Bird Flu Outbreak in China Signals Winter Epidemic
The mainstream media’s reporting on the recent bird flu outbreak in China has been light at best.
The Chinese government recently quarantined 19 individuals whom they’d confirmed had been exposed to the deadly new bird flu virus, H7N9. Another 17 people were quarantined because of a separate case of the same strain. So far officials can find no connection between the two infected individuals.
In all, 138 confirmed cases of bird flu have occurred during the past year. Forty-five of those patients died. The 30 percent mortality rate should make you very nervous.
This particular strain is alarming for another reason. It’s adapting quickly to first-line treatments, becoming drug resistant at a rapid rate. Most flu viruses become less transmissible as they develop drug resistance, but H7N9 has not.
If this deadly disease or any of its variations ever makes it to our shores, expect government officials to take drastic actions, including long quarantine periods for anyone who has possibly been exposed.
You should be prepared to live under quarantine, to protect yourself from this virus, and to weather the disruption to services that a bird flu outbreak is likely to cause.
Bird Flu Dangers You Must Know About
The new cases of H7N9 have scientists and authorities concerned about a new epidemic in the coming months.
The good news is that currently, bird flu, or avian flu as it is sometimes called, is limited to Asia. U.S. authorities have found no evidence of similar strains in people or birds in the United States.
The most common strains of bird flu also do not transmit easily between people. It’s possible, but it takes high amounts of exposure for person-to-person transmission to occur.
That may not always be the case. Scientists conducting laboratory experiments have already created bird flu strains that are easily airborne and highly infectious.
These strains are confined to the lab. For now.
Unfortunately it may be just a matter of time before the natural bird flu virus mutates and triggers a pandemic or before a terrorist gets ahold of a lab-created version to use in an attack. You need to be prepared.
Preparing for a Bird Flu Pandemic
When preparing against a bird flu pandemic, it’s important to consider how to protect yourself and family from infection, but your preparations should go deeper than that. You should also plan and prepare for a potential quarantine lasting up to two weeks. And you should be ready for a breakdown in services and supply chains.
Protection Against the Flu: Like any other flu, you can reduce your risk of becoming infected by reducing your exposure overall. Follow these basic steps and you’ll cut your chance of getting sick:
- Pay attention: If bird flu starts to spread outside of Asia, make it a point to track the news. As outbreaks come closer to home, plan to spend less time out of your house.
- Wash your hands: Frequent hand-washing is one of the best defenses against viral infections.
- Wear a surgical mask: If you have to go to the store or into work and an outbreak is happening locally, wear a surgical mask. Also, do what you can do to avoid close contact with anyone.
- Avoid public transportation and crowded locations: The bigger the crowd, the more likely someone is infected and the more likely you are to be exposed.
- Take care of your health: Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, eat good foods, and take a multivitamin and a cod liver oil supplement.
- Seek treatment immediately: If you think you’ve been exposed – say, a colleague at work gets sick – see a doctor immediately. The earlier you start treatment for bird flu, the better your odds of surviving.
Preparing for Quarantine: Quarantines will happen one of two ways. You will be confined to your home or you’ll be confined to a government-approved facility. For home quarantines, prepare by making sure you have everything on hand that you need to shelter-in-place for at least two weeks. (Since I normally recommend a three-to-six month preparedness plan, this should be easy.) If you’re to be moved to a government facility, make sure you have a pack ready to go. Food, water, and medicine will most likely be provided (confirm this with the authorities before they transport you), so pack items that will provide comfort and convenience.
Preparing for Service Disruptions: During a pandemic your trash service may stop. Your local grocery store may shut down. Public transportation may stop running. Service disruptions will likely last quite a bit longer than a quarantine. Think through the services you use most often and come up with a back-up plan for each.
A bird flu pandemic is one of the most likely scenarios for serious disruptions and breakdowns. It’s critical that you prepare now, well before such an outbreak is anticipated. If you prep for these three scenarios, you’ll be ready to weather a bird flu outbreak better than the vast majority of the population.