21/09/2010

 

 The Myth of Swine & Avian Flu in India

 

Maneka Gandhi

(Bihar Times)Someone has written to me from Orissa “  This is to bring to your knowledge that in Orissa the Swine flu (H1N1) has spread like anything.But in reality the rumors about this disease has put the life of the local pigs in a miserable condition. . The administration has banned the keeping of pigs in the open so they have all been herded in small government enclosures. Most of them are have become sick and died of starvation.”

The government nonsense about swine flu is just that – nonsense. It is part of a much bigger conspiracy – to make money by buying expensive foreign tablets called Tamiflu. First let me tell you about Swine Flu.

Swine influenza is a flu virus called H1N1. The reason it is called Swine Flu is because it spreads from Humans to Pigs – not from Pigs to Humans. There is not a single case of a human being getting swine flu from a pig. But pigs get flu regularly from humans who sneeze and spit round them. 

Flu is flu. The symptoms of Swine Flu or H1N1 are the same as any other flu: chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, coughing, weakness. Influenza spreads between humans when infected people cough or sneeze, then other people breathe in the virus or touch something with the virus on it and touch their own face. The way to prevent spread of the virus is the standard for all flu viruses : frequent washing of hands with soap specially after being out in public; [disinfecting household surfaces;  not touching your face; staying away from other people who might be infected; avoiding large gatherings . You can keep 50 pigs , even pigs with flu in your house and you will not get H1N1. The truth is : The H1NI virus which is mistakenly called swine flu  is not a strain which even exists in pigs.

In 2009 the World Health Organisation declared that Swine Flu would kill millions of people and it was a pandemic, a world epidemic. India’s health minister was very excited – as was the health minister before him because each disease brings the opportunity of buying medicines.

Everything the WHO said was untrue. Swine flu turned out to be a normal flu problem. Exactly one year later, in August 2010 the WHO declared the swine flu pandemic to be officially over. No country except India got it.

The curious thing is that in spite of it not existing anymore , India continues to have hundreds of victims.

Now let me tell you the truth. The last minister Ambumani Ramadoss , in a scandalous waste of health funds , bought hundreds of crores of a medicine called Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate marketed by Roche) to treat another non existent disease called Avian Flu. Again, through total misinformation , the government announced that humans got this flu from chickens. They killed millions of chickens all belonging to poor people. Not a single chicken from a rich man’s poultry was killed. There was not a single case of Avian flu in India – or anywhere else in the world. Finally WHO had no option but to announce that the “ Avian flu pandemic was over.” No one in Parliament except me asked why the government had spent money to buy useless medicines.

This Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has learnt from the tricks of his predecessor . The Health Ministry has bought even more crores of Tamiflu and everyone who goes to hospital with flu is given Tamiflu. Now Tamiflu is not for Avian flu but for Swine Flu

The truth is that H1N1 take a lot of time and money to be diagnosed. The blood and mucus samples have to be taken and it takes over 10 days to deliver the results. So all government hospitals are under orders that everyone coming in with flu like symptoms is not to be tested, They are to be diagnosed with Swine Flu and given Tamiflu tablets.

The truth is :In the last 60 years the Indian government has kept no records of diseases. There is absolutely no data of how many people have died from kidney failure, heart attacks, cancer, Japanese encephalitis or malaria. America has kept records of their sicknesses. And,according to them , over 1.5 lakh people die in America annually of normal flu : mainly the very young and the very old.  Which means that in India , at least 5 lakh people die of normal flu every year – those suffering from malnutrition, exposed to the extreme winter ,HIV positive, cancer ridden,  the old and the babies.

Flu is part of one’s life , like the common cold that comes so many times a year. But with the government putting out mysterious and threatening advertisements on television , many people are now going to hospital with flu in order to find out whether it is swine flu . And in every case they are told it is, and given Tami Flu. So these artificial statistics are mounting up. And the stupid small town administrator who has not bothered to learn anything after passing his government entry exam, immediately decides that it is the fault of the pigs and puts them into pig jails to die. And once they are dead , their meat is sold to poor people so that they can actually die of food poisoning. 

Swine Flu is a normal flu. It has been in the world since 1918 and no one talked of it – until the politicians and the medicine companies and WHO came together in an unholy trinity to invent pandemics of simple problems . Sometimes it is asian flu, chicken flu , then swine flu , then it will be cat flu and horse flu – anything that sells medicines. In 2003 it was SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome)which also disappeared after the companies had sold their medicines.

Swine Flu  is very lucrative for everyone. The Health Ministry officials and politicians buy pills on commission. Scientists get grants to discover a useless vaccine ( withdrawn because it paralyzes and kills) and then they get national awards, companies can sell those useless paper masks to scooterists and cyclists, the municipal sweepers who can collect the pigs every day and then take bribes to let them go again, the media gets shocking news everyday. Everybody is having fun – except the person who gets flu and is told lies and given the wrong medicine.

What is the truth about Tamiflu – the medicine that Health Ministers love to buy ?

First: A study by a group of Singapore doctors  led by Dr Timothy Barkham, a senior consultant in laboratory medicine at Tan Tock Seng Hospital has discovered that flu patients develop resistance to Tamiflu in two days. The research was supported by three Agency of Science, Technology and Research institutes: the Experimental Therapeutics Centre, the Genome Institute of Singapore, and the Bioinformatics Institute. Dr Barkham said: "As with all antimicrobial medicines, we should not give patients anti-viral drugs unless it is really necessary."  But in India , it is the first thing that all the hospitals are giving – because it is a political decision and not a medical one.

Second: Professors of medicine at All India Medical Institute in Delhi have found that children  infected with swine flu virus and given a five-day Tamiflu-regimen, continue to carry the virus in their nasal cavity, capable of infecting others for two more weeks. 

Flu will always exist as long as we live cheek by jowl with each other since it spreads from person to person through proximity and touch. It’s a mild disease if you are otherwise well. Most people do not even go to the doctor. They get into bed. The ones that are already very weak can die of respiratory failure , pneumonia, high fever (leading to neurological problems), dehydration,  electrolyte imbalance. Care should focus on controlling fevers, relieving pain and maintaining fluid balance. According to the government doctors themselves the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs.

Relax: Get a pig as a pet. Put officials into enclosures and starve them instead.

 

To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in

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