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v. February 8, 2016
influenza / pandemic risk level ... The anti-pandemic measures against swine flu are due to a redefinition of pandemics from April 1, 2009 by WHO. A significant increase of pandemic alerts might occur since then. The economic impact is significant (restrictions, vaccination, medication). Analysis here below.
About this text: Controversial... no updates...
This text includes information which might be controversial by the nature of the subject concerned. It has been tried to avoid any error in the description of the underlying basic problems. If in spite of this effort some error can be stated, please communicate it to the mail address at the end of this text. Instant rectification of errors, if any, will take place. In case of opposed opinions, the opposed opinion will be inserted into the text.
This text is from May 2009. Future significant updates are not planned. The general aspects within this text will be of interest for several years. But as there is no remuneration for this text, permanent adaptation to new events can not be financed.
WHO / new pandemics definition
An influenza pandemic created by the World Health Organization?
Since April 1, 2009, a new definition of pandemic influenza was published by WHO. Since April 1, 2009, WHO is since that date authorized to pandemic alerts even for an influenza which affected so far an extremely minimal fraction of population, compared with the annual ordinary influenza rate.
The only condition is that is has to be a new type of influenza. This means that the annual ordinary influenza types will not result in a pandemic alert.
Is there no condition that it has to be a very dangerous type of influenza? -
So it was only a question of weeks to have the first case of such a pandemic... Two weeks later, in fact the first case occurred, the Mexican Swine Flu. It will earn several million or up to several 100 million dollar for businesses which - by their experts for influenza prevention and medication - had surely significant influence on the defined prevention measures.
It can be supposed that the Swine Flu had some evident impact already several weeks before April 1, 2009. The question is: Were those who gather direct information from the health markets, already before April 1, 2009 aware of this?
The new influenza pandemic guidelines had been developed over a period of several years. They had not be defined for the special case of the Mexican Swine Flu.
These are the facts. So far, there is nothing wrong about it. It is just important to know what has happened.
Who are the persons who participated in this new definition of "pandemic"?
It can be supposed that close to 100 % of the participating persons, organizations, businesses earn their living or their business income by influenza prevention, pandemic prevention, vaccination and so on. This would be quite natural. Who else might be competent enough for this?
It can be supposed that most of these will benefit in one way or other from pandemic alerts (money or influence). This would be quite natural, too.
Huge financial earnings are involved: Vaccination, medication.
So the remaining question is: Who controls the WHO? Who prevents unjustified public spending if unjustified?
The surprising answer is: Probably, there is nobody who could control.
No control of WHO?
Why? - In order to understand the reason of lacking control, it is sufficient to read the huge huge document from April 1, 2009. It is a horror document if measured by the personal opinon of the author of these lines, related to text ergonomics.
The essential key information on alert authorization and alert levels is not really to detect and not easily to extract. The action authorization is somewhere inserted within a huge huge text full of citations, historical influenza information, detailed instruction lists.
It is typically impossible for political institutions - for example national governments - to analyze such a document in time in a critical manner. Only influenza specialists could fully follow the project definitions - hence persons benefiting form it (by money or by increased influence).
The fact that experts create huge documents which can only be understood by experts, is a typical problem of international institutions and of group behavior in modern event- and meeting- based society. It is a way of exercising power over governments.
As such, it does not yet mean faulty decision making. It just means that such decisions were not really submitted to political control. So they have to be submitted to some other critical control, for example by journalists.
Instant public distribution of the underlying WHO document is not authorized.
The document from April 1, 2009, can not be published on this site. Why?
The complete document - might be approximately 30 pages in print - has been made available here in digital form. But there is lack of satisfactory authorization to publish it.
On this site, conforming to prevailing rules, text documents will only be published if it is authorized, unlimited in time, for free distribution.
This should be standard for everything which includes binding obligations for citizens, businesses, organizations. It is in fact the case for all legal and other regulation in most deverloped nations of the world.
The WHO document of April 1, 2009, can only be published after having asked for expressive authorization. For this authorization, a fee has to be paid. Free distribution may be authorized - on request.
If it is definitely like here described, then the basic obligation of availability of regulation texts would not be fulfilled. But this is only the personal opinion here for the facts described above. Everybody is free to have a different opinion about this.
The text apparently does not include any information requiring to keep it secret. In case of involved security aspects (example: not to increase the risk of biological arms), the general habit to deal with it would be as follows:
A public main text of regulations, as far as they require to be observed by citizens and by organizations;
whereas extended information on some aspects is only distributed under specific conditions.
The WHO is financed by all countries of the world. It is submitted to the rules of institutions of public interest. Their "products" - for example documents - are the property of those who paid - all taxpayers of the world. Why should those who pay, not have the right of free distribution of the documents financed by them, "owned by them"?
Why should binding regulations not be available for free distribution by, for and to everybody concerned? (All citizens of the world are concerned, for example by the obligation to observe specific travel regulations in case of pandemics.)
How to find this document on the Internet?
Here are some lines of the document from April 1, 2009: "This Guidance serves as the core strategic document in a suite of materials. It is supported by a complement of pandemic preparedness materials and tools (Figure 1). These documents and tools provide detailed information on a broad range of specific recommendations and activities, as well as clear guidance on their implementation. The individual elements of the guidance package will be made available as they are finalized."
Enter on Google exactly as follows: "core strategic document in a suite of materials"
All occurences open to Google should now display. As for Mai 14, 2009, there was only 1 single hit on the worldwide Web. But the specified occurence was not any more valid. So the public Internet availibility of this document can be supposed with exactly zero. Disappeared already 6 weeks after it had been created?
Availabilily of a text via Google would be fine but is not. Let us visit the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO), hence who.int ( = who.org ) for our search.
It was not possible to find May 2009 in a rapid manner this key document while it would be the no. 1 subject of public interest in this period. Only the Guidelines for 2004 could be found after some search (format: .pdf).
These search efforts were not intensive enough. To be fair, it has to be stated that the quantity of documents on the site is significant, and this honors the WHO: But there are doubts that the document can be found even when intensifying the search only a bit.
Contradiction: Low document availability, while billion dollar impact
Conclusion: A satisfactory public availability of this key document for pandemic alerts can until now not be confirmed. It can at present not be stated if there is one single current retrieval location for public access (Internet) of this document.
The worldwide impact of this document on world economy and for vaccination markets and for health care is on the billion dollar level.
Has this to be considered as a contradiction? It is left to journalists to deal with this question, to ask WHO for a copy of the document and to try to read and to understand it.
The opinion of the author of this text
(This is based on statements of scientists.)
Relatively recent changes (those of April 1, 2009) in the World Health Organization's influenza pandemic guidelines resulted in some exaggeration of the risks of swine influenca.
So far it has infected fewer people than normal strains of influenza.
Following the avian flu outbreak of 2003, the threshold for pandemic alerts was lowered. The purpose was: People should be better prepared for the case of some really serious outbreak.
On April 1, 2009, the WHO released new guidelines that would "more accurately reflect pandemic risk and the epidemiological situation".
Under the new guidelines, the WHO moves to its second-highest alert level if two countries in a global region reported human-to-human transmission of the disease. It says this is "a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent".
Under current conditions of globalization, this will happen for all influenza types - rapidly, close to instantly. This means a proliferation of "strong signals that a pandemic is imminent".
The problem is: Under these guidelines and definitions,many normal strains of flu would also be "pandemics". We would every year have a lot of pandemics...
This does not take place - for an astonishing reason: Pandemic alerts are not issued for normal influenza strains: Why? Because only new strains, such as swine flu, are classified by the WHO.
Is this an medical risk aspect? Or just a classification and category aspect?
In Mexico, early 2009, most swine influenza infection rates peaked at six to 12 weeks in one location. Based on this and all available statistics, already in early 2009 there was no indication of some exceptionally dangerous pandemic.
Even if only one out of a hundred cases might have been diagnosed in Mexico, the number of cases in Mexico is still less than 0.1 per cent of Mexico's population.
That is far less than typical influenza. For example, it affects between 5 and 20 per cent of the US population each year.
In terms of the death rate, swine flu is just like an ordinary flu. There is nothing fancy about it in terms of its mortality. The initial high mortality rates in Mexico required first a significant reduction, based an virus analysis. In addition, it was generally known that the number of affected persons in Mexico was a multiple of affected persons registered by Mexican health organizations.
On the other hand, the Spanish flu, which killed up to 40 million people, had begun as a very mild form of the disease. It was too early to tell how deadly swine flu was, and there was also a risk it could mutate into a deadlier form. Is this a general risk of all influenza virus types? Or why should it be a specific risk for the swine flu?
Under current regulation, the probability of many alerts for relatively mild influenza types is high. These many alerts might cause confusion.
The main future risk would be: If finally there would be an aggressive disease outbreak, people might not take it seriously.
Opinions : If there would have been no pandemic alert?
Those opposed to vaccination against minor illnesses, might add the following opinions:
All exposure to minor diseases - like the annual flu - add immunity protection against more aggressive disease. It is hence useful to be from time to time exposed to small diseases, in order to be better protected against aggressive diseases.
The Swine Flu would have done what every influenza does: It travels from one country to the next. Everybody knows. In this world, influenza will always spread within weeks over the world. If WHO considers since April 1, 2009, as a major aspect of influenza pandemic definition, there might be several pandemics per year, starting from April 1, 2009..
Up to approximately 15 percent of world population might have been affected. This is what probably anyway will be the case - in spite of the alerts.
Those who were affected will probably develop an improved protection against this type of influenza, protecting them better against possibly more dangerous future variants of this virus.
It is difficult to decide if finally the prevention or the non-prevention are better. We can not know the future of this virus type...
A major problem of lacking alerts would have been that journalists would have lost an occasion to fill world wide printed pages wifh flu information and pandemic information.
Even worse is the situation for politicians. Without the influenza pandemic, the printed press would have been obliged to fill far more pages with financial crisis information.
This involved interest is not conspiracy. It is just the way of event management of modern society. When there are no true problems, then there is always some way to create them artificially, especially if it earns money.
Opinions : Globalization and pandemics.
Mankind in a globalised world has to learn to be exposed to many aggressive pandemics in the 300 years to come. 300 years is an approximation, based on historical empirical data of increased protection by selection (mortality) and improved measures of prevention and medication. - Full protection of all by selection is not required. The mathematical pandemic model is based an several factors. There is no lack of information sources on the Internet related to this.
The significant risk increase by globalization will probably result in a significant death toll - earlier or later, and this probably several times. Finally, by natural selection, the immunity level of world population will probably have increased conforming to the risk increase by globalization.
This is the most probably scenario - surely not something to like.
The WHO function is to try to reduce these risks and these consequendes. It does. We all benefit from this.
The question is only how to optimise the WHO strategy if there is more than one strategy option to choose from.
So and finally, it is not a matter to criticize WHO but to contribute opinions to a subject which by its nature does not have a perfect answer.
The text above adds some key aspects which so far were lacking in the public discussion. The discussion is too superficial and too close to official statements. The basic aspects listed in this document require to be introduced into the public discussion.
Everybody is authorized to publish on this site. (Prior user registration is required.)
Opposed opinions are on this site not only tolerated but wanted. There is no way to know the truth, without having heard opposed opinions.
Rectification suggestions for this text, if any?
to: ok @ vox7.com
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