Summary: Hong Kong officials have stated that the latest flu outbreak is neither SARS nor bird flu. On the other hand, health experts feel that it is only a matter of time before a massive deadly flu epidemic spreads outwards from China.

Hong Kong Officials Reassure Public about the Flu Outbreak There

Schools closed in Hong Kong

The authorities in Hong Kong have ordered all primary schools and kindergartens to close after a number of children died because of an outbreak of flu. It’s the first time schools have been forced to close since the SARS epidemic five years ago.The World Health Organisation says it is monitoring the situation, but the virus is nothing more sinister than seasonal influenza. Hong Kong health officials say they have not found any links either with the HN51 bird flu virus, or with the SARS respiratory disease.

Article by RNW Newsline staff 13-03-2008

Does All Flu Originate from China?

Probably.

The last three influenza andemics have all originated in Asia ? the 1957 Asian flu, the 1968 Hong Kong flu and now this year’s SARS flu, which also has been traced to China’s southern Guangdong province, which
includes Hong Kong.

Source: World Net Daily

Why do these virulent new viral strains come out of South China?
Some virologists implicate the farming practices common there. In southern provinces of China, farmers raise hens, ducks, pigs and fish in one integrated system. They use the droppings and leftover food from the pigs to feed the fowl. The fowl droppings, in turn, help fertilize the fish ponds.


Source: WorldNetDaily

The influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 killed somewhere between 20 and 40 million people, more people than the “Great War”, known today as World War I (WWI).The Spanish Flu actually originated in China or Tibet in 1917, as a rare genetic shift of the influenza virus.

Source: Secrets of Survival - Spanish Flu

How Bad Could the Next Flu Epidemic Be?

One scientist predicts a billion deaths, compared with 20 - 40 million for the 1918 epidemic. (This would put it in a class with tobacco!)

Experts fear a modern pandemic could “eclipse 1918,”489 but how could that be? We live in the age of modern medicine. We have vaccines and ventilators, antibiotics and antivirals, and the latest in medical technology. In 1918, they essentially didn’t even know what a virus was. One former president of the American Medical Association pointed out that the doctors of 1918 “knew no more about the flu than 14th-century Florentines had known about Black Death.”490 Doctors could do little more than advise people to get on waiting lists for caskets.491 Sadly, though, we’re not in much better shape today.

Source: Bird Flu - A virus of our own hatching - No Shot

A Scary Graph

The graph (Wikipedia) below shows a dramatic increase in cases of bird flu, H5N1 virus.
Click on the graph to see the full article.

From the regression curve, it appears that the scientists think deaths will
increase greatly. The good news is that, according to the map below, Barbados
and the Western Hemisphere has not had bird flu deaths.

  ? Countries with poultry or wild birds killed by H5N1.
  ? Countries with humans, poultry and wild birds killed
by H5N1.

Note: Sportsmen who may be handling wild migratory birds may want the read the Florida Fish & Wildlife site.