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Thread: Worst Case Scenario Epidemics

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Worst Case Scenario Epidemics

    Last week I was watching this thing on the Asian Bird Flew and they said that if it mutates into an air born illness that is able to be passed from human to human, it could be the worst global epidemic in history and could have the potential to kill a percentage of the worlds population. Possibly 100 million people, if not more.

    It has people at the CDC and other heath organizations around the world on high alert because the symptoms are much like the regular flu, until it is too late to do anything.

    This got me wondering about the future of the world and these heath epidemics. I wonder about what is out there that we donít know about. There could be things in remote areas of the world that have something that could wipe out good portions of the population.

    What are your thoughts on these worst case scenario epidemics?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Run away....run away....

    Every year or so, we hear these horrible predictions about diseases that will destroy mankind.....and yes, it will happen someday. Have you gotten your Tamiflu pills yet? I did a little research and those 10 little pills could save all our Arses from any of these flu bugs being talked about (Avian included). You might want to get a script just in case, but be warned.....at $8 a pill for ten pills, take your checkbook and insurance card!!!

    I'm still waiting for EBOLA to become airborne just like Richard Preston predicted in the Hot Zone in the 80's!!!
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #3
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    Have you gotten your Tamiflu pills yet? I did a little research and those 10 little pills could save all our Arses from any of these flu bugs being talked about (Avian included). You might want to get a script just in case, but be warned.....at $8 a pill for ten pills, take your checkbook and insurance card!!!
    As for this super drug that can save us from any flu bug...I've not heard of it. And a quick google search doesn't give a lot of information, but
    Off-topic:
    ONLY $8/pill??? Sign me up! The cost could be a lot worse -- Granted, it's for a much more life threatening ailment: but for an oral chemo drug, it's about $8,000. for a 30 day supply. That's about $267./pill! ( Thank God for insurance.)
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Has anybody read the

    NATIONAL PLANNING SCENARIOS
    Executive Summaries

    Created for Use in National, Federal, State, and Local Homeland Security Preparedness Activities

    Scenario 3: Biological Disease Outbreak Ė Pandemic Influenza
    Scenario 4: Biological Attack Ė Plague

    ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    I'm still waiting for EBOLA to become airborne just like Richard Preston predicted in the Hot Zone in the 80's!!!
    One of the things I think that people don't realize about diseases is that they're essentially parasites. It does not do well, evolutionarily speaking, to kill your host very quickly. Ebola is a niche disease that can not ever branch out into the population as a whole because it's so destructive. Even if it could go airborne, epidemics would quickly flare up and die out, like they do now with it as an aerosol, just a little bigger. Herpes is often described as the perfect disease because it infects a person and then does almost nothing to them, simply hiding out in a few of their cells for the rest of their lives. I read once that as much as 70% of the population of Britain is infected with some form of Herpes.

    Flu is a very successful disease that also has managed to kill tons and tons of people because it is very infectious and mostly harmless, but mutates rapidly and occasionally produces strains that kill tens of millions in global pandemics. It also works through intermediaries (normally ducks, I believe) like the plague, that allow the disease a "safe house" where it can hang out. It sits around in ducks and in humans as strains that are successful because they mostly don't hurt their host too much, and then churns out a real killer every so often.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    One of the things I think that people don't realize about diseases is that they're essentially parasites. It does not do well, evolutionarily speaking, to kill your host very quickly. Ebola is a niche disease that can not ever branch out into the population as a whole because it's so destructive. Even if it could go airborne, epidemics would quickly flare up and die out, like they do now with it as an aerosol, just a little bigger. Herpes is often described as the perfect disease because it infects a person and then does almost nothing to them, simply hiding out in a few of their cells for the rest of their lives. I read once that as much as 70% of the population of Britain is infected with some form of Herpes.

    Flu is a very successful disease that also has managed to kill tons and tons of people because it is very infectious and mostly harmless, but mutates rapidly and occasionally produces strains that kill tens of millions in global pandemics. It also works through intermediaries (normally ducks, I believe) like the plague, that allow the disease a "safe house" where it can hang out. It sits around in ducks and in humans as strains that are successful because they mostly don't hurt their host too much, and then churns out a real killer every so often.
    With transportation the way that it is today, someone can be in a market in some remote town in Asia in the morning, and back in LA in late afternoon. During that time, he could have gotten infected and brought it back to the US.

    I agree with you that there many of these, if contained, will kill themselves out, as long as they donít have any way of getting transportation from one local to another. In the turn of the century when overseas travel was not common and those trips that did get infected would typically take weeks. Now it takes hours to fly over the oceans, and many business people do this on a regular occasion. It is not the diseases in remote rural areas that worry me, it is the ones in places like Japan and India that can be scary. When world cities connect each other the diseases can use it to affect the world.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I want to see an epidemic of:

    HUGS
    LOVE
    FLOWER PICKING
    PICNICS
    LEMONADE
    SONG
    SMILING
    SUNSHINE
    BUYING THE WORLD A COKE
    and LENDING A HELPING HAND

    Also puppies... lot of puppies...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  8. #8
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    If you are interested in this topic an dplanning for sickness do a search for SARS and Toronto.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Recall that the last serious pandemic was in 1918-19, before relatively instantaneous intercontinental travel. That flu (dubbed the Spanish flu) killed something like 20 million world-wide. Significantly, it killed 675,000 in the US, out of a population of a little over 100 million. More significantly, those that died were young adults 20-30, not the very old and young as is typical.

    The Spanish flu had a mortality rate of less than 1%. The avian flu currently has shown a human mortality rate of 65%, though that may drop in a pandemic.

    It is unlikely that there will be enough Tamiflu to go around the industrialized nations, never mind the Third world. A vaccine, while possible to develop, could not be produced and distributed rapidly enough to do any significant good.
    "If you love something, let it go."
    What kind of crap is that?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Well, human populations have to be kept in check somehow....it'll leave more resources for other species.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    With transportation the way that it is today, someone can be in a market in some remote town in Asia in the morning, and back in LA in late afternoon. During that time, he could have gotten infected and brought it back to the US.
    I actually believe I read the discussion about the inability of Ebola to become a major epidemic in The Hot Zone. In fact I think that was the conclusion of the book. One of the points made is that although Ebola could (and did) travel by airplane to far locations, the disease was not able to spread in any sort of sustained way. Theories range from that perhaps Ebola itself is not very infectious even though it's an aerosol (and aerosols are just supposed to be slightly less infectious than airborne diseases) to, more importantly, perhaps such diseases -- as a rule -- aren't as infectious as previously thought.

    Flu spreads rapidly and was able to cause pandemics even before people did much traveling, but a person who is infected may take weeks to show symptoms, and then the symptoms are mild enough that they may continue to associate with others even in a highly infectious state (while they're coughing up a storm). So they may expose hundreds of people, whereas an Ebola carrier will only expose perhaps a few dozen before he starts puking up his insides. The magic question is how many of those people, who are exposed, become infected? Conventional wisdom was "most of them" but the experience with Ebola being unable to infect significant numbers of people even in crowded, unsanitary African cities and villages, suggest that perhaps that's not true.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian statler's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    I want to see an epidemic of:
    puppies... lot of puppies...


    Oh Dear God! It's started! RUN!
    "So, if a city has a personality, maybe it also has a soul. Maybe it dreams." -Gaiman
    ArchBoston

  13. #13
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by statler


    Oh Dear God! It's started! RUN!

    WOW, they're like little bundles of sunshine...

    Way to join the winning team, Statler...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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