During a Gazette Online Chat earlier this week, I asked Kanawha County Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta about possible connections between swine flu and factory farming.
Dr. Gupta responded this way:
Doubt it. In fact we have known about Â this virus since 1930. However, we usually detect 1-2 cases per year and had 12 from Dec 2005 to Feb 2008. Pigs routinely get this during the fall season at farms. Somehow this time, the virus has figured out a way to jump from human to human!Â
Later, when I added some additional information and a link to a public radio report on the subject, he added:
You make sense, overcrowding is a concern whether in pigs, chickens or Humans! However, I don’t know the data in this regard.
I thought I would give Sustained Outrage readers some more information, mostly from a few other media outlet reports I’ve read or heard on this subject.
First, there was a great piece on public radio’s Living on Earth called Farming the Flu.Â It featured an interview with Ellen Silbergeld, teaches environmental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She’s studied the connections between factory farming and disease and says that industrial-scale livestock operations are fertile ground for viruses to mutate: