New links added 4/26/09
I have been studying and writing about avian influenza pandemics for several years now. And what do you know… it’s a completely different novel influenza that is making the “h2h” (human-to-human) leap: swine flu influenza A (H1N1) is readily passing from person to person. Avian influenza is still a concern, but there have been few h2h cases of avian influenza to date. But this new swine flu in the U.S. and Mexico is readily and rapidly spreading from person to person.
This development is the greatest threat of a global pandemic since the SARS outbreak in China in 2002-2003. Some health experts say that in this case, the outbreak is too far along to stop. Even closing the U.S.-Mexico border may do little to slow down this swine flu epidemic.
If an epidemic or pandemic should occur, the following conditions are likely to take place in localized areas in many parts of the world:
- Widespread school closures
- Closures of public gathering places such as theaters, sports stadiums, concerts, shopping areas, churches
- Regional quarantines that may result in people not being able to report for work
- Closure of public transportation systems (trains, airports, subways, buses)
These could cause spot shortages of food and other necessities in some areas.
Businesses that are able to continue running may have rates of absenteeism that exceed 50% and may last for weeks at a time. Because of the complex web of businesses that rely on others for supplies and services, a general slowdown of production is expected.
Businesses that are permitted to remain operating may be required to enact several measures to slow down the spread of disease, including: gloves, masks, sanitation stations, refraining from touching others (no more hand shaking), checks for fever.
How to prepare: families need to stock up on non-perishable food, water, medicine, cash, and other essentials, and be prepared to live “off the grid” (and I mean more than just living without electricity) for days or weeks at a time.
Recent articles (all links open in new windows):