Controversial Bird-Flu experiments to increase the virulence of H5N1 avian influenza has been published June 21 in Science1.
Spoken from a virologist at UK’s Cambridge University at a June 20 press conference, “It’s now clear that we’re living on a fault line,” “It could really do something…”.
In the experiment, researchers made H5N1 strains that passed through the air between Ferrets, which are often used as a model for human flu infection.
From a June 21 ‘Wired Science’ article at Wired.com, “The resulting virus didn’t kill the animals, and it’s uncertain if a ferret-infecting strain could also infect people. But the fact that just five genetic mutations were needed to produce the airborne strain is troubling.”
The article went on to indicate, “In a study accompanying the findings, researchers looked for the five mutations in naturally circulating strains of H5N1. They found them, though the mutations occurred individually or in pairs, not united simultaneously in single strains.”
It seems like we are inching closer and closer to the day when this influenza strain may ‘get us’. People have become mostly numb to the term ‘Bird Flu’ and are mostly not concerned (too many people have ‘cried Wolf’). The thing is, “IF” H5N1 does indeed mutate sufficiently to become airborne and contagious from human to human, the apparent mortality rate coupled with today’s enormous population and global transportation system will chain-react very, very quickly and could lead to full fledged pandemic in just a few weeks. There would be no time to prepare.
While this report is not crying-Wolf, it is pointing out that this ‘Bird Flu’ is still lurking quietly, waiting for the right pieces of the puzzle to fall into place such that it will be able to jump to human-to-human. The time to think about such possibilities is now, BEFORE anything were to happen.
A mortality rate of just 2.5 percent killed 40 million people in the 1918 pandemic. Some researchers put H5N1′s human mortality rate as high as 60 percent.
If this thing goes viral, so to speak, then in order to stand a reasonable chance to survive, you will need to avoid other humans until it all blows over. This could take many months, or longer. It would be best to have at least 3-months of food in reserve (6 months to 1 year is better insurance) so you will not have to venture out into public to buy your food (and supplies).
Surviving this would (probably) be fairly simple. Avoid contact or proximity to other humans. It will require full preparedness for self sufficient living for a number of months and it will require a ‘hermit’ lifestyle change. That will mean avoiding ‘going to work’ too. Hard choices and decisions would have to be made. If you don’t go to work, you won’t get paid. Can you afford it? Or will you risk contagion and the mortality rate for your paycheck?
The time to think of such things is while times are good…
1 “Airborne Transmission of Influenza A/H5N1 Virus Between Ferrets.” By Sander Herfst, Eefje J. A. Schrauwen, Martin Linster, Salin Chutinimitkul, Emmie de Wit, Vincent J. Munster, Erin M. Sorrell, Theo M. Bestebroer, David F. Burke, Derek J. Smith,, Guus F. Rimmelzwaan, Albert D. M. E. Osterhaus, Ron A. M. Fouchier. Science, Vol. 336 Issue 6088, June 22, 2012.