Is the Avian Flu Really a Chicken Little Scare

2/16/06 SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- As many as 142 million people around the world could die if bird flu turns into a "worst case" influenza pandemic, according to a sobering new study of its possible consequences.And global economic losses could run to $4.4 trillion -- the equivalent of wiping out the Japanese economy's annual output. The study. says even a mild pandemic could kill 1.

4 million people and cost $330 billion.If you follow the avian flu news on the Internet or on television, you will quickly discover that it isn't just a bunch of extremists and lunatics doing Chicken Little Impressions. The experts say a pandemic is coming.

Not if, but when.3/15/06 Top Bush administration officials are bracing for the arrival of the feared H5N1 strain of avian influenza into the United States within a matter of months, with the virus most likely to be carried here by migratory birds, the same way it has spread from Southeast Asia to Europe and Africa.Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, repeating a warning he issued from Washington the day before, told reporters in San Francisco on Tuesday that it was "highly probable" that within just a few months, a wild bird would bring the virus to North America. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that businesses might lose as much as 40 percent of their work force if there is a severe Bird Flu pandemic, as employees take sick leave or stay home to avoid infection.With such an acute workforce shortage - one like we have never seen before - this is what the government is telling us we can expect:.Electricity outages - employees are needed to operate and repair power plants Water contamination - without electricity filtering plants can't operate properly Food shortages - most grocery stores only have a 3 to 4 day supply and without regular deliveries being made shortages will quickly happen.

Medical Shortages - hospitals will quickly become overwhelmed with patients. Shortages of personnel and supplies will force doctors to make triage decisions that are unthinkable in our modern day of medicine.Experts expect that public gatherings, schools, sporting events and religious services will be closed or canceled to help stop the spread of the deadly avian flu virus. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family will be to simply quarantine yourself at home.How Long Could You Survive Without Leaving Your Home?.

Do you have enough water, food and supplies to last you at least 6 weeks? Or preferably for 3 months? Think about when the flu passes through your community each winter. Do your kids ever get it once and then sometimes again 6 weeks later? It takes a while for a virus to completely work its way through a community. You'll need to be able to survive that entire period from your home. And you must be able to survive with or without electricity.

The time to get the supplies you need is now. Not after your local 5:00PM News announces that the bird flu has hit your community. By then it will be too late.

.Malinda Ferry is the author of The Bird Flu Family Surival Guide which offers practical information on how the suburban family can prepare for the Avian Flu.

She also runs the avian flu blog.

By: Malinda Ferry

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