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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Flu watch

Only about 200 people worldwide have caught the bird flu, but over 55% of the human cases died. There is no vaccine.

Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Washington just released a report describing what might happen in the US if the strain mutated a bit more and caused a flu outbreak.

The results are truly frightening. From today's AP story:
Left unchecked, a global outbreak of bird flu could infect 54 percent of the U.S. population and peak in just over two months, while a less-contagious strain could affect a third of the population and peak after 117 days, a new report predicts.
Tim Germann, a computational scientist at Los Alamos, spoke frankly:
"Eventually there will be a pandemic strain, and we're probably overdue for one."
Experts consulted by the journalist apparently recommended travel restrictions and quarantines as measures to try to avoid the worst-case scenario.

As I blogged last February, this kind of health crisis could post a genuine threat to all Americans -- and perhaps to global security.

On the bright side, the death rate is down from 70% at that time.

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