Washington, DC. Mar. 3rd, 2005 ---- Tracking healthcare and pharmaceuticals has been a small part of our intelligence focus over the years. It's more "Macho" to track terrorists, battleships and stealth bombers than it is to worry about the 'flu and the overpriced pharmaceuticals. Starting a year or so ago the concern of the millions who listen to us shifted, and more requests than ever were coming in, many with horror stories. In February 2005 Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals became the key area of interest. It could be that I have more aches and pains these days, and not just from lying politicians.
Bird Flu started ringing bells in our warning system, from it's devastating potential, and the lack of preparedness around us. It wasn't that long back when the mighty US Pharmaceutical industry couldn't, or wouldn't produce enough Flu vaccine to safeguard the US public. Now it's not often the graphs show a state of alarm with non-military intelligence. There is a potential for a pandemic of Bird Flu. But to put it in perspective I quote the CDC (Centers for Disease Control):
"An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of influenza and occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges among people, spreads, and causes disease worldwide. Past influenza pandemics have led to high levels of illness, death, social disruption and economic loss.
There were three pandemics in the 20th century. All of them spread worldwide within 1 year of being detected. They are:
• 1918-19, "Spanish flu," [A (H1N1)], caused the highest number of known flu deaths: more than 500,000 people died in the United States, and 20 million to 50 million people may have died worldwide. Many people died within the first few days after infection and others died of complications soon after. Nearly half of those who died were young, healthy adults.
• 1957-58, "Asian flu," [A (H2N2)], caused about 70,000 deaths in the United States. First identified in China in late February 1957, the Asian flu spread to the United States by June 1957.
• 1968-69, "Hong Kong flu," [A (H3N2)], caused approximately 34,000 deaths in the United States. This virus was first detected in Hong Kong in early 1968 and spread to the United States later that year. Type A (H3N2) viruses still circulate today.
Both the 1957-58 and 1968-69 pandemic viruses were a result of the reassortment of a human virus with an avian influenza virus. The origin of the 1918 pandemic virus is not clear.
Once a new pandemic influenza virus emerges and spreads, it typically becomes established among people and circulates for many years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization conduct extensive surveillance programs to monitor the occurrence of influenza activity worldwide, including the emergence of potential pandemic strains of influenza virus."
This is not intended as a panic piece. Just a warning that Intelligence should be more than counting tanks, ships and planes. Unfortunately the Bush Administration is totally focused on invading Iran and terrorism. The US pharmaceutical industry is focused on massive profits, vanity drugs and fending off change. Who is looking out for the public.
Bird Flu will kill more Americans than all the terrorist organizations and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Bush can't find, put together.