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Do you think the avian flu poses a real threat to the U.S.?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 5, 2005

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Photo of Mike Metz

“Yes. At least that’s what I read in the newspaper.”

Photo of Michael Greenburg

“Yeah, definitely. If it develops the ability to spread through person-to-person contact, it would definitely be a threat to our economy and health. It’s a lot more dangerous than some of the other things we get uptight about.”

Photo of James McGuire

“No. There hasn’t been a major flu outbreak in a long time. There might be a few cases, but nothing to freak out about.”

Photo of Mike Godinez

“I don’t really think there is any more of a threat than with West Nile or other diseases. They just seem to want to talk about the avian flu today.”

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l_eustacy 12 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely. If one roundabout gets infected, it could spread to thousands.

Purell will save the Planet.

Hot tip: Buy their stock now before the price escalates.

grubesteak 12 years, 7 months ago

Wasn't SARS supposed to kill us all last year?

Linda Aikins 12 years, 7 months ago

E_M - better get Big Bird some insurance. Oh wait, that was yesterday's question.

Avian flu? Sounds bad. At least that's what the newspaper says.

Run away! Run away!

gccs14r 12 years, 7 months ago

A mutated H5N1 could be bad, very bad. However, Bush expressing a desire to use Federal troops to quarantine the population is worse.

jonas 12 years, 7 months ago

It's not the end till you hear the Walkin' Dude coming up the way. That's right, the man with no face.

jonas 12 years, 7 months ago

Timely game, with all the drinking questions asked recently.

Help this man walk home! I've gotten him 125 meters once.

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

No probably not but it's a great way to get people to get more flu shots so we can run low on them so we can jack up the price again.

neopolss 12 years, 7 months ago

Banman put an end to SARS, and he's on his way to banning the bird flu. The streets of Lawrence are safe from disease as long as Banman is around!

Can anyone say killer bees? Has anyone watched Bowling for Columbine? While not everyone porobably agrees with the movie, the segment about the state of fear in America really rang true to me. Killer Bees, SARS, Bird flu, it does seem like we just keep looking for an epidemic that will wipe us all out.

Topside 12 years, 7 months ago

TOB-the early bird gets the worm. Or, at least, the "Mike Metz." I can't believe he actually said that. Hey, Mike you will live forever if you just send Topside 5,000 bucks. Now all I have to do is print it in the newspaper and wait by the mail box for chicken little to send me my money. "The newspaper said it so it must be true."-DUH It is only 8:15-ish and my mind is already blown for the rest of the day. Conversely, Mike Godinez is more on target. So you see in just one on the street question we get the whole spectrum of what guys named Mike think. Also, how did that James dude get in there. Couldn't the LJW stood around for 5 more min. to get a fourth MIke to complete a Mike sweep?

christie 12 years, 7 months ago

Just another diversion. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!

Anyone who gets a flu shot deserves the problems that come with it. And do I understand now the furor wants to use troops to quarantine the masses? Looks like his Third Term is going to be another disaster. You're doing a heck of a job Brownie!

Redneckgal 12 years, 7 months ago

I think and I hope it is just another thing to keep people scared and stirred up about. Seems like almost everything you see on TV like medicine advertisments are meant to scare you into to seeing your doctor and getting more presciptions or getting a flu shot or something. No wonder we have so many people treated for anxiety and depression and so on. If you listen to much TV and really take it all to heart you'd be a basket case all the time.

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Where did Bush say he wanted to quarantine people? Anybody remember the movie paycheck where because the computer predicted a giant epidemic people were quarantined and then got the epidemic because of the quarantine? Well obviously it didn't happen because Ben saw the future and then destroyed the machine before it happened, all with a paper clip and Einstein.

staff04 12 years, 7 months ago

The rules of avian flu don't apply to Tom Delay.

staff04 12 years, 7 months ago

bankboy- Are today's candidates a little more up to snuff?

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Haha I think that's a little better sampling, at least we don't have 25% unemployment still. Now they're just all named Mike....except for James whose real name is probably Mike and he just goes by James....or not. Staff we still have to look at the comment by Mike 1 "Yes. At least that's what I read in the newspaper." Come on buddy, just write your $5000 check to Topside and be on your way.

BunE 12 years, 7 months ago

The United States is unprepared for any pandemic or biological attack.

The flu is a big deal, with only about 200,000 doses of the vaccine (there is a vaccine) and no infrastructire to manufacture it, if the virus becomes transmittable human to human to human, we could have a very nasty winter. We shall see. It is treatable with some anti-virals but the doses are limited.

20 million dead worldwide in the early 20th century and while medicine is better, travel is significantly more widespread. Quarantine, while distasteful must be at least mulled over.

You all keep saying the sky is falling, but I say prepare for the worst and expect the best is probably smarter.

staff04 12 years, 7 months ago

OMB- I don't trust that they could get there quickly enough for a quarantine to be effective. Imagine all the infected people who weren't yet experiencing symptoms who would flee when they found out the city would be quarantined. I don't think they could be effective enough to quarantine Ottawa, let alon KC.

kansaskev61 12 years, 7 months ago

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get his flu shot!

BunE 12 years, 7 months ago

The bird flu DOES have a vaccine, it is not approved by the FDA yet and as such there are no stockpiles available (though the WHO has suggested that stockpiles are a good idea). It also only covers one strain, the H5N1. This strain can mutate (evolve? Not in this country!) to another form and who knows if it will work. As many people know, vaccines for virus' are tricky.

I will give you that the media will overblow the problem, but in this case there is no stock available for the general population so worrying about people getting it line is moot.

No one is suggesting that we are on the verge of a pandemic, but with a lethality of 75% in the 55 reported human cases, sholdn't we look into planning for it?

Some interesting reading from the WHO

sunflower_sue 12 years, 7 months ago

As the owner of chickens, I'll make sure I teach them to cough under their wings.

Do you all remember last year when whooping cough was prevalent in these parts???? Well, I really suspected that my daughter might have it (not that I was worried because at the age she's not such a big deal). Well, I took her to the Dr. (after being called 3 times by the school nurse) and he said that they had stopped testing for it because they didn't want us to be quarantined! He insisted she had asthma and sent us on our way. QUACK< QUACK! (my daughter does not have asthma!) Anyway, my point is that they would probably avoid testing for "bird flu" for fear of being quarantined. IMO.

Now, for those of you who will be upset with me that the school nurse had to call me 3 times before I took my daughter to the Dr...I'll just add that my good friend is a Dr. and she saw my child almost daily. She certainly wasn't worried about my kid "spreading evil germs". (Even to her baby.)

Wash hands. Use hand sanitizer. And, for goodness sakes, if you have to cough or it into your elbow. (How often do you touch something with your elbow?) Even my "germy kids" know these rules!

dotteboy 12 years, 7 months ago

Mike Metz is an economist? What broke-ass institution does he work at? I read a pregnant man gave birth. I've seen the amazing bat-boy. To halt the spread of avian flu stop having "relations" with chickens. Wait a minute, that's avian hiv...or is it fids? And that South Beach virus.

dotteboy 12 years, 7 months ago

Oh, you're right sunflower sue. Wash your hands. How many times have you greeted someone after pinching a loaf and not washed your hands? Save that one for your boss.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 7 months ago

Hey now... I had a great uncle who died from a rare illness from spores in bird poop. I kid you not. Things can happen.

lunacydetector 12 years, 7 months ago

i think it should be taken very seriously. the spanish flu in 1918 that killed 50 million people, started right here in kansas....something to think about.

lunacydetector 12 years, 7 months ago

because of WWI. though the 50 million could be off. i have read many conflicting figures. PBS did a special about the spanish flu starting in kansas. i had never heard that before.

though the disease became known the "Spanish flu," the best evidence is that it broke out March 8, 1918, in Camp Funston, Kansas (i think near ft. riley now).

here's a link:

lunacydetector 12 years, 7 months ago

PBS had photographs of all the sick soldiers dying right here in good ol' kansas, during the initial outbreak. pretty damn convincing.

ms_canada 12 years, 7 months ago

the scarey thing about this flu is that it kills 50% of those that contract it. The early 20th century flu only killed 5% of those who became ill. Did you know that it take 6 months to develope any vaccine. By then it would be too late for most people. I think our governments have to get their heads out of the sand and realize that things like this happen. Instead of worrying about killing people on the other side of the world, worry about keeping your own people safe from disease. This flu could kill way more people than the terrorists ever could. And all the oil and money in the world will not protect them. IMHO

lunacydetector 12 years, 7 months ago

the soldiers were training carrier pigeons.

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

I think we should be aware of the possibility and take reasonable measures to prevent spreading the disease by those who may contract it. Early diagnosis will be easier if governments keep their publics informed of the symptoms and the need to seek medical assistance. I don't know what they should do about the media -- it is usually the factor that whips people into a panic.

The bigger concern is for the continued dominance of the human race over this world. Remember, it was a virus that killed all dogs and cats, thereby setting off a chain of events that at culminated in Earth becoming "The Planet of the Apes." So, should your parakeet get the Avian Flu, whatever you do, do not replace it with an ape!

thisiknow 12 years, 7 months ago

BunE---I know there is a vaccine and it is manufactured in France. Our gov't did not sign us up in time and we are way below the other countries on the list. We might have the vaccine in 2008. Let's pray we stay healthy until then.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 7 months ago

Most people have already contracted histoplasmosis at some time and not even been aware of it (with no disrespect to you, GEB). It's a lot like toxoplasmosis found in cat poop. Pregnant women beware!

Dotteboy, GROSS! but correct. You know how many times I've been in a public restroom and seen someone leave w/out washing? WAY TOO OFTEN!!! Nasty!

ms_canada 12 years, 7 months ago

Right on ceallach. I, for one, will avoid apes like the plague.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 7 months ago

e_m, have you ever seen a picture of a dust mite?

ban feather pillows! Ban ALL pillows!

happyone 12 years, 7 months ago

Why is everyone so scared of this avian flu??

Don't drink avian water and you'll be fine!!


neopolss 12 years, 7 months ago

We should bomb all of the chickens over in China.

"We need to take the fight to the virus, so that we fight the terrorist flu threat over THERE, and not over HERE." -future GWB speech

That said, I believe that prarie park echidnas have a natural resistance to the bird flu. If not, we can always quarintine ourselves in a trap-door buffalo burrow, or a prarie squid nest.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 7 months ago

Prairie dogs carry plague.

Ban prairie dogs! (Also ban "playing prairie dog.")

Do prairie squids also carry plague? Oh, who cares? Let's ban them as well.

big_blue 12 years, 7 months ago

bird jokes...bush bashing...good times...

while we're short on the vaccine, it looks like we have no such problem when it comes to ignorance on this issue

this threat is very real. if human to human occurs, the w.h.o. is predicting millions of deaths worldwide. (world, as in, including the u.s.)

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

Thanks big_blue! Since the threat, or possibility of a threat, posed by Avian Flu is something totally beyond our short little arms, reach we tend to joke about it. As someone with asthma I take all flu seriously, especially since they believe this one can be spready human to human. However, I try not to let the fear of something become more disabling than the reality.

Many of us do not bash President Bush but most have been known to make jokes, sometimes inappropriate, but usually just for fun.

Liberty 12 years, 7 months ago

If it is a threat we will have to quit eating sweets and get our imune system up for the battle. Get the juicer out and the vegetables...

lunacydetector 12 years, 7 months ago

THIS JUST IN........ the Spanish flu has been recreated. oh, the wonders of modern science. they even posted its ingredients online. how grand.,3605,1585977,00.html

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

Oh goody, now every nut with the internet or access to Lawrence Public Library can try to reproduce it!!

The last time I ate at KFC (it was in Springfield, MO a month ago) I got so sick, as did my daughter and granddaughter. I don't think I can ever eat there again. We lost one evening and night of our "vacation" weekend!! I guess I have lived in Lawrence too long, I've banned KFC from my fast food options :):)

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

floodboy: Just how would that prove that there is no god to save them?

Ceallach 12 years, 7 months ago

Hannibal, I believe they do -- with faba beans :)

Linda Aikins 12 years, 7 months ago

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