Oprah's Show Tells
Viewers How to Prepare For Bird Flu Pandemic - Winfrey Interviews Avian
Influenza Expert Doctor
June 4th 2006
The Oprah Winfrey show concerning the bird flu re-ran again Saturday
night after the local news. It was an eye opening conversation with Dr.
Michael Osterholm. He is an infectious disease expert from the
University of Minnesota. Osterholm told the audience that “there really
are, in a sense, three different kinds of influenza viruses. There is
that which naturally lives in wild birds. That virus doesn't really hurt
us very often."
The second type is the seasonal flu which kills 36,000 people a year in
the US. The third type is the one experts are worried about. This is
the flu that may infect both birds and humans. According to Osterholm,
“That's when we see a pandemic, or a worldwide epidemic. And that's
what we worry about."
Viruses are different from bacteria. They are smaller and require a
host cell to reproduce. Most scientists believe viruses are not living
things, but exist as a protein coat or capsid, sometimes enclosed in a
membrane. According to UC Berkley researchers, viruses insert their
genetic material into host cells, causing the host cell to reproduce
more viruses. In some cases, viruses may remain dormant before they are