Bird Flu

Okay, my dad and I were talking about this, and he heard from a few professionals, people he considers to be cool-headed, that not only is it coming, but that its going to be a catastrophe of epic proportions. His veterinarian friend said she had actually told her parents to move to move to the country if there ever are bird flu cases in the U.S. Plus, the man who discovered the disease quite literally believes that if it goes over to humans, it would wipe out half the Earth’s population. What have you guys heard about this, and do you believe the hype?

Oh, I don’t know the exact numbers it would be expected to kill, but the moment the virus undergoes a mutation that allows it to jump from human to human (provided that it keeps the same level of lethality), consider the world fucked. This is the sort of thing that jumped around in 1918, and it spread fast back then even lacking the sort of mobility people have nowadays. The big, unpredictable question is when that mutation is going to occur.

I’ve seen the flu pop up in Sci-Am any number of times since I started reading it, even before the avian flu showed up in the news. It’s not a CNN-style scare story (though of course they’ve started using it as such. It’s a sad inevitability that people will disregard the seriousness of the issue because of that sort of journalism’s lack of credibility).

As far as I’ve been able to find out, it isn’t any different than the regular flu in terms of symptoms and stuff. So I figure I can survive the flu without much trouble, I will live. I’m really not sure if it will kill that much of the world. I mean, every contageous disease that pops up every few years has credible people saying it will kill the whole word and cross over to mars, just in case there’s life over there, and wipe that life out the second it develops if there’s not. It’s really gotten to the point that I don’t even care anymore. There’ll probably be some disease that, like robots, kills all humans. However, what are we supposed to do? The whole reason these are problems is because there isn’t enough vaccine/it doesn’t work. I really don’t have the knowledge to make a vaccine that does work, or the money to mass produce either one that is already there or is invented.
So, pretty much, whatever. Hope it doesn’t blanket the world in a thick wool of death, but not much for me to do if it does.

To be honest, I’ve always kind of looked forward to the Apocalypse, and I’ve always had a sneaking feeling that everyone else has too.

Course, the reality of the bird flu would be unimaginable hearbreak, so I shouldn’t have that feeling.

Moving out to the country because of Bird Flu would be a really stupid idea. Yeah, you’d be avoiding possibly infected people, but you could get sick anyway and be miles from a hospital with proper medical equipment. :expressionless:

Well, Arac, you could engage in some long-range machinations and try to encourage amongst your peers and relations a worldview of the type that would tend to support research in the area of disease, or some other indirect method of combating a potential epidemic.

Yes, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hinduists (to my understanding) do.

The thing is , the bird flu and the 1918 flu aren’t like other flus you’ve had. The 1918 strain was esp unusual in how it killed healthy young people and people were struck suddenly and people would die by the next day. There also appered to be neurological involvement with the 1918 flu. Some people had psychiatric symptoms. There was this condition that developed : encephalitis lethargica. These were young people who in the 1918 pandemic and they slowed down their movements, they developed parkensonian syndromes and remained in rigid catatonia. The 1918 flu killed 25 million people in 6 months. 60% of the population of the world was sick. The mortality rate worldwide was estimated to be 2.5-6%. Some would put the mortality above 100 million, as an estimated 27+ million died. 27% of people in the inidian army died. 28% of the us population caught the flue and close to 1 million died. Entire villages were wiped out in Alaska and Africa. During the 14 days after a steamer docked in the fiji island, 22% of the entire population of the fiji islands died.
The 1918 strain was not a recombinant , but an entirely pure avian strain. When the virus was recreated by the CDC to understand what was so bad about this flu, here’s what happened. The resurrected strain released 50 x more viruses than recent human strains and mice lost 32% their body weight with the new virus, while not losing weight to normal viruses. All mice died within 6 days of infection, they had 39 000 more particles in their lungs after 4 days

These new flus people talk about will infect you differently. These kinds of flus will kill healthy young people mercilessly and if they don’t, you’ll die from a resulting pneumonia because the flu virus infects and kills cells of the respiratory tract and wipes out the mucociliary defenses.
Creating an effective vaccine is also not very simple. Neither is creating enough of it when you have a semi functioning vaccine.

In 1957, there was an asian flu outbreak It started in Providence RI. In early june in 1953, there was an outbreak at a girlscout camp Davis CA. In late june, more infections in CA with girlscouts. In July 3rd, a group of girlscouts when to a jamboree in Iowa. Tons of little girls became ill and they all spread it across the US and that led to outbreaks throughout the US. By april 1957, 40 million became ill (out of 240 million) and 200000 died. The case fatality rate was 0.5%. This goes to show how easily everything can spread. Now imagine something that can_kill_even more than 10%, then 20%, then 30% of those it infects, how many more people will be severely incapacitated and what kind of repurcussions this will have on the socio-economic level world wide.

And Curtis, if the mutation occurs, there is no escape. Take precautions and hope not to get sick. As Arac said, this would wrap the world in a wollen blanket of death.

Okay, so the next question is, what are the chances that the mutation does occur? Or is that impossible to say?

What has been shown is that new outbreaks happen at somewhat regular intervals so the virus mutates into something bad at those intervals. That could be related or unrelated to the current strain. So…Its impossible to say.

Eh, well, even if it’s at the 2.5-6% fatality rate, you still have a good chance, especially considering that not everyone will get sick. That’s a better than 90% survival chance. I will for sure take those odds. They’re probably about the same I take if I drive somewhere with my girlfriend, mayhaps even better, given what a poor driver I am. It’s a lot better odds than I had with Meningitis, too, I think.
Besides, again, not much of anything I can do, so no point in worrying, that just weakens the immune system. This isn’t to say it won’t be truly terrible, and to use my simile again, wrap the world in a thick woolen blanket of death, when you look at the smaller picture, your chances may not be that bad, and there also isn’t much to do other than hope you and yours survive.

I’m really scared of this thing. Every year human flu viruses mutate so they can get past immune systems and infect more people the next year. A virus with part of it’s sequence that no one’s been exposed to will have free reign over a non-immune population.

I usually welcome such news of diasters, because in the onset it would be the most romantic time and afterwards it could be like a new world, depending on the amount of damage. Of course, these things never come.

That’s fucking disgusting. I sincerely hope one day you grow the fuck up and gain an appreciation for life. Calling a worldwide epidemic romantic isn’t edgy or cool, it just makes you look like an immature prick.

As much as i dislike your post(s), you and anyone else who thinks post-apocalypse earth is cool should read <a href=“”>YKK</a>…it would strike a chord with you.

No it wouldn’t. It would be extremely ugly. Chances are that the trogolodites that you despise will probably be the ones to survive (being those with the means to first get cures, I am certain), leaving those that appreciate fine literature either dead or living under an oppressive regime that may even ban literature as an “unnecessary” pursuit. While it might not be that extreme, I guarantee you that a pandemic disaster would not bring about the idyllic paradise that you believe that it will.

Also, if it takes the death of millions of human beings to have YOUR version of a utopia come true, I’d rather castrate myself and eat my own genitals.

The imagery that comes to mind is that over every corpse in the world simultaneously rolling over and doing a facepalm.

Sil, do yourself a favor, grab a copy of Thucydides and read from 2.47 through 2.54. This isn’t Narcissus and Goldmund where the main character emerges from tragedy all around him having learned more about himself, this is about how people die in ugly, horribly ways, and no good comes of it.

Edit: Supplying a link. No excuses.

If anything, the onset of something like this would make people ultra-hygenic and fearful of anyone who coughed.

Except people who reject the germ theory of disease, like hard-core chiropratics, “energy” healers, and that sort.

Yeah, bird flu wouldn’t be cool. We’ve just been brainwashed by Hollywood into thinking the Apocalypse would be, but the reality is ugly.

There is one thing I think Silhouette is right about, however, and that’s that I think the bird flu would truly ‘level the playing field’ in terms of wealth. There is no cure and if effects everyone equally. So how much money you had would do nothing to increase your chances of survival.

Really vivid account…very nasty disease.