In 1997 during the Hong Kong pandemic, the virus A/H5N1 was isolated. On 17th February 2002, at the same time that the first cases of SARS were appearing, a Chinese man of 33 who had travelled in the Chinese province of Fujan died of unknown causes in Hong Kong. The day after the Hong Kong authorities announced that a virus of birds A/H5N1, had been isolated by the man and by his 9 year old son who was also in hospital. Another member of the family, an 8 year old daughter, died in Fujan.
A forecast made by experts of the next announced pandemic based on statistical patterns which take into consideration the great influenza pandemics (Spanish in 1918-19, Asian in 1957-58 and Hong Kong in 1968-69), estimates that there will be sixteen million people infected, two million people in hospital and 150 thousand victims in Italy alone.
In these days the second European conference on avian influenza has been held in San Giuliano (Malta) in order to discuss the possibility of direct transmission to human beings from birds.
Avian influenza is a bird disease caused by an influenza virus of type A and it can affect almost all types of birds, with manifestations that go from very light to very serious and contagious ones. In these cases the disease appears suddenly, followed by a rapid death in most cases of animals. At least fifteen subtypes of influenza viruses which infect birds are known. Most of the cases of transmission to human beings were caused by viruses of type A of the subtypes H5 and H7. According to the combination of surface proteins of the viruses (H=hemagglutinin, N=neuroaminidase), the virus acquires a different denomination (H5N1, H7N2, etc…). The most dangerous is held to be the subtype H5N1. The latter in the past two years has already passed from one species to another, acquiring the capacity even to infect cats and other mammals, as well as pigs (particularly important because they are receptive both to bird viruses and human viruses). Moreover, during recent epidemics, starting from 2003, the capacity of this virus to infect human beings too, causing acute forms of influenza, has been documented. The avian virus is feared because during the last three great pandemics the presence of parts of the avian virus combined with the human influenza one was verified. This makes it probable that the viruses, re-combining together, have generated a new virus, particularly fearful because it is “new”. Moreover, all the viruses of type A tend to go towards changes in their genetic code every time they reproduce.
Up until today the chicken virus infected only those who work and live in close contact with these animals but, once the virus has passed to human beings and has adapted itself to them, contagion would take place like a common flu through the respiratory ducts during coughing with no more need for the “jump to another species” and, therefore, its diffusion would be very rapid and not only limited to places where there are infected chicken.
The changed virus, passing directly from the chicken to human beings, would be “new” to the human immune system which is not yet in possession of the specific antibodies, and no human organism would probably be able to fight and limit its diffusion.
Chicken-human being contagion has happened tens of times in recent years causing a total of 64 deaths in South East Asia. This year it has killed 45 people (32 people from Vietnam, 12 from Thailand and one from Cambodia).
Avian influenza in the fowl determines a picture of acute fulminating serositis. The fowl, not having the diaphragm muscle which separates the abdominal cavity from the thoracic one, anatomically has air sacks covered with serous membrane; the bird dies from infection of all the serous membranes which, in a post mortem examination, appear hyperemic. According to the laws in force in the case of an epidemic it is not possible to treat surviving animals. The fowl farm is put under sequester and any animals still alive are killed and incinerated. This happens not only for cases of avian influenza but also for any other epidemic. In England two million heads of beef cattle were killed because of foot and mouth disease.
Avian influenza in human beings causes symptoms which go from a symptom similar to influenza up to a very serious pneumonia with an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) picture.
During an interview with Prof. Giovanni Rezza, director of the department of infectious diseases at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, to the question asked by a journalist if there will really be 2 million people in hospital, he replied: “there is no room in hospitals for 2 million people! Also because if we are talking about the need for detention in hospital it is presumed we are talking about patients with serious respiratory difficulties and there is not this number of beds in intensive care anywhere.” This answer, however, leaves us all dismayed. This means that if the number of patients is superior to the number of beds available in intensive care units, those who suffer from serious influenza will not be able to receive adequate respiratory assistance and will be left to their fate. In front of a new “pandemic” emergency official medicine is not in the condition to be able to give all the patients the assistance or the anti-viral drugs they need to fight it. The same thing could have happened with SARS but fortunately the corona virus spontaneously lost its virulence, only causing about 800 victims. I do not wish to be an alarmist, but what must be done is to find in time a solution to a very serious problem before it escapes all medical control. Today there is not an efficacious vaccine against avian influenza which could protect the population from contagion. Antiviral medicines belonging to two different classes could be used: inhibitors of the M2 (amantadine and rimantadine) and inhibitors of the neuroaminidase (zanamivir and oseltamivir). Analysis of the viruses isolated in the lethal cases of H5N1 influenza in Vietnam indicate that the type appears to be resistant to the inhibitors of M2. The inhibitors of the neuroaminidase are efficacious both with viruses of type A and type B; laboratories belonging to the global network of influenza surveillance are also working in order to confirm the efficacy of the inhibitors of neuraminidase against the H5N1 stock which is circulating at the moment.
Every year Unicist homeopathic doctors treat with specific “situational” remedies those influenza epidemics which are treated allopathically with symptomatic drugs which are not specific. During these seasonal epidemics the constitutional remedy is not efficacious as the viral epidemic gene is so powerful that it overcomes the individual’s constitutionality. Influenza viruses set off a symptomatic chain superimposable on the population which is struck and it is amazing to observe the rapid resolution of symptoms with “situational” remedies which are specific for influenza.
Pneumonia caused by the avian virus could be treated homeopathically with the “highly suggestive” remedy xxx, a specific homeopathic remedy for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which has been described in the book “SARS, a proposition for its treatment”. If the complication of an influenza induced by the A virus should be hemorrhagic pneumonia, the specific remedy is described in the treatment for canine influenza.