Table of Contents:

Foreword

Introduction

I. Storm Gathering

1. 1918

2. Master of Metamorphosis

3. H5N1

4. Playing Chicken

5. Worse Than 1918?

6. When, Not If

II. When Animal Viruses Attack

1. The Third Age

2. Man Made

3. Livestock Revolution

4. Tracing the Flight Path

5. One Flu Over the Chicken's Nest

6. Coming Home to Roost

7. Guarding the Henhouse

III. Pandemic Preparedness

1. Cooping Up Bird Flu

2. Race Against Time

3. Tamiflu

IV. Surviving the Pandemic

1. Don't Wing It

2. Our Health in Our Hands

3. Be Prepared

V. Preventing Future Pandemics

1. Tinderbox

2. Reining in the Pale Horse

Topics

References 1-3,199

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Once the pandemic hits, scientists disagree on how fast it will spread around the world. The WHO expects it could hit every country on Earth in a matter of weeks.637 Others imagine it may take weeks just to break out of its presumed Asian country of origin.638 Once it does get moving, though, some authorities suspect it will hit Western shores within one week.639 Others argue one day.640 Or 12 hours.641 Once in a country like the United States, supercomputer simulations at the Los Alamos weapons lab show the virus blanketing the country “with remarkable speed and efficiency.”642

In 1918, the entire Earth was engulfed within weeks—and that was before commercial airline travel.643 In an attempt to model the spread of the 1997 Hong Kong outbreak (had it gone pandemic), scientists calculated how many travelers had passed through Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport. During the two-month outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997, more than four million people left that single airport.644 Viruses now travel at jet speed.

The pandemic is expected to come in multiple waves. Based on prior pandemics, two or three waves of infection have been predicted, spaced several months apart, with each global surge of infection expected to last perhaps six to eight weeks.645 The second wave may be deadlier than the first as the virus fine-tunes its killing power.646

Imagine this scenario: “A gentleman checks into a four star Hong Kong hotel to attend a wedding. He seems to have a bad cold—coughing and sneezing—but actually has something much worse. The wedding ends. Guests depart. The virus coughed by one man spreads to five countries within 24 hours.”647

This is actually the true story of SARS, the closest the world has come to a pandemic influenza-like scenario in recent years.648 Within months, the virus spread to 30 countries on six continents.649 The WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response team later marveled, “A global outbreak was thus seeded from a single person on a single day on a single floor of a Hong Kong hotel.”650

The transmission rate of SARS pales in comparison to influenza.651 “The world was lucky with SARS,” a top expert explains. “It turned out to be a dachshund of a virus akin to smallpox, and not a sprinting greyhound like…influenza.”652