No matter the facts about H5N1, the myths and the supposed possibilities continue to make for some remarkable media stories. Is there, perhaps, a competition underway - see who can do best job of scaring the bejesus out of people, including Americans in particular? Gotta be good in the ratings wars, hasn't it?
Oprah Winfrey had a crack at scariness lately; a fair attempt I thought. Laurie Garrett likes to fearmonger of course - cited her in another thread here, and she pops up in this story for a quote.
So here comes Brian Ross, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent, with more shock horror (makes you wonder what on earth the regular investigative correspondents are like). Read hard and you'll notice H5N1 has caused less than 100 human deaths in 10 years; but otherwise facts are hard to come by - with much claptrap re wild birds, which - we're told - are being tracked by spy satellites!
In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States.
Ready or not, here it comes.
It is being spread much faster than first predicted from one wild flock of birds to another, an airborne delivery system that no government can stop.
"There's no way you can protect the United States by building a big cage around it and preventing wild birds from flying in and out," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns said.
U.S. spy satellites are tracking the infected flocks, which started in Asia and are now heading north to Siberia and Alaska, where they will soon mingle with flocks from the North American flyways.
"What we're watching in real time is evolution," said Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. "And it's a biological process, and it is, by definition, unpredictable."
Industry Precautions America's poultry farms could become ground zero as infected flocks fly over. The industry says it is prepared for quick action.
"All the birds involved in it would be destroyed, and the area would be isolated and quarantined," said Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council. "It would very much [look] like a sort of military operation if it came to that." ... It is the droppings of infected waterfowl that carry the virus.
The bird flu virus, to date, is still not easily transmitted to humans. There have been lots of dead birds on three continents, but so far fewer than 100 reported human deaths.
But should that change, the spread could be rapid.
ABC News has obtained a mathematical projection prepared by federal scientists based on an initial outbreak on an East Coast chicken farm in which humans are infected. Within three months, with no vaccine, almost half of the country would have the flu.
That, of course, is a worst-case scenario — one that Lobb says the poultry industry is determined to prevent with an aggressive strategy to contain and destroy infected flocks and deny the virus the opportunity to mutate to a more dangerous form but one that experts say cannot be completely discounted.
The current bird flu strain has been around for at least 10 years and has taken surprising twists and turns — not the least of which is that it's now showing up in cats in Europe, where officials are advising owners to bring their cats inside. It's advice that might soon have to be considered here.
Ready">http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AvianFlu/story?id=1716820&page=2]Ready or Not, Bird Flu Is Coming to America
oh dear, how sad to see such drivel in mainstream :sick:
good for sales of canned tuna and powdered milk in the short-term, perhaps.
Perhaps, too, people could stock up on reading material. Such as on Y2K bug, swine flu and so forth.
Post edited by: martin, at: 2006/03/14 13:35