The Lady Speaks

Bird Flu – it’s all just hype

It's everywhere, it's everywhere!! New cases in Eastern Europe! Could hit Britain next! What about the US?! Pandemic! People dropping like flies!!! World population decimated!! Cockroaches take over the world!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Okay folks. Stop running around in circles and screaming. Take a deep breath. Take another one.

Let's go over a few facts.

For all that you've heard about possible mutations in the H5N1 virus – it hasn't happened yet. It may never happen. All the talk swirling around is hypotheticals. 'What ifs'.

Despite the talking heads rambling on about Tamiflu, and pandemics and death, the simple fact is, it's not something you really need to waste time worrying about. It's identical to when they start talking about the 'possibility' of meteors and asteroids striking the earth, or magnetic pole reversals, or space aliens blowing up the Empire State Building.

In other words, pretty damned unlikely.
From the US Centers for Disease Control:

Influenza A (H5N1) is an influenza A virus subtype that occurs mainly in birds, is highly contagious among birds, and can be deadly to them. Outbreaks of H5N1 among poultry are ongoing in a number of countries. While H5N1 does not usually infect people, human cases of H5N1 infection associated with these outbreaks have been reported Most of these cases have occurred from direct or close contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces; however, a few rare cases of human-to-human spread of H5N1 virus have occurred, though transmission has not continued beyond one person.

Nonetheless, because all influenza viruses have the ability to change, scientists are concerned that H5N1 virus one day could be able to infect humans and spread easily from one person to another.

Got that? The H5N1 virus has not mutated into a worldwide population destroyer.

Yes, 105 people have died as a result of coming into contact with diseased birds, and each death is a tragedy for the families. However, bird to human transmission is currently very rare. Very rare. So rare that only 105 people worldwide have died.

Let's compare that to some other causes of death, worldwide:

In 2005, 3.1 million people of all ages died of AIDS.
An estimated 32 million had heart attacks. 12.5 million died.
Nearly 3 million died of tuberculosis.
Approximately 4.4 million died of strokes.
An estimated 660,000 women died from pregnancy or childbirth complications.

So, before bird flu sends you into a panic, why don't you do something to actually help stop some real killers? Join the ONE campaign.

Sources: AIDS, Heart Attack, Tuberculosis, Stroke, Childbirth

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March 26, 2006 - Posted by | Bird Flu, Health, Uncategorized

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