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Thread: Flu could kill 1.9 million

  1. #1
    Administrator Crazy Pellas's Avatar
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    25 Nov 2004
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Default Flu could kill 1.9 million

    Report assesses U.S. threat, responses
    November 3, 2005


    WASHINGTON -- An outbreak of the bird flu virus in the United States could infect one-third of the population and kill as many as 1.9 million people, according to an analysis by the federal government released Wednesday.

    The report, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that banning large gatherings and imposing quarantines would likely be necessary to contain the spread of the H5N1 avian influenza virus if it mutated into a form easily spread by human-to-human contact.

    "Rule No. 1 is to isolate people who are infected so they don't infect anyone else," said Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    But that will be just one step in a public-health response that also will involve global surveillance, vaccine development, complex systems for the distribution of antiviral drugs and travel restrictions.

    Worldwide flu outbreaks occur when a virus that people have never been exposed to emerges, which has occurred three times in the past century, most recently in 1968. A strain of avian influenza, now spreading in Asia and Europe, has killed or prompted the destruction of millions of birds. It has infected 122 people and killed 62, raising concerns that it could begin spreading more widely and cause a pandemic.

    The government analysis released Wednesday was part of a plan, broadly outlined by President George W. Bush on Tuesday, to confront threats from new outbreaks of flu.

    Beyond the cost in human lives, health costs from a pandemic could total more than $181 billion, the Health and Human Services' new Pandemic Influenza plan says.

    If the outbreak emerged overseas, the government may impose travel restrictions to affected countries, as many nations did during the 2003 SARS outbreak, according to the plan. In the United States, local health officials probably will resort to isolation of hospital patients and those ill at home and quarantine of people exposed to patients.

    The government analysis found that 40% of school-age children could become sick with the virus, and 865,000 to 9.9 million people would require hospitalization -- depending on its severity -- which could overwhelm the hospital system.

    To limit the spread of infection, health officials might quickly close schools and ban other public gatherings, according to the plan.

    Because a vaccine will be unavailable in sufficient quantities for months, the plan recommends that antiviral drugs be prescribed first to patients and then to the health care workers and first responders who will come in contact with those who have the disease.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said in a briefing Wednesday that the government is working with drug companies to produce 20 million doses of a vaccine against the H5N1 influenza strain. No one knows whether the vaccine will work if H5N1 mutates sufficiently to begin spreading widely among humans.

    "But it may provide some protection to first responders," he said.

    In other developments Wednesday:

    •China ordered tighter monitoring for bird flu and more aggressive vaccine research.

    China's latest measures were announced by Premier Wen Jiabao and read on the national TV evening news. They threatened punishment for anyone who fails to report an outbreak.

    "The government, at all levels, must make efforts to achieve victory over bird flu," Wen was quoted as saying.

    •Vietnam banned raw blood pudding and poultry raising in big cities.

    China and Vietnam have banned poultry imports from countries with outbreaks.

    Free Press news services contributed to this report.

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  2. #2
    Monster Cesare Borgia's Avatar
    Join Date
    29 Nov 2004
    Westcoast USA

    Default Re: Flu could kill 1.9 million

    yea, shit could get bad


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