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Old 08-24-2005, 11:57 AM   #16
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We are actually potentially more susceptible now than back then. Air travel is the main reason for this. One infected person gets on board a trans Altlantic flight, you could have a plane full of infected people by the time the plane gets on the ground. Once people get off the plane, they scatter and take the disease with them wherever they travel. It would be a very hard task to track everyone down on the flight and all the people they have had contact with to quarantine.
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by randhail
We are actually potentially more susceptible now than back then. Air travel is the main reason for this. One infected person gets on board a trans Altlantic flight, you could have a plane full of infected people by the time the plane gets on the ground. Once people get off the plane, they scatter and take the disease with them wherever they travel. It would be a very hard task to track everyone down on the flight and all the people they have had contact with to quarantine.
Air travel is a problem, but not as big a problem as the horrible war-famine-disease triple whammy that existed in 1919. People who are undernourished and physically/mentally exhausted are at a much higher risk of getting sick than relatively healthy people.
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by randhail
We are actually potentially more susceptible now than back then. Air travel is the main reason for this. One infected person gets on board a trans Altlantic flight, you could have a plane full of infected people by the time the plane gets on the ground. Once people get off the plane, they scatter and take the disease with them wherever they travel. It would be a very hard task to track everyone down on the flight and all the people they have had contact with to quarantine.
Ugh, I can (unfortunately) vouch for this! My first experience ever flying....on the way back from Tanzania I picked up a cold on the plane (so said the Doc) and I was already sick from a stomach bug I had in Africa, so it took me five months to completely recover from that series of flu, respiratory infections, sinus infections, and eye infections.
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Old 08-24-2005, 03:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by randhail
We are actually potentially more susceptible now than back then. Air travel is the main reason for this. One infected person gets on board a trans Altlantic flight, you could have a plane full of infected people by the time the plane gets on the ground. Once people get off the plane, they scatter and take the disease with them wherever they travel. It would be a very hard task to track everyone down on the flight and all the people they have had contact with to quarantine.
This is definitely a problem, but realize that back in 1918-1919, there was virtually no capability to track the disease, quarantine it, or treat it. While the there is greater ability to spread the disease today, there is also a much greater ability to combat it.
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Old 08-24-2005, 03:39 PM   #20
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This is definitely a problem, but realize that back in 1918-1919, there was virtually no capability to track the disease, quarantine it, or treat it. While the there is greater ability to spread the disease today, there is also a much greater ability to combat it.
Very true. Don't forget that in 1918-19 we had millions of soldiers travelling across Europe and beyond, and returning home. There were also hundreds of thousands of refugees on the move. It may not have been air travel, but people were moving, moving, moving - the world has rarely seen such mass movements of people.
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Old 10-11-2005, 12:46 PM   #21
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I'm starting to get a really uneasy feeling about this... There are articles about the possible (inevitable?) bird flu pandemic in the news now almost everyday. Article below is on the CNN website today. When you have officials from the WHO, CDC and other government organizations using terms like 'imminent' and 'likelihood very high', I would tend to believe them. They're the experts and know a lot more about this virus than I do. I saw another article yesterday which said the scientists studying the H5N1 virus are already seeing early signs that it's starting to mutate into one that is more easily transmittable from human to human. Not good....

I can understand no one wanting to discuss this issue because it's just one of those things we don't have any control over. So why worry about it. And it's not a pleasant topic, like the setlist from the last U2 show. But there are things you can do now to prepare in advance for it if this flu pandemic does become reality. Some advance planning could improve your chances of surviving an outbreak. As nutty as it sounds, one of things you can do now is start stocking up on things like bottled water, canned and dry foods. During a flu pandemic, your best chance to avoid catching it is to avoid contact with other people who might be infected. That'll mean staying home for a couple months at least until the worst is over, if you're financially able to do it. If you already have enough food and water on hand, you're already one step ahead of the ones who'll be waiting in long lines at the supermarket fighting over bottled water and other essentials.

Let's just hope and pray that they're able to contain on outbreak in Asia if it starts and keep it from spreading.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/condi....ap/index.html

Quote:
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- The likelihood of a human flu pandemic is very high, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said as he began a tour of Southeast Asia to coordinate plans to combat bird flu.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has swept through poultry populations in many parts of Asia since 2003 and jumped to humans, killing 60 people, mostly through direct contact with sick fowl.

While there have been no known cases of person-to-person transmission, World Health Organization officials and other experts have been warning that the virus could mutate into a form that spreads easily among people. In a worst-case scenario, they say millions of people could die.

Three influenza pandemics have occurred over the last century and "the likelihood of another is very high, some say even certain," Leavitt said Monday after meeting with Thai health officials to review the country's preparations against the disease.

"Whether or not H5N1 is the virus that will ultimately trigger such a pandemic is unknown to us," he told a news conference.

"The probability is uncertain. But the warning signs are troubling. Hence we are responding in a robust way."

Leavitt, accompanied by the director of WHO and other top health professionals, also plans to visit Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to prepare for the anticipated public health emergency.

His tour comes after U.S. President George W. Bush last month established the "International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza" to coordinate a global strategy against bird flu and other types of influenza. (Full story)

Leavitt said "containment" was the first line of defense against the illness, encouraging countries to step up development and production of vaccines and strengthen efforts to detect any cases of human-to-human transmission early.

"Anywhere, the sooner we know, the faster we can respond and the more lives that will be saved," he said.

Thai Public Health Minister Suchai Charoenratanakul said Thailand would contribute at least 5 percent of its antiviral drug supplies to a proposed Southeast Asian regional stockpile.

So far, 41 people have died of bird flu in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand, four in Cambodia and three in Indonesia. Leavitt said he would also visit Indonesia at a date to be announced.

World Heath Organization Director General Dr. Lee Jong-wook said preparation was the key to preventing a flu epidemic such as the one that struck in 1918, killing an estimated 40 million to 50 million people. (Full story)

"Now we know in advance what is happening and we have to prepare ourselves. That is our duty," he said.
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Old 10-11-2005, 07:43 PM   #22
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Bird flu sounds so gross. I don't understand why airplanes can't have some kind of a germ filtration system to filter their recirculated air on all flights.
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:06 PM   #23
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As anyone who's ever read The Stand can tell you, we're all gonna die.
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:27 PM   #24
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Many people have discussed that the planet is do for a "major pandemic" because there has not been one since 1918. But is that really a long time? In 1918, how long had it been since the last "major pandemic" on the same scale?
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:38 PM   #25
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I would imagine that population increases, the number of people living in close proximity to large numbers of animals coupled with the more rapid avenues for transmission that would mean that the gap would be less.

I wonder if throughout the history of humanity the risk of a major pandemic has increased exponentially, does this correlate with population and connectedness. Hmmmm
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:45 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Many people have discussed that the planet is do for a "major pandemic" because there has not been one since 1918. But is that really a long time? In 1918, how long had it been since the last "major pandemic" on the same scale?
For the flu it is a long period of time. A major outbreak is typically scene once a generation and 1918 was the last major one.
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Old 10-11-2005, 11:00 PM   #27
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Well here is some history on Pandemics prior to 1918.

"Influenza has afflicted humanity since ancient times. The individual symptoms and epidemiological traits of the disease are sufficiently characteristic to enable one to identify a number of major epidemics in the distant past. Hippocrates recorded the first known influenza epidemic in 412 B.C., and numerous outbreaks were reported during the Middle Ages. (2) The term "influenza" was introduced in Italy in the 15th century when the disease was attributed to the influence (= "influenza") of the stars. Later Italian writers refer to "influenza di freddo," the influence of the cold, thinking that exposure to the cold caused influenza. The British adopted the name during the epidemic of 1742-43, and it was during this same time the French began calling the disease "la grippe." (3)"

"The first well-recorded episode of influenza was the pandemic of 1580, which started in Asia and spread to Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The pandemic swept through Europe in six weeks and "afflicted almost all of the nations of whom hardly the twentieth person was free of the disease, and anyone who was so became an object of wonder to others in the place." (4) In Britain there were two waves, one in the summer and one in autumn, with high mortality. Rome recorded 5000 dead, and "some Spanish cities were… nearly entirely depopulated by the disease." (5) Such a high mortality rate can be explained, in part, by the crowded, unsanitary conditions of the large cities of the time, and by the practice of treating a fever with bloodletting. (6)"






There were eight major outbreaks of influenza in the ninteenth century.

1800-02
Origin in China or Russia
All of Europe, Russia, China, Brazil effected.
Generally mild, little mortality


1830-33
Origin in China
Whole World over a three year period effected
Britain hit hard, especially hard in 1833.


1836-37
Origin Unknown
Europe, Africa, Australia effected
Again, Britain reports higher mortality than other parts of Europe. This is probably a recurrence of the strain from 1830-33.


1847-48
Origin in Russia
Europe, North America, the West Indies, Brazil effected
Paris claimed a 25% infection rate, and there were approximately 250,000 cases in London.


1850-51
Origin Unknown
North and South America, the West Indies, Australia, Germany effected. England was not affected.


1857-58
Origin Panama
North and South America, Continental Europe effected.
Although Influenza was wide-spread in the Americas and Europe, Britain was not significantly affected.


1873-75
Origin Unknown
North America, Continental Europe effected.
Again, England was not affected.


1889-90
Origin Bukhara, Russia
Whole World effected.
Russia (May), Western Europe (November), N. America (December), S. America (February), Eastern Mediterranean (January), India (February), Australia (March)
Called the "Asiatic Influenza." There was a high attack rate and considerable mortality. This was the worst of the pandemics of the 19th century. There were several epidemics in subsequent years, presumably from the same strain.
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Old 10-11-2005, 11:15 PM   #28
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Thanks STING2. I didn't know there had been so many flu outbreaks in the 19th century alone.
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Old 10-11-2005, 11:29 PM   #29
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Part of the reason that older Americans were less likely to die from the flue in 1918 was because most had received some level of immunity from pandemics that were mild in the United States in 1889-1890 and before.

The worst pandemic of the 19th century killed 1.5 million people worldwide, this was the 1889 pandemic

The 1830 pandemic killed about 900,000 people worldwide.

The 1781 Pandemic killed about 800,000 people worldwide.

The 1729-1733 Pandemic killed about 400,000 people worldwide.

These are the worst Pandemics from 1700-1900.

What is interesting is that none of these Pandemics comes close to approaching the level of the 1918-1919 pandemic even when counting for smaller populations at those times.

This makes what happened in 1918-1919 seem like a much more rare occurance than what is being reported in the media currently.
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Old 10-12-2005, 01:14 AM   #30
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It's impossible to predict how many people may die in the next pandemic until it actually begins and scientists know what they're dealing with. It'll all depend on how easily transmittable the virus is and what the mortality rate is of those who become infected. I doubt the mortality rate will approach anywhere near that of 1918, but we'd still be looking at a substantial loss of life and hospitals stretched well past their limits. Then there'll be the economic impact.

To give in idea what a "medium" level pandemic might do in the US, this blurb is from an article on the CDC website..

Quote:
The severity of the next pandemic cannot be predicted, but modeling studies suggest that its effect in the United States could be severe. In the absence of any control measures (vaccination or drugs), it has been estimated that in the United States a “medium–level” pandemic could cause 89,000 to 207,000 deaths, between 314,000 and 734,000 hospitalizations, 18 to 42 million outpatient visits, and another 20 to 47 million people being sick. Between 15% and 35% of the U.S. population could be affected by an influenza pandemic, and the economic impact could range between $71.3 and $166.5 billion.
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