The Ukraine is the latest nation
to report a bird flu outbreak among domesticated fowl in six separate villages, as the virus is killing the birds in as little time as two to eight hours. Ukraine president, Viktor Yushchenko
has authorized the government to send in troops to secure a quarantine, to what the Ukranian government is calling an "exclusion zone."
As the Ukraine battles their first outbreak, there continues to be a great number of infections through out Asia, in the Indonesian capitol, Jakarta, the disease is widespread throughout the city, with one doctor suggesting that a dreaded mutation in the virus has already occurred, human to human transmission. "There are just too many people who have it," said one doctor
. "In many cases, it is difficult to establish any contact with birds."
As an eighth person in Indonesia is confirmed to have died
from the bird flu, and that the woman is said to have had contact with dead chickens before becoming infected, while Indonesian authorities remain reluctant to authorize a mass culling of birds, opting for vaccination as the alternative.
Also in Asia, suspicion is growing that China has covered up hundreds of human deaths from bird flu, Science Magazine is reporting, and there were also six new reported outbreaks
among fowl in Vietnam.
Author Mike Davis (City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear
, and The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu
) has repeatedly pointed to a number of problems that, due to the extreme poverty of the third world and greed of the first, will contribute to a global bird flu pandemic, quite possibly on the scale of the 1918 pandemic that killed at least 40 million people.
In a recent interview on Democracy Now!
, Davis outlined the danger of global poverty when mixed with a deadly flu pandemic:
...the poor countries of the world, have absolutely no protection against the threat that most public health authorities consider to be an inevitable threat of an avian influenza pandemic. They don't have access to anti-virals. They don't have access to vaccine. Indeed, they don’t -- many of them don't even have the means of surveillance to detect the flu or monitor its progress once the flu pandemic were to reach the southern hemisphere, the poorest countries in South Asia or southern Africa. And right now probably the most worrying thing that's happening in the world is not that birds with avian flu have reached the doorstep of Europe, but the very same birds will imminently carry avian flu probably to East Africa and the Nile Valley and almost certainly into South Asia. And I think what we need to be most worried about is the combustion of avian flu, with its potential to become a human pandemic, with urban poverty.
Unfortunately for millions of the global poor, no solutions will come fast enough, the leading anti-viral drug, Tamiflu, in the fight against bird flu has become scarce, as first world governments, and capitalists are buying up stocks
for the companies. The US alone has already stockpiled
nearly three million doses of Tamiflu, while the majority of third world countries will be the hardest hit, and have little to no access to Tamiflu, or a generic version of the drug.