How to prepare for an influenza pandemic

A Hypothetical Influenza Pandemic

Terrorists working in a bioweapons lab in Pakistan complete their work on a new strain of avian/bird flu, or H5N1. They have labored for 18 months to engineer an influenza virus that is easily passed from person to person.

Finally they have succeeded.

Twelve very excited martyrs with turbans are assembled and exposed to the virus.

Today, they will be responsible for the death of millions of innocent men, women, and children. They believe this will secure a place for them in heaven with dozens of virgins at their disposal. They could not be happier.

After exposure to the deadly virus, the twelve men board international flights for destinations such as London, Rome, New York, and Moscow. As the planes achieve cruising altitude, the infected men are already sneezing and coughing, spreading the H5N1 virus quickly to the other unsuspecting passengers.

As the flights land and the passengers board their connecting flights, each newly infected passenger infects 100 other passengers. The virus is spread globally in a matter of hours. Within 18 hours the twelve Islamists are dead, and twelve more infected martyrs are intentionally infecting the crowds at NFL football games across the United States.

In cities around the world, the hospitals begin to fill with sick people exhibiting flu-like symptoms: coughing, sneezing, runny nose.

influenza pandemicPeople begin to die en masse in the packed waiting rooms. As the antibiotic and vaccine supply is quickly exhausted, the new strain of virus is identified and research begins on a new vaccine.

The vaccine will take months to develop and produce. Soon the hospitals are overflowing with dying patients as the medical personnel also become sick and begin to die.

Many nurses and doctors stop going to work in an attempt to save their own families.

Rumors spread about the influenza virus, and so does the panic. The interstates surrounding major cities are clogged with people attempting to flee, but the traffic jams only help to propagate the disease.

Thousands die at their steering wheels, adding their vehicles to the vast roadblocks which stretch for miles in all directions.

People are now dying faster than they can be buried. Ice skating rinks are used as morgues. 38 hospitals nationwide are closed. Hotels in Philadephia and Washington, D.C., are seized and converted into makeshift hospitals. The National Guard is called up in Texas to preserve order at the few hospitals that are still open.

Four major newspapers receive letters from the terrorist organizations which are responsible for the disaster, detailing what they have done. The terrorists no longer want to keep it a secret, knowing that as the news spreads, so will the terror.

The virus continues to spread at a geometric rate. Texas closes its public schools and borders, but it is far too late. Eight other states follow suit within 24 hours.

Trade is suspended on the New York Stock Exchange. The supply system begins to fail and rumors of food shortages begin to circulate.

Panic buying ensues, which quickly degenerates into riots and looting. As the networks spread the news and the fear, the riots escalate. Stores in urban centers are picked clean, and then burned. National Guard, police, and fire department personnel stop going to work as they try to isolate their families from the disease and the anarchy.

influenza pandemicOver a period of 6 days, 85% of Los Angeles is burned to the ground. Philadelphia and Detroit suffer the same fate 2 days later. Inner city citizens ravage and destroy their own neighbourhood and homes.

Now in addition to being sick and hungry, they are homeless. Vaccine riots wipe out Atlanta. The only way out of the cities now is to walk or ride a bicycle. Bicycles change hands frequently as their riders are murdered.

The desperate hordes of people who stream from the cities out into the countryside on foot do not fare much better. Entire families die of starvation and exposure along the suburban roadsides. Countless other people lose their lives attempting to steal food and supplies.

The federal government bans public gatherings and declares martial law. Travel is banned and quarantines are enforced. Looters are shot on sight.

A federal laboratory in Maryland finally develops a vaccine and begins to mass produce it. One week later, terrorists in Washington, D.C. send forth more Islamic martyrs carrying a new strain of influenza virus. Since this virus has been intentionally mutated again, it is resistant to the newly developed vaccine. This greatly complicates the work of those who are trying to save the population, but the terrorists have an unanticipated problem; the global economy and transportation have collapsed. Millions have died. The only way to spread the disease now is by individuals, and isolated communities have erected barricades, shooting strangers on sight. The spread of the new wave of influenza is much slower.

Eventually the Islamic terrorist organizations are stamped out and the vaccines are distributed. Small communities of survivors band together and attempt to rebuild civilization. This will take many years because 75% of the global population has perished.

[Author’s note: a projected 75% mortality rate is actually quite low. The UN’s pandemic czar has warned that a terrorist-sponsored pandemic could cause the “virtual extinction of humankind.”]

How To Prepare For an Influenza Pandemic

A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads to several continents, usually involving a new strain of virus. While a smaller scale epidemic may sicken those with weak immune systems such as the very young or elderly, a pandemic is much less selective and much more virulent.

Understanding influenza

influenza pandemic subtypes

Plague and cholera pandemics have occurred several times in history, but the current pandemic concern is influenza.

[Tweet “A truly global influenza pandemic strikes every 30-50 years. #SHTF #PrepperTalk”]

In 1918, an influenza pandemic remembered as the “Spanish Flu” killed 30 million people. People would wake up and feel a bit feverish, then die before nightfall.

One of the frightening aspects of the 1918 influenza pandemic was that it struck down young, healthy adults who would have survived a normal flu outbreak. Equally troubling about the influenza virus is the speed with which it mutates, making vaccines extremely difficult to manufacture.

Symptoms and treatment

Influenza is spread by contact. Symptoms include fever, cough, lethargy, loss of appetite, headache, sore throat, runny nose, and joint pain.

Occasionally symptoms might include vomiting and diarrhoea. There is no effective cure for influenza.

Treatment consists of antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza.

Peramivir is another antiviral drug, but used only with hospitalized patients. Peramivir is an intravenous drug approved for use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. Treatment of antiviral drugs should be administered within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. The influenza virus is resistant to older flu drugs.

Swine flu (H1N1)

The H1N1 strain of the influenza virus has caused mild seasonal flu patterns since 1977 and was not a major concern until 2009.

However, In 2009 an unrelated and new strain of the H1N1 virus caused a global stir as it spread worldwide, affecting nearly every country. This new strain became known as “swine flu” because it first jumped to humans from live pigs as it mutated.

It is important to understand that the H1N1 pandemic is spread now from human to human, and not from pigs.

Most of the deaths since 2009 occurred in young, healthy adults, alarmingly similar to the 1918 influenza pandemic. Since the H1N1 pandemic now involves a new strain of virus, people have no immunity and thousands have died as a result.

[Tweet “The H1N1 pandemic is spread now from human to human, and not from pigs. #PrepperTalk”]

Avian influenza (“BIRD FLU”)

H5N1 is a relatively new strain of virus on the world stage. In some cases the virus has been contracted from infected poultry, and it is deadly.

Scientists worldwide are concerned because at some point it may mutate into a virus which can be transmitted from human to human. At that point the death toll will be staggering as the virus spreads quickly from person to person via intercontinental travel.

Red alert

The World Health Organization (WHO) closely monitors flu cases globally because the next influenza pandemic is a major concern. The WHO has a system of six phases to classify the pandemic threat condition:

  1. Phase 1: No influenza outbreaks.
  2. Phase 2: A new virus has been found in animals, but not humans.
  3. Phase 3: Humans have been infected by animal strains of virus, but the infection has not spread from person-to-person.
  4. Phase 4: Infection has spread on a limited basis from person-to-person, but only in a localized region.
  5. Phase 5: The virus is spreading quickly from person-to-person, but is limited to one area.
  6. Phase 6: The virus has spread worldwide in pandemic proportions.

Due to the H5N1 virus, we are now at Phase 3.

The virus can currently only infect humans who are exposed to sick birds. However, it cannot jump from human to human.

If it mutates further and can be transmitted from person-to-person, we will move quickly through the phases to Phase 6- pandemic.

What to expect in an influenza pandemic

According to the World Health Organization, the next pandemic will spread rapidly worldwide because of so much international travel.

Antibiotics and vaccines will quickly run out because the pandemic will involve a new virus. It will be months before new vaccines are available to combat the new strain of virus.

Hospitals will be overwhelmed with sick and dying patients. The shortage of medical personnel will become more pronounced as the virus spreads, adding to the death toll.

Terrorism and influenza

Officials are much less worried about a naturally occurring pandemic than the intentional spreading of influenza by Islamic terrorists. It is possible to “bio-engineer” the virus so that it spreads easily and quickly from person to person. One intentionally infected terrorist, probably carrying avian flu, could attend a football game or a NASCAR race, infecting thousands in a geometric progression.

A more likely terrorist plot would involve several infected Islamic martyrs boarding a dozen simultaneous international flights. The sneezing and coughing terrorists would infect the other passengers and spread the virus globally in a matter of hours.

Since the virus would be a new mutation, it would take months to synthesize a vaccine. The death toll would reach into the hundreds of millions. All international travel would be stopped as the borders were closed, but it would be far too late. Within 3 weeks, the supply system would grind to a halt. Panic buying and food shortages would follow immediately, along with riots and martial law.

Efforts to contain the pandemic would be hampered by the ongoing efforts of the terrorists to spread the virus. There is no shortage of Islamic martyrs. The UN’s drug czar has warned that this could be the “virtual extinction of mankind.”

How do I prepare for a pandemic

  1. Stay Healthy Now– Eat a healthy well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep. These three things will help keep your immune system strong. Don’t smoke and don’t overindulge in alcohol on a regular basis. Booze saps nutrients, which weakens the immune system.
  2. Avoid Sick People– Try to stay away from people who have flu-like symptoms as much as possible.
  3. Wash Your Hands– Influenza is spread by contact. Develop the habit of washing your hands several times a day with anti-bacterial soap and water, or alcohol-based hand cleaner that you can use at your desk or in your vehicle.
  4. Emergency Kit– Build an emergency kit in case you have to stay home for several days or, in a worst case scenario, leave home immediately. This kit should have all the essential items that you might need in a crisis: bottled water, canned foods, MRE’s, flashlights, batteries, medications, 1st Aid Kits, etc. You might purchase one or two 72-hour Survival Kits such as those available at Nitro-Pak.com and then add specific items that suit your needs.