Vegan Grandma

Thursday, February 08, 2007

In January, my veg club book discussion group discussed Bird Flu, A Virus of Our Own Hatching, by Michael Greger, MD, published by Lantern Books. I think this is an important and timely book. It's a bit scary to read, but it gives helpful suggestions about how we can protective ourselves and our families if an avaian flu pandemic should occur. It's a good idea to be prepared, just in case.

The book can be read for free on line at . You can also order a copy of the book at the same web site. Click on "Buy the book", and scroll to the bottom of the page.

I've quoted the book in an earlier blog. Here are some more quotes from the book.

"Experts think human influenza started about 4,500 years ago with the domestication of waterfowl like ducks, the original source of all influenza viruses,............... this 'brought influenza viruses into the farmyard, leading to the emergence of epidemics and pandemics.' Before 2500 B.C.E., likely nobody ever got the flu."-p 39

Due to viral contamination of meat in general, those who handle fresh meat for a living can come down with unpleasant conditions with names like contagious pustular dermatitis. Fresh meat is so laden with viruses that there is a well-defined medical condition colloquially known as "butcher*s warts," affecting the hands of those who handle fresh poultry, fish, and other meat..... Concerns about viral infection have led to recommendations that pregnant women and people with AIDS not work the slaughter lines."-p 45-46

"Realizing this level of contamination, bird flu experts at a CDC symposium reminded consumers not to touch our mucous membranes-rub our eyes or noses-while handling any raw poultry products.Vegetarian? Risk applies to non-meat-eaters as well: Any fecal-fluid drippings of bird droppings trailing down the checkout counter conveyer belt could easily contaminate fresh produce"-p 52.

"Like Salmonella, bird flu viruses can infect the chickens' ovaries, so the virus can come prepackaged within the egg as well."-p 52

"The National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine now describes a pandemic as 'not only inevitable, but overdue.' "-p72

" 'High concentrations of animals,' concluded the International Food Policy Research Institute, 'can become breeding grounds for disease' ."-p72

"Many of humanity's greatest scourges,including influenza, can be traced back thousands of years to the domestication of animals."-p88

"Smallpox also may have been caused by a mutant cattle virus.We domesticated pigs and got whooping cough, domesticated chickens and got typhoid fever, and domesticated ducks and got influenza. The list goes on. Leprosy came from water buffalo, the cold virus from cattle or horses."-p 90

" The 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to the scientists who discovered in 1982 that bacteria living in the human stomach, which they called Helicobacter pylori, caused stomach cancer and the vast majority of peptic ulcers worldwide. Roughly half of the world's population is now infected.This ulcer-causing bacteria is thought to have originated in sheep*s milk.... What has become probably the most common chronic infection afflicting humanity, according to the CDC, came about because humanity started to drink the milk of another species thousands of years ago"-.p 90

"Many disease-carrying mosquitoes prefer to breed out in the open along partially cleared forest fringes, rather than deep in the forest. When livestock are grazed on the cleared land, the animals serve as warm-blooded meals for disease vectors like mosquitoes and biting flies, which may become so numerous they seek out blood meals from humans. Clear-cutting can also create a windfall for disease-bearing rodents."-p 94

"The reason French fries can be eaten with abandon without fear of coming down with potato blight is that pathogens adapted to infect plants don*t infect people."-p 96

"By cannibalizing our fellow primates, we are exposing ourselves to pathogens particularly fine-tuned to human primate physiology."-p 96

"Increasing consumer demand for animal products worldwide over the past few decades has led to a global explosion in massive animal agriculture operations which have come to play a key role in the Third Age of emerging human disease."-p 108

"The alfalfa sprouts lining the whole-grain avocado sandwiches of the California health conscious led to a Salmonella outbreak in 2001. Since the first reported sprout outbreak in 1973, there have been at least two dozen more in the United States, including both Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, infecting thousands of people. How did chicken and cow bacteria get onto sprouts? It was contained in manure used as fertilizer. As the level of infection in herd and flock feces has risen with intensification, so has the contamination of produce crops it has fertilized.-p 118

"In practice, whether trying to stem the spread of H5N1 or prevent outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu in the first place, locking birds in industrial confinement operations may increase the public health risk on a global scale."-p 214

"Influenza is a communicable disease spread from one person to the next; the fewer people you come in contact with, the fewer chances you have of catching it. On a personal level, this means staying in one's home, not going to work, and avoiding crowds like the plague, especially in enclosed spaces. On a community basis, this may mean closing schools, churches, and other public gatherings."-p 284

We can prepare our family's pandemic preparedness kit. The kit would contain everything one might need to stay at home for a period that could last from days to months with or without running water and electricity. "-p 314

"In a remarkable speech at a conference in Wyoming, Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt said, 'When you go to the store and buy three cans of tuna fish, buy a fourth and put it under the bed. When you go to the store to buy some milk, pick up a box of powdered milk. Put it under the bed. When you do that for a period of four to six months, you are going to have a couple of weeks of food, and that's what we're talking about.' "-P 315 (We can buy cans of vegan foods.)


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