Are you ready if disaster strikes?
The flu, also known as influenza, is the deadliest disease in the history of mankind. In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control estimates that influenza has resulted in anywhere between 9 million to 45 million illnesses, hospitalized 140,000 – 810,000, and caused 12,000-61,000 deaths every year since 2010.
Influenza is notorious for mutating, with each new strain of mutation holding the possibility of pandemic potential. In 1918, the Spanish Flu infected 500 million or 33% of the global population, and is believed to have caused up to 100 million deaths.
The emergence of a new epidemic or pandemic potential influenza strain would be far worse, due to the massive increase in population size and density. Computer simulations from the Institute of Disease Modeling indicate that as many as 33 million people would die within the first 6 months of an outbreak. Oseltamvir covers a broad variety of influenza strains, and administration within the first 48 hours of symptoms has been shown to greatly reduce the severity of illness.
In Oregon September 1984, a woman stood in front of a salad bar holding a small plastic bag filled with a light brown liquid. Secretly and quickly, she squirted it into the salsa bucket and into the salad dressing. This woman was just one member of a group that contaminated 10 salad bars over the course of two months with salmonella to further their political agenda. This is the largest bioterrorism attack in the history of the United States.
Over 751 people fell ill, and 45 were hospitalized with Salmonella poisoning. While no deaths occurred, if the terrorist group were able to use their originally intended bioterrorism agent of Salmonella typhi or typhoid fever, it is widely believed several fatalities would have resulted. Bacteria are preferred agents for bioterrorist attacks, due to their self-replicating nature, small-size and concealability, and rapid effects on the human body. Levofloxacin is a power fast acting antibiotic that treats severe Salmonella, Anthrax, typhoid fever, and the plague.
Research has shown that one of the longest lasting and widespread consequences of radiation exposure is thyroid damage that can lead to thyroid cancer. Beyond the deadly blast radius from a nuclear event at ground zero, potentially lethal doses of radiation can spread up to hundreds of miles within days. This was seen after Chernobyl, where officials in Sweden detected radiation in their environment, 683 miles away, within 48 hours of the explosion.
According to the World Health Organization, a large increase was observed in the incidence of thyroid cancer among people who were young children and adolescents at the time of the accident that lived in the nearby areas of Belarus, Russian Federation, and Ukraine. Additional radiation exposure came from drinking milk from cows that grazed on contaminated radioactive grass.
Beyond nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons also produce radioactive iodine, it is one of the primary byproducts seen in fallout. Nearly half of the Japanese children who were exposed to radiation from the bombing of Japan still alive today suffer from Thyroid disease. Similarly, children exposed to radiation from the wind carried from the Castle Bravo nuclear test in the Marshall Islands developed severe thyroid issues. A US government study later found that nearly 70% of the local Rongelap people who were under 10 years of age at the time of exposure developed thyroid lesions, and in two boys thyroid atrophy accounted for severe growth retardation.
Potassium Iodide can saturate the thyroid and prevent the thyroid from absorbing harmful radioactive iodide. This can greatly reduce the absorbed dose of radioactive iodine, potentially preventing lethal thyroid cancer and thyroid-related growth defects in children and young adults.
While blast effects and lethal doses of radiation (measured in thousands of rem) would affect thousands of people located within a few miles of ground-zero, the threat from cancer-causing radiation doses (as low as 5 rem) would be seen for hundreds of miles and would threaten millions.
We know this because it has already happened. Like reactors, nuclear weapons produce radioactive iodine (RAI), which if inhaled or ingested lodges in the thyroid gland causing cancer and other thyroid damage. It is the primary component of fallout, and its effects were demonstrated by the 1945 atomic bombings in Japan. These effects can still be seen today.
Among Japanese children who were exposed to radiation from the bombings (and who are still alive) nearly half (44.8%) suffer thyroid disease15. Further, atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific and Nevada also spread radioactive fallout causing substantial thyroid damage.
In 1954, for example, unexpected wind effects following the Castle Bravo nuclear test in the Marshall Islands blew fallout onto islands located about 180 miles downwind, exposing children to RAI. Later, a US government study16 found that within 15 years “15 of the 22 Rongelap people who had been under age 10 years at the time of exposure had developed thyroid lesions”, and that ultimately “most of the Rongelap children and many adults developed thyroid nodules, some of which proved to be malignant. In addition, thyroid atrophy accounted for severe growth retardation in 2 boys.”
Unfortunately, those were not the only victims of RAI. In the US, the National Cancer Institute has calculated that up to 200,000 excess cases of thyroid cancer may have occurred in this country from nuclear weapons testing in Nevada.17 Some of these occurred more than 1000 miles away.
Actual First Page of a Confidential US Government Report on the Danger of Fallout from a Nuclear Weapon
Contaminated food and water sources can quickly bring down entire areas, even entire states, with severe illness and potentially death. In 2017, Salmonella contaminated Maradol Papayas from a single farm in Mexico were imported to 23 US states. They were contaminated with five different strains of Salmonella: Thompson, Kiambu, Gaminara, and Senftenberg.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported illnesses due to Salmonella containing papayas from May 17, 2017 to October 4, 2017. A total of 220 individuals fell ill, 68 required hospitalization, and one death was reported in New York City. While now resolved, it illustrates the fast moving and widespread nature of bacterial outbreaks that can result from contaminated food both from within and outside the United States. Levofloxacin is an antibiotic capable of treating severe Salmonella infections, among others.