Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Economic apocalypse?

Here’s the latest on preparing for a flu pandemic – an article published in the Marysville, UT newspaper (http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/apocalypse_69329___article.html).

In Utah, and everywhere else, as the candidates say, the financial meltdown of Wall Street is moving to Main Street. And one way that people are reacting is to move into survivalist mode, stockpiling food, money, and other emergency supplies.

The article says that FEMA bought “an unprecedented number” of emergency food supplies prior to Hurricane Ike, including “13 truckloads of MREs” from one distributor of nuclear fallout preparedness supplies. The owner’s experience is that his sales spike when reports of bank failures spur fears.

Is that what it takes to get people to be prepared for a major public health emergency?

Another recent article (
http://www.mcgilltribune.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticlePrinterFriendly&uStory_id=b83f9220-ad9e-48e6-aaec-7d167c8a9aa0) says that “another barrier to preparation is the misconception that, while pandemics happened before, they won’t happen again.”

The article quotes an expert from the World Health Organization: “…despite advances in medicine since 1918, viral defenses have changed very little… People are far less self-sufficient and travel more, which also increases the vulnerability to infection.”

I thought that was an interesting way of explaining that when it comes to a virus gone wild, we are pretty much at its mercy for a while, just like in 1918.