Bird Flu hits Europe, and who's to blame?
Why! It's the Blair government!. Yep, much as with the whole mad cow disease thing - and bovine TB, for that matter - rather than fork out on funding vaccination research and production they've sat on their fat city-based arses and done tit all. So now Turkey and Romania are desperately culling poultry in a bid to stop the bloody thing spreading to the rest of the continent, chicken farmers look set to go bankrupt and - if it turns out to be the H5N1 strain - we could all die slow painful deaths. Hurrah! Thanks Tony!
Update: The Guardian - "authorities across the EU were yesterday preparing for a worst-case scenario: that the H5N1 virus could mutate into one that spreads easily among humans, creating a catastrophic pandemic. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 killed between 20 and 40 million people."
Well, except for the British government, that is - nowhere near enough vaccine, and not enough time to churn enough out to protect us all on the off-chance this is the nasty stuff. The English Channel may be a handy barrier that's saved this country from invasion on countless occasions - but unlike our current threat the Spanish Armada couldn't fly.
And so we have to rely on our continental cousins to deal with this crap, as otherwise we could be screwed. Hurrah!
Update 2: Blogcritics has a Bird Flu blogging roundup to help get you up to speed on the latest thing that's going to kill us all.
Update 3: Just to heighten EU/Turkish tensions even more after last week's accession talk nonsense, the European Commission has announced a ban on Turkish bird imports - somewhat neglecting to realise that this thing doesn't just affect domesticated animals and that wildfowl is rarely documented observing international borders.
Elsewhere, The Independent has a review of a book on the whole Avian Flu business, again pointing out that "so far the Department of Health in the UK has taken delivery of just 900,000 doses [of anti Bird Flu drug Tamiflu]. So, if the pandemic arrives this winter and you were thinking of relying on the state to protect you and yours - forget it. It will be every man, woman and child for themselves."
Update 4: Hot off the email - a new Pledgebank wotsit to try and get our dear government to finally get their sodding arses in gear.
Update 5: Scare yourself even more shitless with the Personal Pandemic Preparedness Plan - "Since December 2003, 112 people have been infected with H5N1 and 62 have died. Although it is possible some minor cases of H5N1 infection in humans may have gone undiagnosed and unreported, a mortality rate approaching 50% is frightening in its implications especially considering that the Spanish Flu Pandemic, with only a 2-5% mortality rate, resulted in 50 million deaths globally... When people do begin to take the threat seriously, there is apt to be panic and frenzied buying as worried individuals rush to stores to begin their own stockpile purchases. Avoid panicked crowds and stockpile necessities NOW."
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay! It is the end times!