths? To answer this, requires the posing of a follow-up question: Who stands to gain? Pharmaceutical companies? Possibly. But a more reasonable recipient might just be the government — or more accurately, those behind world governments that wish to control large populations. Does the phrase “Order out of Chaos” sound familiar?
Think about it.