Monday, November 14, 2005


Bird flu claims rising toll among people
Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:46 AM ET

By Ade Rina
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia said on Monday a 20-year-old woman had died of bird flu while several countries reported new suspected human cases of the deadly virus.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed more than 60 people in Asia and is endemic in most poultry flocks in the region.

It remains hard for humans to catch but scientists fear it will mutate into a form that passes easily among people. If it does so, millions could die as happened during three flu pandemics in the 20th century.

Japan set out plans on Monday to cope with any outbreak among humans, including declaring a state of emergency, shutting down schools and banning large gatherings.

The Health Ministry estimated that as many as a quarter of Japan's 127 million people could be infected and up to 640,000 could die if the country was gripped by a pandemic.

The disease has so far killed half the people it has infected. Governments are stockpiling anti-viral drugs that are believed to limit the effects of H5N1 if taken early enough.
Y'know, I realize it's popular to bash Bush on this, as a distraction from his internal problems, and yes, it looks like the Evian Flu (sic) is about a year away from our shores, but damn, this thing is scary.