Fire EMS

Avian Flu: Should You Fear the Chicken?

Issue 12 and Volume 160.

BY MIKE McEVOY In the fall of 2003, the news media reported on a World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that up to 100 million people worldwide might die if an Asian bird flu outbreak spread to people. Shortly thereafter, photos of an eight-year-old Vietnamese child who died from avian flu spurred fears that the world was on the verge of a bird flu pandemic. Governments scrambled to develop pandemic plans, medical researchers rushed to develop vaccines, and health care systems braced for the impact. Four years have passed without a pandemic. What happened? This article describes influenza, control measures, pandemics, and what you should really expect to happen in the future. INFLUENZA Influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection transmitted by contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. The incubation period, or time from exposure until onset of symptoms, is from one to…

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