Title: SIGINT Monitors Global Spread of Avian Flu

Release Date: 2016-12-07

Document Date: 2005-10-28

Description: NSA closely monitored the 2004 spread of avian influenza in preparation for a possible pandemic. "As our IC colleagues have said, containing the threat of infectious disease comes down to 'detection, detection, detection. SIGINT is probably going to get it first,'" the author writes.

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(S//SI) SIGINT Monitors Global Spread of Avian Flu
FROM:
Assistant SINIO for Economics and Global Issues (S17)
Run Date: 10/28/2005
FROM:
Assistant SINIO for Economics and Global Issues (S17)
(U) Will a lethal new strain spread beyond Eurasia?...
(S//SI) SIGINT Enterprise analysts are closely monitoring the
spread of a lethal strain of avian influenza that has killed or forced
the slaughter of over 160 million birds across Asia and in two years
infected more than 120 people worldwide, killing 62. Currently this
is a disease almost entirely contained in the bird population, but
the World Health Organization is very concerned that in time the
virus may develop the ability to pass easily from human to human.
Recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in
birds have been confirmed in Europe and there is concern it may
spread to bird populations in other regions of the world.
(S//SI) Migratory birds, especially waterfowl, have been a primary
agent in this geographic leap, causing new animal and human
populations to be at risk of exposure to the disease. Experts are
concerned that as birds migrate southward, regions such as east
Africa with poor health infrastructures, will be overwhelmed and
unable to contain the deadly virus in their bird populations.
(According to press, because the migratory birds have already
flown over the U.S. towards their winter homes, it is unlikely that
we will face the threat of the virus being carried into the country
by feathered visitors this year.)
(U/FOUO) Avian flu exists almost everywhere. There are 15
subtypes of influenza virus known to infect birds, but the highly
pathogenic forms tend to be caused by influenza A viruses of
subtypes H5 and H7. "Highly pathogenic" refers only to the virus'
ability to cause disease in birds, this term does not apply to human
infection. The H5N1 strain first emerged in Hong Kong in 1997,
causing the death or destruction of 1.5 million birds and sickening
18 people, killing six.
(U//FOUO) It re-emerged in 2003 in South Korea, and has now
spread across Asia, into Russia and Europe. It is the virus's
tendency to make mistakes when replicating itself that makes it so
dangerous and unpredictable. Human to human transmission has
not yet been confirmed. Although experts believe that mutation will
occur, it is unknown at this time how virulent the resulting strain
will be.
(S//SI) NSA analysts are also monitoring worldwide reactions to
the spread of the virus and preparations for a possible pandemic.
Analysts are also closely engaged with the other members of the
IC as well as our Second and Third Party Partners to stay abreast of
developments. As our IC colleagues have said, containing the
threat of infectious disease comes down to "detection, detection,
detection. SIGINT is probably going to get it first."

SERIES:
(U//FOUO) SINIO
Council Intelligence
Issues
1. China: Modernizing
and Mobilizing Its
Strategic Strike
Capabilities
2. China: The NearTerm Potential for
Economic, Political,
and Social Crises
3. Al-Qa'ida: An
Emerging NarcoSupported Terrorist
Group?
4. Venezuela's
President Chavez:
Castro's Ideological
Successor
5. Lebanon: Domestic
Crisis Averted, for
Now, in Wake of
Prime Minister's
Resignation
6. SIGINT Monitors
Global Spread of
Avian Flu

(U) See a message from OHESS for more information on the avian
flu.

(U) Animal health workers test killed wild ducks in Siberia for avian
flu virus. (Reuters)

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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