We have all heard about the flu season. Someone catches the flu every year, and spreads it to someone else. It’s hardly a worldwide threat of death as we know it today. Most people just get a flu shot, or simply take their chances. Very young babies and elderly folks are the most threatened by the sickness, but for the most part people are fairly immune.
The Colorado OSHA has just release an alert concerning the possibility of an influenza outbreak. This warning is not for the seasonal flu, but for a possible new strain of influenza that the human body has not yet been exposed to.
Back in 1918, 25 million lives were lost to the Spanish Flu pandemic. This happened over a time span of only 25 weeks. When the AIDS virus emerged, it took 25 years to claim that many lives. A more recent outbreak of influenza, in 1957, caused the deaths of approximately one million people. Thankfully it was quickly contained, or it would have been much worse.
Even more recently, the bird flu was discovered. In order for a pandemic to actually result from this type of flu, the virus would have to mutate and begin spreading between humans. It is more likely that a familiar form of the flu would develop into something that could be contracted by people. Without prior exposure, immunity to a new type of influenza is unlikely.
It is essential that you understand that there is no new version of the influenza virus in circulation right now. Once again, please realize, there isn’t a pandemic going on right now. The OSHA announcement is to urge every employer and employee to develop a plan in case of a pandemic. As with any type of disaster, local or global problem, workers and their employers should be prepared for the unexpected.
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