Jamie wrote:The SARS Pandemic of 2003 killed 775 people when all was said and done...about 1/4 the number of people killed by hippos annually...about 1/8 of the number of people killed by texting last year...
Sars is big business for 24-hour news agencies, for big-pharma, and for panic mongering, but not really a big worry in the grand scheme of things.
My understanding is that SARS wasn't, when all was said and done, a huge pandemic. The problem was that, as it was happening, the specifics of the disease were highly unknown and there was the potential
for a substantial pandemic. Swine flu was similar.
Be wary of underestimating the potential of potential future pandemics based on relatively recent pandemics.
Source: Doctor I talked to who was practicing as a GP during SARS.
+1 like what was mentioned on the H7N5 bird flu thread, SARS in 2003 and today is still a disease that just on the cusp of mutating into something scary. Its all about the fatality ratio and how well it spreads. With the Bird flu for example you have stages;
1) Something that just spreads around with one bred of birds (chicken, duck, etc) and gets birds real sick, no risk to humans.
2) Something that if a human directly handles a sick bird, and body fluids, they can catch it.
3) Something that if a human directly handles a sick bird or indirectly handles or breathes in droppings, body fluids, meat, feathers etc either on the ground or even in the air (aka aresol), they can get sick.
4) Something that a human catches from a bird, brings it home and like #2 if a friend or family member is in a enclosed room and directly touching that sick person, and direct touching of body fluids , they can catch the virus, but the symptoms are less severe then with the bird to human infected person, and its even harder to spread.
5) same as #4, but each human to human transfer is just as bad, and spread just as easy.
6) Is the human to human transfer like #3, so if I sneeze and cough with the bird flu those droplets can float in the air and infect others, If I wipe my nose or sweat, and I touch a door handle, anyone touching that door handle can get infected depending on how long that virus can live on a surface. Some viruses last only 24 hours, while other its 14 days.
Ebola started as a hemmoragic fever in animals in the Congo, but that recently that can spread from animals to humans. In terms of infection is a 4 to 5. If you directly touch someone with Ebola, or mess with the fluids ooozing out, you can catch it. The good news is, its not that easy to catch if you don't make contact with the host, its easy to spot someone who is infected, the person usually gets real sick within 4 days and if they die it will usually be withing 12 days. This and the fact that its in the wilds of the congo makes it hard to go epidemic, which is a good thing because the mortality rate of Ebola is 68%.
The common flu is #6 with a high infection rate (the easy of you catching it if you are not careful and get exposed) , however the mortality rate is super low at .01%, still with its ability to spread and infect easily even with the low mortality rate it will directly or indirectly kill about 10,000 people in the US every season. However the Spanish Flu of 1918, was basically a novel bird flu that spread even better and faster then the regular flu, especially because of its complete disregard for seasons and temps. Its Mortality rate was only 10 to 20 percent, but since it spread so rapidly and well 1/3 or the wold population caught it, it killed 25 million people within the first 25 weeks of the outbreak and it killed an estimated 50 to 100 million people overall. Basically that means even before the invention of the jet airliner, it spread globally, and killed 3% to 5% of the total world population. As of 2011 the world population was 7 billion. 5% of 7 billion is 350 million...which is more that the total population of the USA and Canada combined.
The current H7N5 bird flu has moved up from a #3 to a #4...sloppy Human to Human transmission. It may never get to a number 5 and hopefully not a #6, however the mortality rate of H7N5 is high at 25% and with it coming out of China it could get bad if it spead more easy H2H...basic it will be worse then the Spanish flu killing over 400 million to a half a billion worldwide, if it goes pandemic
SARS as of 2013 was a #4 but mutating more and more and recently looking like #5, The mortality rate of SARS as of 2003 was 9% to 12%. That said its more lethal than the spanish flu, and one mutation away from spreading just as quickly. Also with the disease being in the middle east and europe, it will spead worldwide easily. Remember that 350 million dead if the spanish flu hit today, the number could be anywhere from 200 million dead to matching the spanish flu if SARS goes epidemic.