Human to Human Passage of Deadly Avian Flu Verified Overseas
World Health Organization Refuses to Acknowledge As True
Greg Szymanski | September 20, 2005
Microbiologist, Dr. Henry Niman, says don't rely on government to protect against Avian flu since it is "playing catch-up" and vaccines are ineffective against new strains. He warns Avian flu is coming and it could be deadly.
Dr. Henry Niman has been flying high with the birds for the last two years, dedicating his life as a microbiologist to tracking the mysterious Avian flu outbreaks in almost every corner of the world.
Niman, who did his post graduate work at the University of Southern California and now lives in Pittsburgh, isn’t in the business of scaring people with trumped up biological conspiracy theories.
But he is the complicated business of trying to figure out how viruses mutate and how to best protect mankind against a flu pandemic that could kill millions of people world wide, making the 1918 outbreak pale in comparison.
And make no mistake about it, Dr. Niman says the Avian flu, in one of its many mutated forms, is coming to America, the only questions remaining are when, what strain and how deadly.
To make matters worse, Dr. Niman says don’t rely government for advice, assistance or an immediate vaccine since the United States, as well as the rest of the world, is playing a game of catch-up against the many strains of the H5N1 avian flu, a game he says they can’t win against this formidable foe that appears to be changing and mutating almost on a daily basis.
“The present pandemic vaccines have proven ineffective in 2004 for the Vietnam strain and they are still ineffective for what is being called the wild bird flu strain and others,” said Dr. Niman Sunday in an extended conversation from his home in Pittsburgh. “The government has essentially done nothing up until now, even though we’ve known about the seriousness of H5N1 mutations and different forms of the virus for some time. We’ve had Avian flu before, but this year the situation is extremely critical for a variety of reasons, including the many different strains detected and the unusually high mortality rate is some of those strains.
“Even though the World Health Organization, the United States and 16 other countries have recently signed on to tackle the problem, the chances are very good that their efforts will come up short against several strains of H5N1 spreading across the world.”
Since Dr.Niman thinks it’s next to impossible to come up with an effective vaccine to cover all the possible strains that could hit America in the coming months, he is telling people to stock up with two different types of anti-virals called Tami flu and Amantadine as possibly the only two precautions now available.
“Tami flu is effective against the type of strain now found Vietnam and Indonesia, but it wouldn’t be effective against the so called wild bird strain, which could eventually makes its way to Alaska and Canada very soon and then down to the United States,” said Dr. Niman, adding that Tami flu is much more expensive, selling at $50 for 10 tablets while Amantadine sells for about $20 for 100 tablets. “If the wild bird flu strain makes its way here, then I would tell people to take Amantadine doses as this could prove effective. But remember an anti-viral is only effective when taking it so you have to stock up enough doses to last a relatively long time.
“Another big problem is we are not sure what strain and how severe the strain will be that finally arrives, but the chances are very high that a deadly form of the virus could come here soon.
“And for those who didn’t take precautions, the outcome could be deadly. The problem is some forms of the H5N1 detected this year have a more devastating effect on healthy people and healthy immune systems and not just on the sick and elderly.”
Although there has been much controversy about whether human to human contact has been confirmed in H5N1 cases, Dr. Niman said 15 to 20 clusters have been uncovered overseas and human to human passage of the deadly virus has been known since 2004.
He said what compounds the problem is the World Health Organization (WHO) still refuses to acknowledge human to human passage of the Vietnam-type strain even though strong evidence exists to the contrary as three family members in Jakarta all died from Avian flu within a short period of time.
Dr, Niman claims the passage of H5N1 appears to be most prevalent among family members or people who are in constant close contact with the virus such as people in the health care profession.
In a recent article on his informative website at www.recombinomics.com, monitoring the spread of the Avian flu on a daily basis, he wrote:
“Human-to-human transmission was clear in the initial family cluster, which involved 3 members of a government auditor in Jakarta. His eight year old daughter was the index case, showing symptom on June 24. The time gap between her symptoms and her 1 year old sister who developed symptoms on June 29 is a strong signal of human-to-human transmission.
“Such a 5-10 day gap has been present in almost all familial clusters in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. WHO however, has refused to acknowledge the virtual certainty of human-to-human transmission in all or most of those cases, which account for more than one third of confirmed cases. Instead WHO maintains that the vast majority of cases come from poultry, thereby contributing to more human-to-human transmission within families, which is clearly happening in Tangerang.”
He continued, slamming officials for not taking the possible deadly virus strain more seriously.
“The testing in Indonesia is scandalously poor. The H5N1 positive swine in Tangerang was largely ignored. After 3 members of a government worker died, very limited testing and culling was done. When another government office worker died, a press conference cited negative tests in a 100 meter radius that excluded the chicken slaughterhouse 100 meters from the victim’s house.
The number of reported positives remains obscure. Four are dead that were clearly H5N1 infected. At least two more have H5N1 antibodies and symptoms. There may be another positive child and a 2 month old who lived above a chicken slaughterhouse and died of pneumonia was not tested.”
Dr. Niman emphasized that the entire Avian flu situation “is clearly heading south,” saying the situation in Indonesia is of grave concern since about one-third of the cases involve people to people transmission, but saying nobody really knows how these people are getting infected.
He adds that the chances of a deadly strain landing in America is high, but the question remains how, when and what virus will makes its way here first.
“If it comes this year and it’s the wild bird flu strain, it will come from the north by way of bird migration,” said Dr. Niman, reminding people to stock up on Amantadine for this type of H5N1. “If it is the Vietnam strain, it will come from a person landing here on airplane and how and when that will occur is anybody’s guess.
“However, if this strain arrives, stock up on Tami flu. But remember the possibility of a deadly strain arriving this year is exceedingly higher this year than in years in the past because of a combination of a flurry of activity and many viruses popping up all over the world.”
Dr. Niman said Avian flu symptoms killing a high percentage of people infected overseas include pneumonia, respiratory problems, internal bleeding and organ failure.
Regarding the spread of the wild bird flu strain, he recently wrote:
“Two wild birds - a duck and a magpie -- have been found dead near Lake Sharonur in the republic of Tuva - the first such case among wild birds reported
“The wild bird deaths described above may signal more H5N1 wild bird flu in southern Russia, just north of outbreaks reported in Mongolia. Mongolia invited WHO to help control the wild bird deaths which were H5N1 positive. Last week there was a larger die off involving 123 birds in Buryatta which is adjacent to Tuva (see map). The deaths in Tuva, Buryatta and northern Mongolia may be signaling new movement of migratory birds toward warmer regions.
“New H5N1 deaths were also reported in Chelyabins which may be signaling movement of H5N1 toward the Caspian and Black seas regions, which is expect to begin at this time of the year. The continued geographical spread is cause for concern. Prior to July, there had been no reports of H5N1 in Russia, Mongolia, or Kazakhstan. These most recent outbreaks indicate the geographic spread of H5N1 will expand.”
Asked how he would protect his family against the many H5N1 strains he tracks on a daily basis, he added:
“There really aren’t many alternatives, but I would stock up on the anti viral medication which can be obtained by prescription easily now over the internet or through a doctor. Besides that, devise a plan to isolate yourself with enough food and water for an extended period of time since vaccines will not be ready and the ones available now are not effective against the mutations taking place in H5N1.
“Besides that keep your eyes open because the bird flu is coming and I don’t think the government will be of much help. I recommend that everybody get the two different anti virals if they can afford them. Remember, it only protects you while taking the doses, which differs from getting a vaccine shot.”