World Facing Possible Flu Pandemic

   01.30.18

World Facing Possible Flu Pandemic

It is no secret the United States is gripped with a flu epidemic. Things have gotten so bad, hospitals are almost crippled by the influx of patients. If all of that was not bad enough, flu cases are surging across the world.

From VOANews.com:

Higher Flu Rates Reported Across the World.

North Korea has reported 80,000 confirmed cases of the influenza strain H1N1 between December 1, 2017 and January 16, 2018

In South Korea a serious strain of the H5N6 avian influenza on a chicken farm near Seoul. About 500,000 chickens and 450,000 eggs were to be destroyed at farms where the virus was found.

In Japan, the health ministry reported flu cases reached a record high 2.83 million cases last week.

In Britain, health officials recently reported the country was having its worst flu season in seven years.

Ready for the bad news?  In less than two weeks, thousands of people will be flying into South Korea to attend the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

From People.com:

Schools in at Least 12 States Close as Flu Epidemic Worsens.

Schools in at least a dozen states have cancelled classes for days at a time after staff and students became sick, CBS News reports.

Officials at Bishop Lynch High School, in Dallas, Texas, shut the school down for days so crews could disinfect the property.

From CBS News:

Schools in at least 12 states close to fight against the flu.

With so many students and teachers getting sick, schools in at least 12 states have cancelled classes for a few days for cleanup and recovery.

No End In Sight

Health officials are not expecting the 2017-2018 flu season cases to decrease until April, 2018. This gives the flu two full months to continue its march across the world.

The 2017 – 2018 flu season is providing observers with important lessons. One such lesson is how health officials are being reactive, rather than proactive. For example, when faced with a flu outbreak, schools waited until a number of students were sick before cancelling classes.

Is international travel being limited? Nope. I attended the 2018 SHOT Show in Vegas, and there were people attending from all over the world.

Is public health information being disseminated to travelers? Nope. While on the way to Vegas I passed though three different airports. I did not see a single poster talking about flu prevention at any of the airports.

Are travelers being checked for flu like symptoms? Nope. Not that I saw at three different airports.

All of this provides important lessons on how health officials can be expected to react when there is an outbreak.

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