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Bird Flu Links and Information Sources

What is a Pandemic?

      An epidemic is an infection that spreads so rapidly that the numbers of infected individuals increases exponentially rather than in a linear fashion. A pandemic is an epidemic that affects the entire world, all continents, rather than a single geographic area.

      The worst pandemic on record is the 1918-19 Spanish flu. It caused more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide. The trenches on the European battlefield were the perfect incubation environment, they were cold, damp, and crowded with human beings living in poor sanitary conditions. When the war ended, soldiers returned home to many parts of the world and the flu outbreak quickly spread world wide.

      Two additional flu outbreaks in the U.S. occurred with the Asian flu in 1957-58 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968-69. The Asian flu caused 70,000 deaths in the U.S. and the Hong Kong flu caused 34,000 deaths. Both the 1957-58 and 1968-69 pandemics were caused by viruses containing a combination of genes from a human and an avian influenza virus. Recent research has shown that the 1918-19 pandemic flu was an avian virus as well.

Why is the Avian "Bird Flu" so Scary?

      Avian flu is of such extreme concern because it is so deadly. The 1918 flu is believed to have infected 40 to 50 percent of the world's population. Of those infected, 12.5 percent died. This is a very large number compared to the death rate or lethality of ordinary seasonal flu. Other pandemics are believed to have infected between 25 and 35 percent of the population. The seasonal flu may infect between 5 and 20 percent of the population and kill less than 1 percent, usually less than one half of one percent.

      The Avian flu, on the other hand, has killed between 50 and 60 percent of those infected so far. Fortunately, this virus has not yet learned how to spread from human to human. All of those infected have caught the virus from direct exposure to infected poultry. If this virus learns how to spread from human to human and retains its lethality, the death toll could be staggering. If 50 percent of the world population became infected and 50 percent of those died, that would be between 2 and 3 billion deaths in a very short time. The fallout from even a fraction of this many deaths would disrupt the economies and infrastructure of every nation and society.

      This has not happened yet, and there is no certainty that it will, but all of the experts do agree that there will be another pandemic. They just do not know if it will be this one or another, or when or exactly where it will strike.

Medical Bird Flu Links

Preparing for the Next Pandemic - New England Journal of Medicine

Mayo Clinic Bird Flu (avian influenza) monograph

New England Journal of Medicine: Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Infection in Humans

Information on Tamiflu

Bird Flu Survival Resources

Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist For Individuals And Families (HHS)

Alternative Medicine Bird Flu Links

An article by Dr. Dean and Dr. Fleisher on using natural supplements to boost the immune system.

Bird Flu from a Homeopathic perspective

Bird Flu Information

In Depth Website on All Aspects of Bird Flu

Source of Bird Flu News Articles

Bird Flu News in Nature Magazine

Government Bird Flu Links

Center for Disease Control (CDC) website on avian influenza

World Health Organization Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response: Influenza

World Health Organization Guidelines On The Use of Vaccines and Antivirals During Influenza Pandemics (pdf)

The Official U.S.Government Web Site for Information On Pandemic Flu And Avian Influenza

CDC Weekly Influenza Map of United States

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