Bird Flu: What Can We Do About It
Author: John T Jones, Ph.D.
Published: 2009-03-23 : (Rev. 2010-07-05)
Synopsis and Key Points:
Half of those who have contracted the Bird Flu have died and the virus will mutate to a form that will allow direct human contact to pass the virus.
Main DigestThere has been no human to human transfer of the Bird Flu. The fear is that the virus will mutate to a form that will allow direct human contact to pass the virus.
A Little History
We continually get warnings of a Bird Flu pandemic. So far, all cases of Bird Flu have come from contact with infected birds. Half of those who have contracted the Bird Flu have died.
The Bird Flu is related to the Flu of 1918 that started in the United States at our ports and then spread through military camps such as Fort Dodge, Iowa. The pandemic was worldwide and the death total exceeded that of the then current war, World War I known as the Great War.
To read about the 1918 epidemic go to virus.stanford.edu/uda/. The most susceptible victims were those between the years of 20 and 40. The young and old were spared as is predicted with the Bird Flu.
My father caught influenza in 1918. My cousin's father was pronounced dead in France because he was near death. He was tagged on his toe as a goner. Somehow, he recovered.
The flu knew no boundaries. Hermits were found dead in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and in other remote locations. Hospitals were crammed full and morticians and grave diggers were in short supply. See the Stanford University URL for the gory details.
According to the Stanford University reference, school children jumped rope to the following rhyme:
I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
A Little Flu Goes a Long Way
The influenza plague of 1918 was thought to have originated in Spain so it was called the Spanish Flu. It occurred in three cycles as it circled the earth again and again. Our reference URL from Stanford University says that 80-90% of the population contacted the Spanish Flu. Only two inhabited islands escaped the flu. As the article says, in India, the flu killed 50 out of every 1000 people or 5% of the population. Scientists are studying the flu of 1918 because they think it is similar or identical to Bird Flu.
The year before last when we had a serious flu epidemic, I was not able to get vaccine here in Idaho. Last year, I didn't even try. This is despite the fact that I am in the high-risk category because of my age, the fact that I've had coronary by-pass surgery twice, and that I have the aortic valve of a kind donor pig. Most flu strains attack the very young and the old. The Bird Flu hits those in the middle the hardest, the 20-40 year olds. I worry more about my grandchildren than I do about myself.
The fact that we were in war helped to spread the flu in 1918. Well, we are in war now. Let me ask you this question; what do you think our government will be able to do before the Bird Flu hits? Many don't trust the government in emergency situations. The attack on 9/11 came as a big surprise. The Weather Service gave ample warning on Katrina and other hurricanes but the government's response was pathetic. Osama Bin Laden is still eating Shish Kabob.
Assuming that some scientific team in a government, university, industrial, or private laboratory does not come up with a vaccine, and that the vaccine can not be produced in very large categories before the Bird Flu begins to propagate from humans rather than from sick birds, what will you be able to do about it
What is Your Community Doing
Read the article at www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3847203.html to learn what would be expected in Houston, Texas. The article does not reveal the Houston plan, it just says what would happen if the flu hit Houston. One thing is that the hospitals would be jammed, the doctors and nurses would be dressed in special biological warfare gear, and there would be shortages of medicines to treat the patients.
One of the dangers of Bird Flu is subsequent pneumonia. I can't think of a better place to catch pneumonia than in a hospital. I went through that last year when my hospital stay was 19 days instead of the 7-10 day normal recovery from a heart valve replacement. The bugs I had were very difficult to kill and I was taking antibiotics for two weeks after I got home. That may be a mute point. There will not be enough hospital beds anyway.
According to Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, vitamin C in large doses, 1-10 grams, can alleviate the symptoms of flu. The side affects of flu are what cause death. I take 2 grams of vitamin C each day but if I get cold or flu symptoms, I take the larger doses until the symptoms go away. Then I go back to my 2 grams to keep them away.
One thing we could do would be to get rid of the archaic custom of shaking hands. The Japanese never shake hands unless some American insists. They bow. If they get a cold, they cover their faces with medical masks.
Coughing and hand shaking are major methods of sharing the flu with your neighbors. Some politicians and church leaders who are tired of suffering from continual colds and flu bugs obtained from hand shaking carry medical wipes to clean their hands often after being exposed to the public.
I suggest you stock up on hand wipes and vitamin C.
I suggest you wash your hands frequently.
A public meeting is another sure place to get a bug. If you have symptoms of flu and are coughing, continually blowing your nose, and have a fever to boot, stay home. I don't care if it is your day to speak in church, stay home.
If you are a high-risk like me, ask your doctor what precautions you might take to prevent or treat the flu. You will not want to go into his office during a flu epidemic.
The agent causing flu is a virus. We do have some drugs that might help. Let's hope there are enough drugs and vaccines to protect all of us. Some say that such drugs will be in short supply. I'm sure that they will be.
Remember that if you hear that the Bird Flu is being passed from human to human rather than bird to human, STOP SHAKING HANDS.
Reference: John T. Jones, Ph.D. (email@example.com), a retired college professor and business executive, Former editor of an international engineering magazine. To learn more about Wealthy Affiliate University go to his info site. If you desire a flagpole to Fly Old Glory, go to the business site
- 1 - H7N9 Avian Influenza Case in Canada Confirmed by Gov : Public Health Agency of Canada (2015/01/26)
- 2 - H7N9 Bird Flu Adapting to Humans and Mammals : University of Wisconsin-Madison (2013/04/13)
- 3 - Researchers Temporarily Halt Research on H5N1 Avian Influenza : Georgetown University Medical Center (2012/01/23)
- 4 - Monoclonal Antibodies Effective Against Bird and Seasonal Flu Viruses : Burnham Institute (2009/02/22)
- 5 - H5N1 Avian Flu Viruses Transmissible Between Humans Could Evolve in Nature : University of Cambridge (2012/06/22)
- 6 - Avian Flu Becoming More Resistant to Antiviral Drugs : University of Colorado at Boulder (2009/01/07)
- 7 - Bird Flu: What Can We Do About It : John T Jones, Ph.D. (2009/03/23)
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