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Making Plans for a Killer Flu

A killer strain of flu, like the kind that wiped outmillions of people in 1918, hasn't struck again yet, butscientists are already planning for it. Health experts saywe may have to close schools, restrict travel and rationmedicine if a powerful new flu strain breaks out worldwide.

Lauran Neergaard writes that it will take months to create avaccine that works against this kind of superflu, soquarantine will be the weapon that is used before anythingelse. Flu specialists say it's only a matter of time beforeanother superflu strain shows up. Dr. Julie Gerberding, headof the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says,"We're all holding our breath."

The CDC is trying to spot dangerous flu strains as soon asthey emerge anywhere in the world. They're especiallykeeping an eye on bird flu in Asia. Gerberding says, "We'venever seen so many birds infected with this virus at onepoint in time."

The NIH is funding production of an experimental flu vaccinewhich will be tested soon. Drugs are being developed, suchas Tamiflu, that can treat the flu if given soon aftersymptoms begin. Enough of these are stockpiled to treat onemillion people, but more is needed.

Flu specialist Dr. William Schaffner says, "This is a verysensitive issue. Should it be like the Titanic?women andchildren first?or should it be police and firefightersfirst? You can see the dilemmas."

When times get tough, think about the beautiful things inlife, like the extraordinary crop circles that appear everyspring, like magic, worldwide. The best ones are in a smallcorner of the U.K., where Lucy Pringle photographs them andputs the best images in her annual crop circle calendar. Ifyou buyher2005calendar, you'll get her 2004 calendar free, while supplieslast!

Photo Credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

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