27. May 2005 · Comments Off on Our Last Words · Categories: Science!, World

…could be, “The bird flu?”

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US health authorities are taking urgent precautions against a ‘flu pandemic’ that experts warned could erupt at any time and claim tens of thousands of lives.

Top health officials here warned that the United States was ill-prepared to counter a pandemic which could come from a mutation of the bird flu H5N1 that has badly hit Asia.

Their warnings came as European researchers are also warned this week that hundreds of millions could die around the globe if a mutated bird flu, helped by jet travel and open borders, emerges and sweeps the world.

I read a lot, and a lot of Science Fiction, and these days there’s just enough fact thrown into the mix just to keep you on your toes. The super volcanoe that’s just waiting to blow under Yellowstone. The fact that the sun, bringer of warm breezes and maybe an occaissional sunburn, is a giant freaking series of nuclear explosions going off in our very immediate galactic neighborhood has fueled more than one writer’s head. And lets not forget about Global Warming least we offend those who pray at the alter of environmentalism. All fuel and fodder for the science fiction author who wants to add a little oomph to the story to “keep it real dawg, a’ight.” (??? Randy?)

But ya know, it’s always the weird stuff that really gets us, not the sexy cool stuff. Bird Flu. We could possibly be devasted by Bird Flu.

Because of places I’ve worked and exercises I’ve participated in, I know a bit about the spread of diseases. Back in the stone age I had to physically pick a slide up off a projector and replace it with the next one in a smooth and “professional” manner. God help me, I used to be proud of this skill. But I’ve sat through more disaster preparedness (natural and created) briefings than I care to imagine and the first folks to get sick in cases like this are the transporters; Airline crews and truckers and frequent flyers. Folks who come into contact with a LOT of other folks every day. Yes…they transport the disease as well but they also get sick first so guess what? Lots of stuff that we depend on to move from point A to point B doesn’t move because the timing is just so that they’re getting REAL sick just as the rest of us are starting to think, “My God I feel like I’ve been ate by a bear and shite down a hole.” Stuff stops moving just as we’re starting to need lots of stuff. It would make life interesting.

Bird Flu? Doesn’t seem right does it? I’m thinkin’ I’d prefer a meteor or a series of continent shifting earthquakes or a super x-ray fueled gravity pulse from the surface of Mars. Bird Flu sounds so cheezy. No, Asian Avian Flu doesn’t make it any better.

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