Spanish Flu of 1918- This 1918-1920 flu pandemic, was an unusually severe (i.e. deadly) strain of avian influenza (sometimes called bird or chicken flu) that killed some 50-100 million people worldwide. It is thought to be one of the most deadly pandemics in human history. The unusually high number of deaths has been attributed to cytokine storm in the body (which, in short, is basically when a healthy immune system works overtime and produces TOO much of a good thing and the over-exaggerated immune response ends up damaging healthy tissues and organs, or something like that....) Nevertheless, the current strains of H5N1 bird flu (think SARS) has a similar effect. (Thanks Wikipedia for such great breakfast time reading!)
Forget the pigs; watch out for those chickens!
So, last week, we had two sick chicks roaming the house. Madeline and Lily were down for the count: low grade fevers, dry, unproductive coughs, intermittent urges to roll in mud, and the sudden cravings for pelleted feed mixed with ground corn and supplements. Seriously though, I am not fully convinced it was in fact the H1N1 (swine flu) as we never actually took them in to see a doctor (who apparently doesn't want to see and swab the kids anyway) and it almost seemed TOO short and easy to be something that has generated so much hysteria in the news and general public. But rest assured, I gave the little bug numerous compliments and fed it all sorts of warm fuzzies, making it feel as welcome and loved as possible. I mean shoot, compared to our last household epidemic, this was a walk on the farm.
Then again, I was only playing nurse mom and not sick piggy chick. And of course, after reading up on the different flu strains, I am just thankful the urge was to oink and not cluck!