Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Brief Thought on Bird Flu

At the outset, let me say that I am no epidemiologist. However, I am familiar to some extent with several historic epidemics or pandemics (the bubonic plague comes to mind).

We've been hearing a lot about bird flu and the horrible dangers of it. If it mutates to human beings from the aviaries, we're in a real pickle. People are dying in Asia and its spreading. Now, it is heading for the United States.

In a world of how many billion people, a total of 100 or so have died from bird flu. One hundred. Out of billions.

What's wrong with that picture?


"lee n. field" said...

Apropos of pandemics, ever read George R. Stewart, _Earth Abides_?

crownring said...

Sola, the fear is is that the virus will mutate and become contagious between humans, not just between certain fowls and humans. Comparisons between the Bird Flu and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 have been made, but whether there is much reason to be alarmed, I don't know. I always heard the death toll from the 1918 flu was 20-25 million, but now I'm hearing the number was more like 75-100 million. However it is harder for people to catch Bird Flu from fowl than it for people to catch diseases from pigs, the main purveyor of the disease in 1918.

Rob said...

I think the cycle of fear and consumption continues. Now with the aging baby boomer population, big business is healthcare.

Get people really afraid of things then come up with a solution (for a cost), and the cycle continues.

Teens are taught to be afraid of acne, B.O., looking like a loser, not getting a girlfriend etc. Then a company comes up with a miracle product to solve their worst fear.

Not to make it political, but I think the War on Terrorism did this quite nicely. Make Americans afraid then they won't resist the billions of $ spent on defense. Some contractors are doing quite well on your fear.


Rob said...

I wasn't saying big business created terrorism (something that must be dealt with by force), but saw an opportunity created by terrorism and capitalized on it.


SolaMeanie said...

Good comments from everyone. Thanks.

The one thing that worries me about things like this is if bird flu does turn out to be a major non-event..people may well fall into the "chicken little" syndrome and not taking something seriously when they really should.