Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fowl Habits

Bird Flu is replacing Islamic terrorism in the MSM as the Next Big Threat. Which is a shame, beacuse Islamic terrorists are still plotting to kill us, whereas a bird-flu pandemic won't happen.

Bird-flu is really nasty for chickens and turkeys and for people who have close associations with them - so don't go there. Which suggests that a genetically engineered "goat-flu" might solve our problems with al Queda. Just kidding.

The problem with the pandemic scare is that although humans can be infected with bird-flu, they can't pass it on to other humans. The liberal arts lefties in the MSM are hypothesizing that the virus will mutate to enable that transmission. But the WSJ (subscription, my ellipsis and emphasis) reports today that the original reported "outbreak" in Vietnam was not bird-flue and:

(The World Health Organization - WHO) decided to wait for more data before raising the alert, and its experts used the new data to conclude that the bird-flu virus known as H5N1 hadn't evolved to spread quickly in humans after all.

If the WHO can correctly call the moment when a dangerous virus has made that step -- a moment that could come tomorrow or not for decades -- governments will have a jump-start in deploying antiviral drugs and imposing quarantines to contain the disease's spread.

I wish them luck, but if it does make the jump, it'll be obvious - there will suddenly be lots of sick people in a Far Eastern country.

Any subsequent epidemic won't repeat the 1918 flu pandemic that killed millions. Then the world had just finished a long war in which food shortages and starvation were common, so the population was in lousy health. And there were no flu shots!

Now, once a new strain appears each year, it's identified and a vaccine is created and distributed and we get vaccinated. Problem solved.

In the meantime, making more anti-viral drugs makes some sense, although they may not work against the as-yet-nonexistent virus. But the rest of the MSM's chatter is their usual alarmist nonsense, so go back to thinking about hunting down terrorists.