All posts by nedhamson

Activist, writer, researcher, addicted to sharing information and facts.

Mexico: 500 years later, scientists discover what killed the Aztecs

Sin Nombre virus and Andes virus both variations of Hanta get my vote. Same symptoms and could arise from over populations of voles or could have evolved from mice and rats that accompanied Spanish – Hanta is endemic in Europe and Asia which given the right conditions can explode – lots of corn, urban population and lack of local predators for new rodents..


Within five years, 15 million people – 80% of the population – were wiped out in an epidemic named ‘cocoliztli’, meaning pestilence

In 1545 disaster struck Mexico’s Aztec nation when people started coming down with high fevers, headaches and bleeding from the eyes, mouth and nose. Death generally followed in three or four days.

Within five years as many as 15 million people – an estimated 80% of the population – were wiped out in an epidemic the locals named “cocoliztli”. The word means pestilence in the Aztec Nahuatl language. Its cause, however, has been in questioned for nearly 500 years.

Continue reading…

Flake compares Trump to Joseph Stalin, takes anti-Trump message to MSNBC, CNN

jeffflake26247385123*100xx1066-1066-267-U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., will compare U.S. President Donald Trump’s treatment and rhetoric towards the news media to that of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in an upcoming speech.

Flake is a Trump critic and isn’t running for reelection.

The Arizona Republican went on politically left MSNBC and CNN (one of Trump’s biggest media foils) this weekend to promote his upcoming speech.

Flake doesn’t like Trump calling the press the “enemy of the people.”

Trump has used that when calling…

bizj_national?d=yIl2AUoC8zA bizj_national?i=heCh1rVX-W4:YiaYtBtsGiY: bizj_national?i=heCh1rVX-W4:YiaYtBtsGiY: bizj_national?d=qj6IDK7rITs

Donald Trump: ‘I’m not a racist’ – video

Like when Nixon said he was not a crook!

The US president responds to the furore surrounding his recent comments calling Haiti and African countries ‘shitholes’, telling reporters: ‘I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.’ Donald Trump was accused of using the vulgar word during an Oval Office meeting last week with a bipartisan group of six senators. People briefed on the conversation also say that during the meeting the president questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the US

Continue reading…

Erdoğan accuses US of planning to form ‘terror army’ in Syria

Learning from #TraitorTrump how to lie big


‘Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born’, says Turkish president of 30,000-strong force aimed at protecting territory held by Kurds

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has accused the US of forming a “terror army”, after Washington announced plans for a 30,000-strong force inside Syria to protect territory held by its mainly Kurdish allies.

On Sunday, the US-led coalition said it was working with its Syrian militia allies, the mainly Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to set up the new border force. The force would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria along the Euphrates river, which separates most SDF territory from that held by the government. The announcement was one of the few insights into the Trump administration’s longer-term thinking for Syria.

Continue reading…

LeBron James says Donald Trump has allowed racists to operate without fear


  • NBA star uses Martin Luther King Day to attack US president
  • James praises King for contribution to American society

LeBron James has spoken about the corrosive effects of racism – and aimed criticism at Donald Trump – on Martin Luther King Day.

“The state of racism will never die, but what we cannot do is allow it to conquer us as people,” James said before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. “We can’t allow it to divide us. The guy in control has given people and racism … an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear. And that’s the fearful thing for us because it’s with you, and it’s around every day, but he’s allowed people to come out and just feel confident about doing negative things. We can’t allow that to stop us from continuing to be together and preach the right word of living and loving and laughing and things of that nature. Because would we want to live anywhere else? I don’t think so. We love this place.”

Continue reading…

PLoS One: Effectiveness of HPAI H5N1 Vaccination in Poultry – Indonesia

The problem cannot be solved via vaccination – given the diversity and greed in the global market.



With H5N6, H5N8, H5N1 and an array of lesser HPAI H5 viruses continuing to expand globally we’ve seen desperate pleas from some hard hit farmers to allow the use of poultry AI vaccines (see South Africa: DAFF Statement On Vaccines For Avian Flu and USDA Issues 2nd Request for Proposals for HPAI Vaccine)

With the exception of China, Egypt, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, most countries eschew the use of bird flu vaccines, and opt instead for the OIE recommended course of culling and containment.

The reasons run the gamut from fears that poultry vaccines may only mask bird flu – not prevent it – to concerns over selling vaccinated  birds to foreign markets.  Once vaccinated, antibody tests would show positive titres, whether the birds were infected or not.

Reasons why, for more than a decade, the OIE has warned that vaccination of poultry cannot be considered a long-term solution to combating avian flu. And that “Any decision to use vaccination must include an exit strategy, i.e. conditions to be met to stop vaccination. – OIE on H7N9 Poultry Vaccines.

Countries that have gone the vaccine route over the past dozen years haven’t found an easy way to that `exit strategy’ – and while vaccine use may have them spared some economic pain – avian influenza has become increasingly entrenched in their poultry industries. 

The problem is that as avian viruses evolve, poultry vaccines become increasingly less effective; often only masking the symptoms of infection.

As an example, a 2012 study (see Egypt: A Paltry Poultry Vaccine), examined the effectiveness of six commercially available H5 poultry vaccines used in Egypt; only one (based on a locally acquired H5N1 seed virus) actually appeared to offer protection.

Poor vaccine matches can allow AI viruses to spread silently among flocks, to continue to reassort and evolve, and potentially lead to the emergence new subtypes of avian flu. A few earlier blogs on that include:

Subclinical Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus Infection among Vaccinated Chickens, China).

Study: Recombinant H5N2 Avian Influenza Virus Strains In Vaccinated Chickens

EID Journal: Subclinical HPAI In Vaccinated Poultry – China

We’ve a new study, published late last week in PLoS One, that looks at the effectiveness of HPAI H5 vaccination in Indonesia, a country once known as the world’s hot spot for human H5N1 infection, but now (for reasons cloaked in mystery) has fallen off that list. 

Since Indonesia declared bird flu `endemic’ in 2006, they haven’t had to make regular OIE reports – and so like from Egypt – we get relatively little solid reporting on their bird flu struggles in recent years. 

Today’s report, however, paints a less than impressive picture of poultry vaccination effectiveness in Indonesia over the past decade. The authors cite frequent low HI titres in poultry even after three rounds of vaccines, vaccination failures, and warn of silent infections and the generation of new H5N1 antigenic variants. 

While the authors recommend steps they believe would improve Indonesia’s AI vaccine performance, the upshot is that effective poultry vaccination programs have been elusive in Indonesia even after a decade of use, and are far more complex to mount than most people believe.

I’ve only included some of the highlights from a much longer study, follow the link to read the paper in its entirety.

Field effectiveness of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 vaccination in commercial layers in Indonesia 

Simson Tarigan ,Michael Haryadi Wibowo,Risa Indriani,Sumarningsih Sumarningsih, Sidna Artanto, Syafrison Idris,Peter A. Durr, Widya Asmara, Esmaeil Ebrahimie,Mark A. Stevenson,Jagoda Ignjatovic


Although vaccination of poultry for control of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N1 has been practiced during the last decade in several countries, its effectiveness under field conditions remains largely unquantified. Effective HPAI vaccination is however essential in preventing incursions, silent infections and generation of new H5N1 antigenic variants. 

The objective of this study was to asses the level and duration of vaccine induced immunity in commercial layers in Indonesia. Titres of H5N1 haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibodies were followed in individual birds from sixteen flocks, age 18–68 week old (wo).

The study revealed that H5N1 vaccination had highly variable outcome, including vaccination failures, and was largely ineffective in providing long lasting protective immunity.

Flocks were vaccinated with seven different vaccines, administer at various times that could be grouped into three regimes: In regime A, flocks (n = 8) were vaccinated two or three times before 19 wo; in regime B (n = 2), two times before and once after 19 wo; and in regime C (n = 6) three to four times before and two to three times after 19 wo. HI titres in regime C birds were significantly higher during the entire observation period in comparison to titres of regime A or B birds, which also differed significantly from each other. 

The HI titres of individual birds in each flock differed significantly from birds in other flocks, indicating that the effectiveness of field vaccination was highly variable and farm related. Protective HI titres of >4log2, were present in the majority of flocks at 18 wo, declined thereafter at variable rate and only two regime C flocks had protective HI titres at 68 wo. 

Laboratory challenge with HPAIV H5N1 of birds from regime A and C flocks confirmed that protective immunity differed significantly between flocks vaccinated by these two regimes. The study revealed that effectiveness of the currently applied H5N1 vaccination could be improved and measures to achieve this are discussed.



HPAI vaccination, intensively applied in Sector 3 layers in Indonesia, had highly variable outcome, including vaccination failures and did not provide sufficiently long protective immunity in the majority of flocks. Indonesia adopted HPAI vaccination in 2004 with the aim of reducing the incidence of H5N1 infections in poultry, with the ultimate objective of achieving eradication of the virus.

Assessment of field effectiveness of the currently applied H5N1 vaccination was useful in demonstrating that vaccination, as practiced in Sector 3 poultry, could be improved. In particular, we have identified that the most frequently used vaccination regime, consisting of three vaccinations before 19 wo, does not provide sufficiently long lasting immunity and protection of layers with any of the commonly used HPAI vaccines.

Instead, four or five vaccinations, of which two are during the laying period at 26–28 and 40–48 wo, would ensure longer lasting protection and further reduce the risk from exogenously introduced H5N1 infections. Monitoring the level of immunity in vaccinated flocks would help to identify key factors that contribute to inadequate responses to vaccination, short duration of protective immunity and vaccination failures. The timing of re-vaccination could be adjusted according to the flock immunity, ensuring an effective response and longer lasting protective immunity.

(Continue . . . )

Aussie Flu, UK Flu – who cares? Get vaccinated.

Some thoughts from Dr Katherine Arden and myself  about where the flu viruses sweeping the UK came from.

Is it the “Aussie flu”? The short answer is simply “No”. There is an influenza type B virus dominating the UK right now, not an influenza type A virus. It was A (H3N2) viruses which dominated in Aus this past Flu season.

The longer answer (but please do go and read the entire piece!) is that it’s not easy to tell in a heavily travelled world constantly and rapidly producing and moving flu strains around it.

The 2017-18 influenza season has been large all over the world.

“I didn’t get accepted into any of the universities that I…


“I didn’t get accepted into any of the universities that I wanted, and I ended up going to a lesser quality school. I hated being there. On the first day, I thought about buying a plane ticket and going home. I felt like I had nothing in common with the people around me. I felt like they belonged and I didn’t. My plan was just to survive– get through six lectures a day, keep to myself, and get back to my dorm room as soon as possible. I didn’t even talk to my own roommate. I’m ashamed of it now. I was so rude and self-centered, and it ended up making me lonely and miserable. I felt depressed. I was barely sleeping. Then one night I overheard my roommate talking on the phone with her mother. And I could tell she was having family problems. After she hung up, we stayed up all night talking. I told her that I was having a hard time too. She became my best friend after that night. We’d have dinner together. Whenever I left the room, she’d ask me where I was going. It felt so good to have someone worry about me. It’s been an important six months for me. I’ve realized how much I need other people. By not valuing the people around me, I was only hurting myself.”

(Mumbai, India)