Sunday, October 14, 2007

October 14 Flu Update

The bird flu is returning to Vietnam, with cool weather.

Meanwhile, China says animal diseases are on the way down.


At 6:06 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Two interesting articles today: the common thread between both China and Vietnam when it comes to bird flu and PRRS (swine disease), is that both countries are becoming totally dependent on their massive animal and poultry vaccination programs. They must keep their cyclical vaccinations continuously in operation year round now, in order to preserve their basic food protein sources - and especially in the case of China, if they don’t keep diseases at bay – they could face massive starvation on a scale that could be catastrophic.

Is the disease data in the Chinadaily article accurate ? Doubtful. It reads like classic communist government spin, aimed to placate other countries who will be sending athletes to the Beijing Olympics.

Yesterday you also posted two interesting articles which I would also like to a comment about: “Neighbors are the key to outlasting a pandemic”, and “Preparing the home for a bird flu emergency”.

Both articles are timely and on the surface express the right approach to preparing for a pandemic, but they fall short on one basic aspect: realism. They both lack viable pandemic timeframes. The home preparation article specifically mentions a Red Cross recommended guideline of a “three day supply of food and water” – heck, most anybody can survive three days without any food or water at all, so what’s the purpose?

The other article about the seven neighbors in Fords Colony in Virginia who are banding together, talks about preparing for a possible three whole weeks of self quarantine – still, while three weeks is getting a little more realistic, that is hardly long enough for anyone to really get excited about. And I personally wouldn’t even bother any of my neighbors with a discussion about a “three week pandemic” – I’d get laughed into the next county. A three week pandemic is a minor inconvenience.

Three to six months is the most reasonable and probable length of time, in my opinion, that people need to realistically prepare for – not three days or even three weeks. The real problem is, (a) nobody wants to hear this kind of talk, and (b) especially the implications of having their busy lives “interrupted” or “inconvenienced” by a pandemic, for maybe many months at a time. About 25% of our entire US population won’t even purchase health insurance for their family or the proper amount of auto or homeowners insurance – it’s not a high enough priority.

As a real example, the family that lives across the street from me doesn’t have health insurance (they say they can’t afford it), but they can afford to live in a $ 250,000 house, with two new SUV’s – go figure out that kind of mentality. An influenza pandemic would not even be a temporary blip on their radar screen. The mother and father are too busy living the “good life”, throwing parties once a month, and running their kids to private schools.

And this real life situation is replicated and repeated in millions of communities throughout the US. They are totally unprepared for anything, other than a toothache emergency or one of their top dollar SUV’s getting a flat tire.

I have only once mentioned the possibility of a pandemic to this family across my street. Never again. Why, because they think I’m some kind of misplaced Neanderthal from one of those GEICO TV commercials, for bringing up such a dreadful subject.

I guess it’s called a mentality of “denial”, just like not buying health insurance. (translation means: "the government’s going to come to our rescue") Not !



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