Monday, March 13, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing?


Avian Flu is coming, what to do? Considering that there are 6.6 billion people in the world and in the last two years less than 100 people have died of this disease and most of them had direct contact with birds, I can only be so worried. But still, this seems to have many people at the CDC concerned. If they're concerned, I think it only prudent to take some simple precautions. If there is some sort of pandemic, or any other natural disaster, you should be prepared to care for yourself and your immediate family for a minimum of three days anywhere and two weeks at home. What does that mean? It means having enough food, water, medicine, diapers and anything else that makes reasonably civilised life possible on hand and in sufficient supply to last two weeks. If you need to bug out in the case of a hurricane, earthquake or Hillary book signing, you need to be able to take three days worth of that stuff and your family on the road to safety. Imagine yourself sleeping in a high school gym with your whole family and everybody else in your town and plan accordingly. Books have been written about "bug out bags" i.e. stuff to keep at the ready in case you need to bug out. These bags are usually used in parts of the world where people need to bug out regularly, forest fire country, flood zones, Westchester County. I think if nothing else hurricane Katrina showed us that when the doodoo hits the fan, you are on your own for at least 72 hours. Could you go without eating or drinking for that long. Probably. Could a six month old baby? It's your job, if you have one, to make sure we don't find out.
In the case of flu, the last thing the authorities would likely do is group everybody together in one spot. A. because there is no need, and B. because it would only spread the virus. What will happen, if anything, is your local health authority might ask you refrain from non essential trips to public places. Then it would be a good time to sit things out at home, watch some DVDs and eat your canned beefaroni that you put up for just such a moment.

7 comments:

dolittle said...

"less than 100 people have died of this disease and most of them had direct contact with birds"

-the concern is that the illness will mutate into a form that can easily be passed between humans and then we could be screwed - that's exactly what happened in previous pandemics when hundreds of thousands died and that was before global travel.

dolittle

El Duderino said...

True to an extent with three big exceptions:
The Spanish Flu of 1918 struck a population that had already been weakened by T.B. and other communicable diseases. Some have suggested that everyone who had T.B. then caught the flu died contributing to the high mortality of that pandemic. Most who died lived in immigrant communities in densely populated cities and where subjected to environmental conditions we would find abhorrent.
The healthcare system in 2006 is much robust than it was in 1918, the flu being a virus is still incurable, but simple things like central heating can spare thousands of lives.
There have been some reports that the current Avian flu is currently much more widespread than initially supposed, but most people with it are asymptomatic. Time will tell if this is the Captain Tripps of the 21 century

Dexter said...

nice ref to The Stand there, dude. "Please don't fear the reaper...baby take my hand..."

El Duderino said...

A more apt lyric might be "Baby can you dig your man?"

Dexter said...

agreed but BOC's lyrics were quoted by King in preface to one of the chapters...

zaphod said...

Do you have a reference for that claim about T.B. contributing to the high mortality rate? The death toll for the 1918 epidemic was over 20 million. Seems to me more than a little unlikely T.B. can be blamed for those kinds of numbers but then again, what the hell do I know?

El Duderino said...

Sure let's see here:
http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~andrew/1918/PDR_1918_flu.pdf

http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~andrew/1918/

http://www.answers.com/topic/spanish-flu

There are lots of reference to the interaction of these diseases, google it, just a little bit.