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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic.

North Korea Pandemic: Kim can't fight deadly new v

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Albert View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 18 2017 at 8:45pm
North Korea PANDEMIC: Kim can't fight deadly new virus – and neither can WE

      

Sources claim that Kim Jong-un’s favoured meat supplier, Ungok Ranch north of Pyongyang, is battling bird flu.

An outbreak is currently rocking China and South Korea too, and hundreds of people have died as a result.

If it mutates so it can spread from person to person, the virus could sweep the world, killing million

So China and South Korea are sharing results with the world’s best scientists in an attempt to stop the outbreak.

But Kim’s kingdom is determined to go it alone, recommending home remedies while refusing to admit to any infection.

Bill Schaffner, of Vanderbilt University in the US city of Nashville, Tennessee, said the region was particularly vulnerable to mutations.

All that’s needed are strains of flu from birds and from humans, and animals like pigs capable of catching both – ingredients all present at Ungok Ranch.

Dr Schaffner told Daily Star Online: "If a pig becomes simultaneously infected with the bird strain and a human strain, then those viruses can exchange genetic material.

"Suddenly the world’s population is susceptible to a new flu virus that has elements of the bird flu but can also be transmitted readily from person to person.

"Once it gets into a human it can make that human very sick – and the mortality rate is high because these are new flu strains to humans."

It’s a recipe for disaster that makes the current outbreak the “top of the Iist” for infectious disease concerns, says Dr Schaffner.   

And North Korea, with its captive population, poor healthcare and closed-off culture, means it could catch us off-guard.

"The concern is that the new strain, could not only arise but then could spread substantially in the population," the doctor revealed.

"The more local spread there is, the more likely it is that it will be exported to neighbours and then, through air travel, exported at great distance.

"I think that North Korea, in many ways, continues to be a black box – something that you can’t penetrate and see inside of. That makes things more difficult.

"Because it’s another country where these kind of mutations that occur in the influenza virus, which are potentially threatening to the world’s population, could first arise."

Such fears have been realised before – such as when China downplayed a SARS outbreak which later killed nearly 800 people across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Dr Schaffner said: "There was the sense in China that people were, first of all, embarrassed to have an outbreak of an infectious disease in their environment.

"Number two, some people might have felt that they were going to be censured because if they released that information, it reflected badly on them.

"You have to change the old culture and turn it exactly on its head so openness and communication is the norm rather than keeping things quiet."

So far, the only advice given by Kim’s officials is to gargle salt water and drink garlic juice, according to North Korea news site Daily NK.

"That does sound like grandmother’s advice and folklore," said Dr Schaffner. "Neither of those will have any genuine effect on the infection."

The current influenza outbreak has reportedly killed 161 people in China alone – the deadliest mutated strain, Spanish Flu, killed as many as 100million people.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/597339/north-korea-bird-flu-threat-pandemic-epidemic-mutation

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EdwinSm, View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2017 at 10:57pm
With lack of clear information we have to depend on rumours.  In lack of clear news the article seemed to be full of suppositions of  what might happen, trying to hype a reported bird flu outbreak (in a factory farm) into a world pandemic Shocked.

YES North Korea is in the target area for bird flu, and has potential for wide spread damage.  But without clear information it is hard to be sure what is actually happening until (like China) it leaves the borders of a country that restricts the news.
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Dutch Josh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2017 at 2:31am
North Korea has a state healthcare system and is maybe the only state I can think of that might consider culling people to get a disease under control. This totalitarian state would not allow a citizen to get ill without the state knowing what kind of illness it may be. 

In between South Korea and China all kind of diseases there could show up in North Korea. 

Another consideration, rice/grains may be needed to feed the people instead of being used for cattle/meat production. Thu number of pigs, poultry may be limited since NK has difficulty enough to feed its citizens.
Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be, The future is not ours to see, Que sera, sera !
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CRS, DrPH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2017 at 1:41pm
Originally posted by Dutch Josh Dutch Josh wrote:

North Korea has a state healthcare system and is maybe the only state I can think of that might consider culling people to get a disease under control. This totalitarian state would not allow a citizen to get ill without the state knowing what kind of illness it may be. 

In between South Korea and China all kind of diseases there could show up in North Korea. 

Another consideration, rice/grains may be needed to feed the people instead of being used for cattle/meat production. Thu number of pigs, poultry may be limited since NK has difficulty enough to feed its citizens.

Thanks, Dutch Josh, I'll look into this further.  Let's not forget how SARS started, how it was initially covered up & then exploded on the world scene.  

Good point about NK being willing to "cull" human cases, although I wouldn't be surprised if there were more than one such country.  China would certainly be one in my book, I could see them nuking one of their own cities if they had to.  

I seriously doubt that NK swine are being fed a wholesome diet.  Pigs can and will eat almost anything, including sewage sludge, human feces, spoilt foods etc.  Pretty disgusting practices go on in many backward nations - Chinese routinely feed poultry mortalities & litter (feces) to swine without any treatment, which is one reason that they are such an "assortment engine" for influenza viruses.  
CRS, DrPH
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