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H5N1 Kills 70% of Those Infected:Experts Say a Pandemic of this Lethal Flu Strain May be Coming

Not since Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" hit the silver screen in 1963 have birds been so frightening. That's because Avian Influenza A Virus (H5N1), or "bird flu" -- once only transmitted between birds -- has begun to make its mark on the human race ... and some experts are suggesting it could be the next pandemic, on par with the devastating Spanish Flu of 1918-1919.

Bird Flu

Avian flu that's swept across Asia in epidemic proportions could soon "evolve into a pathogen deadly for humans," says the CDC.

Since January 28, 2004 there have been 69 confirmed human cases of H5N1, and of those, 46 resulted in death, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Bird flu has swept across bird populations in Asia, including Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, but according to Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), experts believe the virus is likely to "evolve into a pathogen deadly for humans."

Dr. Gerberding stated, "We are expecting more human cases over the next few weeks because this is high season for avian influenza in that part of the world [Asia]."

What Makes H5N1 so Scary?

Bird flu has killed about 72 percent of the people who've contracted it, says Dr. Gerberding. Since the virus normally infects birds, humans have little immunity, and therefore little defense, against it. This represents an extremely high mortality rate, and one from a virus that shows no signs of slowing. In fact, it's expected to spread. Says the CDC:

"The epizootic [outbreak of disease among many animals] in Asia is not expected to diminish substantially in the short term, and it is likely that influenza A (H5N1) infection among birds has become endemic to the region and that human infections will continue to occur."

Flu viruses are, by nature, constantly changing; that's what makes them able to adapt to infect and


Symptoms of Bird Flu in Humans

The CDC says the following symptoms have been reported in humans infected with bird flu:

  • · Fever
  • · Cough
  • · Sore throat
  • · Muscle aches
  • · Eye infections
  • · Pneumonia
  • · Severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress)
  • · Other severe and life-threatening complications

spread among humans. There are currently three known subtypes of human flu viruses (H1N1, H2N2, and H3N1), but birds also carry these viruses-and according to the CDC, it's likely that human flu viruses came from birds originally.

In the case of H5N1, most of the human cases have occurred in people who had contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces, but cases caused by human-to-human contact are thought to have occurred. Experts concern is that if H5N1 adapts in a certain way, it could easily infect humans and spread easily from person to person.

This occurrence, the CDC says, could trigger an "influenza pandemic" -- a worldwide outbreak of the disease.

What if Bird Flu H5N1 Becomes a Pandemic?

The "what if" in the question above is already turning into a "when." Dr. Shigeru Omi, the WHO's Western Pacific regional director, said, "We at WHO believe that the world is now in the gravest possible danger of a pandemic."

The CDC is already preparing for the possibility that H5N1 could become a pandemic by 2006. "The science here is all alerting us that we have a great deal to be concerned about," Dr. Gerberding said.

In preparation, a flu team is monitoring the virus spread and the government has ordered 2 million doses of vaccine to protect against known strains of bird flu. But if H5N1 were truly to become an epidemic, something the CDC is already preparing for, it's unlikely that the government would be able to come up with the vast numbers of vaccines needed to protect the entire population.

Flu Vaccine

Only 2 million doses of vaccine to fight bird flu have been ordered, but the CDC's estimated that 40 million to 100 million Americans could be infected during a new pandemic.

Think about it: the CDC has estimated that should a new pandemic emerge in the United States, some 40 million to 100 million Americans would be infected. But only 2 million doses of vaccine are being stockpiled. With a 72 percent death rate, the odds don't look too good. And that's just here in the United States. People in other parts of the world would likely be even worse off.

Even WHO reported that " ... supplies of vaccine, the first line of defense for preventing high morbidity and mortality, would be grossly inadequate at the start of a pandemic and well into the first wave of international spread."

Tips for Preventing the Flu, Including Bird Flu

While it is human nature both to procrastinate and, if and when something as dangerous as H5N1 hits, to panic and then try to take drastic measures, the key to prevention of this or any flu is the little things you can start doing right now.

Two primary means that flu viruses are passed include contact with an infected human and contact with a surface such as desktops, doorknobs or telephones that have been touched by someone infected.

A) Keep Hands and Surfaces You Come Into Contact With Properly Cleaned

Therefore, simply keeping your hands clean throughout the day is one important step to reducing your risk of ingesting germs, bacteria and viruses.

Eliminating germs from the surfaces in your home and office is also crucial, and that is why we have repeatedly stressed the following in the newsletter: common mops, rags and sponges are not only ineffective tools at cleaning to the microscopic level, but studies have found they are some of the top locations of germs! Typical cleaning tools, in other words, can contribute to the problem!

We highly recommend you consider cleaning with ultramicrofiber mops, towels, dusters, etc., and for your home and office therefore urge you to read why the PerfectClean line of ultramicrofiber cleaning tools are a missing link to your preventive healthcare.

PerfectClean cleaning tools are what leading hospitals and other healthcare institutions are now using to clean their facilities for three key reasons:

  1. Cleans to Microscopic Level: their ultramicrofiber construction enables the cloths, mops and dusters to reach deep into microscopic crevices and remove everything in their path ((NO other cleaning device comes close to their depth, as you will see in the ultramicrofiber graphic.) This includes all forms of dirt, dust, hair, dander, and the biological contaminants too small to see with the naked eye.

  2. Major Money Savers: The hospitals and other institutions use PerfectClean products a hundred times or more before replacing ... they are far more durable and effective than any other type of cleaning devides! Plus, the 100% ultramicrofiber construction is so powerful at eliminating dirt and biological contaminants that you can use them with only water. If you decide to still use cleaning solutions, you can use far less (meaning you save more money.)

  3. Far Easier to Use: Because the "secret" is in the ultramicrofiber, you don't need to rely on chemical cleaners ... with the PerfectClean mops you don't constantly need to stoop to a bucket to wring it out, so you save time and your back! Furthermore, the PerfectClean mops and dusters are ergonomically designed to be lightweight and simple to use.

Proper Cleaning of Surfaces
Is a Crucial Preventive Step!

Computer Mouse

DID YOU KNOW? There are more disease-causing germs in your office than in the toilet. If you want to protect yourself against the flu and other contagious diseases, find out The 12 Most Germ-Infested Surfaces in Your Office and learn why you should NOT rely on typical rags and sponges ... which can make the problem worse!

Read About Office Germs & the PerfectClean OfficePurePack Now!

The same way many people once never equated eating right with preventing disease, it is still an odd notion to some people that cleaning properly is also key to prevention of flues and many other diseases. We cannot urge you strongly enough to learn why PerfectClean is a key to preventive health, and to consider the PerfectClean line of ultramicrofiber cleaning tools.

Another important step as many readers of this newsletter are more familiar with is to keep your body strong. That means eat a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet full of fruits and vegetables, get plenty of sleep and try to reduce stress as much as possible. This will also ensure that your immune system is strong, which is essential to fighting off all types of viruses, including H5N1.

Whether or not bird flu becomes a major threat to humans depends largely on H5N1's ability to adapt, but Dr. Omi brought up another point: An influenza pandemic is "now overdue" for the world, he says, as they typically occur every two to three decades. As it stands, 40 years have passed since the last flu pandemic.

Recommended Reading

How to Relax (and Lower Your Cortisol Levels): A Golden Key to Your Health

Six Disease-Fighting Super Antioxidants You are Likely Not Getting Enough Of

Stress Now Proven to Cause Weight Gain in Women: Five Key Stress-Reduction Tips

That Little Mouse in Your House is Even MORE Dangerous Than We Thought!


World Health Organization March 11, 2005

Fortune Magazine, The Coming War Against Bird Flu March 7, 2005

MSNBC News February 23, 2005

USA Today February 22, 2005

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Avian Flu

The Monster at the Door

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