Sunday, January 30, 2011

Will This Year's Flu Paralyze The US And Canada?

According to the Associated Press on August 26th, the US
and Canada may have to close schools, restrict travel and
ration scarce medications if a powerful new flu strain
spurs a worldwide outbreak, according to the federal
planners for the next pandemic. It will take months to brew
a new vaccine that works against the kind of super flu that
causes a pandemic, although government preparations include
research to speed the production. Federal plans have long
been awaited by flu specialists, who say that it is just a
matter of time before the next pandemic strikes and the
nation is woefully unprepared for it!

There have been three flu pandemics in the last century,
with the worst in 1918, when more than a half a million
Americans and 20 million people worldwide died. Pre-baby
boomers most likely heard about it from their parents and
boomers from their grandparents.

The specialists say that the next one could be triggered
by the recurring bird flu in Asia, if it indeed mutates in
a way that lets it spread easily among humans. Bird flu has
caused recurring outbreaks in recent years and has killed
27 people already this year in Asia. Until now, human
infections have been traced to direct contact with infected
poultry or poultry waste, and millions of chickens and
other fowl have been slaughtered in attempts to stem the

In a recent report, Dutch researchers found that cats can
not only catch the bird flu, but can also spread it to
other felines. Dr. Klaus Stohr, the influenza chief of the
World Health Organization, states that there is not enough
evidence yet to prove that cats can spread the deadly virus
to humans, but has urged scientists to examine household
cats and other mammals whenever researchers investigate
human bird-flu infections. The cat research is of
considerable concern because it illustrates the virus
continuing adaptations in mammals, said Dr. Nancy Cox of
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Cox adds we need to do a lot more in the veterinary
arena in order to understand what other animals can be
infected and can transmit the virus. Last winter Thai
veterinarians reported that the bird flu had killed three
house cats. That was a big surprise as domesticated cats
have long been thought resistant to infection from
influenza A-type viruses.

As pointed out above, the US is woefully unprepared for it
and public health experts worry that such a bug might come
so fast that there will not be enough time to prepare
adequate vaccine to keep the risk to a minimum.

The above, now combined with the shortage of normal-strain


About the author:

Tom Rogers is the founder of America's Discount Health Source and publisher of the monthly news letter "Healthy Highlites". Visit Tom at:

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