Saturday, February 05, 2005

Avian Flu

"As a result, the prevalence of the infection in birds makes a new, more deadly human outbreak likely. Public health experts say it is only a matter of time before the flu strain remakes itself, unleashing a disease that is both highly lethal and as easy to catch as an ordinary flu bug.
If this occurs, World Health Organization officials predict that, in the most optimistic scenario, 2 million to 7 million people would die worldwide and that the toll could potentially reach 100 million. Health experts say the virus has already exhibited traits similar to those that caused the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which is estimated to have killed about 40 million people."

This is scary stuff. The health officials quoted sound like people watching an accident develop in slow motion from on high, but unable to do anything about it. It is a moving thing to see societies leap in a decade a distance that western societies took generations to achieve - but clearly, as we sometimes see in Taiwan, there are often problems of a lack of awareness of modern issues, like hygeine.