Here's what I found:
- There's a deadly flu passing around the bird population in Asia right now.
- It's caused by a virus, The H5N1 virus.
- It can pass from bird to bird, and from bird to human, but not yet from human to human.
- The moment it mutates to a form that can spread from human to human, it could infect a global population within a week.
- It has killed 55% of the people it has infected so far.1
- That makes it the most lethal flu in the history of man.
- It infects lower respiratory tissue causing severe pneumonia. (Normal flu infects upper respiratory tract.)
- There is no vaccine.2
- Humans have no natural immunity to it.
- Antibiotics are useless against virus-caused flu.
- It will take at least 6 months after it's detected to develop a vaccine.
- Any new vaccine will be limited, not widely available.
- Our government plans to contain it through quarantine.
- The government's emergency plan predicts 200,000 deaths in first few months.3
2 There's an experimental vaccine based on an older strain of H5N1. It may or may not be effective against a new mutated strain.
3 A death projection is difficult. No one knows how lethal the new mutated virus will be.
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (Minnesota)
World Health Organization - Avian Flu