Epidemiology for the layman (that is, people like me that are fascinated but don’t really know much…) Maybe I should consider getting cable….
NEW YORK, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ — What could happen if H5N1, known as the Avian Flu Virus, were to infect the world’s population? THE NEXT PLAGUE interviews leading experts that will look at what effect a large scale epidemic would have on the United States and the World and what steps the pharmaceutical companies are taking in developing vaccines and an antidote. This program explores the idea of a nationwide quarantine as well as new evidence that the Great Epidemic of 1918 may also have been an Avian Flu. THE NEXT PLAGUE premieres Sunday, October 30th at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on The History Channel.
THE NEXT PLAGUE hypothesizes what would happen if a case of Avian Flu broke out in Southeast Asia and tracks how quickly the virus would spread throughout the rest of the world. The key vector for spreading the disease is jet travel. This program portrays what would happen if an infected person arrives in San Francisco – one of the 1100 people a day who currently arrive in that city from Asia. As the disease spreads, The President quarantines the city…then the state. H5N1 is already appearing in other cities across America.
As the death toll rises, the medical infrastructure becomes overwhelmed. Due to a vaccine shortage, panic spreads almost as fast as the virus. The National Guard has to be called out to protect the clinics and hospitals which are dispensing the available vaccine.
As New York becomes infected, Wall Street shuts down for the first time since 9/11. The President, Vice President and other key members of the administration are taken to a remote, “safe” location. As bad as the situation becomes in the United States, it is far worse in the Third World, where millions of people are dying and chaos is spreading.
These are just some of the scenarios that THE NEXT PLAGUE will explore. The history of pandemics and the science that makes these situations even a possibility will be woven throughout the hour.
Recently, President Bush talked openly about a threat of an Avian Flu Epidemic in the coming years. The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say that we are long overdue for a deadly epidemic and potentially 20 to 50 million people could die worldwide if the worst case scenario became a reality. Here in the US the questions are already being asked. Are we ready? How can we prevent it? What will be the cost in lives?
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