Saturday, October 15, 2005
You will hear it called a bunch of different things, but the media, when it has bothered touching on it at all so far, will call it the Avian Flu (H5N1), or "Bird Flu" more likely. It is a strain of the flu virus that has taken out large numbers of birds overseas, and is scaring the pants off a number of experts. Though it has shown to jump from birds to humans, it has not done so in large numbers, but there is already speculation in the medical community that this may indeed happen soon. Up to 100 people may already have died in Asia, and speculation by reliable parties is that an outbreak could reach pandemic proportions, killing as many as 150 million worldwide if not attacked properly. The anti-viral treatment Tamiflu is shown to be effective against it, but is in seriously short supply, and the Swiss company holding the patent, pharmaceutical giant Roche, has not shown the ability or willingness thus far to pick up production levels. Can you hear them now: "Send us more M-O-N-E-Y." President Bush has even considered the idea that we may need to institute quarantines here in the U.S. should a breakout reach the levels possible. Stay tuned folks, and stay away from the birds. This makes Hitchcock's little squawkers look downright tame.