Bird flu in Europe now

The bird flu has reached Europe, and the US government is slowly waking up to the threat of a global flu pandemic.

The European Commission said Thursday that the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu has been confirmed in Turkish poultry and probably is present in Romania.

If confirmed in Romania, it would be the first instance of the deadly strain known to have reached Europe, and would bolster the theory that it may be spread by migrating birds. – Bird flu strain found in Turkey – Oct 13, 2005

In another example of breathtaking competence, the US government holds tippy-top-secret meetings about the fact that a global flu pandemic would be really, really, really bad (something that many public health officials have been saying for years) and then they go ahead and leak this information to the NY Times:

The administration is putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited pandemic plan to be released after Leavitt returns from his trip. A draft version, dated Sept. 30 and leaked to The New York Times, reportedly predicts a major outbreak might kill up to 1.9 million people and make half the country sick.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says he learned of the administration’s prediction on Sept. 28 in a top-secret meeting in a secure room in the Capitol. He and a few other senators met with Leavitt; Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The administration, Harkin says, predicts U.S. deaths from pandemic flu could range from 100,000 to 2 million, and as many as 10 million might be hospitalized. Up to 100 million might become sick. Seasonal flu epidemics kill about 36,000 people each year in the USA.
‘Imagine what would happen if a Category 5 viral storm hit every state’, USA Today, 10/11/2005


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