Saturday, October 08, 2005

How to survive the coming pandemic?

Darn. I have long though a rural refuge would be a good idea, but perhaps I've waited too long. This writer is convinced it's time to prepare for the worst: Pandemic - Personal Pandemic Preparedness Plan.

Hmm. We put food and water in the basement for Y2K. We wondered about stocking Cipro during the Anthrax days. SARS had us thinking about infection control gear [1]. Bush convinced us Sadaam would blast us with smallpox [2].

And now avian influenza. Somehow Katrina seems to have boosted the anxiety level another notch.

I do agree that we're heading into a world of lower security and higher risk. I do believe that it will be increasingly reasonable to make 'survival kits a part of one's home (it'll be easier when Walmart stocks them). I don't however, think this avian influenza will devastate wealthy nations. I think between the immunizations and travel restrictions and meds we'll contain it -- and the recently resurrected 1918 virus had lethality tricks this flu still lacks. [3]

Still, it's an interesting article to read to pick up a few tips for possible future use. I won't be acting on all the recommendations myself, however.

[1] I have yet to read a decent explanation of what happened with SARS -- and I've been looking. It feels very odd that I still don't understand why SARS was so lethal for health care workers, or how it came under control. My longstanding theory was that there was a far less lethal immunizing coronavirus circulating around the same time.

[2] Why does no-one remember the WMD scare was about smallpox? Why does no-one remember the aborted project to immunize health care workers pre-invasion? Why has no journalist every investigated whether the Iraq-smallpox scare was contrived? Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a parallel universe ... (Some people got very ill from that vaccine, I think some might have died.)

[3] Were the 1918 flu to strike today I think we'd get it under control, and based on the gene sequence it was nastier than this avian flu.

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