I'd like to start this post with a truly creepy map:
Click for full-size. Map depicts spread of Avian Flu from Asia to Europe.
The Wall Street Journal has a new Avian Flu News Tracker
and it's in the free section, so you don't have to be a subscriber. Highlights for today:
- Europe's top health officials met in Chandler's Cross, England, to map out a collective strategy against avian flu.
- Roche has agreed to sublicense Tamiflu to four generic drug makers and other companies that are capable of producing the drug. (...) Roche will meet with the four makers -- Teva Pharmaceuticals, Barr Laboratories, Mylan Laboratories and Ranbaxy Laboratories -- as early as next week.
- A preliminary test found no evidence of the H5N1 avian flu virus on a farm, located on the Greek island of Oinouses, where a sick turkey was found. EU health inspectors went to the farm to monitor Greece's handling of the situation. The negative test result came from an EU reference lab in Weybridge, England, and contradicted an earlier test by a Greek laboratory that concluded that the virus had been found in a sample from a single turkey.
- Taiwanese authorities confirmed the island's first case of bird flu. The deadly H5N1 strain was detected in birds smuggled from China via a Panama-registered freighter that was stopped by the Taiwanese coast guard. Taiwan's Agricultural Council said the freighter was carrying more than 1,000 smuggled birds, all from China, and that a single smuggler, who wasn't identified, is being held by authorities.
- China has destroyed 91,000 birds around a farm in Inner Mongolia to stop a bird-flu outbreak, the WHO said. The birds were culled after 2,600 chickens and ducks were killed by the virulent H5N1 virus in a breeding facility in Tengjiaying, a village near the regional capital Hohhot, according to the government. Officials have also imposed a 21-day quarantine on poultry in the area.
- Thailand's prime minister said that a 48-year-old man who died earlier this week was infected with the H5N1 strain of avian flu after cooking and eating his neighbor's sick chickens. Initially, officials had said the man, who has been identified as Bang-on Benphat, tested negative for the virus. He is the 13th person to die of avian flu in Thailand.
I recommend bookmarking the WSJ's News Tracker, it looks like a good one-stop shop for Avian Flu news.
FloridaHeat posted some great suggestions in the comments
to another entry; I've taken the liberty of editing them and lifting them into this entry. Thanks, FloridaHeat! This is really great advice. -evariste.
Bird Flu is not a typical influenza. Common flu is divided between strains of Influenza A and B. Flu shots contain variations of those two strains - whatever the health industry thinks will most likely be in circulation next.
Common influenza makes you miserable, but it takes a secondary infection such as pneumonia to kill you. The people most susceptable to these secondary infections are the very young, the very old, and those with compromised immune systems. Bird Flu is different. It is like the Spanish Influenza of 1918 that took its heaviest toll on healthy, young adults. That is because Bird Flu creates a cytokine storm in your body. Your immune system doesn't recognize this new virus as the enemy and literally attacks your own lungs, filling them with blood and fluid.
You suffocate to death 48-72 hours after the first symptoms appear. People with compromised immune systems have a greater chance of catching bird flu, people with stronger immune systems have a greater chance of dying from bird flu.
Two important things about Bird Flu that we learned from Spanish Influenza.
- It becomes more lethal, and spreads faster, in closed groups of people. In 1918, troop ships would arrive in Europe with dead and dying soldiers. Expect schools, churches, sports events, large offices, etc. to close.
- It comes in waves. The Spanish flu came in three distinct waves, over a period of 2 years. By a wide margin, most of the deaths occured in the SECOND wave. Don't think 3 months worth of preps will save your family. This is going to be hard to wait out.
Obviously, the best thing to do is to NOT expose yourself to the flu in the first place. The flu is HIGHLY contagious. It spreads by air and by touch. Breathe in air expelled by an infected person, touch something handled by an infected person, and you'll get more than enough virus to make you sick. Masks and rubber gloves are a great way to prevent YOU from spreading the disease prior to showing symptoms - but they won't protect you from GETTING the disease. Put on rubber gloves and a mask, then touch a tabletop that a sick person stood near, then rub your cheek. The virus WILL find its way into the mucous membrane of your eye. Self quarantine is far more effective - IF you can make your home fairly air tight, not pick up mail or packages, and have enough food to last... oh, say the 18 months it will take to develop and distribute an effective vaccine.
Vaccine - 95% effective in preventing Bird Flu, only problem is, we won't have the vaccine until 6 - 8 months AFTER initial human-human transmission, and then it will take about the same amount of time to mass produce enough to protect enough of the population to control outbreaks.
I doubt we will see human-human bird flu before Christmas. Much more likely by March, high degree of probablity we'll be facing a pandemic next fall. My money is on one of two things happening. 1) This will turn into another SARS situation. Lots of smoke and no fire. 2) This will make the Spanish Flu epidemic look like a summer cold. If the initial outbreak is undetected for even a few days, it will quickly spread past the point of containment in our dense and mobile population.
What to do now:
- Get on a good multivitamin, take high doses of Vitamin C and Turmeric 95% CURCUMIN. In high doses curcumin inhibits cytokine storms, and in low doses it prevents breast cancer from metastasizing and lessens the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
- DO get both flu and pneumonia shots now. It won't protect you from bird flu, but its the socially responsible thing to do, as bird flu will enter the human population when someone with Type A or B flu is infected with Bird Flu.
If you get sick:
They can cut symptoms down to a level where you will survive.
- Tamiflu (50 pills per person) and
- Relenza (its an inhaler, like the kind you use for asthma).
- Zithromax 6 packs or other antibiotics to treat secondary infections.
- Keep a stock of imodium for the runs and tussin for cough.
- Sick people don't want or need solid foods, but it is VERY important to keep the patient hydrated and keep their electrolytes up, so stock up on things like
- clear broth
- ginger ale
- clear apple and pear juices
- and emergen-c (buy at walmart).
- Eye dropper. You may have to drip fluids into them constantly if they can't tolerate drinking.
- Kleenex tissue that blocks germs.
- Lots of bleach and disinfectant cleaners.
- Can't have too many sheets and towels.