Monday, March 13, 2006


Time To Stock Up

Any time the government suggests creating a stockpile of non-perishables, it's bound to be interesting:

In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States.

Ready or not, here it comes.

It is being spread much faster than first predicted from one wild flock of birds to another, an airborne delivery system that no government can stop.

It's nice to see some rational thinking coming from our leaders in Washington, even if it will be met with ridicule.

What I'd really like to see is someone from Homeland Security come out with a recommendation/requirement that every American household contain a suitable amount (say, two weeks' worth) of food and water along with other supplies and a means of defense, but that's not nearly as sexy as spending billions on computer systems that don't work.

The scariest part of that ABC story is that they are finding the H5-N1 virus in cats in Europe. H5-N1 in birds is only somewhat scary for a Microbiologist because human interaction with birds is fairly limited. This imited contact provides fewer opportunities for the virus to mutate into somehting that can infect humans. But if it begins to infect cats, especially if it shows few to no symptoms, then it will pose a much greater risk to humans. And unlike Pubonic Plague or the Hanta virus(indirectly or directly hosted by redents), the host in this case(cats) are not naturally disliked by humans. Imagine having to kill every cat in the US.
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