Influenza (“flu”) strikes annually and afflicts millions. Under normal conditions, flu isn’t regarded as a general public health risk. Needless to say, any disease must be taken seriously for two reasons. To start with, any disorder, including influenza, can become dangerous through complications.
Every influenza is a problem mainly because our immune system becomes compromised through life’s stresses. Put bluntly, flu is “captured” by people because their immune system isn’t functioning well. Immune system malfunction and weakening happens from continuous stress, constant threat of danger, continuous deprivation of nutrient needs, and continuous exposure to vicissitudes of life.
Specifically, flu impacts us because of an under active immune system. This is true of many diseases like cancer, Hepatitis B and C, TB, strep, shingles in addition to flu. Other disease conditions are caused by an over active immune system. Why is this issue of late is the fact that only recently has science begun to comprehend the immune system, its complications, its absolute ability to fend off disease conditions and its capability to help in the recovery process.
As we present the potential of avian flu. To understand the avian flu threat, we will need to understand flu pandemics of the past. Flu epidemics have been volatile and unusually deadly. In previous centuries, flu likely spread so quickly because of people and animals living in close proximity. As you are probably aware, avian flu is a complicated disease mutated from flu that kills birds. But, avian flu has mutated successfully to attack human life.
Close proximity of human and animal life permits such mutations to develop and spread. Flu can spread like wildfire. The pandemic influenza of 1580 started in Asia, dispersing all continents in less than a year. The influenza engulfed all of Europe in under six months. That’s the problem with flu breakouts. Flu pandemics hit like the proverbial flash flood.
An extremely infectious flu virus may hit populations that have little if any particular antibody immunities to the disease, infect a quarter of the populace, outstrip societal response capacity, disrupting societal wellbeing and economy. The fear now is that avian flu will strike suddenly and will spread globally in a matter of mere months. There were three flu pandemics of the 20th century. They are well documented as to source, spread, and impact.
The influenza pandemic of 1918-19 killed upwards of 40 million individuals. No doubt, society didn’t have the resources nor understanding to prevent the plague. However, if ever there was an argument for resistant debilitation, it is war weariness. Almost every writer who writes concerning this flu pandemic notes that the fact that the entire world was at war. But, that wasn’t a mere footnote. It was a significant contributor to society’s incapacity to control, much less stop the influenza plague. War brings unique conditions, to say the least. War brings a strain to everything involving the immune capacity of the survivors.