Avian Flu & Pandemics
Recently I was visiting (Texan for "conversing") with a friend who happens to be in Epidemic Control. She really got onto me because I have never, ever had a flu shot. I rarely get the flu, so I saw no reason to inject flu virus into my body, because.... well..... it just didn't make sense. Anyway, after having thought over our conversation, I had a few more questions for her, and once I got her reply, it seemed like good information to share.
Pandemic flu will hit. When is anyone's guess. It could be a type like the 1918 flu or Bird flu. It is not impossible to think of the bird flu hitting the U.S. After all, birds migrate. The sick birds are moving around. It has been found in Europe and I heard a report about a possible outbreak in the Bahamas altho that has not been confirmed by lab report yet. (Note: according to the most recent reports I have seen, scientists have determined it was not bird flu in the Bahamas)
The problem as your report says - It's going to take time to produce a vaccine. They are studying it now and are getting closer. Right now the experts don't really know about the transmission. They feel that it is really from bird to bird as yet. The flu is a smart bug and adapts itself to what they call drift. So it is felt that this will at sometime be easily transmitted from bird to person to person. At this time those that have become infected have been living with the birds. In those Asian countries where it is more common to have the birds in the home. It takes six months to grow these vaccines due to the fact that they are grown in eggs. No way to speed up the process, so the first wave will be in trouble. The antivirals are already allowing the bug to become resistant, so don't always work. They are not recommended for children of young age either.
Best defense! Get a flu shot each year. It is not a live virus and does not make one ill. Even if there is drift it will afford some protection and one would not get as bad of case of flu. Wash hands frequently!!! This can not be said or done too much. Use alcohol gel when out. Avoid large crowds during flu season, stay away from ill folks if possible, and clean the surfaces in your home, don't forget the doorknobs and the phone. Those things that several folks in the home use. Of course the old drinking glass our moms always told us about.
(Names of local hospitals) and all the other hospitals are or have developed a plan. However the surg of a pandemic will wreak havoc on the system. No matter how much money we (throw) at this problem it won't solve the short supplies of machines, masks or manpower. Remember this will have so many sick that the mask manufacturer will have so many people out sick they won't be up to full production. The hospitals will be full and they will also have sick staff. So there will not be enough care givers. It can just go on and on. It will be a time to see what we are made of. Sometimes a scary thought. I always think of the greed. It's always driven by greed and fear. Then of course if there is a need for quarantine heaven help us. It will be said that we are infringing on a person's rights. No one can tell me I can't go to the mall. Good Grief the kids will be bored. Then we get to all those folks that are on steroids for asthma, anti rejection drugs for transplants, chemo patients with decreased immune systems well they won't have a lot of options. Sooo yes, it is a problem. All the plans, political talk or money are not able to prepare for reality. Katrina will all most look like a picnic. After all they didn't alway(s) react the best under pressure there either. We humans are a fickle bunch. So I guess prayer is also a very helpful thing. That and to keep our heads and do the best we can.
I think we organic folks have a pretty good edge. We are already thinking about the health of the planet and ourselves. We are common sense and can garden. So eat healthy and get our rest. Take the high road.
Didn't want to bum you out. Don't panic but be concerned.
OK, girlfriend. I'll get a flu shot, and be thankful I live in the country.