Captain Snarky

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15 October 2005

Another Lens to View the Avian Flu

All you landlubbers following the Avian Flu have already spotted these articles proclaiming identification of HN51 in Turkey and Romania. Seems like authorities aren't taking many chances in either country. A few interesting morsels for additional reading... monitoring waterfowl in England and what might be one of the most interesting angless in the last few months, The New York Daily News' piece titled Big Touble and CNN's Witness to 1918 flu. Both put some context around the current fear of a new pandemic through the lens of the last Great Flu. Here's a brief excerpt from each:

Big Trouble
The year is 1918, and people throughout New Jersey are dying faster than carpenters can build caskets. As a result, all sorts of wooden boxes are being used for burial duty. And if a body doesn't fit, well, then you just have to break the limbs and fold them inside. It's different in Philadelphia. They're way beyond boxes. With 11,000 deaths in the month of October alone, and the danger that the corpses will act as incubators for other communicable diseases, the city has resorted to digging mass graves with steam shovels.

Witness to 1918 flu
He said the climate of fear was brought on by a mistrust of government officials and the press.

"People could see while they were being told on the one hand that it's ordinary influenza, on the other hand they are seeing their spouse die in 24 hours or less, bleeding from their eyes, ears, nose and mouth, turning so dark that people thought it was the black death," Barry says said. "People knew that they were being lied to; they knew that this was not ordinary influenza."


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