Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Local Preparations Underway for a Projected Flu Pandemic

By Jim Parks

Fifty Pakistanis board jets at various locations around the world, all of them destined to arrive in the U.S. on the same day for a brief visit.

Without knowing it, they are carrying out a deadly attack against the people of the United States of America.

Since symptoms of infection with flu virus are not detected for at least three days after exposure, they are not aware they are sick - at least not yet.

They could just think they're on a mission to carry the good news of the Islamic faith to a mosque in Detroit or L.A., then fly home to continue spreading the word of The Prophet Mohammed. Walking through the arrival and departure lounges of O'Hare, D/FW, LAX or Kennedy would spread the disease to the rest of the world within a day's time, according to a local official who gets paid to think of these things.

The problem is this.

There are no security scanners with the ability to detect the flu virus. Making people take off their shoes, walk through metal detectors and x-raying their luggage won't get the job done, either.

No matter how it gets here, cool weather will bring the pandemic of H1 N1 swine flu virus raging back full blown, as it is at this time in the southern hemisphere, said Dewey Ratliff, Bosque County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

The Center For Disease Control and the World Health Organization declared the epidemic now to be of pandemic proportions, a simple distinction that recognizes an epidemic has become global.

Do some research. Look up the flu pandemic of 1918, a geopolitical event that is credited with stopping World War One in its tracks. Quite simply, there was no one left to fight. Everyone was either sick or dying, so they called for a cessation of hostilities, an armistice.

The origin of the pandemic was traced to Camp Dodge, Iowa, thence to the troop debarkation point at Philadelphia, and on to France. Ernest Hemingway wrote a short story about its aftermath. It's called "In Another Country."

The best recommendation of the smart money in the offices of emergency preparedness coordinators and public health clinics and research labs is to take prophylactic measures, self-quarantine yourself and family for 10 to 15 days, lay in a supply of food, cleaning supplies such as chlorine bleach and peroxide, hand sanitizer and anti-biological agent-effective detergents, and wait it out.

If you're sick, stay away from healthy people; if you're healthy, stay away from sick people.

It will pass.

How do you do that? Just buy a ten-day supply of foods every time you shop for a week's needs. Within a few weeks, you will have yourself a well-stocked food pantry - enough to last for your quarantine period - and you won't have to pay the high prices the survivalists want for their freeze-dried products.

If you garden, can all summer long. Eat some fresh; save the rest.

Don't go to the grocery store, Wal-Mart, the bank, the post office or any social activity such as church - or any indoor gatherings at all. Wait 15 days and see if it doesn't get better.

Get Tamiflu if you don't have it left over from the H5N1 avian flu epidemic of winter, 2005. It's expensive, but it's worth it because it does not cure the disease, it allows you to weather the symptoms if you are infected with the virus and let the disease run its course instead of becoming weakened and developing the complications of pneumonia.

This medicine sold for $100 a dose then; it's now about $145 per dose of two gel-caps for five days, to be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms such as aching joints, headache, sore throat and cough. If you wait until flu season, it won't be available - at any price.

Pharmacists estimate it is effective for 10 years if properly stored.

Kids's doses in liquid form may be obtained through the advice of a pharmacist or doctor. All require a prescription, something easily arranged over the phone if there are no local supplies. Check the internet. Do some comparison shopping.

Anthrax attack through the mail? A high school student did an experiment involving an ordinary domestic household iron set at 400 degrees fahrenheit for five minutes that wiped out every spore inside an ordinary postal envelope, according to "The Journal Of Medical Toxicology.' No need for gamma irradiation or the kind of clean-up techniques that cost $27 million to disinfect the Senate Office Building or the $147 million it took to clean up the Brentwood Mail Distribution Facility in Washington, D.C.

"I'd rather be prepared than scared," Mr. Ratliff said.

Stay away from other people and keep your kids and spouse away from the population and out of warm, crowded places if and when it hits us.

This is war, he said.

The original germ warfare campaign occurred in 1347 when the troops of Khan Djam Bek started to get sick and die of what turned out to be bubonic plague. The Muslims catapulted the bodies of their dead over the walls of the Christian Crimean Russian city of Caffa. This spread the highly contagious disease to the besieged population inside and infected Sicilian merchants sojourning there. They eventually escaped and made their way back to Italy. The disease followed the trade routes and the rest is a really bad news chapter of history.

The resulting pandemic is estimated to have reduced the world's population by about one fourth over the course of the next two years. The result, deprivation, starvation and social disintegration - the Dark Ages.

The cause of the two diseases - plaugue and influenza - are mutually exclusive, but they both have a similar resulting complication - pneumonia - if not treated proactively. The viral infection of flu weakens the body's immune system and makes a person susceptible to the bacterial infection of pneumococcus.

Plauge virus, often called anthrax, is carried in spores that are found on every continent, including Antarctica. They are entirely effective, even after one hundred years or more. The pesky stuff has no prolem finding a host and thriving. Bubonic plague attacks the lymph glands and swells them, causing hemorrhagic eruptions that weaken the systemic functions of the body and kills within four to seven days. Pneumonic plague attacks the lung tissue, destroying it and turning to a watery consistency. It will drown a victim within four days. Septicemic plague poisons the blood after first forming a lesion. It can kill in as little as 8 hours.

"This stuff is like a terrorist," Mr. Ratliff told me. "You have to go after it and kill it with antibiotics...Viruses only live about 10 to fifteen days. They will run their course and die in that length of time."

Mr. Ratliff is a cheerful man who has equipped his entire department, including his pickup, with Federal grants.

From his office on the second floor of the tax collection building, 20 to 30 people can run the County from computers, radios, and any other form of communications equipment necessary.

Despite what the doomsayers insist, he still believes there is such a thing as the Posse Comitatus statute which prohibits Federal troops from taking over in an emergency. Governors must call out their National Guard troopers, citizen soldiers who are controlled by the state but paid by the Federal government. He said he doesn't look for a Federal military takeover by executive fiat.

He explained his primary mission this way. "We're here to make sure the local government survives...The individual citizen can do a lot to make sure he and his family survive if they will only use common sense and accept our help."

A chilling comment as we parted, friends, vowing to get together soon for a cup of coffee:

"Those bodies you saw floating in the water in New Orleans? They didn't drown. They were murdered. There was no local government in New Orleans after the hurricane. Everyone from the Mayor on down fled and left that city defenseless. The criminals could do anything they wanted to do."

Mr. Ratliff says he and other local officials are here to stay. He has pamphlets filled with suggestions for solutions and survival strategies free for the asking in his office located in the 100 block of Main St., Meridian.

No comments:

Post a Comment