Bird flu has been circulating for a while now, and though it's been slow to mutate into a form easily transmitted between humans, that potential
still exists and is becoming more likely. In addition, it's spreading among wild and domestic birds in ever increasing numbers, and extending it's
geographic range into a large part of the world. The greater the spread, the more chances it has to mutate into a Pandemic.
The Black Death during the middle ages was catastrophic for Europe.
The 14th century eruption of the Black Death had a drastic effect on Europe's population, irrevocably changing Europe's social structure. It was a
serious blow to the Roman Catholic Church, and resulted in widespread persecution of minorities such as Jews, foreigners, beggars, and lepers. The
uncertainty of daily survival created a general mood of morbidity, influencing people to "live for the moment", as illustrated by Giovanni Boccaccio
in The Decameron (1353).
An equivalent pandemic today - either due to bird flu, antiobiotic resistant tuberculosis, or some other illness - could causes catastrophic economic
collapse and societal changes.
There is some evidence that bird flu would infect the young more than other age groups, which would skew the population of the subequent
One of Canada's top microbiologists warned on Tuesday that school-age children would be most at risk in a bird flu pandemic, echoing a 1918 pandemic
that killed millions of people.
"Most cases in humans have been young, reminiscent of 1918," Donald Low, microbiologist-in-chief at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, said in a
speech in Toronto.
The H5N1 strain of avian flu that is spreading among birds does not easily infect humans, but it has killed more than 100 people. Experts, including
Low, fear it could mutate in to a form that could spread easily and quickly among people.
"The attack rate in a pandemic will be up to 30 percent, and will be highest among school-age children," said Low, who coordinated Toronto's fight
against SARS in 2003.
In addition, the economic collapse and failure in distribution systems could cause food riots and other incidents of social unrest. Vulnerable
nations could even end up at war because of the unrest caused by pandemic consequences.
As yet there is no effective vaccine available, and there won't be one for some time. Money required to pay for vaccinations will also be allocated
by the "powers-that-be" and many poorer countries could go without, causing very low populations in those countries.
If policies are not changed from those of the current administration, then some form of "euthenasia" might be practiced where vaccines are
distributed to those considered valuable to society by the "powers-that-be" and leaving the poor, the sick, social outcasts, and others to die.
In addition, powerful countries like the United States, China, Russia and others might see a pandemic as an opportunity to seize resources like oil.
This could lead to further global violence.
What do you think the next pandemic will look like, and how will it change the world?