Friday, June 23, 2006

Viruses, Viruses, Viruses Everywhere

No, not computer viruses - I'm talking about real ones.

I've been telling folks since 2 years ago that this avian flu thing is going to get real ugly sometime in the next several years, and still believe that's the case.

Read this article on similarities in how the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic (which killed ~50M worldwide) and the current avian flu have evolved; then read this article wherein WHO scientists confirmed yesterday that the recent Indonesian outbreak which killed 7 people was the result of one of the key mutations having taken place.

Read enough on the topic and it'll become clear that scientists feel the avian flu is one or two mutations away from becoming a true pandemic. When that happens, get ready to say goodbye to a good number of people you know, and be prepared for 3-6 months of disruption in food distribution, civil order and access to healthcare.

If you have children, take solace in the fact that the pandemic is likely to target healthy adults more than the young.

As pertains to search, do a search on Google for 'prevent avian flu' and you'll see Lysol advertising, as if spraying the countertop will have any effect, Sharper Image pushing its ion air filters, and many others similarly preying on human fear.

As far as I can tell, your best bet is to:
-Get your doctor to prescribe Tamiflu, which can help the body's immune system better fight the virus. Shelf life is 6 months, though, so you'll need to restock from time to time
-Store 6 months of non-perishable food
-Create and communicate your emergency plan, and create/update your will (LegalZoom is great for online wills, and much cheaper than a lawyer)
-If you do any of the above you'll probably make the mistake of telling others about your food stock, in which word might get out and someone desperate will try to poach your stash. Buy a gun for situations like that, but only if you know how to use and store it

I know, I know, I sound alarmist, but when did "Better safe than sorry" go out of style?


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