(News and Editorial/ Bird flu H7N9, Part 2 and tracking)
Outbreak: Frightening H7N9 Study: “Authorities Should Definitely Be Alarmed and Get Prepared for the Worst-Case Scenario”
25 Apr 2013, SHTFPlan.com, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/outbreak-frightening-h7n9-study-authorities-should-definitely-be-alarmed-and-get-prepared-for-the-worst-case-scenario_04252013
While U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden suggests there is no cause for panic over the H7N9 influenza strain and says that Americans, “go about their daily lives,” this unusually dangerous virus has concerned officials at the CDC to such an extent that they are rapidly working to develop an effective vaccine in the event it makes its way to North America.
According to the World Health Organization, the H7N9 bird flu virus is one the most lethal influenza strains ever identified. The first case appeared in China in late February and has since spread to scores of others, with at least 109 cases having been reported to WHO thus far, 22 of which have resulted in death. This amounts to a kill rate of 20%. These are laboratory confirmations, so in all likelihood there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others who may be infected with the virus that haven’t received medical attention.
In the last 24 hours officials in Taiwan confirmed the first case of the virus outside of China. The patient was originally hospitalized on April 12, but confirmation of the virus did not come until nearly two weeks later, suggesting that the official numbers and the reality on the ground are starkly different.
Moreover, as reported by WHO, half of the H7N9 cases identified are individuals who have had no prior contact with poultry.
If true, this would be strong evidence that H7N9 has already achieved “human-to-human transmission,” turning it into a “nightmare influenza” that might already be spreading across the population.
That status is not proven yet, however, and more observation is needed before such a conclusion could be substantiated.
“If H7N9 were to stably adapt to humans, it would probably meet with little or no human immunity,” writes Peter Horby from Nature.com. “Detecting and tracking a partially human-adapted H7N9 virus in a city as vast as Shanghai or Beijing would be difficult; tracking a fully adapted virus would be impossible. And it could easily spread nationally and internationally.”
Source: Natural News
While transmission between humans is not yet confirmed, the South China Morning Post cites a frightening study that suggests the virus is mutating at an alarming rate:
The new bird flu could be mutating up to eight times faster than an average flu virus around a protein that binds it to humans, a team of research scientists in Shenzhen says.
Dr. He Jiankui, an associate professor at South University of Science and Technology of China, said yesterday that the authorities should be alarmed by the results of their research and step up monitoring and control efforts to prevent a possible pandemic.
“It happened in just one or two weeks. The speed may not have caught up with the HIV, but it’s quite unusual for a flu.”
The fast mutation makes the virus’ evolutionary development very hard to predict. “We don’t know whether it will evolve into something harmless or dangerous,” He said. “Our samples are too limited. But the authorities should definitely be alarmed and get prepared for the worst-case scenario.“
It’s impossible for the general public to know how this virus has mutated. Government officials in China are not sharing any specific details, and as noted, there are significant delays between the time a patient enters the hospital and when the virus is confirmed as H7N9.
Furthermore, if this virus has become transmittable by way of human to human contact it’s likely that government officials, in an effort to prevent panic, will wait as long as possible before they disseminate information to the public.
There is not much we can do unless we know it’s coming. The evidence thus far indicates the virus is continuing to spread. We really don’t know if it has gone human-to-human, and we may not know until it’s too late.
The Chinese study cited above suggests that authorities start preparing for a worst-case scenario.
We suggests individuals do the same and take steps now to prepare for a pandemic.
Stay up to date with information as it becomes available. If it’s confirmed that humans can pass this to each other, then avoid densely populated areas, especially schools, sporting events or any public gatherings. A 20% kill rate is not something to gamble with, so avoiding external human contact should this go critical is key to survival.
With the ease of travel across the globe, it won’t take long at all for this virus to appear in every major city on the planet.
The Black Death wiped out nearly one-third of Europe’s population in the mid 1300′s (incidentally, this plague reportedly started in China). The Spanish Flu infected half a billion people across the globe and killed upwards of 50 million in the early 1900′s.
It’s only a matter of time before the next mass pandemic makes its way across the world, and all of our technological advancements and modern day implements will be powerless to stop it.
B. Are You Ready Series: Pandemic Preparedness
December 2011, Ready Nutrition, by Tess Pennington
Pasted from: http://readynutrition.com/resources/are-you-ready-series-pandemic-preparedness_14122011/
Let’s cut to the chase, it is very difficult to prepare for epidemics and pandemics especially for those living in close proximity to others.
These natural reoccurring disasters tend to occur suddenly and without warning. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), serious, deadly contagious disease outbreaks can and do happen. CDC investigates new contagious diseases—averaging one new contagion per year. These new contagious diseases can emerge right here or only a plane-ride away from here. It’s not just new diseases that threaten the United States. Some diseases long thought controlled in the United States, like tuberculosis, can reemerge and be more deadly than ever.
Looking back at the Black Plague, those living in high populated areas were hit hardest by this pandemic. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30–60 percent of Europe’s population. Given our vast array of transportation systems, modern society causes infectious disease to spread far more rapidly compared to any other time in recorded history; and because pandemics are fast moving, vaccinations would be useless. Further, in regards to the world’s transportation system, the morbidity rate in a future pandemic could result in millions seeking medical care at the same time thus overwhelming hospitals and emergency departments.
Many believe the misuse of antibiotics in the past has led to the dangers of super bugs such as the spread of MRSA — or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In fact, nearly all significant bacterial infections in the world are becoming resistant to commonly used antibiotics. If antibiotics are used too often for things they cannot treat such as viral infections, they become less effective against the bacteria they’re intended to treat. Further, not taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed also leads to problems. For example, if you do not take the full course of prescribed antibiotics, it does your body more harm than good because the antibiotic may wipe out some but not all of the bacteria. The surviving bacteria become more resistant and can be spread to other people. When bacteria become resistant to first line treatments, the risk of complications and death is increased.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of pandemic preparedness, let’s look at the changes that will likely occur in your community if this disaster were to occur: [Note: The following have a commonality with many disasters so should be considered for major preparedness scenarios. Mr. Larry]
- Challenges or shut downs of business commerce
- Breakdown of our basic infrastructure: communications, mass transportation, supply chains
- Payroll service interruptions
- Staffing shortages in hospitals and medical clinics
- Interruptions in public facilities – Schools, workplaces may close, and public gatherings such as sporting events or worship services may close temporarily.
When an outbreak occurs, many will remain in a state of denial about any approaching epidemics. Simply put, most people believe themselves to be invincible to negative situations and do not like the idea change of any kind. They will remain in this state until they realize they are unable to deny it to themselves any longer. Being prepared before the mass come out of their daze will ensure that you are better prepared before the hoards run to the store to stock up.
Community Preparedness Will Play a Large Role
Preventing the transmission of an illness rests in the hands of not only the individual, but the community as well. Proper planning and prevention plays a very large role in preparing for a pandemic. There is a lot to be said for preventative measures.
As a whole, communities should take the necessary steps to be prepared for potential challenges before a threat exists. Understand that areas where there are large congregation areas i.e., malls, schools, airports, grocery stores also pose a hazard to spreading the epidemic more quickly. Breakdowns in communications, supply chains, payroll service issues, and healthcare staff shortages should be anticipated when preparing for a pandemic. To assist communities planning for a pandemic, the Federal Government has developed a Pandemic Severity Index. This index assists the government in gauging the severity of the epidemic based upon the amount of fatalities. If the government sees fit, they can activate pandemic mitigation measures. Some of these measures include the following:
- Isolation and treatment (as appropriate) with influenza antiviral medications of all persons with confirmed or probable pandemic influenza. Isolation may occur in the home or healthcare setting, depending on the severity of the individual’s illness and/or the current capacity of the healthcare infrastructure.
- Voluntary home quarantine of members of households with confirmed or probable influenza case(s) and consideration of combining this intervention with the prophylactic use of antiviral medications, providing sufficient quantities of effective medications exist and that a feasible means of distributing them is in place.
- Dismissal of students from schools (including public and private schools as well as colleges and universities) and school-based activities and closure of childcare programs, coupled with protecting children and teenagers through social distancing in the community to achieve reductions of out-of-school social contacts and community mixing.
- Use of social distancing measures to reduce contact between adults in the community and workplace, including, for example, cancellation of large public gatherings and alteration of workplace environments and schedules to decrease social density and preserve a healthy workplace to the greatest extent possible without disrupting essential services. Enable institution of workplace leave policies that align incentives and facilitate adherence with the nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) outlined above.
My largest concern with pandemics is that supplies would be quickly exhausted leaving many unprepared to handle the ordeal. This unpreparedness will only fuel a more chaotic situation. These concerns are not new to most governments and steps have been taken to ensure communities are prepared and are able to contain most epidemics. To view the U.S. government’s protocols for pandemic preparedness.
One precaution the government may consider is a social distancing strategy or voluntary/involuntary home quarantine. If this occurs, the responsibility falls on our shoulders to ensure that we are able meet our needs. However, this is not anything new to a prepper. We believe in being self reliant, and if you have followed the “52-Weeks to Preparedness series” (see http://readynutrition.com/resources/52-weeks-to-preparedness-an-introduction_19072011/), you should well be on your way to handle such a disaster.
Individual Prevention Starts At Home
So how does the average person properly prepare for this type of emergency? Similar to other emergencies, we simply prepare as much as we can because any steps taken toward preparedness are better than none at all.
In the event of a pandemic, because of anticipated shortages of health care professionals and widespread implementation of social distancing techniques, it is expected that the large majority of individuals infected with the pandemic illness will be cared for in the home by family members, friends, and other members of the community – not by trained health care professionals. Bear in mind that persons who are more prone to contracting illnesses includes people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
So what can you do to be ready for a pandemic outbreak?
- Store a two week supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand.
- Have a supply of face masks to wear around those who may be ill or exposed to the illness.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
- Prepare a sick room for the home to limit family member’s exposure to the virus.
To decrease the chances of the virus spreading and infecting other household members as well as members of your community, it is important that every effort be made to limit exposure to the illness. Some considerations on how to prevent exposure to a pandemic outbreak are:
- Avoid close contact with those who are ill.
- Stay inside and avoid contact with others.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes during any pandemic.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Keep your hands clean. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub or make your own natural hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- If you are ill, stay indoors or keep your distance from others.
- Keeping your immune systems up by getting lots of sleep, having a good diet and taking antioxidants in protecting your health.
Pandemic outbreaks are fast moving and vaccines may not be able to stop it. This natural occurring disaster is not one you should take likely. Several
overarching themes emerge from the discussion of pandemic preparedness. Not only are our bodies under attack, but our way of life is as well. Community and individual preparation are critical in regards to prevention.
* Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.