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Posts Tagged ‘pandemic’

Avian hooey?

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Avian flu

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
James Thurber

Someone wrote and asked a question about homeopathic prophylaxis. Not that they mentioned the avian flu scare, but it got me thinking about it, particularly in view of last weekend’s timely seminar.

David Nabarro, the newly appointed Senior UN System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, announced to the world at the end of September that an outbreak of avian influenza could kill between 5 and 150 million people. Despite the WHO’s spokesman on influenza immediately responding “There is obvious confusion, and I think that has to be straightened out. I don’t think you will hear Dr Nabarro say the same sort of thing again,” Nabarro’s statement pressed the collective panic button to an extent well surpassing any of the previous Asian/avian flu scares which seem to erupt reliably every year at around the same time, just as the annual flu vaccination programmes get underway.

The US Senate immediately appropriated $4 billion to plough into vaccine research and most western nations, under pressure of public anxiety and demands that something be done to prepare, have been stockpiling antiviral drugs and last years’ flu vaccines ever since.

All of this on the basis that a bird virus might jump species and mightcombine with a human flu virus to make it apparently capable of infecting large numbers of people. So far there is very little concrete or conclusive evidence to suggest either that it can or that it will (see BBC Q&A). This global pandemic exists purely in the realms of the collective imagination, up there along with asteroid strikes and other suitably large potential demonstrations of the power of the universe to make human beings feel uncomfortably powerless and out of control.

Since there is no manifest disease to treat (apart from perhaps the fear of epidemic disease), any attempt at ‘prophylactic’ treatment is really just feeding the need to do something … anything! … no matter how inappropriate, irrational or specious (like vaccinating people against a different virus altogether), to restore some semblance of feeling in control. The pharmaceutical industry must be laughing like drains all the way to the bank. It’s certainly not ‘avian flu’ that needs to be treated here. And neither is it homeopathic remedies that are exploiting the placebo effect …

(On the subject of vaccination, see Eleanor McBean’s 1977 account of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic which she witnessed. Far from attributing the pandemic to ‘avian flu’ as scientists have so recently and conveniently done, Ms McBean, a naturopathic doctor, comments that as far as she could see it was the massive vaccination program in the wake of WW1 that seemed largely responsible. It appeared that only those who had been vaccinated fell ill, and the symptoms of the ‘flu’ manifested as a combination of all the diseases that the population had been vaccinated against.)

While the greatest present danger from ‘avian flu’ is likely to be the drain on bank balances as people accumulate lifetime’s supplies of Tamiflu, a very real problem is that such large numbers of people visualising and panicking about a potential pandemic and speaking and writing about it as if it’s already a fait accompli has much the same effect as the power of prayer. I would be concerned about that far more than the potential of a virus, left to its own devices, to mutate by chance into something appropriately virulent. Quantum physics teaches us that the fundamental substrate of our reality is the interconnectedness of everything with everything else, which is exactly what the esoteric traditions of the major religions teach too (see the essay Holed in One). Could it be that the worldwide panic may just be giving the virus the impetus to do the very thing that all the panic’s about?

“Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality.”
G K Chesterton



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Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard