Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bird flu review

The Guardian has an interactive guide to avian flu.

They also note that “a number of niche blogs and wikis have been set up as information clearinghouses on the threat in a concerted attempt to inform readers about the potential risks of bird flu.”

Medpundit has taken the lead, blogging about our current knowledge and the view from her own practice.

This PBS transcript gives a harrowing view of the 1918 flu pandemic.

John M. Barry has an alarming piece at
"Victims could die in 24 hours. Symptoms included bleeding from the nose, mouth, ears and eyes. Some people turned so dark blue from lack of oxygen that an Army physician noted that 'it is hard to distinguish the coloured men from the white.'

"False reassurances from the government and newspapers added to the death rate. They also destroyed trust in authority, as Americans quickly realized they were being lied to. The result: society began to break apart. Confidential Red Cross reports noted 'panic akin to the terror of the Middle Ages of the plague' and victims starving to death 'not from lack of food but because the well are afraid to help the sick.' Doctors and nurses were kidnapped...
Doctors and nurses kidnapped? Society breaking apart? Have we learned enough from prior disasters, to prevent panic and hysteria?

"The worst-case scenario is truly frightening," says psychiatrist-blogger
Dr. Neubauer.
Are the reports alarmist or realistic? Should we be fearful of a catastrophe? Is it appropriate to be anxious about an impending flu pandemic? The best answer is don't panic, but do prepare. Some anxiety can be a good thing...


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