Sunday, October 16, 2005

An Avian Influenza Pandemic Scenario and Other Resources

From the New York Times:

The New York Times obtained a draft of the [Bush administration's] plan, dated Sept. 30. No one would confuse the 381-page document with a screenplay, but pages 45 through 47, the section titled "Pandemic Scenario - Origin and Initial Spread," are gripping. They describe a flu epidemic moving from a village in Asia to the United States, where it causes panic and as many as 1.9 million deaths...

In April of the current year, an outbreak of severe respiratory illness is identified in a small village in a country known to have experienced recent avian influenza disease. At least 25 cases have occurred, affecting all age groups. Several household clusters with infection of multiple family members are identified. Twenty patients have required hospitalization at the local provincial hospital, five of whom have died...

In July, small focal outbreaks begin to be reported throughout the United States. The first doses of a new pandemic vaccine become available in September. Despite full-scale production by manufacturers, supply remains very limited... Community-wide outbreaks begin to occur more frequently as children return to school, and by late August, outbreaks are occurring simultaneously throughout the country...

Overall, about 2 percent of Americans with influenza illness die. In communities during the peak weeks of ... outbreaks, about a quarter of workers are absent because of illness, the need to care for ill relatives and fear of becoming infected.

Hospitals are overwhelmed and staff shortages limit capacity. Intensive care units at local hospitals are unable to provide care for all who need it, and there are shortages of mechanical ventilators for treatment of patients with severe pneumonia. Makeshift hospitals established in schools and armories care for those who are unable to be treated in regular hospitals...

And it gets worse.

Like many people, avian influenza is a topic that I've been interested in and alarmed about. See the "avian flu" link in the sidebar for more. Also see the Avian Flu Blog and H5N1.

Dr. Taraneh Razavi, a Google staff doctor, continues to use the Google blog to educate people in this post about avian influenza. (He previously wrote about deep venous thromboses in travelers.)

And here's a summary of recent news from Warren Ellis:
"In other news, at least 1000 people are dead from the Kashmir earthquake, hundreds are missing after hurricane Stan rampaged through Mexico and central America, the avian flu vaccine doesn't work, the 1918 Spanish Flu was probably avian, the arctic ice cap is melting and we're all going to fucking die."
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