Dr. Michael Greger on Pandemic Prevention | Infectious Diseases, Aids, Climate Change, Influenza

the two greatest threats facing humanity
according to the United Nations are climate change and emerging infectious
disease particularly pandemic influenza the current focus of pandemic
discussions and debate understandably centers on what we in the public health
community refer to as secondary prevention mediating the impact of the
next pandemic an intervention analogous to mammography mammograms don’t prevent
cancer but if caught early enough for example we may be able to decrease
morbidity and mortality in the same with pandemic planning but what of primary
prevention the possibility of preventing the emergence of pandemic viruses in the
first place like cancer the root cause is likely multifactorial difficult to
tease out but a question worth exploring nonetheless and the question I’d like to
address here today let’s go back a few years 1981 here in the United States
Ronald Reagan takes the oath MTV starts broadcasting Indiana Jones and pac-man
mania is all the rage in June the CDC released a tiny bulletin five men in Los
Angeles it seems were dying with a strange cluster of symptoms from humble
beginnings AIDS has since killed 25 million people now the spread certainly
of the AIDS virus has been facilitated by promiscuity blood banking IV drug use
but where did this virus come from in the first place
and of course AIDS is not our only new diseases SARS Ebola mad cow bird flu but
from where do emerging diseases emerge well let’s go back a bit further much
further human beings have been on this earth for millions of years yet
throughout most of you Lucian there were no epidemic diseases
no one ever got the measles because measles didn’t exist
no one got smallpox no one got the flu not even the common cold until about
here 10,000 years ago medical anthropologists have identified three
major periods of disease since the beginning of human evolution and the
first started just 10,000 years ago with the domestication of animals we brought
animals into the barnyard they brought their diseases with them
when we domesticated cows and sheep for example we also domesticated their
rinderpest virus which turned into human measles now thought of as relatively
benign disease over the last 150 years measles has killed 200 million people
and in a sense all those deaths can ultimately be traced back just a few
hundred generations to the taming of the first cattle smallpox likely came from
camel pox we domesticated pigs and got whooping cough we domesticated chickens
and we got typhoid fever and typhoid mary and domesticated ducks and got
influenza before the domestication of ducks likely no one ever got the flu
leprosy likely came from water buffalo and the common cold from horses how
often did wild horses have the opportunity to sneeze into humanity’s
collective face until they were broken and bridled until then the common cold
was presumably only common to them and his Pulitzer prize-winning book Guns
Germs and Steel professor diamond tried to explain why the diseases of the
landing europeans wiped out up to 95 percent of the native americans and not
the other way around why didn’t need of American plagues kill
the Europeans well because there were no plagues in his chapter lethal gift of
livestock he explains how before the Europeans arrived we had Buffalo but no
domesticated Buffalo so no measles american camels were wiped out in the
Pleistocene ice age so no smallpox no pigs and no
pertussis chicken some no typhoid so while people were dying by the millions
of killers Courage’s in Europe and Asia none were dying with diseases in the
so-called new world because there weren’t essentially form animals to
domesticate there wasn’t this spillover of animal disease the next great a
period of human disease started just a few hundred years ago with the
Industrial Revolution the 18th and 19th centuries leading to an epidemic of the
so called diseases of civilization diabetes obesity heart disease cancer
etc but by the mid 20th century the age of infectious disease at least was
thought to be over we had penicillin we conquered polio eradicated smallpox in
fact in 1968 the US Surgeon General declared the war against infectious
disease has been won in 1975 the Dean of Yale School of Medicine pronounced that
there were no new diseases to be discovered except maybe lung cancer but
even Nobel laureates were seduced in the heady optimism of the time one famous
virologist wrote in 1962 textbook to write about infectious disease is almost
to write about something that’s passed into history the most likely forecast by
the future of infectious disease he wrote is that it will be very dull but
then something changed after decades of declining infectious disease mortality
the United States the trend has reversed in recent decades this is a graph from
the CDC of infectious disease mortality over time in the last 50 years or so and
as you can see it starts declining declining declining decline but then
around 1975 it started to go back up the number of Americans dying from
infectious disease started to go back up starting around 1975 new
diseases started to emerge and reemerge at a rate unheard of in the annals of
Medicine more than 30 new diseases in 30 years mostly newly discovered viruses in
fact the whole concept of emerging infectious disease has gone from a mere
curiosity in the field of medicine now it’s an entire discipline really moved
to center stage we may soon be facing according to the US since titute of
Medicine what they call a catastrophic storm of microbial threats we are now
smack dab in the third era of human disease which seems to only start at
about 30 years ago medical historians have called this time in which we live
the age of emerging plagues almost all of which come from animals but we
domesticated animals 10,000 years ago what has changed in recent decades to
bring us to this current situation well we are changing the way animals live
take Connecticut for example where in 1975 Lyme disease was first recognized
since spread across all 50 states affecting an estimated 100,000 Americans
since its emergence Lyme disease is caused by bacteria infected deer ticks
but the primary host is actually not deer but the white-footed Mouse the
ticks themselves not quite as cute really but we’ve been sharing the woods
with these fellows forever what changed recently was suburbia the
black legged ticks live on the white-footed Mouse kept at bay by
woodland predators the Zen developers came in and chopped up America’s
woodlands into subdivisions scaring away the foxes and bobcats and now we have
more mice more ticks and more disease we are changing the way animals live going
back a little farther with the big cattle producing nations fighting during
the Second World War what Argentina did took advantage of the
situation by dramatically expanding its beef industry at the expense of its
rainforest they we discovered the deadly human virus or
rather it discovered us and the so-called hamburger ization of the
rainforest exposed hemorrhagic fever viruses all across the continent
subsequently turning to the other side of the world in cutting into Africa’s
rainforests exposed a number of other hemorrhagic fever viruses including loss
of iris Rift Valley fever and of course Ebola now the inroads into Africa’s
rainforest were logging roads cut by transnational timber corporations
hacking deep into the rainforest drag down along a hungry migrant workforce
which survived on bush meat wild animals killed for food now this includes
upwards of 26 different species of primates including a number of
endangered great ape species gorillas chimpanzees who are shot butchered
smoked and sold as food now by cannibalizing our fellow primates we may
be exposing ourselves to viruses particularly fine-tuned to our own
primate physiology in fact recent outbreaks of Ebola for example have been
traced to the exposure to the bodies of infected great apes hunted for food now
Ebola is one of our deadliest infections but not efficiently spread compared to a
virus like HIV the leading theory as to the emergence of the AIDS virus is
direct exposure to animal blood and secretions as a result of hunting
butchering and the consumption of contaminated bush meat experts believe
the most likely scenario is that each fight HIV arose from human song their
way into the jungle butchering chimpanzees for their flesh along the
way now in many countries in Africa the
prevalence of HIV exceeds 25% of the adult population leaving millions of
orphan children and its way someone butchered a chimp a few decades ago and
now 25 million people are dead but mod life has been hunted for
thousands of years yes but never before like this with a demand for wildlife
meat outstripping local supplies what countries have done is set up these
intensive captive production farms cramming wild animals in these cramped
filthy cages then smuggling them around the world this intensive commercial
bushmeat trade actually started in the live markets of Asia particularly the
Guangdong province of southern province rounding Hong Kong from which the
current bird flu threat arose the civet cat popular commodity in these Chinese
animal markets in addition to being raised for their flesh they also produce
the most expensive coffee in the world so-called fox dung coffee is produced by
feeding coffee beans to captive civets and then you guessed it recovering the
partially digested beans from their feces a musk like substance of buttery
consistency secreted by the anal glands is said to give this coffee its
distinctive flavor one might say this unique drink is good to the last drop in
this animal was blamed for the SARS epidemic cloning from the medical
journal Lancet a culinary choice in South China a culinary choice in South
China led to a fatal infection Hong Kong subsequently eight thousand cases of
thar’s you know a thousand deaths 30 countries six continents maybe they
should have just stuck the Starbucks these live animal markets took a class
of viruses which in human medicine we had only known for causing the common
cold and seemed to turn them into a killer SARS which then spread around the
world viruses can escape rainforests and animals live or dead as pets
or as meat in 2003 the exotic pet trade brought monkey pox from the jungles of
West Africa to Wisconsin bird-smuggling may have actually been what brought West
Nile virus to the Western Hemisphere here it hits New York in 99 since spread
across the country hundreds of human deaths of cases all perhaps because of a
single imported pet bird so we are changing the way animals live
contributing to the emergence of these new diseases but you know there’s one
way we have changed our relationship with animals they’re really out shadows
all the rest in response to this torrent of emerging and re-emerging infectious
diseases the world’s three leading authorities got together for a joint
consultation the World Health Organization the Food and Agriculture
Organization the United Nations and the World Organization for Animal Health the
world’s leading veterinary Authority got together to uncover the key underlying
causes of this age of emerging plagues they came up with four four main risk
four main themes of risk factors for the emergence and spread of these new
diseases yes they talked about the exotic pet trade they talked about bush
meat but number one on their list was this increasing demand for animal
protein the world over yes we domesticated animals 10,000 years ago
but never before like this especially pigs and poultry chickens used to peck
around the barnyard but now chickens raised for meat are
typically warehouse and sheds containing tens of thousands of birds about half of
the egg-laying hens on this planet are now confined what are called battery
cages the small barren wire enclosures extending down long rows and windowless
sheds can be up to a million birds on a single farm about half of the pigs on a
planet are now again crowded into these intensive confinement operations
you know old MacDonald’s farm has since been replaced by the new MacDonald’s
farm these intensive systems represent the most profound alteration of the
human animal relationship in ten thousand years and no surprise they are
breeding grounds for disease few snapshots China 2005
the largest pork producing nation suffers an unprecedented outbreak of an
emerging Pig pathogen strep suus causing meningitis and deafness and people
handling infected pork products hundreds of people infected the deadliest strain
on record why well according to the World Health Organization indeed it
seems to be these intensive confinement conditions the USDA elaborates all strep
suah starts out harmless as natural gut flora
but then the immunosuppressive effect of stress due to overcrowding inadequate
ventilation causes the bug to go invasive causing infections of the brain
blood lungs heart and death starts out harmless turns deadly that’s what these
kind of conditions seem to be able to do this is not arguably how animals were
meant to live pig factories in Malaysia birth the Nipah virus one the deadliest
of human infections a contagious respiratory ailment killing 40 percent
of those infects causing relapse and brain infections propelling it on the
official US list of bioterrorism agents and again according to one of the
leaders of the field it seems to be the way in which we now raise these animals
so the three eras of human disease can be characterized perhaps as first the
diseases of domestication then the diseases of industrialization of finally
of land-use and agricultural intensification we took natural
herbivores like cows and sheep turned them into carnivores and cannibals by
feeding them slaughterhouse waste blood and manure and then we took down animals
too sick to even walk fed them to people and now have ad cow disease
we feed antibiotics to farm animals by the truckload this is the total amount
of antimicrobials used for all of human medicine every year now contrast that
with the amount we feed to farm animals just to promote growth or prevent
disease in such a stressful on hygienic environment
millions of pounds a year and now we have these multi drug-resistant bacteria
and we as physicians are running out of good antibiotic options scientists at
NYU trace the path of some of these superbugs quote-unquote starting for
example with the mass feeding of the cipro class of antibiotics to chickens
and then we there is a fecal contamination of the carcass at
slaughter we buy chicken at the supermarket polluted with fecal material
leading to longer and more severe human infections the CDC recently really
cinched it they they spend a million dollars over three year period doing
rectal swabs newly admitted hospital patients this is what they found
essentially in they found zero growth of these antibiotic resistant bacteria
within the bodies of those that had zero contact with fresher frozen poultry but
at least he’s so-called superbugs aren’t effectively transmitted from one person
to the other with the seeming propensity of
industrial animal agriculture to churn out these novel lethal human pathogens
what if these animal factories gave rise to a virus capable of a global pandemic
of disease let me put these new animal disease threats in perspective SARS
infected thousands of human beings killed hundreds niba infected hundreds
killed scores strep suus infected scores killed dozens now AIDS has infected
millions but there’s only one virus on the planet that can rapidly infect
billions and that’s influenza influenza the so called last great plague of
humankind is the only known past and capable of truly global catastrophe
these days unlike many other important diseases like malaria which are largely
confined at the equator or a virus like HIV which is only fluid borne the
influenza virus is considered the only passed and capable of literally
infecting half of humanity within a matter of months now in the 4,500 years
that we as species have had influenza since the
first domestication of birds influenza has always been one of our most
contagious known diseases but only since the emergence of this highly pathogenic
highly disease causing strain h5n1 as the influenza virus also emerged as one
of our deadliest h5n1 spreading out of Asia 2004 2005 2006 and continuing to
this day has only killed about a hundred few hundred people and not to minimize
each death is a terrible tragedy but in a world in which millions of people
continue to die of diseases like AIDS Tuberculosis why is there so much
concern about the so called bird flu because it’s happened before because the
last time a bird flu virus adapted to human beings it triggered the worst
plague in human history the influenza pandemic of 1918 modern flu strains tend
to spare young healthy adults but the 1918 virus killed people in the prime of
life in 1918 a quarter of all Americans fell ill this is a chart of percent of
population die humanity’s greatest mass murderer eluded scientists for nearly a
century before a mass grave in Alaska was unearthed victims of the pandemic
frozen in the permafrost for 80 years traces of virus in her lungs allowed
scientists to piece together letter by letter the genetic code of the 1918
virus solving perhaps the greatest medical detective story of all time
humanity’s greatest killer was bird flu for
civilian casualty in the u.s. was September 11th ironically 1918 and then
in a single month this was week one week two week three week four and this is
1918 we’re talking steam locomotive here scientists at the Imperial College of
London ran a simulation to see how a pandemic might spread today in the UK scientists at Los Alamos ran a
simulation through their supercomputers to see how a pandemic might spread in
the day of commercial airline travel here at hits LA in this simulation and
in a few weeks the entire country is blanketed in 1918 between 50 and 100
million people lost their lives a similar virus today could kill many many
more what started out for millions as muscle aches and a fever ended days or
even hours later with many people bleeding from their eyes from their
nostrils from their ears into their lungs homeless orphans their parents
dead wandered the empty streets one agonized official in the stricken East
sent an urgent warning West quote hunt up your woodworkers and set them making
coffins then take your street laborers and set them to digging graves this is a
clipping from the New York Times at the time victims of plague everywhere great
pyres of bodies consumed by the flames many victims strangled and their own
bloody fluids their corpses tinged blue from suffocation were said to have been
stacked like cordwood outside of morgues as cities ran out of coffins so they dug
mass graves that bird flu originating virus killed more people in 25 weeks
than AIDS is killed in 25 years no war no plague no
famine has ever killed so many people and so short a time as the 1918 pandemic
yet in 1918 the mortality rate of this disease was less than 5% this estimate
here potentially tens of millions of people dead in the next pandemic is
based on that same two to three percent mortality rate what the CDC is now
calling a category five pandemic around two percent mortality around two million
Americans dying so that’s two percent currently h5n1 is officially killing
over half of its human victims don’t even seem to get a coin toss as to
whether or not one lives through this disease dr. Robert Webster the world’s
leading authority on bird flu we go back to 1918 2.5 percent of people died how
many people are dying with bird flu 50 percent we’ve never seen such an event
since the time of the plagues up to 60 million Americans come down with the flu
every year what if it suddenly turned deadly that’s what keeps everyone up at
night the possibility however slight that a virus like h5n1 could trigger a
human pandemic that’d be like combining one of the most contagious known
diseases influenza with one of the deadliest like crossing a disease like
Ebola with the common cold where did this virus come from well the current
dialog surrounding avian influenza speaks of potential h5n1 pandemic as if
we’re a natural disaster hurricane earthquake of which we couldn’t possibly
have control the reality though is that the next pandemic maybe more of an
unnatural disaster of our own making in poultry bird flu has gone from an
exceedingly rare disease to one which now pops up every year the number of
outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the first few years of this
century have already exceeded the total number of outbreaks recorded for the
entire 20th century you’ll note that these are five-year
intervals on just the first five months of 2006 we were already up to here
without breaks continuing to this day if one looks at the number of birds
involved the escalation is even more dramatic at this scale not even a blip
until the 1980s bird flu seems to be undergoing evolution in fast forward as
one leading flu expert told science we’ve gone from a few snowflakes to an
avalanche and the increase in chicken outbreaks has gone hand in hand with
increased transmission to humans a little over 10 years ago essentially no
known people not a single person known to get sick directly from bird flu but
since h5n1 rose in 1997 for other chicken flu viruses have affected people
from Hong Kong to New York City we can add another pink ring for the four cases
in England and Wales last year in the Netherlands outbreak there’s evidence
from a government investigation of a thousand people infected with
symptomatic poultry workers passing the virus on to whopping 59% of household
family members human-to-human transmission at a rate of seasonal flu
so ten years ago the dozen years ago essentially no one was getting infected
with bird flu and now there’s been over a thousand cases in continents around
the world now the Netherlands outbreak 30 million chickens died but only one
person one of the attending veterinarians tragically died so the
Netherlands virus was good at spreading but not a killing h5n1 is kind of the
opposite for h5n1 isn’t even good at spreading from birds to people look it’s
been around 10 years over ten years only a handful of people a few hundred people
have become infected and currently certainly not good it’s spreading from
person to person but the human lethality of the strain is ferocious of ten times
deadlier than the worst flu virus on record that which triggered the pandemic
of 1918 so what the Netherlands outbreak shows us is that this virus can evolve
to go directly human to human what h5n1 shows us is that this virus
can evolve into an efficient human killer if this trend is allowed to
continue our nightmare may one day be realized the worst of both worlds
contagious end deadly so to slow down or stop this rapid recent emergence of
highly pathogenic flu viruses one must first ask well what triggered this
avalanche in the first place what has changed in recent decades to bring this
all upon us the emergence of h5n1 has been blamed on free-ranging flocks wild
birds but people keeping chickens in backyards for thousands of years and
birds have been migrating for millions bird flu has been around forever what
turned bird flu into a killer well the senior correspondent news hour with Jim
Lehrer posed that question to dr. Webster the so called godfather of flu
research was there something qualitatively different about this last
decade made it possible for this disease to do something has never done before
some kind of changing conditions that suddenly lit a match to the tinder
Webster reply he said farming practices have changed she talks about growing up
on a farm but now we put millions of chickens into a chicken factory next
door to a pig factory and this virus has the opportunity to get one of these
chicken factories and make billions and billions of these mutations continuously
and so what we’ve changed is the way we raise animals and our interaction with
those animals then he talks about how the virus is escaping from the factories
infecting wild birds he says that’s what’s changed we’ve changed the way we
raise animals but we’re changed the way we raise handled by the billions the
number of chickens we slaughter every day spread wing to wing would wrap more
than twice around the world’s equator the big shift in the ecology of avian
influenza has been the intensification of the global poultry sector
the developing world meet Meg consumption has exploded leading to
these industrial scale commercial chicken facilities arguably the perfect
storm environment for the emergence and spread the so called super strains of
influenza in the early 1980s nearly all the chickens in China were raised in
tiny backyard outdoor flocks but now there are 63,000 Kay foes and China
concentrated animal feeding operations with a few of these so-called factory
farms confining 10 million birds on a single form the World Health
Organization blames emergence of h5n1 SARS Nipah virus all these new deadly
emerging Asian viruses in part what they call the over consumption of animal
products in this intensive animal agriculture the Food and Agriculture
Organization the United Nations starts up there seems to be an acceleration of
human influenza problems in recent years this is what they mean this from the
World Health Organization these are all the new influenza viruses infecting
human beings over the last century or so now turn your attention to just 1995 on
seems to be kind of snowflakes to an avalanche in people too but why well
according to the world’s leading agricultural thority this is expected to
largely relate to the intensification of poultry production and possibly pig
production as well they elaborate an internal FAO document chicken – chicken
spread particularly where assisted by this intensive husbandry conditions
causes the virus to shift adapt to a more severe highly pathogenic type of
infection intensive production favors the rapid spread of the viruses in the
so called hotting up of the virus from low pathogenicity to highly pathogenic
types factory farms it seems can be thought of as the incubators for the
emergence of highly disease-causing strains of this virus in this diagram
here they actually trace the path of a human pandemic starting with increased
demand for poultry products and ending up with a virus capable of
human-to-human transmission the United Nations in fact is called on all
governments to fight the role of what they call factory farming quoting from a
UN press release governments local authorities international agencies need
to take a greatly increased role in combating the role of factory farming
which combined with these live bird markets provide ideal conditions for the
virus to spread and mutate into a more dangerous form let me show you how it
works all bird flu viruses start out harmless to both birds and people very
important to understand they start out harmless avian influenza
has existed for millions of years as an harmless intestinal virus of aquatic
birds like ducks waterborne virus I said well how does in a duck’s intestinal bug
end up in a human cloth well in people the virus must make us sick in order to
spread must make us coffee in order to shoot fires from one person to the next
when the viruses natural reservoir Quantic birds like ducks the virus
doesn’t need to make the Ducks sick in order to spread in facts in the viruses
evolutionary best interest not to make the Ducks sick is dead ducks don’t fly
very far so the virus silently multiplies and the intestinal lining of
the duck is secreted out into the pond water is swallowed up by another duck
and the cycle continues as it has for millions of years and no one gets hurt
but if an infected duck is dragged to a live bird market for example crammed in
cages high enough to spot a virus infected feces on land bass birds
terrestrial birds like chickens well then the virus has a problem if the
virus finds itself in the gut of a chicken no longer has the luxury of easy
waterborne spread chickens aren’t paddling around in the pond so the virus
must mutate or die unfortunately for us mutating is what influenza viruses seem
to do best so in its natural reservoir it’s been described as being in total
evolutionary stasis harmless but when thrown to a new host like land-based
birds it quickly starts mutating acquiring mutations
adapt to its new host in the open air must resist dehydration for example and
it may have to spread to different organs to find a new way to travel the
intestines ain’t going to work anymore and they may find the lungs and become
an airborne pathogen which is bad news for terrestrial mammals such as
ourselves goes into chickens as an aquatic virus but may come out as the
flu in its new host the more virulent the more violent this virus becomes the
quicker may be able to overwhelm the immune system of its new host but if the
virus becomes too deadly though it may not spread as form in an outdoor setting
at least if the virus kills its host too quickly
the animal may be dead before it’s a chance to spread to too many others so
when nature is kind of a natural limit on how virulent these viruses can get or
at least there was until now enter intensive poultry production when
the next beak is just instant inches away there may be no limit how nasty
these viruses can get evolutionary biologists believe that this is the key
to the emergence of hyper virulent predator type viruses like h5n1 disease
transmission from immobilized hosts see when you have a situation where the
healthy cannot escape the disease where the virus can knock you flat and still
transmit disgust you’re so crowded then there may be no stopping rapidly
mutating viruses from becoming truly ferocious and this may explain the virus
of 1918 rising out of the trenches of World War 1 there were these crowded
troop transports boxcars were labeled 8 horses or 40 men so when this harmless
virus found itself in these kind of conditions that turned deadly millions
forced together into clamp cramped quarters no escaping a sick comrade this
is thought to be where the virus of 1918 gained its virulence from the viruses
point of view though these same trench warfare conditions
exist today in every industrial chicken shed every industrial egg operation can
find crowded stress but by the billions not just millions the industry is slowly
waking up to this growing realization that viruses previously innocuous to
natural host species have an all probability become more virulent by
passes to these large commercial populations is from an industry rate
Journal starts out harmless turns deadly that’s what these conditions may be able
to do this is not arguably how animals were meant to live so how does the
poultry industry feel about the possibility that its own animal
factories may produce a virus capable of killing millions of people around the
world well the executive editor of poultry magazine wrote an editorial on
just that topic she wrote the prospect of a virulent
flute which we have absolutely no resistance is frightening however to me
the threat is much greater to the poultry industry I’m not as worried
about the US human population dying from bird flu as I am that there will be no
chicken to eat this is this is how the Department of Interior puts it
domesticated poultry as the necessary stepping stone to create a pandemic
strain of influenza now we used to think pigs were an important link in this
chain so this probably not a good idea h5n1 found a way it seems not only to
kill people directly but seems to have gone full circle reinfecting its natural
hosts migratory aquatic species who can potentially fly this factory farm virus
to continents around the world now unfortunately for us there’s there’s
some quirk of evolution the respiratory tract of a chicken seems to bear
striking resemblance to our own primate respiratory tract on a molecular level
on a virus receptor level so as the virus gets better at infecting killing
chickens the virus may be getting better at infecting and killing us
viral gist Earl Brown specialists in the evolution of influenza viruses you have
to say dr. Brown concluded again this high-intensity chicken rearing whether
the perfect environment for the evolution for generating virulent avian
flu virus now in contrast there has never been a single recorded emergence
of a highly pathogenic flu virus ever from an outdoor chicken flock never once
has dangerous deadly virus ever arisen that we know of in chickens kept outside
you can breed a deadly virus here it can escape in fact backyard birds
free-ranging flocks even wild birds but that transition from harmless the deadly
always seems to happen in these kind of conditions because of the overcrowding
remember transmission from immobilized host because the sheer numbers because
of the inadequate ventilation the dankness helps keep the virus alive
because of the stress crippling their immune systems because of the filth the
virus is in the feces that they’re lying in which decomposing releasing ammonia
burning the respiratory tracts predisposing to respiratory infection in
the first place and because there may be no sunlight the UV rays and sunlight are
actually quite effective in destroying the influenza virus 30 minutes of direct
sunlight completely inactivates h5n1 but it can last for days in the shade and
weeks in moist manure so you put all these
factors together when you have this kind of perfect storm environment for the
emergence and spread of new super strains of influenza but what about
biosecurity don’t we want all the birds confined indoors away from waterfowl I
mean does it matter if these kind of conditions can turn a harmless virus
into a deadly virus if the harmless virus can’t get inside in the first
place well an FAO research report addressed this very question they in
their evidence-based analysis they looked at the best data set available a
massive survey of flocks in Thailand in which over a million birds were tested
for h5n1 in factory farms and backyard flocks and what they expected to find
was that backyard flocks would be at higher risk for infection because
they’re just out there in the open what they found was exactly the opposite they
found a backyard flocks are at significantly lower risk of infection
compared to commercial scale operations industrial quail and chicken operations
were at least four times more likely to become infected than backyard flocks so
not only may factory farms be the incubators for the original emergence of
high path strains based on the best science available they may also play a
role in the spread the subsequent spread of the virus as well in part because of
the massive inputs and outputs required for this industrial style of animal
agriculture tons of feed and water go in tons of waste comes out tens of
thousands of flies buzzing around and these these high volume ventilation fans
blowing dust and waste out into the countryside potentially contaminating
the air soil insects rodents transport industrial-style production can lead to
industrial style contamination of the environment
researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health I look back and
realize that their conclusions were actually consistent with other high path
outbreaks whether in the Netherlands Canada Italy other diseases factory
farms consistently at higher risk they concluded them there’s no empirical
evidence to support this myth that backyard flocks or somehow the crux of
the problem and again people been raising birds in their backyards for
about four thousand years before this disease erupted out of control on other
factors the studies have uncovered widespread disregard for biosecurity
even in developed countries which claim to have the best biosecurity in the
world according to North Carolina University poultry health management
high biosecurity is still wishful thinking in many areas of intensive
poultry production a bird flu outbreak in Virginia in 2002 led to the deaths of
four million birds found its way inside 200 factory farms highlighting just how
wishful the thinking is that industrial poultry populations are somehow
completely protected against this kind of infection based on the rapid spread
of avian influenza in Virginia recently this decade USDA poultry virologist
conclude the obvious that biosecurity on many farms is simply inadequate
investigators from the University of Maryland surveyed chicken facilities
throughout the delaware maryland virginia peninsula perhaps the most
concentrated density of chickens in the world and concluded that us chicken
flocks constantly at risk for infection triggered by these poor biosecurity
practices but even if the industry had perfect compliance with these guidelines
even if everyone going in and out stepped in antiseptic foot baths scrub
their boots wash their hands even with perfect compliance it likely would not
be enough we now know that h5n1 can be carried by flies you cannot keep
flies out of a poultry shed see h5n1 is a biosafety level 3 plus pathogen that
means in a laboratory setting this virus must only be handled in unique high
containment buildings specially engineered with airlocks double-door
access shower in shower out of floors walls ceiling sealed waterproof all
electric outlets phone cords cocked collared sealed to prevent any air leaks
all surfaces decontaminated daily all solid waste incinerated that is supposed
to handle this virus that’s biosecurity in contrast to this the global
industrial poultry industry seems to be breeding viruses like h5n1 and
essentially biosafety level zero so the poultry industry may not only be playing
with fire with no way to put it out there may be Fanning the flames and
firewalls to contain this virus do not yet exist
unfortunately leading USDA poultry viral just told an international gathering of
bird flu scientist unfortunately this level of biosecurity just doesn’t exist
in the United States and doubts really it exists anywhere in the world and
according to Merida’s poultry professor author of handbook on livestock diseases
standards of biosecurity may actually be in decline in an attempt for the
industry to cut costs now biosecurity measures is there currently practiced
certainly better nothing but may not be something we want to stake the lives of
millions of people upon for the sake of cheaper chicken a pandemic caused by
h5n1 or some comparable future bird flu virus has the capacity to trigger one of
the greatest catastrophes of all time so to decrease the risk of generate
increasing ly dangerous bird flu viruses the global poultry industry must reverse
course away from greater intensification by for example here in the annals of New
York Academy of Sciences replacing these large industrial units with smaller
farms with lower stock densities of animals which could
potentially result in less stress less disease susceptibility less intense
infectious contents and lower infectious loads across the board in 2007 the
Journal of the American Public Health Association published an editorial that
went beyond just calling for D intensification of the poultry industry
they questioned the prudence of raising so many chickens in the first place in
their editorial chickens come home to roost it is curious that changing the
way humans treat animals most basically ceasing to eat them are the very less
radically limiting the quantity of them that is eaten is largely off the radar
as a significant preventive measure such a change if sufficiently adopted or
enforced however even at this late stage could still reduce the likelihood of the
much-feared influenza pandemic it would even more likely prevent unknown future
diseases that in the absence of the change may result from farming animals
intensively and killing them for food yet humanity does not even seem to
consider this option we don’t tend to shore up the levees until after the
disaster hopefully won’t take a pandemic before we take these recommendations
into account the editorial concludes those who consume animals not only harm
those animals and endanger themselves but they also threaten the well-being of
future generations on this planet to switch avian images it is time for
humans to remove their heads from the sand and recognize the risk to
themselves that can arise from their maltreatment of other species how we
treat animals can have global public health implications it’s not surprising
then that the American Public Health Association the largest Association of
public health professionals in the world has called for a moratorium on factory
farms urging all federal state local authorities to impose a ban on the
building of new in of livestock operations to protect the
health of the local communities in terms of air water land contamination
pollution the prudence of this measure certainly grows with our increasing
understanding of the role that these operations play in emerging infectious
disease I’m often asked how the industry responds to this kind of sentiment from
the scientific community well last summer the United Nations
released yet another report on the global health risks of intensive animal
agriculture let me show you that how US agribusiness responded to this report
feedstuffs is America’s leading agribusiness publication and init Oriole
responded this way to the FAO research report FAO claims to you scientists to
generate as reports but I wonder if those scientists don’t resemble a
bearded guy living in a cave in Pakistan who wants the US on its knees all too
typical of the kind of year with us or against us industry attitude
unfortunately now this is an extreme example there are those within industry
who can take a step back and look at the longer term view avian health expert in
longtime industry insider Ken Rudd wrote a really candid article and poultry
Digest called poultry reality check needed drawing on his 37 years
experience from within the poultry industry he concluded with these
prophetic words he said now is the time to decide we can go on with business as
usual charging headlong towards lower costs or
we can begin making a prudent moves necessary to restore balance between
economics and long-range avian health we can pay now or we can pay later but it
should be known and it must be said one way or another we will pay so cutting
down our consumption of chickens and fighting the role of factory farming as
the United Nations has called for mainly prevent emergence of future viruses but
h5n1 has already been hatched already spread and
mutated into a more dangerous form and now that it is endemic in poultry
populations across two continents eradication is unlikely dr. Michael Haas
her home is the director of the u.s. Center for infectious disease research
policy a associate director with the department of homeland security he tried
to describe what an h5n1 pandemic could look like in one of the u.s. leading
Public Policy journals called foreign affairs he asked policymakers to
consider the devastation of the 2004 tsunami in South Asia
he said duplicate the tsunami in every major urban center rural community
around the planet simultaneously add in the paralyzing
fear and panic of contagion and we begin to get some sense of the potential of
pandemic influenza that’s what he thinks it could be like a tsunami in every city
every town everywhere people drowning in their own bodily fluids or we could
imagine Katrina imagine every city New Orleans around
the world at the same time all perhaps because people insisted on eating
cheaper chicken the next pandemic maybe more of an unnatural disaster of our own
making a pandemic of even moderate impact may result in a single biggest
human disaster ever far greater than AIDS 9/11 all the Wars of the 20th
century and the tsunami combined has the potential to redirect world history as
the Black Death redirected European history in the 14th century
hopefully the direction world history will take is away from raising birds by
the billions under intensive confinement so as to potentially lower our risk of
us ever being in this precarious place ever again my intention on today was
just to focus on primary prevention getting to the root cause but with the
unprecedented spread of this truly precedented virus it is important that
everyone be prepared for the next influenza pandemic so let me just throw
out some resources the CDC has set up an excellent pandemic preparedness website
pandemic flu gov if you click across here you will find pandemic preparedness
checklist for businesses schools communities face base faith-based groups
all the way down to individual and family preparation which really focuses
on getting everyone right now to stockpile weeks of essential supplies to
shelter in place during a pandemic isolating ourselves and our families in
our homes until the danger passes the u.s. department of homeland security is
now using as a key planning assumption that the US population may be directed
to remain in their homes under self quarantine for up to 90 days per wave of
the pandemic to support social distancing kind of like a snow emergency
where you just told to stay inside don’t go out and let’s emergency but instead
of lasting a day or two last weeks or even months everyone ready to stay in
their homes for three months if we have to go out to the corner store during a
pandemic to buy toilet paper or something we be maybe bringing back to
our family more than just groceries this is important topic I wrote three I have
six chapters on preparing for and surviving the next pandemic in my book
on the subject all the proceeds I received from the sale book go to
charity to address the problem and the entire contents of the book is now
available free full-text online at bird flu book dot org the goal is to be
prepared not scared this presentation by design given the time constraints is an
oversimplification of a serious public health issue so I encourage people to go
to the website learn more about the topic all the citations are hyperlink
clickable all 3168 of them this is a lay publication
for those interest in the technical science the underlying evolutionary
biological theory allow me to refer you to an invited review that I wrote for
the last issue of critical reviews of microbiology anyone interested in a
reprint copy be happy to send you one if you just email me at M G re ger at
Humane Society org let me end with a quote from the World Health Organization
the bottom line the bottom line is that humans have to think about how they
treat their animals how they form them how they market the basically the whole
relationship between the animal kingdom the human kingdom is coming under stress
in this age of emerging plagues we now have billions of feathered and curly
tailed test tubes for viruses to incubate and mutate within billions more
spins at pandemic roulette along with human culpability though comes hope if
changes in human behavior can cause new plagues
well then changes in human behavior may prevent them in the future thank you you

Comments 9

  • Watching this in 2018, I wonder how much progress has been made? Have pig and chicken farms been modified to use less antibiotics and not cram the animals into tight cages?

  • 10:19 – mind exploded ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  • Although half shill. Thank you Greger…

  • Excellent excellent talk.

  • Problem reaction solution the globalist parrots and climate change, or perhaps it's decades of #WeatherClimateModification he who controls the weather, controls rain/ water, control the world. Pandemics, (A bill Gates favourite, next to climate change ) Aids, Ebola, Lyme lab manipulated, and a way to ensure big pharma they and you Rockefeller MedSin men & Vets have a job and play gold on Wednesdays.
    The Natives weren't inoculating animals with lab made virus and bacteria, I'm sure they domesticated Horses and Wild Burro… Wild Bison which of course your world wants to round up and kill them as they slaughtered them previously to make the Indians dependant on the Invaders system. #Lies and Spells

    December 1976 United Nations A/RES/31/72 General Assembly http://www.un-documents.net/a31r72.htm

    S. 3383 (94th): National Weather Modification Policy Act
    Introduced: May 5, 1976 94th Congress, 1975โ€“1976
    Status:Enacted โ€” https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/94/s3383

    Owning the Weather – https://archive.org/details/WeatherAsAForceMultiplier

    Project Popeye – https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/popeye.htm

    Project Cirrus – https://archive.org/details/historyofproject00have

    An Introduction To Weather Modification, By Herbert S. Appleman 1969.

    Weather modification : programs, problems, policy, and potential – http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00025909/00001

    Weather Modification By Carbon Dust Absorption Of Solar Energy – https://tropical.colostate.edu/…/111/2016/10/225_Gray.pdf (yes the PAGE did exist,
    you removed it so the links no longer leads to the page )

    Weather and Climate Modification – National Science Foundation – https://www.nsf.gov/nsb/publications/1965/nsb1265.pdf

    Weather modification operations in California by California. Dept. of Water Resources Data on prior operations has been published in State Water Resources Board Bulletin no. 16 'Weather modification operations in California,' June 1955." (TD201.C2)

    World Meteorological Organization
    Commission For Atmospheric Sciences (CAS)
    6th Joint Science Committee of the World Weather Research Programme WMO Geneva, Switzerland (18-19 July 2013)
    CAS/WWRP/JSC6/Doc 3.6 (xx June 2013) Item: 3.6
    Report From Expert Team On Weather Modification Research For 2012/2013 Roelof T Bruintjes (Chairman)

  • Really informative thanks

  • VEGAN and no problems !!!

  • I don't think vegan is for everyone (certainly not for me), but less meat is good for pretty much anyone. If you look at most of human history, meat was a once a week, perhaps once a month, treat. The only people who ate bacon for breakfast, ham for lunch, and fried chicken for dinner were chronically ill monarchs and aristocrats. Now it's everyone. And almost everyone is chronically ill. You don't have to go vegan. Just stop buying cafo meat, dairy, and eggs and replace a majority of that with plant protein. You get what you pay for.

  • 2:50, I never would've guessed.

  • Big Pharma, globalist shill!

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