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OddOne
LED Gawd <3 t33cael
 
Been watching H5N1 over on another board for about the last two years now. This one could very well BE that "big one" the medical world has been fearing for so long. All the hallmarks are there, and thre virus itself is doing exactly what immunologists are hoping it won't do.

The latest rounds of reported H5N1 cases are making WHO officials wonder if the virus has reached pandemic stage 5. (Stage 5 means that multiple clusters of cases are present. Essentially stage 5 menns that a virus has become epidemic in some areas. Stage 6, the last in the pandemic stage chart, means that entire regions/whole continents/all of Earth are infected.) Current concerns in insider boars/lists like ProMed are that H5N1 may have "figured out" how to do human-to-human transmission, but lacks only the virulence to spread quickly enough to outpace its own gestation period.

National Geographic's article (which I have - well worth the subscription) postulated that if H5N1 has the same motility and mortality rates as the Spanish Flu did in 1918-1919, and affected the same areas today as then, it would kill between 180 MILLION and 350 MILLION people. If it takes a best-case track, "only" about 7 million would die. H5N1 is, as near as immunologists can tell, more lethal at the current case count than Spanish Flu was when it was at a similar level of spread.


For all of man's advances and technology we are as a species only ever so slightly more prepared to fight off a superflu than we were back in 1918. We have better medicine but are less healthy, travel far more/farther/faster, and live/work/play in much more confined and illness-friendly places than was the case in the Spanish Flu's era. One city can infect another 2,000 miles away in less than a day now, where back in 1918 it took a week or more at best to travel the same distance. We will not fare well if H5N1 makes it to the big leagues.

Does this mean it's time to panic? No. It does, however, mean you'd better get your shit together in terms of health and self-sufficiency and definitely keep aware of the drama as it unfolds. With luck and/or whatever deity you may profess, H5N1 will be a non-event, but until it goes away and stays gone there's a chance it might be the big bad mofo of the virus world.

oO
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Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
Old 10-05-2005, 08:24 PM OddOne is offline  
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