L41fluindexAB.xml Flu–go page xx, with –x lines. Graphic: This is an infographic. No separate story.
Influenza has the potential to kill tens of thousands of U.S. life insurance policyholders in the course of a few weeks, or to cause the usual spike in demand for tea, toast and chicken soup.
Many public health officials have been worrying for several years about a nasty flu strain known as “Avian Influenza A (H5N1)” or, more colloquially, the “bird flu.” The H5N1 strain has killed many birds in Asia and elsewhere, but it has had a hard time spreading from one person to another.
No one knows whether the bird flu will mutate enough to spread easily from person to person, or whether any variant that could spread easily would be especially lethal.
Meanwhile, other strains of flu that get little media attention could turn into killers, and some critics of the vaccination industry wonder whether vaccine makers are boosting vaccine sales by exaggerating the risk that flu poses.