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Bird flu

Tags: bird flu

Added: 2006-04-06T15:49

Bird flu

I feel the need to explain about bird flu. Not because I'm an expert, or anything - but I was reading a site (www.fark.com) the other day, and I was struck at how many people "didn't get it".

1. Bird flu has a very high mortality rate. Out of the 190 people infected, 106 have died. That's 56% of cases. That's amazingly high. The 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak had a mortality rate of about 5% and still killed 25-50 million.
2. Currently, it's hard to contract, unless you live in a chicken shed, and roll around in their droppings regularly.
3. It's not like normal flu. Normal flu mainly affects the elderly, and young. This particular bird flu kils mainly the healthy 20-35 year olds. The problem with bird flu is that it's like, but not quite the same as a human flu. So the body's immune system goes all out trying to kill the virus, and can't because it's slightly different. People with very good immune systems throw so many cells at destroying the virus that they destroy their own bodies, and cause a cytokine storm that ends up leaving you drowning due to fluid in your lungs. You go blue, and die. Probably overnight.

The Spanish Flu that kicked off in 1918 killed 25-50 million people in 6 months. There were a lot less people in the world then, and there wasn't mass long-distance travel to help it spread around either.

It's not to be negative, or fear mongering. It's just that a lot of people think that because of the tradition in the media to hype scare stories, and the fact that only about 200 people have died of it in the last 5 or so years that it's all worry about nothing.

So, to sum up: 56% of the people that have got it have died from it, and it's the healthy people that die. Lucky it's hard to contract at the moment. This is why we don't want it to mutate into one that is airborne like normal viruses. Unfortunately, it is gradually going through all the steps it needs to go through to become airborne.

If you're 20-35, reasonably healthy, you've ever caught flu, flip a coin. If it's heads, bad luck. Of course, there's not much you can do about it, so stop worrying about it, and get on with your life :) Perhaps keep some natural antivirals around.

posted by Calum on 2006-04-06T15:49 under

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