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25 July 2009


1. Now that you earthlings seem to have given up the fight against H1N1, some temporary and permanent changes to the way we live, work and do business seem necessary :

a. develop a cheap and effective vaccine so that enough at-risk people can be vaccinated
b. H1N1 can either be regarded like dengue fever etc, which is sometimes fatal, or like the fearsome SARS which is more fatal
c. H1N1 may be between the 2, that is, between dengue which we don't do much about, and SARS, which causes too much economic and social losses for society to accept
d. H1N1 is probably here to stay like dengue and there may be more of such unfightable flus, H1N1 v. 2.0, etc, coming along, given earthlings' now greatly increased travel, overcrowding, and the increased and enhanced abilities of bugs to mutate and develop into threatening forms

2. What then are possible solutions, given that solutions must be cheap, reasonably effective, easy to implement, for universal application in rich and poor countries and areas alike?

3. Probably the first of these would be a powerful liquid or gas bactericide sprayed from a cheap, simple sprayer. Such are probably already available so it is a simple implementation measure to ensure that all walls and floors, and preferably ceilings, doors and door handles, too, are sprayed regularly to kill any bugs that may be floating in the air or touched by infected persons who may have transferred their bugs onto their hands. Thus, doors and especially door handles must be sprayed. Long-term, you may want to design doors and door handles to be opened with the foot, which is not difficult, so get your designers and inventors going. If the bactericide for all the walls, etc, is long-lasting, you'd only need to spray once in a long while, preferably no more than once a month in high-risk areas like hospitals.

4. In almost every office or govt counter where counter staff have to interact with the public, it is unfair to subject them to exposure to an unregulated public that may not be as diligent or conscientious in keeping hygienic enough not to pass on flus and bugs they may have, so glass barriers are needed to prevent direct droplets of bug-laden coughing to infect the counter staff. These glass screens should also, like the walls, floor and ceiling, and especially doors and door handles, be sprayed with the bactericide -- both sides, in case it is the counter staff that have the flus, not the public. This is good for psychological reassurance and reduces resignation or not taking jobs as counter staff when epidemics break out.

5. For poorer countries and areas which cannot define, print and publicise tenders, and pay the successful contractor to construct such glass screens, you can use thin strips of cheap, clear plastic sheets sprayed with bactericide or better still, impregnated with the bactericide at the factory. These strips work like flypaper, but will be clear and transparent for glass-like maximum visibility, and, depending on the seriousness of the risk of infection, either overlap each other to form a continuous barrier, or form spaced-out or gapped type barrier with 2 or more barrier screens one behind the other like this _-_-_-_-_-_, or even be spaced slightly apart in a single barrier screen to give a non-barrier feel or effect. This last method of spacing or gaps will let through some germs but this may be OK depending on the estimated risk. Balance between looks and appearance and the risk of infection. These bugstrips, like flypaper, will be suspended from the ceiling onto the counter or even to the floor depending on need. To fix, you can even simply tape the plastic strips to the ceiling. Some light designs are possible on the strips, unlike with glass, which is harder to print onto. So it is possible to have bright, pleasant designs on the bugstrips. You can have these bright designs [changing to festive designs and motifs for Chinese New Year, for example] pre-printed at the factory or print designs yourself on standard plastic sheets on an ordinary inkjet printer and then scissored and fixed, glued or taped onto the bugstrips. However, this will cover any bactericide already impregnated into the bugstrip at the factory so must be sprayed again. Since the bugstrips will hang from the ceiling while the maximum visibility need only be around the eye level over the counter, there is ample space to print [and affix] any custom designs or letterings you may print on an inkjet printer. For a neater look, you can manufacture a bugstrip holder that is about 50cm to about 100cm, easily cut with a knife or small saw to length, bendable into curved or straight lines to fit around the counter for best looks. This bugstrip holder will be easily screwed or fixed to the ceiling or ceiling boards and allow quick and easy clip-on changes of the bugstrips, like for festive occasions or when torn and tattered. Each bugstrip can be about 5cm to 20cm wide and as thin as possible for maximum clarity but thick enough to hang down nicely, and to be made of the clearest plastic. If you choose a very thin plastic, you could weigh down the bottom with some decorative weights.

6. If a place is in heavy danger of bugs, such as hospitals and some clinics, these bugstrips may even be hung all over a room or corridor or walkway. You would have to estimate how much surface area you want [coated with bug-killing bactericide] for how much risk of bugs floating in the air. This could require people to walk into and brush past such strips, if these are hung below their face/head. Not very elegant but possible.

7. H1N1 is not easily detectable by human-temperature scanning since, I believe, it takes some time for the temperature to rise and an infected person could already be spreading the germs before any detectable temperature rise. But there are no easier way to detect fevers except through temperature rise, so this must continue to be one of the main solutions. However, until such thermal scanners can be cheap enough and tiny enough to incorporate into such as cellphones, as one forumer suggested, the most practical way could be for all or most of the cctvs, which are always located in public places, to incorporate such thermal scanners, with an automated alarm system to trigger a highlighted recording for playback later, any person who came into view in the scanner and found to have a high temperature. The alarm, if noted in realtime by such as security officer, police, or even residents in a block since some cctvs display their feeds into the tv sets of residents in a block, could lead to further actions to determine if the scanned person is infectious.

8. Almost all pcs have a webcam nowadays and pcs are ideal for processing information, including from a thermal scanner built into the webcam, which may be included quite cheaply, with the corresponding appropriate software or application. If pc webcams are used, then, given the ease and quickness with which digital processes are done, almost every pc webcam user can be required to turn it on, scan themselves, and the result, daily or so, can be easily captured in a database for managers to note and act on if necessary. Many pc users will not hassle to take thermometer readings of themselves but will quite happily switch on an app on their pc especially if that app is fun, entertaining or required by their office manager. With laptop webcams fitted with thermal scanners, every laptop becomes a thermal scanner or fever detector, so can be taken to any function or gathering or a classroom or kindergarten and everybody scanned. A gps chip now costs only US$5 so if the thermal chip is incorporated into every laptop and pc, its price could be as low. Software to go with the thermal chip could be open source and free.

9. Now we come to the regulation of infected people. In Hongkong, people who have a cough do wear medical masks to protect others. This should be encouraged with public campaigns, then maybe also made compulsory. In short, anyone with a cough should/must wear a medical mask. This means that all crowded public places should have individually-sealed masks available free. People should take one only if they put it on and not take them away for sale or others to use. On buses and metro trains, there should be such masks available and public opinion should encourage any cougher to take one and put it on. Make coughing in public as obnoxious as smoking in public. There are many similarities and thus amenable to similar public campaigns. However, I suggest that such masks also be impregnated with bactericide at the factory, to kill the germs at source. Otherwise, when such masks are thrown away, usually into rubbish bins, they are a biological hazard to cleaners who clear the rubbish bins or even to people who breathe near the [open design] bins because masks coughed into may release their germs, either right from the moment they are thrown away, or when the coughed up droplets dry up thus releasing the germs to float into the air. Any such bactericide should be non-irritating to the face areas covered, such as the mouth and nose.

10. Finally, keeping the hands clean is important. This means that handwashing taps, sinks and basins should be everywhere, especially at eating places. Wet tissues impregnated with bactericide in handy packs should be encouraged to be on sale everywhere so that everyone would carry a pack and wet-wipe their hands as often as desired. Shops, supermarkets and vending machines should make these widely available. However, every pack of such bactericide tissues should carry warnings whether they can be used to wipe eyes, nose, mouth and other sensitive parts.

11. The above are mostly passive measures. For a slightly more active measure, you could develop cheap and simple Air Cleaning Machines. These machines would look much like one of the currently available rollable or portable aircon machines that are simply rolled to any part of the room near a window, and it would suck in air, cool it and pump it back into the room while expelling the hot air though a plastic flexible hose of about 5cm diameter out the window. In our case, the Air Cleaning Machine would simply suck in air from a room, pass the air through a bactericide solution, thereby killing all the germs, then expel the cleaned air back into the room -- even warm or cool the expelled air depending on whether heating or cooling is needed for the room. You would need several of these machines for a big room. Somewhat like this idea here : .

12. In para 10a of this essay [ ], I have discussed thermal imaging of passengers aboard a plane. This still holds good, I believe. Airlines may also want to consider using some Air Cleaning Machines aboard their planes, preferably built into the airconditioning system, if they do not want to reduce the amount of recycled air, which is about 50% for most airplanes. If a liquid bactericide solution is impractical, as would be the case in airplanes, HEPA filters can be used. These filter out almost 100% of airborne particles. Here, costs and practicality would determine which is used. You could also impregnate HEPA filters with bactericide to help kill germs.

13. Finally, here is a general idea not only for H1N1 but all epidemic diseases that may come along in future, which is a certainty. If the new epidemic causes too many fatalities to ignore, then, once recognised as a new strain of dangerous epidemic,

a. complete a detailed questionnaire for each and every infected patient, ESPECIALLY NOTING WHAT ILLNESSES HE/SHE HAD SUFFERED IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS OR UP TO SAY, A YEAR
b. forward this questionnaire, which should preferably be fairly standardised, to a central database, such as that of the World Health Org of the UN, which would then make all the data totally accessible to all countries' medical orgs who want to query the database and preferably continually updated and put on the internet
d. note that there is an illogic here because we should be looking, not just for any previous illness that confers some protection but that people who are thus protected MAY NOT EVEN CATCH THE EPIDEMIC IN THE FIRST PLACE AND THEREFORE WILL REMAIN UNKNOWN AND WILL NOT BE FILLING OUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE. I do not know how unsick people can be asked to fill out such a questionnaire or be examined by doctors for their immunity, so I will just give up and let you people think of a solution to this illogic
e. suppose from the database, we discover that most of those who had suffered from Illness A in the past few months suffer less fatality than those who did not, then we have a basis for another solution
f. which is to deliberately infect at-risk people with Illness A so that if they catch the current epidemic, they will not die
g. this is actually the purpose of developing a vaccine for the current epidemic but vaccines take a huge effort in time and money to develop, and costs even more to inject enough people because vaccination needs expensive manufacturing of the vaccine, plus the medical facilities and staff to inject people in costly and troublesome mass exercises
h. so I propose a far more radical idea, which is to cultivate the germs of Illness A and spread it to the wider population as a cheap, effective and convenient method of 'vaccination'
i. this presumes that the Illness A is so mild that nobody, even vulnerable young or old, will die or be very sick from it
j. however, lawsuits and moral outrage could still ensue if even a few die from Illness A, so it is better to infect only those who want to be infected, in a controlled room filled with Illness A germs, which participants can simply walk through, through airtight double entry and double exit doors to keep the germs in and from escaping out. This will be cheap and easy. A participant would get a letter from his GP doctor, go to one of these centralised Infection Rooms, and simply walk through

14. Para 13d above is so important I must stress it again here. The key to fighting a new epidemic is not to study the sick but those who are unaffected even in an already-infected community, preferably with the epidemic still raging strongly. It is hard to study people who are not sick because they have no reason to present themselves for examination but they are precisely the key to why the epidemic failed to sicken them. If health authorities can devise a way to haul in large numbers of these unsick people who are likely to have been exposed to the epidemic yet remained healthy, we could find the key to defeat the epidemic, or ways to stay healthy even in the face of epidemics, that is, what are their common characteristics -- diet, exercise, lifestyle, etc?

15. On the other hand, after having surveyed large numbers of unsick people, if and when some of these do fall sick to the epidemic, it is possible that their recent past medical history may point to common characteristics THAT MADE THEM MORE VULNERABLE TO THE EPIDEMIC. This is as important as discovering what common characteristics they have for NOT falling sick. Thus, in both ways, we can better fight epidemics. Since we are going to see more and more epidemics, this surveying of large numbers of unsick people must become a standard procedure in fighting epidemics.

16. So, earthlings, some changes are needed because H1N1 and its cousins are here to stay. With these measures and a diligent public health regime, hopefully, as few people will be sickened or killed as say, dengue or some other diseases we have all learned to live with. Amen.


Idea: SOLVING BIRD FLU [late Jan 2011]

1. Quite recently, I was doing some 'solo crowdsourcing', meaning not that I went around asking many to contribute their ideas, etc, but simply googling. I googled Avian Flu and soon saw a map of avian flu outbreaks that, in addition to some Middle East or northern Africa outbreak spots, were mostly, in direction and coverage, what I thought looked suspiciously like the Northeast and Southwest monsoon area I live in.

2. This is confirmed today when I read this para:
"In 1997 an H5N1 virus surfaced in Southeast Asia, traditionally thought of as the epicenter of new flu viruses. The initial outbreak, in Hong Kong, was contained after the city ordered a cull of all poultry within its territory. By late 2003, however, the virus had returned and was rampaging through poultry flocks in China, Vietnam and Thailand and later beyond. Untold millions of birds have died from infection or been culled to stop its spread, and more than 300 people have died."

3. A bit more googling found me a more accurate Avian Flu outbreaks map, which I put on the internet as: . If you look at the map, the areas with the most red dots stretch from China-Japan-Korea down to Indonesia, that is, the exact path of the NE and SW monsoons. Not coincidentally, South Korea and Japan are now currently experiencing the most outbreaks, as indicated in the map, which by default, shows the most recent 100 KNOWN outbreaks, as stated in the preface to the map:
"Avian Influenza Map:
The NWHC Avian Influenza Map shows highly pathogenic (HPAI) low and low pathogenic (LPAI) avian influenza events from around the world and when possible links to more information about the event. By default the map shows the 100 most recent events. Each event or point is listed below the controls by date, clicking on a point in the sidebar will show the point on the map. View Instructions"

4. A bit more googling revealed more about the monsoon coverage areas and some facts, from this webpage: . It is important that you read this entire webpage because I will use several facts from it.

5. The monsoons indeed originate from pressure systems in the landmass of Siberia pushing southwest all the way down to Indonesia, and even a bit to Australia. This happens in winter due to the cooling of the Asiatic landmass covering Siberia, China, etc, creating winds blowing southwest down to Indonesia, in early Nov to early Mar. In summer, the reverse happens, so the winds blow from Indonesia, etc, to China, in May to Sep.

6. Since the winds can reach up to 40 knots, IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT BIRDS WILL NOT FLY AGAINST THE WINDS, THAT IS, THEY WILL MIGRATE WITH THE WINDS [another theory? That birds migrate along strong prevailing winds?]. Additional logic says that birds migrate to warmer climes in winter, that is, with the Northeast Monsoon, that is, from wintry Siberia-China, etc, down to the tropical Indonesian islands, in the winter months of early Nov to early Mar, thereby flying from say, Siberia to Indonesia. And reverse in summer.

7. If this theory is right, which is that avian flu mostly happens along the monsoon path, we need to ask why. For example, do these monsoonal paths determine RIGIDLY the spread of known and reported avian flu? We know many species of birds fly all over the world, even to Europe and North America, but the indications seem to suggest bigger concentrations along the monsoon paths, in fact, more than that, from my skimpy research and evidence, it seems to bunch up at the ENDS of the monsoon paths, that is, at one end in Siberia-China and the other in Indonesia.

8. If so, this suggests that the reservoir of avian flu viruses are at the ENDS, that is, Siberia-China and Indonesia. Are there reports of say, big groups of birds found dead in Siberia-China or Indonesia and tested as being dead from avian flu/s? Where are the bird populations usually living in Siberia-China and Indonesia -- presumably, these bird species find it unconducive to live in areas in between because these are so dense with human populations -- so we are looking for huge flocks of bird lifes, not small flocks that can well live among men. Huge flocks probably also allow many avian flu viruses to stay alive from generation to generation undetected and there are indeed, strains of avian flu that have reappeared after being absent for decades. If there are huge numbers of birds living close together, this explains why some flus that kill off their bird hosts nevertheless can continue to survive and passed on from bird to bird [before the infected bird dies], and from generation to generation. Are there ways to test birds at both these ENDS to see if indeed, they are the reservoirs of avian flu viruses that find it congenial to stay alive and even mutate into various other mutations? Which species of birds seem to be most receptive to these flu viruses? Indonesia is tropical while Siberia-China is temperate. Which is more likely to be the reservoir breeding grounds? The islands of Indonesia are many while the area of Siberia-China is huge, but can satellite tracking be used, now that we may have narrowed down to a reasonably worthwhile research area, to locate the major nesting grounds of birds and so locate the main reservoirs of avian flu viruses?

9. If I have to choose between Siberia-China and Indonesia, I will choose Siberia, because from my first research, I read that some migratory species of birds do fly from Siberia west to Europe and we know Europe has had avian flu outbreaks, too. Thus, Siberia is the likely location of the huge flocks of birds that also house the huge reservoirs of avian flu viruses, some dating from decades back and even thought extinct. Siberia is also uninhabited, and so, ideal for huge flocks of birds to live undisturbed. Indonesia is comprised of 17,508 islands in a tropical climate and birds probably do not migrate from such tropical abundance to Europe. Also, there are no prevailing winds that may help bird migration from Indonesia to Europe, so this again points to Siberia as the origin, not Indonesia. As soon as possible, can someone or some agency do satellite imagery photos of Siberia bird sanctuaries followed by virus-testing sampling of these birds? With a view to either culling all those flocks likely to host the dreaded viruses or some other methods.

10. A good website to start this Avian Flu Containment Project is:

In the above website are details of the more famous or known bird nesting sites in Siberia. We are looking for bird nesting sites that are home to MANY THOUSANDS of birds, this being the most probable reservoir for avian flu viruses. If samples do indeed prove that many of the birds in these Siberian nesting grounds test positive for avian flu viruses, then some containment methods include:

a. breaking all the eggs thus culling entire flocks after one generation [this may not work if the birds lay eggs in Indonesia and not Siberia]
b. taking away all the eggs after accurately labelling each, by species, area taken from, etc, and only incubating those found to be virus-free [when samples from this group test negative]
c. destroying the birds' habitats so they cannot gather in huge numbers thereby allowing viruses to freely pass from bird to bird. This assumes that when the birds congregate in smaller groups, they are less likely to become hosts to viruses. Thus, this breaking up of huge flocks into small flocks can be a good containment strategy. Destroying these big bird habitats can be done easily using bombs or missiles or simply bulldozers. This will not wipe out the birds, only force them into small groups which, hopefully, are unconducive to passing viruses to each other, and down to new generations.
d. poisoning the waters
e. capturing and culling the birds. There is no need to fear the extinction of any species because birds, like all lifeforms, can continue their species even if 90% of them are culled. Life is tenacious and will continue, and since birds live naturally, have evolved to survive naturally, so culling even 90% will not extinct them. Thus, by destroying their big bird habitats, thereby forcing them into small flocks, there is less likelihood of them being hosts to viruses. This breaking up of big flocks into small flocks will probably have to done regularly, since a one-time bombing, etc, will not prevent them from regrouping. This idea is probably proven when we look at bird species that live in cities or among Man. These small flocks usually do not host viruses -- I may be wrong, so please check this assumption.

11. In Siberia, we are looking for bird nesting grounds, almost certainly with water nearby, that are home to many thousands of birds. Since birds do not have big lungs and probably do not cough even when infected with avian flu, respiratory spreading from bird to bird is unlikely. Droppings and water are therefore the main means of infection from bird to bird. Avian flu can survive 32 days in water and 3 months in bird droppings in low temperatures. Thus, in a flock of many thousands of birds, near water, these 2 methods ensure a continuous cycle of infection and cross infections. With these in mind, it is critical that we break up these huge flocks into small flocks, to reduce such cross-infections by water, and bird droppings. FARMERS WHO USE NETS TO PREVENT CONTACT FROM WILD BIRDS THAT MAY BE INFECTED WITH AVIAN FLU NEED TO REMEMBER THESE 2 METHODS OF INFECTION THAT MAY GET THROUGH TO THEIR CHICKENS AND DUCKS, etc.

11 Assumptions in Avian Flu Solution

Assumption 1: The NE and SW monsoons blow from Siberia-Indonesia and vv. The start and end points are important
Assumption 2: That migratory birds fly WITH the monsoon winds and not AGAINST
Assumption 3: That monsoon winds blow fairly continuously, fairly strongly and in the same prevailing direction thus giving migratory birds no choice but to fly WITH these monsoons
Assumption 4: That birds migrate mostly from the cold northern hemisphere to the warmer tropical regions and not vv
Assumption 5: That the various avian flus survive and even mutate in reservoirs and not in small flocks, or individual birds
Assumption 6: That these reservoirs are in huge flocks of many thousands of birds congregating densely in certain areas, and not in small flocks
Assumption 7: That these reservoirs are in Siberia and northern China rather than Indonesia or lands in between
Assumption 8: That small flocks of say, hundreds of birds, do not form a suitable reservoir and thus unlikely to perpetuate and allow for the mutation and recombining of avian flu viruses
Assumption 9: That small flocks living in cities or among Man thus do not pose any flu dangers to Man or his livestocks, because small flocks are not good reservoirs
Assumption 10: That the non-migratory birds do not pose a danger because they don't spread the viruses all over, although they may carry the viruses and can spread to other birds
Assumption 11: That Assumption 8 is correct and that a strategy of breaking huge flocks of many thousands of birds, if proven to be reservoirs, into small flocks of hundreds of birds, WILL NOT MAKE THINGS WORSE BY SPREADING THESE SMALL FLOCKS OVER GREATER AREAS AND THUS POTENTIALLY SPREADING ANY VIRUSES THEY CARRY OVER EVEN GREATER AREAS.

12. Further to para 10a, which is on destroying birds' eggs, it is much easier to capture and breed hundreds of snakes. Snakes do eat birds' eggs when they find them, and they are skilled in finding them. So, after you have hundreds of snakes, train them a bit by feeding them intact birds' eggs, then use a helicopter to deposit the snakes at the nesting sites of the the huge birds flocks, thereby eating up many of the eggs. You will have to repeat this because most of the snakes will eventually be killed and eaten by the thousands of birds. This assumes that the huge nesting sites in Siberia and northern China are the reservoirs of flu viruses and not spread out over 17,508 islands in Indonesia.

13. If you want the snakes to continue eating the birds eggs for a very long time, then have both male and female snakes [of the same specie] so they continue breeding more snakes to eat up more eggs. If you only want a one-time egg-eating operation, then have all-male snakes or all-female snakes, so they will die out after some time. You can also have all-male snakes at first, then introduce a calculated number of females snakes to breed with the males, if you find that the birds are producing more eggs all the time even after the snakes have been introduced into their nesting grounds. It is better to use non-poisonous snakes because humans may need to go into the birds nesting grounds for research.


Ideas: CURBING FOOT & MOUTH DISEASES [late Jan 2011]

1. In solving avian flu, I probably found the magic bullet in that I deduced that Siberia and/or northern China are the source of the reservoir incubating and mutating flu viruses; and that breaking up this reservoir residing in thousands of birds, into small flocks, will eliminate infections. For Foot & Mouth Diseases [FMD], I did not find a magic bullet, so will use many small buckshots.

2. FMD is highly contagious and although of little danger to Man, causes thousands of animals to be culled in each outbreak thereby costing huge financial and economic losses. [A beef cattle weighs 400-1,200 pounds thereby costing US$400-1,200]. Viruses in droplets can survive several hours and can be blown by winds some 250km over water but shorter distances over land. Worse, viruses can survive >2.5 years in carrier cattle showing little or no symptoms; 1 year in premises and hides; 2 months in carrier deer; 15 weeks on wood, hay, straw; 10-12 weeks on feed or clothing; 8 weeks in skin fragments in winter; 4 weeks on hair and soil particles.

3. Since the virus is insensitive to cold but dies from heat, a first strategy can be to remove all animals and humans from the barns or animal stalls and irradiate the entire premises with ultra-violet light, the switch for this UV light being located on the outside of the barn/animal premises for safety to humans. The advantages of UV germicidal irradiation is that it will kill viruses easily and conveniently, whether these viruses are in the air [like in droplets], or on barn surfaces, and do it quickly and comprehensively without leaving many surfaces untreated -- and even disinfect the surfaces of irregular items like hay, straw, etc. Germicidal lamps are already widely sold and cost as little as US$100. Vets and experts can advise farmers on how often to use these UV sterilisations and this may vary depending on the level of infection risks in the country, province, district -- or even neighbouring farms, which are a direct threat. If needed only infrequently, several farmers may share a germicidal lamp. Or a farmer may lend his lamp for a small fee. Or a travelling vet may offer a disinfectant service using such a lamp, moving from farm to farm. He will likely be able to operate it best and can even be a govt service for farmers.

4. For the animals moved out from the barn, the usual spray germicides using acids or alkalis can be sprayed on their hides and limbs, even feet, then washed off with water. Acids can be 0.2% citric acid solution while alkali can be 4% sodium carbonate. Iodophore disinfectants containing acid can also be used, as can formaldehyde. Do not mix acid with alkali because they neutralise each other so become ineffective.

5. Farmer education is important so booklets, posters, and DVDs should be made carrying text, audio and visual instructions to farmers on how to keep their herds healthy. These instructions and information should also be put on the internet and farmers informed of these internet pages and what they contain, through regular reminders by post and SMS. This means that farmers' email addresses and cellphone numbers must be collected, which is useful in emergencies and outbreaks of diseases, when an SMS can quickly alert farmers and inform them what to do. Mass or broadcast SMS messages are quick, cheap and easy to send out.

6. Farmers who have access to the internet should also be encouraged to take part in Farmers' Forums, so they can communicate with each other and tell each other tips and information, as well as any outbreaks of diseases or any happenings and symptoms they don't understand. They will be more likely to participate if some govt vets and experts also participate, to answer questions from forum participants. An FAQ can be set up quickly as ready answers to Frequently Asked Questions. The govt vets and experts on the Forums can give answers and information but a HotLine that is manned 24/7 should also be set up for farmers to get instant responses to any emergencies.

7. There will be times when a farmer suspects that an animal/s may be infected, when he notices some symptoms. These suspect animals should be immediately quarantined. A cheap and easy way is to buy used ship containers which come in 20 foot or 40 foot sizes. A used container with simple modifications for the farmer, costs about US$1,200. Thus, the farmer locks these suspect animals in the container, which should be almost airtight to prevent viruses from escaping outside. UV lamps may be used here, too. An alternative is to use air purifiers that can kill germs, costing about US$160 [also using UV radiation].

8. Test kits for FMD have been developed but probably none so easy that farmers can do it themselves. This should be a goal for scientists nevertheless. Infected cattle and pigs excrete huge amounts of the FMD virus and also breathe out big amounts of it in aerosol or droplet form. So a probable goal of a Farmer DIY Kit would target faecal sample and swabs taken from the animal's mouth. If a DIY kit is available, farmers can be trained to do regular health checks on their animals. Currently, the most obvious symptom is when an animal starts limping or goes lame. Farmers must be constantly reminded that an animal/s with this symptom must be immediately isolated in the container.

9. This isolation strategy should be enlarged to neighbouring farms. Upon any farm reporting or confirming an infection, all neighbouring farms within a specified and predetermined radius must be isolated, with all people and vehicle movements in and out controlled and sterilised. This is currently being done, using sprays of germicides on vehicles entering or leaving isolation zones. It would be good to have pre-prepared signs that can be quickly placed on roads and paths leading into such Isolation Zones. Each sign will clearly state the suspected infections, in this case, FMD, with the cellphone numbers of at least 2 people in each of the isolated farms, for the visitor to call or SMS. These signs will be lit at night for better visibility and readability. The signs may be colour coded for different levels of seriousness. Thus, they will need to be updated when the threat level rises or drops. These signs can avoid unnecessary visits.

10. These Isolation Zones comprising of several farms within a specified radius will be set up only in emergencies. You may want to consider making them permanent Zones or Cells. Meaning that you would group a number of farms into a Cell, then re-make the roads and paths for easier control of, and to limit access by humans, animals or vehicles, into each Cell. This permanent measure will result in some inconvenience but will be a permanent control over paths and roads, even grazing walkways for animals. You may want to build fences or even walls to delineate each Cell. This permanent measure will help to permanently control all entry and exits by humans, animals or vehicles. Almost like a high-security place.

11. If such Cells are made, then it is possible to make such Cells self-contained, each with its own abattoirs and meat processing factory, so that animal, human and vehicle movements are reduced even further. If the Cells are big enough, and contain enough animals, this may be feasible. Thus, instead of driving the animals all over the country, movements of animals, their farmers and vehicles, will be reduced. With each Cell self-contained, infections are also reduced.

12. For tracking, record-keeping and forensics when infections occur, it may be good to have Animal Passports. This will be a thumbdrive or flash drive of 2 Gigabytes, with a tight cap so that no dirt or water can get into the drive. This drive will be dangled from an unbreakable string through a small hole in the ear of the animal [no more painful than a woman's ear-rings piercing but same precautions when piercing, namely swab with an antiseptic first and after piercing]. Farmers currently also ear-tag their animals, so this merely adds a flash drive onto the usual ear tag.

13. With a flash drive on the ear, [rather than around the neck where the drive will be subject to the animal's feeding, drinking, rolling in the mud, etc], the farmer can use his cellphone to load photos, texts, even scanned images, videos, etc, into the drive. This allows him to take photos or videos of the animal with his cellphone, then use a wire to connect his cellphone [probably micro-usb or mini-usb] to the flash drive [full usb] and transfer the photos into the drive. He can also type in notes and records into his cellphone and transfer these into the drive. Thus, he can record everything he wants, from photos at different ages of the animal, to records of the animal's movements such as being driven to a vet for tests or treatments, etc. He can even record the licence plate numbers of all the trucks used to carry the animal. Or any symptoms the animal may display, and the vet's report, etc. These vet reports can all be scanned and transferred into the drive. Thus, it can be a complete record. As complete as the farmer feels like recording. If the app for creating text and image files and transferring into the flash drive is not available, it can easily and quickly be made and downloaded into the farmer's smartphone. Reminder: make the usb plug in and out hot-swappable so the farmer can simply plug and unplug. Thus, on each animal is his entire life history, as complete as the farmer wants. If an animal is infected, his record will help forensics to find out how and where it likely got infected. And when the animal is sold or exported, the buyer can easily read the animal's entire record on HIS cellphone or a pc, using Google Translate if necessary. Since these are digital records, they can be backed up on the farmer's cellphone or pc.

14. Since FMD is so contagious, when an animal dies or is culled, it should be sealed in a body bag, to reduce spread of viruses. These body bags should be made cheap and easily available, to fit different animal sizes. Each body bag may need a wooden pole to help lever the body into the bag before zipping or sealing.

15. If the Cell idea is implemented, then, as part of being as self-sufficient as possible, a small lab with qualified personnel can also be part of the abattoir or meat processing factory. This personnel will do cheap or subsidised tests for FMD [no need for subsidy for other tests, since FMD is the main risk for causing big financial and economic losses].

16. Different countries and govts probably have different policies regarding FMD financial losses. If farmers need insurance against losses due to FMD, then insurance should be given them, from the govt if necessary. The payout should not be too high in case this discourages farmers from trying harder to reduce risks of infection.

17. Govts may want to consider mandatory check ups for animals, with fines for non-compliance. This is because FMD is not just a single-farm disaster but usually a district- or province-wide catastrophe, so may be treated like a Communicable Diseases Act for humans.

18. Govts may want to consider banning imports of live animals and allow only imports of processed meats. This may mean stricter border checks, surveillance and controls to reduce animal smugglings.

19. If imports of live animals are necessary, then perhaps limiting the imports to a few allowed countries will make for easier control. However, if one or more of these allowed countries suddenly suffer FMD infections, switching to other countries may then be harder, meaning that there should always be a B List of alternative countries in addition to the A List. All these A and B List countries should be monitored for any sign of infections. Bull semen and other fluids or parts should also be screened for infections before being released to farmers. Good Luck!

20. Further to para 6 on the Farmers' Forums, the forum webpage design should allow for members to upload photos and even videos, in addition to discussions in text form. Thus, a farmer who notices a growth or symptom or unusual physical feature on his animal can take a photo of the growth and upload it together with his comment. Other farmers or vets experts can then identify from the photo what the animal is suffering from. This is cheap and easy and allows farmers to learn from each other as well as from the vets or experts. If photos are not clear enough, a short video clip of the animal say, limping, can be uploaded for other farmers or the vets to identify what the symptom means.

21. Further to paras 12 and 13 on Animal Passports, which are just digital diaries of the animals, it is possible to make this idea even more useful as a database, with all the possibilities that databases offer, such as mining the database for informations and trends. Even though we cannot control how and whether each farmer will record enough or accurate details into the database, the sheer numbers of animals in a district or province or country are so big that valuable information can be mined from such a database, even if each farmer gives only partial and incomplete records.

22. With a database compiled from most of the digital records recorded by farmers, database analysts can obtain information such as:
"Which farm or district has the most outbreaks of animal diseases?"
"Do vaccinated animals grow more slowly?"
"Did a change in animal feed cause animals to grow faster?"
"Did adding mineral supplements to animal feed help resist infections to animal diseases?"
"Did animal diseases spread along the main roads from farm to farm?"
etc, etc, etc.

23. This database will be based on only partial and incomplete records recorded by the farmers but because there are so many animals in a district or province or country, this database will be big enough to draw many useful informations.

24. To save work compiling this database, it will be helpful if the app that the farmer downloads and installs into his cellphone is in a suitable format for later extraction into a database. For example, this app can work like this:
a. farmer downloads and installs the app into his cellphone
b. once a flash drive is connected to his cellphone for the first time, the app automatically installs a copy of the app into the flash drive
c. the app creates a sync between the farmer's cellphone and the animal's flash drive and always syncs automatically whenever the 2 devices are connected
d. when a farmer wants to write a note into the animal's flash drive, he opens the app, opens the calendar, and clicks on Today's Date, which will then record the date and time of this entry
e. once the date and time are done, the app opens options such as:
Date and Time
Symptom of Animal -- Text -- Photo -- Video
Weight of Animal
Travel of Animal by vehicle licence number
From where to where
Scanned report of vet or expert
Any change in Animal's feed
Any Other Notes
etc, etc, etc.

25. Even with incomplete records, a useful database can be compiled from which analysts can mine many useful informations that may be useful in many forensics or epidemiological uses. In addition, information so obtained may also help farmers and the livestock industries to keep healthier animals and improve methods of animal farming.