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September 23, 2005

Pandemic Flu Awareness Week

by DemFromCT

According to the Houston Chronicle:

Pfaw_dateThe most important speech President Bush gave last week was not the prime-time address from Jackson Square in New Orleans. The world will little note nor long remember what he said there. It was stagey and prosaic, and his words were artificially elevated in importance by the passing political moment, not the substance of his remarks.

The most important speech Bush gave last week was delivered at the United Nations. It contained an ominous reference, which very few people seem to have noticed. The president signalled his concern over a new threat currently building in southeast Asia — and this time the threat has nothing to do with terrorism.

In the poultry farms of Vietnam and Thailand, in the slums of Indonesia, along the migratory routes of wild fowl in China, a new strain of bird flu is mutating and spreading. It's just a matter of time, scientists say, before the strain — H5N1, the most virulent form of influenza ever identified — will fully lodge itself within the human population. When that happens, start looking for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse — in particular, the one named Pestilence who's riding a pale horse.

This is not your ordinary, off-the-shelf, garden variety flu strain. It's a superbug. Currently, the virus is transmitted to humans only through direct contact with birds. Up until now, there's been very little to worry about unless you work with chickens in Thailand, or you eat Vietnamese delicacies such as uncoagulated duck blood soup. But scientists tell us that the virus is mutating, and it will soon become a human-to-human contagion that's spread the old-fashioned way — by nose, hand and mouth.

It is for that reason that we at Flu Wiki will enlist the help of bloggers everywhere. October 3-9 will be Pandemic Flu Awareness Week. If you have a blog, consider linking to some authoritative flu sources during that week, or even running a few flu stories of your own. There's plenty of material to use. Steal the logo. Get the word out to your readers. A little knowledge goes a long way; public health authorities can't do everything themselves. And perhaps knowledge dissemination will help them focus on what's real, not just what's feared, so they can share with us what we need to know.

Posted by dymaxion at September 23, 2005 05:20 PM

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