A deadly strain of influenza could mutate and begin to spread aggressively among humans. There have already been dozens of cases where the disease made the leap from birds to people and in extremely rare instances the avian flu appears to have passed between humans. More than a hundred and twenty people have been infected so far, most of them in Asia. Nearly half died.
NCPR has also provided some links we’re copy here along with a discussion of the possibility from American Scientific:
- The CDC’s Bird Flu Page
- NY Department of Health Flu Info
- NCPR’s Report on last years flu vaccine shortage
Next, consider the shortage of Tamiflu, the drug considered most effective in combating H5N1 the avian influenza (a.k.a. Asian bird flu).
And from the CDC a short history:
Outbreaks of influenza H5N1 occurred among poultry in eight countries in Asia (Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam) during late 2003 and early 2004. At that time, more than 100 million birds in the affected countries either died from the disease or were killed in order to try to control the outbreak. By March 2004, the outbreak was reported to be under control. Beginning in late June 2004, however, new outbreaks of influenza H5N1 among poultry were reported by several countries in Asia (Cambodia, China [Tibet], Indonesia, Kazakhastan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Russia [Siberia], Thailand, and Vietnam). It is believed that these outbreaks are ongoing. Most recently, influenza H5N1 has been reported among poultry in Turkey and Romania [and today Russia and Croatia, ed]. Human infections of influenza A (H5N1) have been reported in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Luckily, and this may be our saving grace if the axe ever does fall – we don’t live in overcrowded suburban hell.