Bird flu which was recently in all the news channels of all the countries has infected 141 individuals and taken 73 lives in the Asian countries. This has instilled fear in US that it will soon spread quickly and infect people in United States.
The H5N1 strain of the bird flu is very deadly and has infected people who were in close contact with the infected poultry.
But so far its ability to spread from man to man is negative but scientist has warned that this strain will soon develop the ability and cause wide spread of the disease. This disease has the ability to kill more than half of the people infected with the disease and result in a pandemic.
Throughout history we have seen flu pandemics but each of them were due to a different strain and were worse from the previous one. There ware recently two pandemics in 1957 and 1968 which killed 70,000 and 34,000 people in US alone.
But the scientist reveal the alarming truth that the H5N1 strain resembles the virus that caused pandemic in 1918 (Spanish flu) which killed 20 million to 50 million people worldwide, including more than 500,000 in the USA.
The history of the H5N1 strain is that it emerged in 1997 in Hong Kong, infecting 18 people and killing six of them. After that in 2003 it appeared again and spread throughout Asia. This alarmed the world health leaders and they urged the countries to be prepared for a flu pandemic.
WHO said that if this strain mutates to a contagious one that a pandemic is unavoidable.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson said that previous history does not provide us a clear picture with the effects of the bird flu and that this strain is a very deadly one.
The Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Pandemic Influenza Plan announced that it has fully devoted its resources for the development of vaccines, acquiring anti viral medications and coordinating efforts with other federal, state and local agencies to prevent the spread of bird flu in to a pandemic.