Turkey And Avian Flu

While a lot of our attention this week is focused on the EU’s energy needs, we shouldn’t neglect this piece of news. Basically I had it right on Monday: unfortunately poor Muhammet Ali Kocyigit did test positive for the H5N1 virus, and the Turkish health minister Recep Akdag was guilty of spreading disinformation earlier in the week when he said that even if the cause of death was unknown, it definitely wasn’t avian flu.

As I also suggest here, Turkey’s progress towards a sophistocated modern democracy will be a long and hard one (that’s why we’ve given them ten years, isn’t it). Equally those of us still able to remember the role of the UK Ministry of Agriculture during the BSE outbreak will be aware that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw too many stones.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

6 thoughts on “Turkey And Avian Flu

  1. I hope we have our vaccine storages ready, because that damn flu just keeps on creeping in on us!

    It can only be a matter of time before people in “the West” fall victim.

  2. Update, I’m afraid Claus is probably right. There are also more deaths in Turkey:

    A third Turkish child from the same family died of bird flu on Friday as the virus which has killed 74 people in east Asia reached the threshhold of Europe. Hulya Kocyigit, 11, was the sister of Mehmet Ali, a 14-year-old boy who died last weekend, and of Fatma, 15, a girl who died on Thursday.

  3. The fundamentals are not changed. As long as there’s no transmission between humans, it might kill a few farmers, but it is not a public health problem.

  4. “As long as there’s no transmission between humans, it might kill a few farmers, but it is not a public health problem.”

    I wish I could share you optimism Oliver.

  5. No optimism. Just a refusal to be frightened by mere proximity. It will probably acquire that capability, but probably not in Anatolia, as pig farming is rare in that area. The danger is little changed. Yet every day, preparations are improving.

  6. “No optimism. Just a refusal to be frightened by mere proximity.”

    Basically, I agree with both of you. I don’t think we should be frightened, but I do think we need to be vigilant.

    There is a real, if hard to measure, threat.

    Preparations may or may not be very helpful, depending on the final human-human strain (if it ever arrives). Finding an appropriate vaccine, and, even more to the point, getting it out on the street won’t be easy.

    Meantime there are more cases, this time near Ankara, but they still seem bird-related.

    My big point here is the need to get the information balance just right: too much dramatisation only causes alarm, but inaccurate information finally causes even more alarm.

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