June 11, 2009: The World Health Organization today declared a swine flu pandemic, marking the first worldwide flu epidemic in 41 years.
No fear mongering intended here, just an awareness of facts... and my continued urging for general preparedness for any disruption of services, for any reason. That means disruption of electric power, water, medicines and food supplies caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, foreclosure, job loss or even civil unrest, as well as a wide-spread flu pandemic. As I am writing this, my own area is under an emergency flash flood warning due to severe storms; flash floods often take out roads and some of the many bridges in my area, causing disruption of services for an unknown length of time.
Give some thought to what would happen if, this fall, schools closed in your area. Are you prepared for what that means? Now's the time to prepare if you are not. Stock in extra food, water and the supplies that you and your family will need should all hell break loose around you and/or someone in your family gets sick. It is always possible that this virus might evolve into a more dangerous strain in the future. The good news: This relatively mild first wave has given us time to get ready.
H1N1, becoming entrenched in Australia and Chile and in a rising sweep through Europe, prompted the World Health Organization to declare the first influenza pandemic in 41 years. After Thursday's meeting, Chan said the experts agreed there was wider spread of H1N1 flu than what was being reported worldwide.
Margaret Chan, the WHO’s Director-General, made the announcement, and described the virus as "moderate". WHO said 74 countries had reported 28,774 cases of swine flu, including 144 deaths. Still, about half of the people who have died from swine flu had been young and healthy -- people who are not usually susceptible to flu.
And as far as following this story, a pandemic, even a mild one, is a worldwide health event that will hit developing countries hardest, but will affect all of us. Ignoring it is the height of irresponsibility. So, while the usual grouches might claim "this is all hype", do yourself a favor and realize that a little preparation (for anything) goes a long way.