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Old 07-10-2003, 11:18 AM   #1
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Flu: The Next Terror Weapon?

What is the point of this article other than instilling fear and giving people ideas?!


"Flu: The Next Terror Weapon?


LONDON (Reuters) - Forget anthrax and smallpox. Influenza could easily be turned into the next weapon of mass destruction, scientists said on Tuesday.

They sounded their warning as researchers come close to completing the blueprint for the virus of the 1918 'flu epidemic that killed up to 40 million people globally.

"Taken together with the fact that influenza virus is readily accessible and may be causing more deaths than previously suspected, the possibility for genetic engineering and aerosol transmission suggests an enormous potential for bioterrorism," the University of Texas scientists said.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the team led by Dr Mohammed Madjid noted that last century a series of 'flu epidemics from Spain to Russia and Hong Kong had killed millions of people as the virus naturally mutated.

They pointed out that sequencing of the genome of the 1918 Spanish 'flu epidemic was nearly complete, opening the door to unscrupulous scientists to build an even more potent virus.

"Recently, the possibility of synthesizing an infectious agent solely by following instructions from a written sequence has moved from theory to practice," they wrote.

The scientists also noted that while infection generally took place through personal contact, the disease was also easily transmissible through tiny droplets in the air.

A would-be bioterrorist needed only to spray an aerosol containing the weaponized virus inside a passenger plane to set off a global infection.

They pointed out that in contrast to agents such as smallpox which are carefully guarded, the 'flu virus was relatively freely available.

It had the added advantage that because it occurred naturally, the beginning of a purposely started outbreak would not set off alarm bells, giving the disease a major head start on the people trying to fight it.

Noting that its appeal to the bioterrorist also lay in the fact that it had a short incubation period and did not succumb to post-exposure immunization, the scientists set out a list of demands for urgent action.

There should be more immunization, they said, laboratory security should be raised, antiviral drugs should be stockpiled, there should be closer monitoring of outbreaks and governments should consider fitting filters and sensors to buildings."
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:25 AM   #2
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to inspire people to go in and spend money on useless flu shots?
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:57 AM   #3
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If flu shots really can prevent flu I don't think they're useless. I get alot of flu-type illnesses in the colder months and they're a pain in the .
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:00 PM   #4
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yeah, except that flus are viruses and you'd have to get a bunch of shots to cover all the possibilities. And they mutate.
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:32 PM   #5
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Re: Flu: The Next Terror Weapon?

Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
What is the point of this article
you can ask this of a whole lot of 'news'.
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
yeah, except that flus are viruses and you'd have to get a bunch of shots to cover all the possibilities. And they mutate.
True. Ugh.
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Old 07-10-2003, 03:12 PM   #7
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I have to get a flu vaccination every winter because I have asthma and so if I get flu I'm more likely than a totally healthy person to get seriously ill from it. And, as my doctor always reminds me: it doesn't guarantee that you won't catch flu as it can only protect against the strain of flu that doctors expect to be most prevalent that year. The risk of catching flu is something like 75% lower if you've been vaccinated, but it's not by any means a guarantee that you won't get sick. At least that's what they tell me.
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Old 07-10-2003, 03:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
yeah, except that flus are viruses and you'd have to get a bunch of shots to cover all the possibilities. And they mutate.
You'd never be able to take all those shots.

Basically, what the flu shot is composed of is a predicted virus, based on last year and annual shifts and mutations. It's a guess.
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
to inspire people to go in and spend money on useless flu shots?
I thought flu shots drove people into a frenzy of shopping before Christmas.
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer


I thought flu shots drove people into a frenzy of shopping before Christmas.
oh is that what they do??? it all makes sense now. it must be a gigantic conspiracy theory run by corporate capitalism.
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Old 07-11-2003, 10:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4


oh is that what they do??? it all makes sense now. it must be a gigantic conspiracy theory run by corporate capitalism.
It's pretty well documented by now:

http://www.snpp.com/episodes/CABF02

(scroll down about seven-eighths of the page)
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Old 07-12-2003, 01:06 AM   #12
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Flu shots

I got the flu shot and did not contract one respiratory illness last year and I work in a health care field where it is commonly seen. (Where you go when you get it.) I got mine a little later (Oct) since we see more flu near the holidays and in a later season than the East. It is always best to ask your health care provider if it is recommended for you and when to get it.

The flu shot is usually composed of 3 inactivated viruses (the viruses are killed), strains of the virus that are deemed as most likley to pass through the United States through careful studies. Since the virus strains do mutate you can still get some strains of the flu..but maybe not as bad as you would have because your initial line of defense is already there..which means that through much of the season you will already have the antibodies needed to keep you from getting ill. If you have children, especially those in a day care setting you are subjected to more illnesses than the average home care setting contracts.

You can get an inflammatory response to any vaccination, low grade fever and achiness..which is your body preparing the antibodies. You do NOT get the flu from the shot and it is best if you react this way to take tylenol or ibuprofen (NEVER take aspirin for a fever associated with any viral vaccine) whichever is safe for you before getting any vaccine. Please report anything more serious. Check your allergies!!!

A lot of the illness and death caused by the flu can be prevented by yearly flu shots. People in certain groups who are at high risk to develop serious complications from the flu and people who are in close contact with those at high risk should get a flu shot every year.

This site will answer many of your questions about the flu shot:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/vacfacts.htm#8

Remember, washing your hands frequently with simple soap and water during flu season will also help keep you healthier.
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Old 07-12-2003, 12:44 PM   #13
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Getting back to the article about flu being used as a terroist weapon...not likely...there is now effective treatment for flu even as it mutates from year to year, region to region.

It's not a 'cure' per se, but treatment that will substantially lessen the severity of symptoms and length of illnss which is partiularly important for those will respiratory weakness. Both treatments act the same way, one is a pill with a brand name called Tamiflu and the other is an inhaler called Relenza.

Both must be taken within roughly 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, which are often mistaken for a cold until it's too late. Flu hits hard and it hits fast with a high fever (very rare with a cold), headache, body aches and fatigue.

Unfortunately, now that the flu is under control, it has a new cousin called SARS...leave it to mother nature to stay one step ahead of science...
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Old 07-13-2003, 02:41 PM   #14
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I beleive there is also an update site on www.cdc.gov for bioterorism.
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