Wednesday, November 29, 2006

10 Concise Reasons That Make Bird Flu a Killer

Unless you’ve been resident in a cave hundreds of miles from civilisation, it’s probably clear by now that every nation on the surface of this planet is trying to prepare for this ‘global pandemic’ that experts are promising. It appears that there is no doubting if it might happen, but simply a matter of when it will happen - which unfortunately, could be tomorrow, or in fact be a hundred years into the future. And at this point in time, experts believe the bird flu is going to trigger it.

So omitting all the media’s figures and comments, this is what’s behind H5N1’s profile:

1. It’s capable of human infection – 258 cases to date.

2. In some instances, it’s been able to spread from person to person (see here). Should it get better at this, the population’s in trouble.

3. It’s getting less deadly and more infectious. By being less lethal, it has a greater chance of spreading from one patient to the next before the original patient dies. It’s getting more infectious.

4. Human bird flu infection is relatively young. Before 1997, it had never infected humans. To date, no fully tested human vaccine has been successfully produced.

5. There is a lack of effective antivirals. The best known medication against bird flu is Tamiflu and the world doesn’t have sufficient supplies of it if a pandemic hit soon.

6. Bird flu costs. It costs to prevent. It costs to prepare against. It would cost anything up to an estimated US$2 trillion if it causes a pandemic.

7. South-East Asia is the ideal breeding ground. Humans and chickens live close enough to significantly heighten chances of people contracting H5N1 and produce a novel virus.

8. The 1918 pandemic was believed to be a type of bird flu virus. There’s no reason why the next pandemic might not be – history often repeats itself.

9. Testing and medical facilities are inadequate where cases occur. Cases usually occur where humans have contact with live poultry – usually on farms or in markets. Testing means samples are sent away to a sizeable laboratory.

10. Lack of awareness. Some people, believe it or not, are 100% ignorant that H5N1 exists. If a pandemic hits but no one knows it’s hit, prevention might be a tad difficult.

You and I are sitting on the crater of a volcano that’s pretty active…we just don’t know when it’s gonna blow. (Dr. David Nabarro, United Nations coordinator for Human and Avian Influenza.)

References >> Check out:

No comments: