H5N1: The Avian Flu – Part One



This is a guest post by Bam Bam

Well I started off writing a nice little piece about being prepared for the 2011-2012 flu season. We have a lot of new pack members so I thought it would be good to do a basic write up on what you need to stock in preparation for flu season. I did the necessary research and started writing. But I stumbled across something that doesn’t make sense. Two and two are not adding up. The CDC and WHO report that H5N1 does NOT pose a significant threat to the human populations; yet governments around the world are spending billions preparing for it.

Background

H5N1 is also known as the “bird flu”. On December 20, 17,000 chickens were culled at a poultry market in Hong Kong after a dead chicken tested positive for (the non-airborne strain of) the virus. [1] Although the chicken tested positive for the non-airborne strain, governments around the world have been preparing for H5N1 to go airborne.

In Indonesia, for example, the Health Ministry has opened the country’s first isolation rooms with negative pressure. To quote the article at length:

“Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said that the newly developed airborne infection isolation facilities in Tangerang Regional Hospital in Tangerang, Banten, and in Persahabatan Hospital in Jakarta, were specifically designed to help contain avian influenza outbreaks in the country.

Human fatalities from H5N1 or “bird flu” virus were mostly caused by delayed diagnosis and improper treatment, she said.

“By developing such airborne infection isolation rooms, we hope that hospitals can offer better treatment for patients infected by the virus so that we can reduce bird flu-related deaths,” she said on the sidelines of a ceremony to hand over the two isolation rooms from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Health Ministry in Tangerang.”[2]

If you are thinking two and two are not adding up, you are right. (I don’t think they are building such facilities to house infected chickens.)

Let me give you a bit of history on H5N1. This strain of the influenza virus spread from wild birds to poultry. The virus is found worldwide. [3] This strain (at this point in its evolution) causes high death rates in birds but is not easily transmitted to humans. However, humans that are in close contact with infected birds can contract the disease. When humans contract the disease, mortality rates are 60 percent. [4]

(Note: The hoopla in the media this past week was about scientists in the U.S. and the Netherlands who have created an airborne strain of H5N1. In essence, scientists have created an influenza virus which can be easily transmitted from human-to-human and which kills 60 percent of those it infects. The ethical question, of course, is whether the research should have been done in the first place and whether the U.S. government should have funded the research. The NIH (National Institute of Health funded the research.) There are good arguments on both sides of this debate.)

CDC/WHO: Don’t Worry, H5N1 Rarely Infects Humans

Let me be a bit more precise when I say that two and two are not adding up. On the one hand we are told that H5N1 only rarely infects humans. (Deaths have been reported in 15 countries.) And yet governments around the world are spending billions to prepare for an H5N1 pandemic. We seem to have a contradiction.

Let us examine each claim in more detail. I begin with the claim that H5N1 rarely infects humans (and therefore should not pose a grave threat to humans). Here’s what the CDC has to say. Again, I quote at length.

“The majority of H5N1 cases have occurred among children and adults younger than 40 years old. Mortality has been highest in cases aged 10-19 years old. Most human H5N1 cases have presented late to medical care and have been hospitalized late in their illness with severe respiratory disease. However, some clinically mild H5N1 cases have been reported, especially in children. Clusters of human H5N1 cases ranging from 2-8 cases per cluster have been identified in several countries. Nearly all of the cluster cases have occurred among blood-related family members, especially those living in the same household. Whether such clusters are related to genetic or other factors is currently unknown. While most people in these clusters have been infected with H5N1 virus through direct or close contact with sick or dead poultry or wild birds, limited non sustained human-to-human transmission of H5N1 virus cannot be excluded and likely occurred in some clusters.

The current cumulative number of confirmed human cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) is available on the WHO Avian Influenza website. Despite the high mortality, human cases of H5N1 remain rare to date.” [4]

If you follow the link to the WHO Avian Influenza website, you will learn that the “evolution of H5N1 avian influenza virus does not increase risk to public heath.” [5] The above, if true, would indeed lead us to conclude that the avian flu does not pose a grave threat to the human population.

Governments Spending Billions To Combat H5N1

Why, then, are governments around the world spending billions of dollars preparing for the avian flu? Let us begin by citing the facts. According to a 2006 report by The New York Times, governments across the world are spending billions preparing for a flu pandemic. “Governments worldwide have spent billions planning for a potential influenza pandemic: buying medicines, running disaster drills, developing strategies for tighter border controls.”

A 2006 congressional report entitled “U.S. and International Responses to the Global Spread of Avian Flu” notes that the U.S. government has spent billions to combat avian flu.

“For FY2006, Congress has provided $25 million for global initiatives to prepare for pandemic influenza through Foreign Operations appropriations; directed $33.5 million to global disease detection through Labor, HHS, and Education appropriations; and reserved for international avian flu efforts a portion of $3.8 billion through Defense appropriations. Bills introduced in the 109th Congress would increase U.S. resources allocated to the global fight against avian flu; develop a “Pandemic Fund” to augment ongoing U.S. and international avian flu and pandemic preparedness initiatives; increase funding for preventing the spread among animals of the H5N1 virus; and strengthensurveillance capacity within affected countries.” [7]

A 2009 congressional report entitled “Global Health: USAID Programs and Appropriations from FY2001”

“Concerns about a possible influenza pandemic also prompted increased appropriations to USAID’s global health programs between FY2004 and FY2008. In FY2005, Congress began providing emergency supplemental funds for U.S. technical assistance efforts related to global pandemic influenza preparedness and response. Those funds have been used to train health workers in foreign countries to prepare for and respond to a pandemic that might occur from any influenza virus, including H5N1 avian flu and the newly emergent influenza virus, H1N1 “swine flu,” which was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 11, 2009 (discussed below). Influenza A/H5N1 is one of many strains of avian influenza that can cause illness in poultry and has killed about 60% of the people who have contracted the virus. Bird (or avian) flu outbreaks have occurred at various times around the world. Until 1997, there were no known human H5N1 cases. That year, 18 people in Hong Kong contracted the virus, including 6 who died. To contain the virus, 1.5 million birds were killed. Since 2003, when the virus resurfaced and killed four people, scientists have closely monitored resurgent H5N1 outbreaks. As of July 30, 2009, the last human H5N1 case was reported to WHO on July 1, 2009, with a total of 436 people having contracted the virus, of whom 262 died.

The State Department announced in October 2008 that the United States has pledged nearly $950 million to international avian and pandemic influenza efforts, accounting for 30.9% of overall international donor pledges of $3.07 billion since 2005. The funds have been used to support international efforts in more than 100 nations and jurisdictions. The assistance focused on three areas: preparedness and communication, surveillance and detection, and response and containment.”

Analysis

If the avian flu is not readily transmitted to humans, why is the government spending billions in preparation for an avian flu epidemic? Why did the U.S. government (National Institute of Health) fund research to create an airborne strain of H5N1? [9] The U.S. government is now asking the scientists who made it to keep mum.

“The discovery has led advisers to the United States government, which paid for the research, to urge that the details be kept secret and not published in scientific journals to prevent the work from being replicated by terrorists, hostile governments or rogue scientists.” [9]

To add another piece to the puzzle, the scientists who created the airborne strain were surprised at how easy it was to engineer—it only took five mutations. “What shocked the researchers was how easy it had been, Dr. Fouchier said. Just a few mutations was all it took to make the virus go airborne.” Even more disturbing is that four out of the five necessary mutations already exist in Egypt. Fact: The world is one mutation away from the deadliest infection the world has ever seen.

Some scientists are already raising red flags. Hong Kong virologist Kwok-yuen, M.D., recommends that governments around the world prepare for the pandemic. We currently have no vaccine for H5N1 and the anti-viral medications commonly used to treat influenza such as Tamiflu are not effective against H5N1.

A mutant or reassortant virus capable of efficient human-to-human transmission could trigger another influenza pandemic. The recent isolation of this virus in extrapulmonary sites of human diseases suggests that the high fatality of this infection may be more than just the result of a cytokine storm triggered by the pulmonary disease. The emergence of resistance to adamantanes (amantadine and rimantadine) and recently oseltamivir while H5N1 vaccines are still at the developmental stage of phase I clinical trial are causes for grave concern. Moreover, the to-be pandemic strain may have little cross immunogenicity to the presently tested vaccine strain. [11]

As one scientist has concluded, “This research brings H5N1 viruses to the very top of the ones we should be concerned about,” said Richard Webby, a virologist who studies flu pandemics at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.” [10]

Let me emphasize this point. The world is one mutation away from seeing a flu epidemic that could very well kill 60 percent of the world’s population. The CDC and WHO have gone on the record to say that increased incidence of avian flu among birds does not pose a threat to the human population. This strikes me as manifestly false. As the population of infected birds increases, there is increased interaction between infected birds and humans. With increased interaction between humans and infected birds, the probability of mutation increases. Now, no scientist can predict which mutations will occur. But we all know that the more humans interact with infected birds, the greater the risk of a mutation.

The foregoing includes me to conclude that the government has been sitting on this information since at least 2006. This explains why world governments have spent billions in preparation for a deadly avian flu pandemic. This explains why the NIH funded studies to create the virus in a laboratory setting. Scientists must have a sample of the virus before they can engineer a vaccine. This much makes sense. But why would the government keep its citizens in the dark, claiming that the avian flu did not pose a risk to the human population? The best answer I can come up with here is that the government did not want a panic on its hands.

References

[1] http://www.torontosun.com/2011/12/20/chickens-culled-at-market-as-h5n1-found

[2] http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2011/12/indonesia-opens-first-h5n1-airborne-infection-isolation-rooms.html

[3] http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/17/6/10-0880_article.htm

[4] http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5n1-people.htm

[5] http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/avian_influenza/en/

[6] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/16/business/16bird.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

[7] http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:95v282s3f_cJ:www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33219.pdf+how+much+has+the+government+spent+on+H5N1&hl=en&gl=us

[8] https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:B3m3BY5m7vIJ:opencrs.com/document/RS22913/2009-08-13/download/1005/+2010+congressional+report+on+avian+flu&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg1dEF_Ed083yO0adlNdVBHdyQBxm43Zbzg9n0rdmknxFe_G0o5HsFUANBS3XNao2obIPRFX5Fhkuco-rbWlisVOZ2AqLqlK0MK-O5KEEYVeJU4jwNF4ZcfDphIjpcVOq4gxjOW&sig=AHIEtbRjith7QSwIzJikj0_LR-g4B7q6uw

[9] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/science/debate-persists-on-deadly-flu-made-airborne.html

[10] http://www.latimes.com/news/la-sci-bird-flu-20111227,0,7434178,full.story

[11] http://chestjournal.chestpubs.org/content/129/1/156.short

Comments

  1. Well done Gayle! I couldn’t agree more. In every detail.
    The USDA internal website has a pandemic flu button on its home page. I imagine the rest of federal entities do also. Our State Dept of Wildlife gave seminar on the danger of bird flu in migratory birds (2007). We decided since then to drain our pond in the fall to discourage ducks and geese from stopping over. We have been a favorite spot for them in the past. And we no longer hunt them for food. I always watch for signs of sick birds. We have a large amount of free range chickens who could easily become sick, etc, etc.

    I have studied the federal responses at length also and we have decided as a family, retreat, and group that social distancing is the only way to prevent pandemic flu. You MUST stay informed at all times and be willing and ready to pull your family out at any given moment. For an undetermined length of time. Our family plan is to pull the kids and myself out (bug in) first. My husband works mostly alone and in a remote area. He would shower, eat and sleep in the quarantine room until he bugs in for good and will stay in the room until we know he is well and safe.
    Our group that would normally come to our retreat in other scenerios will also bug in their homes, and practice the same rules as we do, until the crisis is over.
    Just in case….we have hundreds of masks, gloves, gowns, sheets, trash bags, gallons of herbal tinctures made, and readied. We keep up on all immunizations including regular flu shots (not an invitation for antivaxers to comment) and stay healthy. A burn barrel and a propane cooker with huge pots for disinfecting outside the quarantine/sick room. A few dearly aquired Tamiflu scripts just in case. I would use them even thought the gov says it is not effective, especially for the teens in our family. As their immune systems will be their own worst enemy. I fear the gov claims that it does not work because they do not have enough for the population. They will still supply it to the health care workers.
    And, I must mention a fat prescrption of Xanax for me, because I am the healthcare provider in the family, and my doctor as a sense of humor.
    The best vaccine is knowledge. Thank you for sharing this Gayle.

    • Mama J.,

      I did read one interesting thing about Tamiflu. The medication works by preventing the virus from replicating. It has to be taken within the first 48 hours of infection. (After 48 hours, the virus has already replicated enough to make you sick.)

      I have come to the same conclusion that you have–that social distancing is the best way to deal with the flu. It’s scary to think that we could be shut-ins for months.

      • Absolutely correct. Most people do not even know they have the virus within 48 hours.
        There are many powerful herbs that prevent virus from replicating in the sinus/throat area where most flu begins in the human body. Too many to list here.
        I believe the best preventative (besides social distancing) is being aware of the people around you. Stay away from sick people. Watch people at the store when flu/cold season is in it’s height. Ewwww. People are gross. I do not have problem wearing latex gloves in the grocery store. Hand washing and for goodness sake, the hardest for me..Learn not to touch your face!

        I am with you again on the shut in scenerio. One of the hardest things to prep for. Especially with children.

        • M27463.L36473 says:

          MamaJ

          I am very interested to know about those herbs you are talking about and I’m sure other Wolf Pack members are as well. Possible to share with us ? Maybe a great post like Gail’s on this one ? … please ? :o)

          Thank you in advance and long live the Wolf Pack

          • M27463.L36473 says:

            Sorry .. I mean Gayle and not Gail … my bad.

          • Of course! But, one of the other Wolf Pack mentioned that she is now writing a paper on the herbs for preventing and easing flu very soon. I would like to give her a chance to get that published and then I will be happy to confirm or share more ideas on the subject if needed.

        • Mama J

          “Most people do not even know they have the virus within 48 hours.”

          Even fewer realize they have the flu, get in to see a doctor and get the script for Tamiflu filled within 48 hours. This really makes me question the usefulness of Tamiflu.

          • Gayle,
            I agree. I also question the actual usefulness of it also with H5N1. Since I have not seen a study to confirm it. But, I also question the use of many antibiotics.
            In a known H5N1 situation where I have bugged in with my family, my 16 yr old starts to come down with flu symptoms. I already started everyone on flu preventive herbs. We eat healthy, stay active, low stress, And keep in mind at this point we are looking for these particular symptoms to occur. I will dose them. Not because I think it is the magic potion, but because I know my teens could be the hardest hit. I will use everything in my arsenal to combat it. I have probably gone above and beyond most folks to prep for this and I am not saying that Tamiflu or any other anti viral is the cure. BTW, I paid 146.00 dollars per dose. Cash, because my insurance would not cover it, as we didn’t actually have flu. So, 99.00 sounds pretty good.
            I still believe that avoiding the flu is the best. Wash hands and don’t touch your face.

        • sw't tater says:

          One substance that is readily available and easy to use is L-Lysine It is a substnace your body normally has in small amounts.a natural anti-viral,1000mg 2 times a day will stop shingles virus in 6 days. Hubby and I both take it for flu preventave thru the winter months @500mg daily,unless we know of an exposure. Other anti-virals include everlasting, also known as rabbit tobacco, for us southerners. …As MamaJ said, there are several…do the research, virals don’t build immunity to natural herbs.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Mama J,

      Tamiflu works on health care workers but not on you and I?

      If Xanax is used to decrease abnormal excitement in the brain, I need its antidote to cope!

      Keep an eye on the expiration date on your scripts.

      • Hunker-Down,

        I think Mama J was being facetious when she said Tamiflu worked on health care folks but not us–antiviral medications will go to health care workers and other essential workers before it is given to the rest of us.

        From my readings, the antivirals don’t really do a whole lot. They can shorten the duration of the illness by two days and they can make the symptoms a bit more mild.

        • Gayle is correct about the usage of Tamiflu. And the fact that anti virals will be held back for healthcare workers first.
          To quote my Dr. “Anything is better than nothing when it comes to a 60% mortality rate in teenagers.” I have a house full of those. And a member that has a compromised immune system. So, I was granted the script and paid cash. I also have a very ideal location for meds and rotate. I am not worried about expiration dates as of yet.

          I have an understanding doctor who listens, we have talked at length about my prepping adventures and pandemic flu. We even have a “loose verbal contract” to “care” for each others families in a SHTF situation through barter. I think that she actually thinks I am alittle nuts and alot paranoid. Ergo, the Xanax. Because she probably really thinks I need it! LOL. But, she is the best medical survival tool at my disposal. It is my job to stockpile meds and supplies. Why not prep for the doctor to use them?

          • Hunker-Down says:

            Mama J,

            I was just yanking your chain on the Tamiflu point. Health Care workers, at a greater risk than the general public deserve it even if its effectiveness is suspect. Most of my questions are rhetorical or just plain impish.

            My DW also has a compromised immune system and our doctor has pushed both of us to the head of the line for scarce flu shots. I envy the relationship you have with your doctor.

            • It’s all good HD! Since I have been discovered the “Wolf Pack”, I have been getting to know everyone through their posts and feeling them out on who is serious and who likes to have some fun. I have a comedic/silly/sarcastic streak that stems from living with way too many kids, teenagers and 20 somethings that have their heads so far up the posteriors they forgot how beautiful the daylight is.

              Some topics are serious business with a little comic stress relief thrown in for levity. :}
              I love my Doc and there are more out there. Everyone should try to build a relationship with a good MD and let them know what you are about. Even a Nurse Practitioner would be great. If I doesn’t work out, look again. Dr. Bob at http://www.survivinghealthy.com sells antibiotic packs online. (I do not know him and have not used his services, yet.) I have not contacted him about antivirals. Yet.
              Many Blessings to you and your DW. Stay healthy!

  2. Great article. Very informative and I agree that the government keeping the lid on it is not to create a panic.

    However, I also believe they feel it could be used as a weapon – either for or against us. Either way, you’d want to have a vaccine.

    Let’s hope that the usual carelessness doesn’t lead to accidental exposure and pandemic.

    • Come on! Using a deadly virus as a weapon? I’m sure all of us would agree that governments around the world would NEVER do something like that!!!

      Any votes on how many governemnt entities across the globe ALREADY have this in some form or another???

      • Legion,

        One of the strangest things I have read is that the Russians are absolutely convinced that the Spanish Flu was engineered at Fort Riley in Kansas as a biological weapon. (Note that it was called the “Spanish” flu only because Spain was independent during WWI, and hence hand no media blackouts. So it appeared at the time that the flu epidemic started in Spain because the other countries were keeping a lid on infection rates so as not to “discourage the boys”.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Of course not Legion7. One woud have to be very cynical to believe that any government including ours would ever develop biologicals to use as weapons.
        Existing treaties do not permit that.
        My vote: between seven and nine countries have advanced weaponized biologicals and efficient delivery systems.
        If I were cynical…….. ;)

        • Agree Dan. In fact, friends I have in Georgia are convinced that Russia used biological weapons against Chechnya several years back. Their children are developing very high rates of leukemia following.

          It’s more prevalent than we think.

  3. One mutation away.
    60% of the population.
    Sounds about right.
    And there is not much you can do about it.

  4. This is a very well researched and well presented article which gives all of us alot to think about. I will be very interested to read part 2 of this. My compliments to you, Gayle, on your excellent research and writing skills. This is an important issue that has the potential to affect every member of the Pack. Thank you for this post!

    • Thanks JE. Part II outlines practical steps folks can take to keep themselves and their family safe.

  5. templar knight says:

    Gayle, very informative article, and right up there with some others you’ve written for this blog. The H5N1 influenza virus is a possible game changer with mortality rates of 60% or so.

    But I wonder how virulent it is, or what percentage of people exposed to the virus would actually get sick with it. If a very small percentage of people(say 10%) actually contracted the disease after exposure, the death rate of 60% would not decimate the population. If the rates of sickness were high, then the death rate would change the world as we know it.

    Gayle, do you have any information, or have there been any studies, on what the expected infection rates of H5N1 might be? I assume it would be conjecture based on other flu viruses, but I wonder what the rate is for birds? Any info, Pack?

    • T.K.,

      Just about every source I have come across has said H5N1 cannot be transmitted from person to person. Interestingly, back in 2005 Obama co-wrote an op-ed about H5N1 where it was claimed that H5N1 has spread in a limited fashion. This is actually a very intelligent piece.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/06/opinion/06obama.html

      The real concern is that H5N1 will mutate in a manner that makes it easily transferable from one person to the next. The current scientific thinking is that it is highly unlikely that the virus will remain 60 lethal and become easily contracted.

      At least that was the thinking until scientist in the U.S. and the Netherlands created a strain of the H5N1 virus that appears to retain its lethality and which is airborne.

      So to answer your question, we could see an epidemic only if the virus mutated so as to allow for easy transmission. How easy is yet to be determined. And how deadly the airborne strain would be is also yet to be determined. We simply don’t have the information to plug in for the variables.

  6. Hunker-Down says:

    Gayle,

    Thank you. The Wolf Pack is stronger because of you.

  7. Gayle,
    Good article, but I think that H5N1 is perhaps the tip of the iceberg on all of these expenditures. For whatever we think of our government, I think we need to break the basic government into three sectors:
    1. The politicians (mostly a lying bunch of self interested amoral Cretins)
    2. The petty bureaucrats (whose main job is keeping their jobs)
    3. And Finally, a large number of dedicated public servants (I know some of them) who do take their job seriously, despite the politics and complexity.

    If we examine the measures and policies you have outlined here, we can note that many of these are multi-use processes. Individual quarantine isolation and containment can be used not only for a potentially lethal mutation of influenza, but for a myriad of other biological hazards, such as a weaponized strain of Smallpox being developed and used by terrorists. Every technology from firearms to nuclear fission have always been known to be a double edged sword. and this includes our transportation industry. 100 years ago a trip from Europe took months to get to New York, and additional time in weeks or months to get to California. A trip today from nearly anywhere on the planet to anywhere else can typically be done in less than 24 hours. 100 years ago an infected person died while in route and today delivers the disease (knowingly or not) very quickly. Being able to effectively shut down that system (countrywide containment) has to be a key element of stopping an outbreak that could kill 60% of the human population.

    As for asking the research community not to publish their information on synthetic H5N1, we need only look to the computer industry to see why. 40 years ago only large corporations and governments had computing power of any magnitude, but today many cell phones or personal organizers have 10000 times that capability. When the Human Genome project first started, sequencing the entire genome was estimated in decades, but advances in technology and technique accomplished the entire thing in less than a decade. The Discovery store has a DNA kit that allows any middle school student to create the familiar “bar code” seen on all of the CSI shows for less than $100. Gene sequencers have already been used to synthesize life itself, from scratch, but using the original sequence (essentially the program) of an existing microbe, and the four base pair proteins (GCAT) that encode the DNA. Estimates are that we are within 10-15 years of any biochemistry undergraduate being able to create synthetic organisms, using the upcoming technology. We are headed into what is truly a scary and brave new world, and until we have proper measures in place, not publishing is IMO a good stop gap measure.

    As for people panicking, when the Fukoshima nuclear reactor had problems in Japan, thousands of people ran out and purchased Potassium iodide (KI) at very inflated prices. While KI is not a bad thing to have in your preparation, paying exorbitant prices for it in panic, based on rumor from folks who don’t understand the Physics of the Japanese situation, is unfortunately something we have to expect and try to prepare for.

    One final thing about my loose classification of government employees has to do with #3 above. Some 30 years ago I was in a computer organization and one of the members worked for FEMA. One day I was looking at some maps on his wall which shows evacuation routes from various Ohio cities. Since Cleveland (Northeast Ohio) is bordered by Lake Erie to the north, Toledo to the West, and Erie (PA) and Akron Canton to the east and southeast, the evacuation routes all headed to the southwest toward the center of the state where I live. I jokingly asked him what made him think that we wanted all of those city folks coming where we lived, and I will never forget his answer. Without so much as a second thought he simply smiled and said, “What makes you think we can get them there?”. He was one of those #3 category folks, who takes his job seriously, makes the best plans that can be made, but understands the reality that even the best plan does not often survive its first contact with the enemy. Perhaps this is why FEMA thinks we should all prep, while the politicians see prepping as dangerous (to their hold on each of us).

    • O.P.,

      I would have never thought to include people who actually work for a living under the “government” heading. Without thinking about it, I was using the term government to cover categories 1 and 2, but not three. Folks in category three are “us” and not “them”. Folks in category three will be the ones working to put this country back together, while folks in categories 1 and 2 will be useless.

      So I think I agree with you.

    • Worrisome says:

      Well done Ohio Prepper! Some of my family are members of your class 3 group, they are located on the east coast, close to DC and work hard everyday because they know it matters! We have had some conversations about “what if” scenarios that are terrifying and possible. I pray for them daily!

  8. VALadyPrepperNurse says:

    Gayle, thank you for this excellent and well presented article. Lots of information to think about!

  9. What you and those trusting the government and the WHO, CDC,. etc don’t seem to understand is there are ‘them’ and there are ‘us’.
    ‘Us’ are the useless eaters; the peons that don’t deserve to live and will be eliminated by the ‘bill gates’ of the world.

    Think I’m paranoid; just use your search tools and you will discover there is a war on for food and water. The only reason for H1N1 vaccine, since they don’t care if you die, was to pad BIG PHARMA’S bank account.
    It’s a big club and you ain’t in it…George Carlin ..rest in peace.

  10. Gayle a very well researched and thought out article!60% about what the Eugenist are shooting for if memory serves.Why in Gods name would the various military’s of the world be messing around with things like this? I like the way you present the facts and let the reader decide if they should freak out. Freaking out rarely helps.Calm cool preparation is the key. I often wonder as someone who runs into hundreds of people a day which one may be the golden bullet. I actually ran a call once and as I passed the gent on the stairway he said deleted told you we have swine flu right? Their needing light bulbs and a furnace filter was worth infecting me with swine flu??? Thank you for great info!

    China
    III

  11. I guess that really gives me great motivation to lose some pounds and get in really good physical shape. If a pandemic does happen that 40% that gets infected and survives will be the ones in the best shape to fight off the virus. I plan to lose about 30-40 lbs and get off all meds (just blood pressure meds) and to be physically able to do the work wshtf. Plan to stock up on gloves, masks, hand sanitizer etc, etc…
    Gayle , what was the death rate of the infected ones of the spanish flu pandemic and the total death toll world wide and % of the world population if you happen to have any figures on that one???

    • George,

      The Spanish flu had a mortality rate of 2.5 percent and killed an estimated 50 million people.

      Different strains of the flu act differently. The Spanish Flu killed young, healthy people. For some reason H5N1 is less severe for young children, who presumably have a weaker immune system. The highest death rate is in the 10-19 rate, if memory serves me correctly.

      I also read a figure that said the flu attacks women more than men, and obese people more severely than overweight or normal weight individuals.

      If you want to take two positive steps toward weight loss, eat oatmeal at least four mornings a week. Use stevia or splenda rather than sugar. And make a habit of walking at least 20 minutes a day on top of your normal routine. If you stay away from the really bad stuff (junk food), you can loose a pound a week. Weight loss of 1-2 per week is good. Any more than that and you are not likely to keep the weight off. (My dh has weight issues, so I did all the research on weight loss. I wanted to know which methods worked and which didn’t. Most of the Atkins Diets or the Eat-Cabbage Diets don’t work. Adopting a routine where you do moderate exercise and eat healthy does work.)

      • I have started a healthy diet and do not use sugar or hfcs. I usually run 1-2 miles 3-4 days a week and do yoga and strength training the other days. Am in pretty good shape just need to do more cardio and will start back on the mt bike this spring. Biggest problem is cutting back on the happy hour drinks to 1-2 from 3-5 and just overall getting more active. Have lost 15 lbs in the last few months and got the meds strength cut in half so looking for 5-10 lbs a month for the next 3-4 months to get down to my fighting weight….

        • George, that’s great. Congratulations on becoming healthier.

        • Hunker-Down says:

          george,

          I ran 1-2 miles every other day in my 40′s. Resting heart rate was at times, 40 beats per minute; scared the wife.
          30 years later I can still see the benefits from that time period in heart strength, lung capacity and vein/artery capacity.
          Skip the happy hour and add another mile to your workout. The benefits will stay with you. Keep up the good work.

      • “eat oatmeal at least four mornings a week”

        Huh?? Fact 1) Oatmeal raises blood sugar higher and faster than any other grain ( and that’s no-sugar added/plain oatmeal). Fact 2) Raised blood sugar causes insulin production , fact 3) Insulin signals the energy to be stored into fat cells and prevent s the organs and other tissues from using the energy available in those cells. Doing this for a number of years causes hyperinsulinemia (insulin resistance) and metablic disease = overweightness / obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes and more.. You have been reading conventional “wisdom” sources = mostly lies plain and simple.

      • Worrisome says:

        Oatmeal as part of a regular diet would be ok, but oatmeal is high-ish on the glycemic index and is pure carb……..carb is glucose in your body……….. I have a family member with diabetes, would NOT recommend it as a 4 times per week breakfast. 15 minutes after eating blood sugar raises 150 points……….and stays there for hours!

  12. gayle-that was a great article. i think this year will be a bad one. i quess you can say i’m lucky because of what d.h. does at the hospital. one problem i could see if there was an outbreak and there would be a quarentine. i can remember serveral years back when we lived in florida, it happened at a hospital where d.h. was at and it was days before he could get home. all we can do is be prepared.

  13. Lake Lili says:

    Enjoyed the article Gayle. Thank you.

    Part of the challenge in producing a vacine for the H5N1 is that it killed birds and the vacines are grown in chicken eggs. All that aside I got the H1N1 in 2009 when it swept through Ontario. One thing to consider is that for every week you are ill, count on 2-3 weeks to recover. This can seriously deplete your resources both in terms of supplies and man power. Many of these flus can also quickly turn into pneumonia. It can also make for a challenge in caring for others who might be ill wihtin your family group. Also have the supplies on hand that will enable you to quarentine yourself… and remember that the visiting doctor may also be a the disease vector, as was the case in my grandmther’s home in 1918.

    • Lake Lili,

      I’ve read that the pneumonia associated with the flu is typically a viral pneumonia and not a bacterial pneumonia, so antibiotics do not help.

      Part II of the article is sort of a what would life be like if we experienced a pandemic flu and even with an infection rate of only 20 percent, essential services like medical care and electrical services would degrade quickly. If there were outbreaks across the country, there is no way we could sustain the level of essential services we’ve become dependent upon. There would be shortages of food, fuel and the like.

      It is really scary to think about this stuff.

      • Lake Lili says:

        Look forward to reading Part II, Gayle!

        In my experience, I was given two puffers to help keep the airways open. I also slept sitting up for about six weeks as lying down resulted in that “drowning” feeling. Oddly the ability to lie down became the most cherished item on the recovery list. Our bodies really do need to be horizontal for a period of time each day. Long term the bigger issue has been that I am now prone to getting pneumonia and each cold has to be carefully monitored.

        I know that there were a very large number of people, including the media, who felt that the concern about H1N1 was overblown by that same media and by the CDC, but I sincerely hope to never be that sick again.

        • templar knight says:

          Lake Lili,

          I had H1N1 in 2009 myself, and ended up being hospitalized for the first time in my life. I spent two days in the hospital and it took me a long time to get my strength back. I took a flu shot the past two years, so it made a believer out of me. There is also a vaccine for pneumonia, have you had that vaccination? I’m thinking about taking it, but it would have no affect on the flu virus, but does prevent some strains of bacterial pneumonia.

        • I had a close friend who contracted H1N1 and died in his sleep within two days of contracting it. One of my children contracted it, probably the day or day after he got the vaccine. A very mild case. My friends son got it and it was like you said, very bad. It took him weeks to recover after a hospital visit. I cared for him because his mother has COPD/Pulmonary Fibrosis and it would be death sentence for her. She is also allergic to eggs and can not receive the vaccination. It was actually not overblown. I can say that because I attended a funeral. At least they had a vaccine manufactured.
          I am glad that you and T. Knight have fully recovered. You should get the reg flu and Pneumonia vaccine every year.
          I contracted West Nile virus in 2006, I felt like I got hit by a truck and don’t remember the better part of 10 days. I lost 20 lbs and it took me 2 months to feel better. I wish they had a vaccine for that, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

          • Mama J,

            What part of the country do you live in? I assume that you must live in the South if you got West Nile.

            We are having our first freeze of the year tonight. It could actually get down to 21 degrees which would be a 100 year record for this area.

            • Lake Lili says:

              Mama J, Until this year I have been very fortunate and not been ill again – but this year I caught the cold. Tomorrow, I am in to the doctor and expect to be told that it has developed into pneumonia.

              Gayle, It is -26C (or about -15F) here tonight. We brought the brass monkey in off the front porch :-)

            • Hunker-Down says:

              Geesh, call Al Gore, maybe he can fix it for you. LOL.

              Seriously, depending on how many hours 21 degrees lasts, there may be below ground root crop damage.

            • Gayle, I live in a mountain community at high elevation in Colorado. We have alot fo water on and near our property. Therefore alot of mosquitoes.

              Sorry, I had to giggle about your freeze. We had ours in the middle. of September. We have a 110 day growing season. My sister lives in Florida, and while it is beautiful, I feel like I am breathing through a wet paper towel. I am a dry air mountain girl through and through.

            • templar knight says:

              Lake Lili,

              I sincerely hope you don’t have pnemonia. Get plenty of rest and sleep, and drown the infection with fluids, especially orange juice and water. We will throw up a prayer also. Is Monkey alright?

            • Worrisome says:

              Gayle, west nile is everywhere now……the Sierras and San Francisco and points north, not just the south.

        • I thought I would post the numbers for 2009 Swine Flu.

          Number of confirmed cases: 115,318

          Number of hospitalizations: 27,632

          Number of deaths: 3,433

          • Lake Lili says:

            Gayle,

            In Ontario, they stopped counting cases… but

            “In Canada, Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus was confirmed in all provinces and territories and carried a mortality rate of 1.3 per 100,000 population. The highest hospitalization rates occurred in children aged less than 5 years of age. Influenza activity for the 2009-2010 far exceed the expected range and occurred in two distinct waves. The peak period for the first wave was May 31/09 to June 20/09, and for the second wave October 25/09 to November 14/09).”

            2008-2009
            confirmed cases: 12,262
            number dead: 77

            2009-2010
            confirmed cases: 33,509
            number dead: 428

            Source: http://www.chica.org/links_swineflu.php

            In my case, I know exactly when/where I was infected – on the commuter train going east out of Toronto on Labour Day weekend 2009… exactly the wrong spot to be…

            • Lake Lili,
              My friend who passed contracted the virus somewhere between California and Colorado (he was traveling) and passed early November 20o9. My boys were also sick a the same time, the most likely contracted it from school.

          • I wonder how many they predict were not confirmed?

            • Mama J.,

              This is the problem with doing a statistical analysis on H5N1. Mild cases are not documented. People only go to the doctor when they are very sick. So there is an under reporting of mild cases. Therefore the reported mortality rates are overblown.

  14. Worrisome says:

    Gayle, “As the population of infected birds increases, there is increased interaction between infected birds and humans. With increased interaction between humans and infected birds, the probability of mutation increases” may be the false positive in your research. Since they aren’t sharing how they made the mutations work, that may be why they are still researching, pondering, etc. I agree that it seems like that interaction could create the mutation, but perhaps they know something still that we don’t.
    But it really doesn’t matter whether it is this particular flu bug or something else that becomes virulent. We are overdue. The fact that they think this “might” be the “one” and they are trying to get ahead of the potential so they can develop a vaccine, is probably a good thing. The last one, H1N1 vaccine, was months in the making and was arriving long after folks were dying of it. I seem to remember it being almost a year and then there wasn’t enough vaccine to go around, sigh.
    The only potential to avoid exposure to whatever the next “black death” is, is to learn of it early enough to isolate oneself and of course, being a wolf pack member be prepared enough for it to run it’s course without you being part of the problem. Good luck with that if you have children in the home; or if you are a public health worker of some kind; or just must might have to continue to go to work and the store.
    A horror in the making and one that will quickly fill up the hospital beds and leaving many dying in the halls, the front lobby and such. It is all so scary!

    • Worrisome,

      We are overdue for a pandemic. I have thought long and hard about what would happen if we experienced a pandemic and what we can do to prepare. Social distancing may become necessary. During the worst of the Spanish Flu, schools were cancelled, as were most public gatherings. People who did venture out into public wore gauze masks.

  15. SickSkilz says:

    Great article. For be it from be to be a conspiracy theorist, but I saw this (specifically the fact that they made the mutated version) 3 days before there was any mention on CNN (web or tv) about it and even then it wasn’t brought as that big a deal.

    I definitely agree that people need to have their own plans in place. If there is an outbreak in China, its likely that it will be in all major US cities within the couple days it takes to kill the first person. In that I happen to work in a moderately sized (top 100) US city means i am going to get some flue specific preps in my EDC. Also, one more reason for me to justify my no longer taking public transportation. I also have 3 kids in school but luckily they are further from down town.

  16. SickSkilz says:

    Side note – anyone know any tips for getting your doctor to get you a prescription for Tamiflu (the pill not suspension) I’d love to have 5 doses for my family for if and when it broke out.

    • SickSkilz,

      One dose is $90. See the earlier comment about the drawbacks of Tamiflu.

    • SickSkilz,

      The scientists who created the Franken-flu announced their “achievement” in September of last year. There was no controversy until their papers were accepted for publication.

      I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do think our government (in O.P.’s first and second sense) holds back information so as to prevent panic.

    • Just ask. If they say no, ask them why. Then find one that will.

  17. There was an article on the avian flu in today’s NY Times. This article says that antiviral medications appear to be effective against H5N1–but this contradicts what the Hong Kong researcher said. (K

    eep in mind that there are different strains of H5N1. Antivirals could be effective on some of the strains but not on others.)

    Here’s the link, if you are interested.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/health/an-explanation-of-how-avian-flu-spreads.html?pagewanted=1

  18. Black elderberry syrup (Sambucus Nigra) has great virus fighting properties (it prevents the virus from replicating, somewhat like tamiflu, etc), and is now even recognized by mainstream medicine. You can make it yourself – 1/2 c dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh), 3 cups water, and 1 cup sugar, honey, or sweetner of choice (stevia, xylitol, splenda – DO NOT USE aspertame).

    Put elderberries in the water in a non-aluminum pan, bring to boil, then simmer for AT LEAST 20 minutes. Add sugar while hot, or wait to cool a little and add honey, which also has some nice antibacterial and antiviral qualities.

    Refrigerate and use 2 tsp for adults or 1 tsp for children daily as a preventative, and 4 times daily at the first sign of cold or flu. You can waterbath can this syrup if you’d like to make more than you can use in a month or two – and you can use this on your pancakes or waffles!

    You can get the elderberries at Mountain Rose Herbs mountainroseherbs.com or 1-800-879-3337, or other mail order herb store.

    This is one ‘medicine’ you won’t have to fight your kids (or husband for that matter) to take.

    Add dried elderberries to your stores!

    • Michele,

      Thanks for this tip. I just read a paper about a scientific study which suggest elderberry extract may be more effective against common influenza strains than Tamiflu. (Tamiflu shortens the duration of the illness by up to two days; elderberry extract has been shown to shorten the illness by three to four days–and it’s not $90 per dose.)

      I am going to try this.

      I sure wish someone would write a post on natural treatments of common ailments.

      Here’s the link to the study.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

      • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

        Gayle, I have studied and used natural remedies almost exclusively most of my life, and I am working on just such an essay. Stay tuned. :)

        Something to consider is immune BUILDING in advance of a pandemic, which I will discuss in my essay. I plan to finish and post it this week.

        • I have been a M. Herbalist for 15 years and can not wait to read your essay! Most herbalists are isolated ( I am). New ideas and different takes on the old recipes are always exciting.

        • MtWoman,

          I have a question. Some of the flu strains such as the Spanish Flu and H5N1 are worse for people whose immune system is strongest. Would immune building pose an even greater risk?

          I look forward to your post. I do think the big drug companies poo-poo natural remedies because such remedies undercut their profits.

          • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

            I cannot scientifically answer your question, Gayle, but from what I’ve read, and the research you’ve put forth, it seems there is no ‘constant’ with that. I’ll take my chances with a ‘boosted’ immune system.

            • I can’t wait to read your article. When you write your article, will you also include some trusted places to obtain herbs? I haven’t ordered any because I don’t know who is reliable and who is not.

          • Worrisome says:

            As I understand it, the better your immune system is, the harder it fights the virus and literally overreacts, sending out such a response, that it is the response that kills you. That is why the h1n1 hit the teen agers group so hard a couple of years ago.

      • Mother Earth says:

        Gail, I have just started researching natural treatments and recommend a book I really like called Herbal recipes for vibrant health by Rosemary Gladstone. Also, a book called Healing Spices is quite informative. I’ve not done enough trials to be expert enough to write anything yet though.

    • Michele,
      Why should you avoid aspertame?

    • Hunker-Down says:

      I would like to read comments from natural remedy practitioners about the following;
      http://www.livestrong.com/article/128286-side-effects-black-elderberry/

      Please share your thoughts.

    • templar knight says:

      Michele,

      Should one rely on the homemade syrup method in your comment, or is the marketed version called Sambucol as effective?

      • Absolutely Sambucol is effective – and it’s only $24 dollars for 8 oz!

        I’m paying (with the cost of shipping) $28 for 2 pounds of dried berries, and it only takes 1/2 cup of berries (approx 2.1 oz) to make about 12 oz of syrup.

        I should be able to keep my whole – extended family in elderberry syrup for the entire winter with 2 lbs of elderberries.

    • Great advise and recipe! I recently planted 12 large elderberry bushes and plan on 12 more this spring. You can never have enough. I have been wild harvesting for years, and thought to myself, DUH woman. Grow them! One of my friends has 12-14 ft tall/wide bushes and simple root divisions work great. The first year, they grew 3 ft.

    • Ah yes, I am a fan of non-laboratory treatments when they work.

      Not sure if it’s true any more, but the “instant” relief of cough medicines is that they have alcohol or some other numbing agent. Be better to wash down pills of the terrible tasting ingredients with a tea of sage, honey and lemon, licorice, rum, or anisette. (Anisette stored in the freezer is the greatest for sore throats and pretty great for oral problems.)

      I believe that there are many problems related to vitamin deficiencies, and some diseases that can be treated with vitamin-loading. (I also believe that you can poison yourself with just about anything, so be careful not to take more than you can piss out.)

      I hate to suggest that the pharmaceutical companies have anything but our well-being in mind, but treatment of a disease is more profitable than outright curing it, and you can’t make money from something you cannot patent. I’m also loathe to admit that we are not at our peak of scientific understanding, no matter how far we’ve advanced since the last great scientific boom.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Kelekona,

        I subscribed to this for many years, and have not been a subscriber for maybe 5 years. Dr. Whitaker really pushes vitamins (which I still take), but if you look past the advertisement he has a zillion documented examples of the pharmacy and medical professions lying about all natural remedies that threaten their opportunity to make a profit.
        The FDA has tried and failed to put him in jail several times because all of his accusations against those two industries are always backed up by published studies done by the same two groups. There are several other professionals like Dr. Whithaker and the FDA is chasing all of them.
        http://www.drwhitaker.com/health-and-healing-newsletter/

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Michele,

      How long do the jars have to cook in the water bath canner?
      What do you think the shelf life would be?

      I’m thinking of where to put some bushes in our yard.
      Do you have a problem keeping birds away from the ripe berries?

      I wish we had some to dehydrate now.

      • I would personally bump up the sugar content a little for canning, and process pints 15 minutes and quarts 20 minutes, then refrigerate after opening, This should keep for years if necessary, but of course, rotating it is certainly a good idea.

        I planted black elderberry bushes (really over priced sticks) this last spring so no elderberries yet, thus having to buy them. I will keep the birds off with bird netting (about $20 at home depot and reusable year after year).

    • mountain lady says:

      Thank you for the recipe and instructions. This is doable, and a $90 dollar a dose for Tamiflu is not. I have a good friend who is an herbalist and I am going to call her as soon as I get finished reading. Thanks again. By the way, I plan to self quarantine if this bug gets loose.

    • M27463.L36473 says:

      and for those who want the extract already done, there is Sambucol. Best price I found is at this site http://www.bynature.ca (Canadian site tho.. sorry) @ $11.98, Maybe there is better prices in USA. Let us know.

  19. Gayle,

    I am very interested in reading part II of your article. As a person with COPD, the thoughts of a pandemic is frightening. It is controlled with the use of a daily inhaler, but I am very careful about staying away from anyone with any sort of respiratory infection. DH came home from work today complaining that someone shook his hand, then started to tell him about how they have had an awful cold all weekend. I am not sure if people are ignorant about spreading germs, they just don’t think or don’t care. Thanks for a very informative article.

    • Carol,

      I suspect that most people don’t think about what they are doing. Most people go through their lives on autopilot. I would recommend putting a small bottle of hand sanitizer in his EDC.

      • I worked in retail for over 20 years and for the last 10 years I have carried a small bottle of sanitizer in my pocket all the time. I have been called a germaphobe for the amount and frequency I use it but I have only had 2-3 colds in the last 15 years. I am always alert when I am in public and someone near me sneezes or coughs and I usually hold my breath until I am at least 20-30 feet away from them. I have even sometimes used my fingers wet from sanitizer inside my nose just in case. If I have to fly I always put some neosporin in my nose to help with the dry air and any germs just in case. Money is one of the dirtiest things you will handle during the day and I always use anitizer after I handle money or anhy public transaction. I also use my elbows or back of my hand to push open doors if possible just look at all the ways you can be infected during just a normal day and you will be amazed. Plus wash your hands with soap and water when possible because sanitizer will get rid of some germs but not dirt and it is not 100% effective so you have to be vigilant thru the day..

        • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

          George, I’m with you: worked as a cashier for Whole Paycheck for 4 years in the early 2000s. By the end of my time there, I was wearing non-latex gloves to keep the germs off, and using the HS when I couldn’t use the gloves. Money IS the worst for germs, and standing there, with every sniffly kid and adult sneezing and coughing right at you (yes, they did), and handling all the things that they did….well, I did what I had to do. I wasn’t sick much during my time there (except of the job itself), so that counts.

          Here’s an article about flu virus on paper money….
          http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/catching-flu-from-money/

        • Not to sound too paranoid, but if there is a pandemic sweeping through and you are at risk, then don’t overlook the germs your friendly mail carrier maybe be delivering…

          • Hunker-Down says:

            Nessie,

            After reading Gayle’s article I thought of how silly (but necessary) it would look to the neighbors if they saw me wiping down our junk mail with disinfectant wipes.

  20. breadmomma says:

    train your kids to wash their hands…washing the hands really helps in the spread of these diseases…air borne, not so much, but we all sneeze, cough, scratch, etc.. washing hands does a lot towards stopping the spread of these diseases..simple yet effective…

  21. SurvivorDan says:

    Very informative Gayle, as always. I am always amazed at your range of topics. You are the Renaissance prepper. Thanks again.

  22. Gayle,

    Thank you for your time and attention on this topic. Solid information! And, the intelligent exchanges have been tremendously informative.

  23. Follow the money. Why on one hand is the CDC downplaying H5N1 to the public but to the government it’s a major research item? CDC needs to justify it’s funding and big Pharma needs research money.

    There is a “theory” that if it becomes airborne… A theory that has not been quantified in any way. So far infected individuals have not been able to infect other individuals.

    How many scares has the CDC issued about flu, how many people have gotten Flu shots only to find out the “flu” of the season was totally wrong?

    Is the CDC research so devoted to H5N1 that they may be overlooking other, more dangerous and real problems that may occur?

    H5N1 is becoming such a scare that a lot of rural families will not start raising chickens because they are afraid of it. We have chickens and two of my neighbors have raised this issue and one threatened legal action to stop me. (The court refused the case in that it had not basis in fact)

    • templar knight says:

      Dan, you make some valid points. We do live in a time when we can’t trust our own government to tell us the truth. That means one must think independently, and come to some conclusions based on what has happened in the past.

      There will be a flu pandemic sooner or later, and we should be prepared for it. Does that mean we should live in fear of it? That’s why we prep. But as we prep, it is important to know what we need, and then do a cost analysis as to its worth. Chickens are much more valuable as a food resource than they are a danger for the avian flu. Same for hogs versus the swine flu. It just behooves one to look out for things which are out of place, such as dead birds, etc. on your property. Dan, you can tell your neighbors that wild birds would be the danger, not your domestic chickens.

      Of course, we live in evil times. People are scared of the unknown, and people who prep(the survivalists to the media) are considered crazy, or at the very least different. So opposition will rear its ugly head wherever we seek to prosper. But we should take heart that many are now awakening from a long slumber.

  24. Jo (Georgia) says:

    I find it perfectly reasonable that governments would prepare for something that is not now but may be in the future a threat. Is that not what we do everyday?

    • It’s absolutely fantastic that there is a section of government that is absolutely paranoid. Those radiation shelters under old buildings, especially the ones that still have non-rusted signs; only a waste of money in hindsight. (A personal radiation shelter still seems like only slight overkill if you’re in tornado country.)

      The response for an emergency that they have planned for is still measured in days for full deployment. Can you imagine if something happened that they didn’t expect?

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Jo: It is not reasonable for our gov’t agencies to present the level of danger as polar opposites. It is not reasonable to weaponize a deadly virus in the name of science.

      And then there’s…. follow the money:
      Back in the Ford administration pharma companies made millions on the flu shots . I seem to recall one particularly disastrous year that 1600 people died or were seriously and often permanently debilitated by those shots.
      I’m not saying don’t get a flu shot but I am nearing 60 and have never had a flu vac. Had a couple of bouts with the flu over the years but got over them. Big money to be made there. And the FEDs do lie and those in power do seek their own profitable ends often enough to make us cynical. I trust the gov’t to do the right thing occassionally but I mistrust them more. When in doubt, use your own best judgement.
      Whenever the government weaponizes a biological in the name of preparing a cure, I tend towards cynicism. Been in the military, worked for the DOD and more recently law enforcement so (though a lowly grunt) I have occassionally been privy to some of the machinatons of the gov’t, including preparations for catastrophic disasters and the FEDs do not care about your individual family’s welfare, at all. Only to the extent that it affects their chances of re-election so THEY can keep the gravy train rolling. The Biggest Cynic award goes to the FEDs and not Templar Knight.

  25. Here’s a few places to start looking at herbal remedies. I’ve used some of these recipes on myself and my family. Note: I’m not endorsing the websites as fonts of wisdom, I just use some of these or similar recipes. Thing to do is try them and use what works and that you and your family will actually use. I used to make what my girls called Ugly Tea. It worked a charm but they hated it and probably got better in self defense. Like I did with my mother’s onion cough syrup.

    http://www.holisticonline.com/remedies/flu/cold_herbal-remedies-for-cold.htm

    http://www.rodale.com/natural-flu-remedies

    http://www.learningherbs.com/flu_home_remedy_tea.html ( I add garlic and cayenne to this one for myself, wife won’t touch it that way.)

    Plus homemade chicken soup loaded with garlic, onion and cayenne, plus fresh greens from my winter garden. I still have kale and collards at the moment. I’m not much on vegetables usually, for the most part I prefer my veggies to be meat but the nasty green things do have their uses.

  26. Gayle…..

    Great article and very well done as usual. Many thanks.

  27. SrvivlSally says:

    Gayle, I believe that the isolation rooms are designed for humans that have been infected with the virus and not chickens. It does mention hospitals and physicians being better enabled to take care of patients. Also, they are preparing for INFLUENZA, NOT SPECIFICALLY that of AVIAN! Check the section where you added it in “Analysis.” You know, I do not want to put you down or anything because I understand how disturbing it is to hear about the one virus but everything is not stacking up because you seem to have missed the points that I mentioned. Boy, I thought there was something that I needed to be afraid of but seeing that the H5N1 is not, and never will be, pandemic I can wipe my forehead dry.

  28. M27463.L36473 says:

    Another great way to add to you meal as a add on for immune system .. mix (food processor) equal amount of ginger and garlic in a little bit of olive oil, add a bit of gray salt. It is called ginger garlic paste (Indian put that in almost every dish). You can ”can” it as well. There is tons of recepies online. Taste fabulous and it is good for your immune system.

  29. Hunker-Down says:

    Now that we know the future of H5N1, whats the future of TDL?

  30. I have to admit, I don’t know which worries me most EMP or Pandemic Flu. Both seem to be able to hit with little to know warning and have devastating, long term consequences.

    Best defenses seem to be prepping. Wide and deep. Debt elimination or at least control will keep you from HAVING to go to work where there are sick people you may be required to interface with.

    M.D. talked about 8 weeks of food and water. It won’t do you much good if your finances force you to go out in public.

    Thanks for the info and references!

    • JP,

      Good point. I didn’t even think of including money reserves. You are absolutely right. If you can’t cover the mortgage or pay the electric bill, you will need to go to work.

  31. Hey All:
    I once had a chat with a very old and experienced Dr. who told me that one of the very simple things to do during the winter months to ensure that you do not catch any colds or flu is to simply wash out your nose every evening prior to going to bed. He said that obviously the nose is the main point of entry to the body and by simply eliminating and cleaning the nose nightly helps to prevent the spread of any of the typical viruses. Also, wash your face and hands as many times a day as you can. Try to avoid touching your eyes and face as much as possible daily.
    Now, I have tried these and have not had a winter cold for several years. Something must work!!!! Has anyone else in the Pack heard anything about this or have tried it?

    • I had an ole-timer friend teach me the same thing years ago. His Doctor taught it to him. I do it every time I take a shower and I rarely get sick.. When the wife and kids are down with something I might get a touch of a tummy ache or scratchy throat and that’s all. This Avian flu stuff has me a bit spooked now because those with the strong resistance are hardest hit. I can’t remember the last time I had a cold or fever.

    • SickSkilz says:

      I can vouch for that. I do it every time I shower as well and I rarely get sick even when I am on duty cleaning up my kids barf, etc when they are sick.

  32. MtWoman (N Texas) says:

    I use a neti pot regularly. Before I started using it, I had very bad nasal problems and allergies. The neti pot has helped a lot.

    I do recommend nasal washing, but if you decide to do it, USE DISTILLED WATER ONLY…NEVER tap water!! Lately there have been several reports of people dying from parasites in the tap water they used up their noses.

    And be sure to follow the directions exactly…water can get up in your sinuses in the wrong way, and even into your ears, if you don’t. And the amount of salt (PURE, un-iodized sea salt only) needs to be right.

  33. Rich Muszynski says:

    Greetings. in all the comments i read getting here to the end i never saw anyone mention that one cannot make a vaccine for a virus unless you already have the virus to design it for. so if bird flu has not mutated yet then it is impossible to design a vaccine for it. every virus, even of the same general strain, is totally different in shape. about like snow flakes that can clone themselves as virus does. and if your vaccine is not totally made for the exact configuration of the virus you might as well get a injection of beer, probably do more for you. the reason virus’s can get so bad is that they are like a common cold. have a infinite variety that are totally different but all have about the same catastrophic impact on the human body. that is the reason that they cannot make a vaccine for the common cold. it is always mutating and no vaccine from a former mutation will affect it at all. since the bird flu virus has not mutated to infectious the bull about them researching a vaccine is a total pile of bull. no virus to design for no sense trying to make a vaccine to combat it. have to wait until it hits. unless they are only trying to develop a vaccine for the contagious mutation that they have made in the lab? ever read the Stephen King novel “The Stand” good description on what can happen. ad in Hemmings motor news magazine. “Giving a politician power and money is like giving your car keys and a bottle of whiskey to a teen ager.” note one of the super dangerous things about the influenza virus is that it is constantly mutating. so no matter how fast you develop a vaccine you are always a dollar short and a day late with it.

  34. Rich Muszynski says:

    greetings. only thing i managed to get this week is to start making pinole, or parched corn, that was used by the native Americans and early explores of the European races as emergency food and to travel with. carried a small bag of ground parched corn and could go for a extended period with nothing else other then water for a long journey. it was about like the vegetable version of pemmican. get 50 pound bag of whole kernel corn at the feed store for about $7. parched and ground into coarse meal that is enough for one hell of a long famine time and doesn’t cost upteen dollars a meal as survival foods do. just take a tablespoonful of the pinole and a drink of water and your good for a while without hunger eating you alive.

  35. This is somewhat off subject, but I recently watched a British series called “Survivors” that ran for only two seasons (12 episodes) that I finished in a short period of time and it pointed directly to a situation such as this. A major flu pandemic that had Government and Outside influences involved and it really cut into the global population. Interesting show, but cut short supposedly due to low viewer ratings.
    I know they were dealing with a tv version of a SHTF scenerio of surviving, making alliances with unlikey people that were thrown together by unexpected circumstances and gathering supplies as they went. In the end the virus mutated and re-emerged ,but it ended. As I was reading this post, I just went hmmm! Once again an interesting show.

    • Rzh,
      I bought that series from Amazon and really enjoyed it. Very suspenseful ( is that a word?), even when you get to watch it straight through.
      Except the fact that the Brits are so whiny about firearms. At times I was screaming. OMG! If you don’t kill that dude now, you are going to regret it later!” It is almost like they are uber moral. The Brits are the only ones that can create an entire series about massive pandemic and death and never show a gory scene. But, I still give it a thumbs up. ~giggling~

      • Are you talking about that thug with the side-comb? OMG, I would have lured him out and hit him with a car at the first opportunity, and I’m half pacifist. Maybe not make sure he’s dead, just be the one with superior firepower. (And the convict would have set things right with my flaw.)

        I also wasn’t fond of the senator bitch. Too tight-reined but not worth more than a verbal putting-down. She ruined being able to make use of the focus group.

        And I lost interest the moment the grand conspiracy discovered the tape.

      • SickSkilz says:

        I have been watching the series too. Unrealistic since we have guns here and also they tended to spend too much time thinging in the moment. Several times they should have been stashing more food and supplies but they just moved on.

        But in general, it gives you ideas.

  36. I have to say something about my post above. After re reading it later, I thought it sounded callus towards people in the UK. I really didn’t
    mean it like like I wrote it. I must have been in an “off” mood. I sincerely apologize if anyone took offense.
    My poorly written statement was to say that the cultural differences about firearms are hard for me to understand. Also, I thought it well made by not showing blood and gore. My daughter was able to watch it.