Bird Flu Threatens American Troops In Iraq

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Bird Flu Beacon has uncovered compelling evidence of human-to-human transfer of the deadly bird flu virus in Iraq, posing a grave threat to 150,000 US troops. Laurie Grace, a co-founder of Bird Flu Beacon, has spotted four key factors that indicate human-to-human transmission. In her article, "Bird Flu Threatens US Troops In Iraq," she pinpoints these 4 key conditions:

In her article, "Bird Flu Threatens US Troops In Iraq," she pinpoints these 4 key conditions:

The virus spreads in large family clusters.

The virus spreads rapidly.

Early cases of human-to-human transfer tend to be milder, with fewer deaths.

Mutations occur that replicate the virus more easily in humans.

"These conditions have been met in Iraq," Ms. Grace indicated. She offers supporting evidence for each condition in her article.

The threat is already serious enough to prompt the military to alert troops and instruct them on steps to minimize risk. These bold steps are the military's first public response to the spread of avian flu from Northern to Southern Iraq and to areas around Baghdad over the past month. The Iraqi healthcare system is completely unprepared to deal with bird flu in humans, making the risk to US troops even higher.

Officially there have been just two confirmed human deaths from bird flu. "The confirmed deaths are just the tip of the iceberg," according to Ms. Grace. "What's most surprising is that any cases get confirmed at all. Once poultry farmers know their livelihoods will be impacted, even destroyed, through massive culling in areas reporting human or bird infections, they become very reluctant to report possible infections. Additionally, bird flu symptoms in humans or birds are not widely known. There is also a lack of funds for surveillance and testing, lack of testing supplies and medical staff, and hazardous conditions to be overcome when transporting blood samples for testing through war zones."

Has human-to-human transfer occurred in Iraq? A World Health Organization representative, Dr. Naeema al-Gasseer, has declared that it has not. Her declaration is alarming, given her acknowledgment that to date confirmed human infections have not been tracked to infected poultry. That leaves open the strong possibility of human-to-human transfer. Over 500,000 birds have been culled in Northern Iraq alone, even though no infected birds were found at the time. That means Dr. Gasseer is assuming the deaths were from birds, and an assumption is not necessarily a fact. It really means that no one knows for sure. However, when looking at the evidence, the key conditions that suggest human-to-human transfer have been met and are detailed in Bird Flu Threatens American Troops In Iraq

There are six steps necessary for a pandemic to be created according to WHO. In stage 4 small clusters of human-to-human infections occur but remain highly localized. The evidence compiled by Bird Flu Beacon from widely circulated press reports suggests stage 4 has been reached in Iraq. That makes our troops highly vulnerable, perhaps more vulnerable to bird flu infection than to terrorists in the long run.

About Bird Flu Beacon: For factual information, thoughtful analysis, and bird flu news you can trust, go to The site features the latest in bird flu news, tracking maps and graphs, and practical tips for lowering the risk of infection or dealing with bird flu if it comes to your hometown.

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