Sunday, November 20, 2005

Birdflu Survival Update -5

Birdflu Survival Update -5

Dated 20/11/2005

Disaster Planning

Worst Case Scenario:
Birdflu with a
60% infection rate and a
50% untreated mortality rate .
(= The Black Death Scenario : 30% of the untreated population dies)

Strategy: Improve the chances of a group to have better survival rate .
No absolute immunity is known , or , if known , desirable.

1. Communication and Education.
First , establish a CGA (control of a geographical area) ( by military cordons if necessary ) .

Each and every person in a Controlled Geographical Area ( CGA) must not only know what the pandemic is , but what each must do to maximize their chances of survival . This is essential , as a pandemic is a mass phenomenon and cannot be treated on a small scale.

A local radio station keeping everyone abreast of what is going on is also vital .
An internet center (like an Internet Cafe) in each quarantine area will be essential .
Cellphones , email ,etc .

Fast , personal communication will be the difference between this pandemic and previous plagues .

Openness about survival chances is essential . Rumors and panic can destroy the whole CGA , and secrecy is impossible anyway . Humans are tough . If they know that loved-ones might stand a better chance of survival by their self-sacrifice , they will do it . But they must know it .

Every person must be able to recognize the symptoms and know that quarantine is necessary . But equally important , the people must know that the quarantine is survivable , else people will hide symptoms and flee ( as happened in Black death and Spanish Flu) , spreading the problem for everyone . Hence the triage set out below.

2. Get the infection rate down by triage of vectors . (TOV)
The vectors are humans and birds .

Humans inside the CGA are first triaged on
A Symptom free and no contact with carriers.
B Symptom free and with contact with carriers.
C Has Symptoms .

Do not have more than 3 decision points at any level of triage . (Speed and simplicity is of the essence)
Each level has its treatment and quarantine levels as set by medical officer .
Multiple hierarchical triage decision points (not to exceed 3 decisions per point ) can be set below these in hierarchical order .

Keep families and friends in contact via radio , internet , etc.

ARDS seems to be main killer in H5N1 (like with SARS or 1918 Flu) . This is treatable (Loristan) , so the mortality rate can brought down from 50% to about 5% if the necessary resources can be mobilized . Thus , the probability of survival is not dependant on urban/rural , but planning , organization and mobilization of resources of the particular CGA .

But a really tight quarantine is essential .
A porous series of quarantines will lead to a more lethal bug evolving through the barrier. .

Every newcomer (without exception ) and every resurgent point in the CGA must cycle through the whole triage and quarantine process .

3 Birds and the environment:
It is pointless to quarantine a Controlled Geographical Area (CGA) if migratory birds can contaminate it by droppings , contact with chickens or being eaten by local predators . At present moment , about 25% of migratory birds are carriers of H5N1 . There is some disturbing evidence that Bubonic Plague is carried the same way.
(The concentrations of plague occurrences are sensitive to hot-cold fluctuations according to a newly-released analysis of old USSR data.) A large-scale synergistic bubonic Plague has a reasonably probable expectancy in the case of social breakdown caused by birdflu . Rats!

Sadly , extermination of migratory birds seems to be the answer . Since hunters have been trying this for a long time without success , the best strategy in a CGA would be to deny landing and feeding opportunities. Eg in arid areas , dams can be drained.
All chickens , ducks , etc are to be destroyed . Vulnerable elements of the ecosysytem whereby wild bird flesh can be introduced(eg vultures , eagles , falcons , etc) can be eliminated . Pigs as well , to be on the safe side .

It is essential that contamination of the watersheds and aquifers be prevented .
If these are lost , the planet-wide pool of pathogens could mutate faster than humans can adapt . Extinction .

Further eco-proofing can be attempted by adding biologically active sulfer into the foodchain ( eg sulfer injections used by wool sheep farmers to get curly wool , or MSM used by hide or pelt farmers)

4 Modelling and Decision-making .
Present plans for a putative pandemic are based on large computer-agent models as described in Scientific American and New Scientist.
These are general models . A very good approximation for limited Geographical Areas can be obtained by using off-the-shelf engines like Civilization or Empires .

A basin with borders , water supply and defined trade-routes with neighbors can be defined as an empire . A plague can be introduced . Etc,etc,etc

There is some theoretical evidence that coarsening the factors in non-linear systems can change a problem from uncomputable to computable while keeping a reasonable degree of accuracy (the old principle that , if you have enough problems , they solve each other . But be warned: certain cusps can be hellaciously sensitive . )

5 Some consequences:

a During the pandemic , the more successful CGA’s will be under severe volkewanderung pressure . Tough times .

b Initially , the global trade system will collapse . Decreased population leads to decreased demand . Highly automated production systems are little affected . Massive deflation results . The cost of labour (especially in the highest mortality low-skilled labour brackets ) rockets (like in Black death) .

Nation-States collapse , as they are perceived as not keeping the intrinsic contract of protection and not starving their people regardless of the level of taxation. It is a massive tax-revolt .
It is analogous to the anti-church movement that swept Europe after the Black Death . The Church did not keep it’s part of the bargain and the populace voted with their feet(and pockets) . In general , surviving people all over will feel very , very pissed-off and betrayed .

Betrayed by Science , Church and Leaders . A deep revulsion against anything Big , Scientific or For Your Own Good . Small-scale warfare will become endemic , with the present trend to condottieri accellerating sharply .

There is an actual non-linearity here .

There is a also a critical threshold here : A large number of smaller states will not be forced back into a large state . Nuclear weapons forbid it . Neither can economic warfare force a population below subsistence levels in small hi-tech states . The world then moves to a new stable state of small nations serviced by developments of NGO’s and Multi-Nationals . Nation states like the USA , EU ,China go the way of the USSR .
This is an irreversible change .

The transition.
How bad will it be? It depends on the leadership .
The natural tendency would be for fragmentation on the lines of the pandemic’s CGA’s .

The critical areas will be the food-producing plains : American Mid-West , Ukraine and the oil and gas regions. The surviving groups will jockey for control of the trade of these areas .

As can be seen from the argument above , the actual mortality of infected individuals depends on their treatment , which in turn depends on the resources mobilized .

The USA will probably fragment in three : the Mid-West is the only part that still has anything to sell (food) . The East and West-coast have frittered away their built-up capital and neglected their education , while building up their armed forces . A protracted civil-war , with decreasing foreign adventures seems to be probable .

The EU will completely fragment . The collapse might even go to mid-1700 levels .
The whole world reverts to about 1750 as far as political systems goes . Wipe out the disasterous World Wars of Napoleon , Kaiser , Hitler , Stalin , Reagan .

China spins back to protracted civil wars of maneuver , as it has very cleverly reduced its population to the point where it is vulnerable to a sudden plague .

The Japanese find out why communal baths nearly destroyed all humans in the west .

Islam finds out why eating with your fingers out of communal bowl is a really bad idea if you are poor and birdflu prowls around .

Africans find out that genetic diversity means that you have so many more receptor sites for co-evolved diseases .



No comments: