Chicago vs Birdflu

From: Boing Boing: H5N1 Bird Flu getting scarier by the day:

Friday, September 30, 2005

H5N1 Bird Flu getting scarier by the day
H5N1 Bird Flu kills nearly every person who contracts it, and it looks like it is learning how to jump from human-to-human. reports “H5N1 has clearly evolved and has become markedly more efficient at transmitting among humans, and has done so via recombination,” and that, “H5 will clearly be resident in humans worldwide.”

Today, an article in the Guardian reports that the UN official in charge of bird flu response efforts warned that “a global influenza pandemic is imminent and will kill up to 150 million people.” A World Health Organization said the “best case scenario” would be 7.4 million deaths globally.

Yesterday, the US Senate approved spending $3 billion on anti-viral medications, “including one intended to fight avian flu.”

Finland is planning to buy “5.2 million doses of a vaccine against the deadly bird flu, allowing it to protect its entire population.”

You may ask why I’d cross post this from the wonderful Boing Boing site. The reason is simple: a number of corporations in Chicago, namely a bank that has “the most ATMS in the city.” are taking this flu seriously; they are going so far as to buy vaccines for their employees.

Also, considering how important Chicago is as a world-wide travel hub, this is a story worth watching.

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5 Comments so far

  1. Alana (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 3:01 pm

    Marty, I’ve been doing book research on the 1918 influenza pandemic for the past couple of years and there is plenty to worry about. In the span of just a few months nearly a quarter of the world’s population was wiped out by a strain of the flu that was so easily passed that they banned all public gatherings, even funerals. Here’s a link for more info:

  2. James T. Struck (unregistered) on October 4th, 2005 @ 6:57 am

    I believe the 1918 influenza epidemic was 20 million worldwide and 500,000 dead U.S. I lost a great great aunt; she was a nurse at St. Francis Hospital of Evanston. Ann Schwind or Elizabeth Schwind do not recall the first name right now. Think it was Elizabeth K. Schwind died 11/8/1918.

    I do not believe 20 million people is a quarter of the world’s population in 1919. I would have to look that up.

    Recall that even though your concerns are justified, Gerald Ford was concerned about swine flu and swine flu vaccines had very negative side effects resulting in law suits against the US Government.

    The H5N1 strain could quickly mutate into something different. That is a large part of the problem. Strains mutate. A slight mutation in a 1918 influenza virus gave rise to the vicious strain of 1919.

    Thanks for the posting.

    Homeland Security chief Chertoff was going to a lecture at CDC supposedly the day of Katrina landfall.

    This is an always present problem. We consistently have 20,000 die from regular flu strains.

    Let’s keep our eyes on the vaccine side effects. Let’s see if they are like the swine flue vaccines.

    James T. Struck

  3. Alana (unregistered) on October 4th, 2005 @ 12:25 pm


    Check the PBS site. It’s really interesting and contains many of those facts you seek.

    Nearly everyone knew someone immediately at hand back then who died. My grandmother, already in an orphanage with her baby sister as the only remaining members of their family, lost her dear Ethel to the flu during the plague. It’s a heartbreaking story and unfortunately, one that most people have forgotten about. I don’t understand how that can be. You ask many people today and few have even heard of it, yet it was probably the single most devastating thing to ever happen to this country in the past century. Just amazing.

  4. Maya (unregistered) on October 4th, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

    This Bird Flu problem is very alarming.
    NPR has a very good right up of it’s progress too.

  5. Nina Klooster (unregistered) on November 14th, 2005 @ 8:37 am

    The potential for an avian flu pandemic is the topic of Cafe Society this week. Check out the website of Cafe Society if you are interested in talking to live human beings about this topic.

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