March 14, 2005

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Flu

Considering how devastating past flu epidemics have been, we should all be concerned that the Asian bird flu appears to be becoming transmissible from person to person.

A cluster of human bird flu cases among relatives and possibly health workers in Vietnam may show the virus is changing into a form that can be passed on by humans, the World Health Organization said.

The WHO is worried that bird flu, which has killed 47 people in Asia, could mutate into an easily spread form that sparks the next influenza pandemic, killing millions. ...

It started out that infected people had to be in contact with an infected bird, but it's evolution in action and all that. Too bad Bush has been dismantling our health care system instead of building it up.

If this thing becomes a full-blown pandemic, it could spread like wildfire among under- and uninsured populations who don't want to incur the costs of an emergency room visit. Even now, flu kills around 36,000 people every year, don't need any hopped-up super strains floating around.

All we can do now is cross our fingers and hope that health officials in Vietnam have this under control. If this thing hits the states, I'll be a proud contributor to the incipient run on paper hospital masks.

Posted by natasha at March 14, 2005 10:19 AM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | Technorati links |