Sunday, 22 March 2009

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

by: Tom Rogers
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

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