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Bird Flu Poses Serious Danger. Why?

Author: Aliza Adar Levine

News Reports about Bird Flu are becoming alarmingly frequent. More and more cases of human contamination are being reported. What exactly is "bird flu" anyway? And how does it pose a risk?

As more reports of Bird Flu spread, the risk of a World wide epidemic(Pandemic)is quite frightening. Consider the following to get a glimpse as to the complexity:

* Domestic ducks carrying the virus can now excrete huge quantities of highly toxic, contagious virus without even showing signs of sickness. This is acting as a "silent" transmitter of the virus, to other birds. This is one reason it's difficult to control. The birds spreading it don't seem ill!!

* Bird flu is caused by the H5N1 virus. The strain thats spreading is one of the deadliest versions known. When compared with H5N1 viruses from 1997 and early 2004, H5N1 viruses now spreading are more lethal to experimentally infected mice and to ferrets (a mammalian model) and survive longer in the environment.

* H5N1 virus appears to have expanded its host range, infecting and killing mammals previously considered resistant. People are now coming down with it.

* The behaviour of the virus in its natural reservoir, wild waterfowl, may be changing. The spring 2005 die-off of upwards of 6,000 migratory birds at a nature reserve in central China, caused by highly pathogenic H5N1, was highly unusual and probably unprecedented. In the past, only two large die-offs in migratory birds, caused by highly pathogenic viruses, are known to have occurred: in South Africa in 1961 (H5N3) and in Hong Kong in the winter of 2002-2003 (H5N1).

Why are pandemics such dreaded events? Influenza pandemics are horrible.That can rapidly infect virtually all countries. Once international spread begins, pandemics are considered unstoppable, caused as they are by a virus that spreads very rapidly by coughing or sneezing. The problem is that when a person is the most contagious and dangerously spreading the virus, there are no symptoms yet. The fact that infected people can shed virus before symptoms appear adds to the risk of international spread via air travellers who don't yet know they are sick.

The severity of disease and the number of deaths caused by a pandemic virus vary greatly, and cannot be known prior to the emergence of the virus. During past pandemics, attack rates reached 25-35% of the total population. Under the best circumstances, assuming that the new virus causes mild disease, the world could still experience an estimated 2 million to 7.4 million deaths (projected from data obtained during the 1957 pandemic). Projections for a more virulent virus are much higher. The 1918 pandemic, which was exceptional, killed at least 40 million people. In the USA, the mortality rate during that pandemic was around 2.5%.

Pandemics can cause large surges in the numbers of people requiring or seeking medical or hospital treatment, temporarily overwhelming health services. High rates of worker absenteeism can also interrupt other essential services, such as law enforcement, transportation, and communications. Because populations will be fully susceptible to an H5N1-like virus, rates of illness could peak fairly rapidly within a given community. This means that local social and economic disruptions may be temporary. They may, however, be amplified in today's closely interrelated and interdependent systems of trade and commerce. Based on past experience, a second wave of global spread should be anticipated within a year.

As all countries are likely to experience emergency conditions during a pandemic, opportunities for inter-country assistance, as seen during natural disasters or localized disease outbreaks, may be curtailed once international spread has begun and governments focus on protecting domestic populations.

What can you do? How can you protect yourself? Well, surprisingly enough you can take herbs! Many herbs are Scientifically documented to Boost the body's ability to withstand and fight viral illness. Some of the herbs that strengthen immunity are Astragalus, Ginseng,Codnopsis, Garlic, Reishi, Spirulina, Shilajit, Suma and many more. Other herbs like Echinacea, GoldenSeal, and Coptis fight infection, when ill.

A wise Herbal protection plan would be to take Astragalus Root as a daily protective tonic. This TCM(Traditional Chinese Medicine)root is well known and researched to dramatically boost Immune Protection and even fight infection. Known as HuangQi(pronounced "WongChi"), Astragalus is a TCM Herb, prescribed as a tonic, for centuries, for strength and vitality. Taken as a tea or tincture, two to three times daily, Astragalus can boost your ability to protect and fight flu in general. A TCM botanical that fights viruses is Honeysuckle(Lonicera, in Latin). Yes, the pretty ,sweet smelling yellow, or pink flower is a serious antiviral medicine. The Chinese have used the unopened buds, known as JinYinHua for centuries to combat infection.

About the author: A.LevineRNMH is a Nurse and medical Researcher for over 20 years.

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