Bird Flu Alarm



Understanding Avian Influenza

Hospitals are breeding grounds for infectious disease


Viruses also like to spread in hospitals. Medical staff personnel are right there touching the patient, trying to help him or her. At that point, a patient can be convulsing and literally flinging body fluids around the room: blood, mucous, phlegm, saliva, etc. This is actually a very "successful" way for a virus to spread. This is precisely how some of these viruses do spread. They spread by putting the patient into a hospital and then infecting the hospital staff.
In the history of infectious disease, especially in Africa, we've seen a trend: At some point, the hospital staff says, "Forget this -- I'm outta here!" Then they flee the hospitals, often taking the virus with them (because they've been infected). They flee into the forest. This is actually, from a bigger-picture point of view, a good strategy to protect human life. When they're off in isolation, those infected people cannot infect other hospital staff or other patients.

Even in modern times, infectious diseases spread rapidly in hospitals. In modern, Western hospitals, you see MRSA (superbugs) that are resistant to every known antibiotic. They spread in hospitals, from one patient to the next and sometimes to the medical staff who have close contact with those patients. Viruses and infectious diseases really love the type of environment hospitals provide: a successful, concentrated battery of new hosts they can infect.

Understanding Avian Influenza