Emergency responders from 16 Canadian cities met today to discuss the bird flu pandemic that is expected to strike soon. The worst case scenario is
that schools will be closed and transportation halted. Doctors likely will need to ration their services and hospitals are expected to be overcrowded.
Alberta's health minister said what worried her most was public ignorance.
Representatives from Canada's 16 largest cities meeting in Edmonton on Monday raised some disturbing questions as they discussed what to do when the
next flu pandemic hits.
"What worries me most is, in fact, the ignorance of people in the public, who assume that if they get sick there'll be something there for them,"
said Iris Evans, Alberta's minister of health. "They don't realize the devastation this could be if they're not taking care of their health
After the First World War, as many as 40 million people died in the Spanish flu pandemic. ...Despite advances in medicine, doctors expect as many or
perhaps more could die in the next pandemic, triggered by a change in the flu virus that leaves everyone vulnerable. ...Several delegates on the front
line of Canada's response admitted they lie awake at night, worrying what a pandemic will mean for the country.
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No one can accurately predict when the flu epidemic will strike, but there is an almost 100% consensus about which strain will go pandemic. By most
accounts, the H5N1 bird flu strain will hit soon.
The epidemic will spread world wide very quickly once the virus mutates to allow easy person to person transmission - and several cases have been
Flu cases rise in US; Peak may be Ahead
The new H5N1 virus has spread to 10 countries since cropping up in Hong Kong eight years ago. More than 70 percent of the known human cases have been
fatal. And though most of the victims have had direct contact with birds, researchers have recently described several instances of person-to-person
New Fears of a Bird-Flu Pandemic
Despite repeated warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) and scientists around the world, few countries are properly prepared to met an
Unfortunately, our systems are set up to respond to immediate and present dangers - and as with December's tsunami in Asia - by that time it's too
late to do anything effective in the public interest.
Public ignorance is
a serious issue. Popular political wisdom says people will panic if they're fully informed about 'complicated' matters,
and decrees that dangers be downplayed, underplayed and minimized - primarily to protect business and "the economy." Such policies leave people
unprepared and in a way, set them up.
Vietnam: Two new bird flu cases without
Vietnamese health officials said Wednesday the 61-year-old widow of a bird flu victim has also tested positive for the H5N1
virus, but showed no symptoms.
Earlier in the day, officials reported that an 80-year-old man - who had two infected grandchildren - also had the virus but did
not fall ill.
The two cases raised concerns that avian influenza may be more widespread than originally believed.
"It's quite possible that some people are falling sick and their symptoms are very light and they don't end up in hospital," WHO
regional spokesman Peter Cordingley said earlier this week.
...Carriers without symptoms mean the epidemic can spread quickly before being identified.
Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
NEWS: Bush Pushes Wrong Flu Vaccine to American People
TOP STORY: Nurse Possible First Human to Human Transmission of Avian Flu
SCI/TECH: Flu Vaccine Technology: Who's Blocking its Use?
SCI/TECH: Russian Expert Fears Flu Epidemic May Kill Over A Billion People This
[edit on 9-3-2005 by soficrow]