Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bird Flu

I haven't been concerned until recently. I researched a little. Looks like chicken soup isn't going to do it.

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

1 The most recent, yesterday.
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

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