Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Bird Flu Panic

I'm very interested to know where other people stand on this issue. Big L and I are still discussing it. First - a little background on our reaction to other similar situations.

Y2K - I wasn't blogging yet, but I did have several people ask me as a "level-headed person, rational person" (what were they thinking??) what my plans were at the time. Others were buying expensive generators, sending their wives and children to live in RV's away from cities, stockpiling food and water. We did none of these.

9/11 - We never changed our habits and continued flying as we normally would've. Also, we have not responded to the advice to stockpile duct tape, plastic, water and food in our home...even though we live minutes from some of the largest oil refineries in the country.

Hurricane Rita - we watched the predictions of a monster storm, analyzed the charts of where our house would be in such a situation, packed our bags and left. And we also planned ahead for the traffic and mayhem of the evacuation of millions from this huge metropolis, so we took plenty of snacks, water, toilet paper, buckets for the kids to use, and we left in the evening so our kids would sleep for most of the journey. Just in case, we also took our gas burner, a large soup pot, and enough ingredients to make a pot of soup for an entire traffic jam, which fortunately we never had to use.

Now this brings us to the Bird Flu Pandemic Panic. What should we do, if anyting? Well, first we need some information. Will the Bird Flu ever even reach the US? Experts say yes, and by the fall of 2006, based on the current locations of infected birds and normal migration patterns.

But the big question remains, will it mutate to a form that can pass from human to human? And if it does, how easily and quickly will it spread? Well, if you believe the expert Robert G. Webster, who is credited with first recognizing the link between bird flu and human flu, the answer is that we face about 50/50 odds of it mutating into a human to human situation.

The part of "The Flu Hunter"'s article that most disturbed me, however, was this:

If the virus does mutate, it does not necessarily mean it will be as deadly
to people as it is to birds. But experts such as Webster say they must
prepare for the worst. "I personally believe it will happen and make
personal preparations," said Webster, who has stored a three-month supply of
food and water at his home in case of an outbreak.

"Society just can't accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die. And I think we have to face that possibility," Webster said. "I'm sorry if I'm making people a little frightened, but I feel it's my role."

Most scientists won't put it that bluntly, but many acknowledge that
Webster could be right about the flu becoming transmissible among humans, even
though they believe the 50 percent figure could be too high.

Researcher Dr. Anne Moscona at New York Weill
Cornell Medical Center said that a human form may not mutate this year or next —
or ever — but it would be foolish to ignore the dire consequences if it
did. "If bird flu becomes not bird flu but mutates into a form that can be
transmitted between humans, we could then have a spread like wildfire across the
globe," Moscona said.

It just so happened that when I read this article I was in the process of supervising my children's bath. I looked over at my 4 and 6 year old innocently playing in the tub and thought of their asthma and Webster's bleak 50% of the population.....and I knew this time I would have to take some precautions.

So, Big L and I have devised a plan. We figure if it "really happens" and the bird flu mutates into a human to human disease, it will be quick. We will pull our children out of school and homeschool them until it passes. We have set 3 months as our target for preparedness. So each week, when Big L goes to the grocery store, he purchases 2 large containers of water and some extra non-perishables which we are storing in our garage apartment closet. We are buying things like pasta, powdered milk, canned soup, peanut butter, crackers and breakfast bars. We figure that way we can contain ourselves at home (both of us have the ability to work from home) and wait it out.


Jimbo said...

There is no need to start moderating comments, but I would appreciate your support. Freak show?
I am a Marine who has been disrespected on Espellas blog. I wish to have Espellas blog banned from this blogroll.

Is this true?
This is a Conservative based Blog Roll... Acceptance to the Blog Roll will be limited to sites that represent a Conservative way of life or Conservative politics...

Sites that link to *leftist*, liberal, anti-American, anti-Military or non Conservative sites will not be admitted to the Blog Roll and ANY site that links to one of these type sites AFTER admission to the Blog Roll will be deleted from the Roll, no exceptions...


bigwhitehat said...

I just found out you're back. I'll put you back on the blogroll.

bigwhitehat said...

Hey. Say I have a stock tank, and an infected duck lands in it. This duck does what ducks do in the water. Then a catfish does what catfish do to duck doo. Then I catch cook and eat said catfish. Will I get the bird flu?

TexasFred said...

Only if you drink the water with the duck doo-doo in it...

Sprittibee said...

We already homeschool, and I think this is all a bunch of hocus pocus. Just like the flu shots that are on "short supply" each year to create panic so the drug companies can score profits... and the media that uses scare tactics to try and convince everyone they are going to get the flu if they don't get the shots. The only two years I got the flu are the two years I either TOOK THE SHOT, or had close contact with someone who got that NASAL SPRAY crud that is actually airborne LIVE virus! I never get the flu and I never get the shot. Neither do my kids. But you know what? God is in control... and I ain't SKEERED. I'm in good hands - alive or dead, it doesn't matter to me one bit. :) Have faith - the world is in good hands.

Diana said...

I don't know where you live in TX, but I am in Houston. During Rita, I did (almost) the exact opposite as you. My husband (soon to be ex now, but different story) is a police officer who had to stay. I never wanted to leave him here alone so we weighed our options carefully. We decided to stay and stocked up (including gas, thankfully), just in case we were wrong.

The morning Rita was supposed to hit (like 4 am-ish) we watched the news and considered the fact that one little gust could send the hurricane to us and we packed up the kids to go to Grandmas.

Traffic was NONexistant and we (the kids and I) got to College Station in about 2 hours (lots of disabled cars so I went slow, unsure what was on the other side of that hill...) The next morning we came home.

As for illness. We need to be careful, but like the other poster, the only time I have ever gotten the flu was after a flu shot one year. And, lost my hearing due to it.

So, although I agree that we need to be cautious, there is such a thing as over doing it.

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Diana said...

Pandemic flu viruses have some avian flu virus genes and usually some human flu virus genes. Both the H2N2 and H3N2 pandemic strains contained genes from avian influenza viruses. The new subtypes arose in pigs coinfected with avian and human viruses and were soon transferred to humans. Swine were considered the original "intermediate host" for influenza, sportsbook, because they supported reassortment of divergent subtypes. However, other hosts appear capable of similar coinfection (e.g., many poultry species), and direct transmission of avian viruses to humans is possible. The Spanish flu virus strain may have been transmitted directly from birds to humans.