GGRB28H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: 1918 Flu Pandemic

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10 Dec 2010

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GGRB28 – Lecture 9
Bird Flu/Swine Flu – Background
Flu has long been a killer, and the 1918 outbreak killed approximately 40 million (Spanish
Flu), spreading in 1 year
The first big flu epidemic took place in the middle of the first World War, Spain was not
involved in the war, thus the first time the flu was talked about was in the Spanish
newspapers and was called Spanish flu
The natural home of flu is in waterfowl and swine (e.g. ducks, geese, swans, pigs)
All flu is spread by either birds or swine
Bird flu crisis began in 1997, when new bird flu strain (H5N1) was discovered in Hong
H5N1 was a strand of flu that humans were not immune to and it was deadly
We didn’t have any protection against it
Understanding bird flu
Bird Flu Progression
It was transmitted from bird to human but never from human to human
For it to go to human to human it would have to mix with a strand of the normal flu
Mike Davis and Bird flu
Social commentator, who has written many books on the environment and LA. After
“Monster at Our Door” wrote “Planet of Slums”
Millions of people in the world are living in shack settlements
There’s a social emergency about housing that hasn’t been explored enough
Tries to expose the social inequalities that drive disease and environmental destruction
Davis’ main themes
Entrenched in ecological niches recently created by global agri-cultural business
If you have so many chickens living so close together as opposed to the open field they
used to once be raised in; the probability of a new flu infection is increased
Rise of slums very important to future spread
Little attention given to vaccine (PHARMA does not see vaccines as the best business)
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