How Great Really Is The Risk Of Catching Bird Flu?

With bird flu being on every television station and newspaper, it is easy to get caught up in the panic surrounding this new viral outbreak. However, do you find yourself wondering if this should really be a concern? Do you remember when everyone was becoming hysterical over the likelihood of killer bees sweeping the United States? I do not know about you, but I have yet to be chased down by an African Honey Bee. So, what are your real chances of catching bird flu? To answer the question as asked: it is not very likely for you to catch bird flu right now. Of course, they key to this statement is “right now”. Currently, an outbreak of bird flu is occurring in Asia. Over 100 people have contracted the virus and over half have died. Also, as of yet, the virus can only be transmitted to humans from infected birds. Therefore, when a person becomes infected, they can not pass the virus on to others. However, change may be on the horizon. Many experts believe, within time, the bird flu virus will mutate and be able to be passed from human to human. This is actually a likely occurrence, as influenza strands are known for their adaptability. With every human the virus infects, it becomes more likely to transform. When this happens, the numbers affected by bird flu will increase exponentially. Even with limited means of being transmitted, avian influenza, or bird flu, has spread across Asia rapidly. Imagine how quickly it will affect the various parts of the world, once it is carried by humans over oceans, in planes and on boats. Densely populated areas will see the worst part of the virus, as close human contact is a breeding ground for disease. Interestingly enough, this is not the first time an influenza virus threatened massive death. In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed 50 to 100 million people; in 1957, the Asian Flu killed 1 to 1.5 million; and in 1969, the Hong Kong Flu killed roughly 1 million people. Considering this seems to happen every few years, is it that far fetched it could be on its way again? Is history repeating itself? The answer can only be answered in time. If the virus does not mutate, everyone could all worked up over nothing. However, if it does and a pandemic occurs as expected, up to 30% of the world’s population could be infected.

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