Last night I watched BBC Horizon`s special on pandemic avian flu.
It was sobering viewing.
There are going to be major ethical dilemmas as to whom will receive anti-viral and intensive care and who won`t. It seems likely that the over 60s are at lesser risk of dying anyway,due to the way their immune systems are likely to handle cytokine storms, and some of the medical experts interviewed expressed opinions that the group which should be targeted for medical support in the event of infection should be basically "socially productive adults" aged 20 to 50, in whom society has invested education and training. Young children and the elderly are likely to be out of the loop.
Isolation for up to 6 months till appropriate vaccines are developed may be necessary, and how many folk have food, water, medication and fuel stockpiled for that long ? The government won`t be providing it, that`s for sure. People need to prepare, even on a basic level, even if only for a few weeks` supplies.
The programme interviewed one USA couple who showed the seriously impressive preparations they had made, including generators, batteries etc . I couldn`t help thinking that once the Pandemic hits, their neighbours will now know about their stockpile and they are likely to get looted in the panic as food , water and toiletries become in short supply.
Shops will run out, and distribution networks could be very severely disrupted due to quarantines, staff illnesses and people staying at home for fear of infection .
It made me stop and think. I think I will be seriously reviewing my preparedness plans.
Information about the program, and some of the dilemmas can be found here