Swine flu detected in Chilean turkeys - 23 Aug 2009  
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This week, two turkey farms in Chile were quarantined after national health authorities and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the birds were carrying the current A H1N1 swine flu virus.

The presence of the swine flu virus in birds heightens concerns that the swine flu will mutate into a more virulent form by combining with the more deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, which has a 50 percent mortality rate in humans.

Regarding future risks, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan stated, “We …need to prepare for a second or even a third wave of spread as typically seen in past pandemics.”

WHO has called for governments to prepare for an explosion of cases, with infection rates doubling every few days until peak transmission is reached.

The number of victims continues to mount.

In official cases alone, which represent a small fraction of true incidence, 180 countries reported 250,595 cases, including 2,539 fatalities, with some of the latest being in India, Saudi Arabia and Formosa (Taiwan).

As deaths also increased across Latin America, most recently in Chile, Brazil, El Salvador, Uruguay, and Bolivia, new measures were announced to minimize second waves.

Mexico is seeking to borrow US$400 million from the World Bank to secure its order of 20 million swine flu vaccines and other prevention costs, and El Salvador has suspended classes at universities and both public and private schools.

The US Center For Disease Control and Prevention announced swine flu was continuing to spread across the US, with people under the age of 49 being the ones affected by an alarming 75 percent of serious cases and 60 percent of fatalities.

Zimbabwe reported her first confirmed case of swine flu, while cases jumped in Indonesia to 948 and Hong Kong to 8,535.

We thank the Chilean health officials, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and governments across the globe for your best efforts to protect the public.

Fellow citizens suffering directly or indirectly from swine flu continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
We look forward to the risk of all illnesses related to meat consumption ceasing to be a concern through a global switch to the safer and healthier plant-based fare.