Pustolovina: adventure in Serbian

Friday, November 24, 2006

scariest e-mail ever

So, I am on the Belgrade US Embassy's e-mail list. When I get a message from them, it is never good news: "stay away from rallies... or certain splavovi."

The most recent one is truly horrifying:

Warden Notice #14-06 American Embassy Belgrade

November 22, 2006

Avian Influenza

How to Prepare for “Sheltering-In-Place”

Health professionals are concerned that the continued spread of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) virus among animals in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe has the potential to significantly threaten human health. If a virus such as H5N1 mutates and spreads easily from one person to another, avian influenza may break out globally. While there are no reports of sustained human-to-human transmission of avian influenza, the U.S. government and international health agencies are preparing for a possible pandemic.

Depending on the severity of a pandemic, commercial airlines might drastically curtail or even cease operations. Travel restrictions could also impede people from returning to the United States or fleeing to other countries. For these reasons, it may make more sense to “shelter-in-place” (i.e., stay home and practice “social distancing” to avoid contagion) for an appropriate period of time.

United States Residents: The Department of Health and Human Services suggests that US residents prepare two weeks of emergency supplies (food, water, medicines, etc.) in order to shelter-in-place during an influenza pandemic.

American Citizens Abroad: Due to varying conditions overseas, Americans abroad should evaluate their situation and prepare emergency supplies accordingly (non-perishable food, potable water, medicines, etc.) for the possibility of sheltering-in-place for at least two and up to twelve weeks. Water purification techniques such as boiling, filtering and/or adding chlorine to locally available rainwater, swimming pools, lakes, rivers and wells may replace the need to store large quantities of water.

What can you do on a daily basis? Cover your cough. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to eradicate viruses and bacteria or apply a hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol content when soap and water are not available. Stay home if you are sick. Vaccinate yourself against seasonal flu.

Travel: American citizens living in or traveling to countries with human or animal cases of H5N1 virus should consider the potential risks. Keep informed of the latest medical guidance and practical information and plan accordingly. Consult www.travel.state.gov for the latest tips on international travel.

On-Line Resources: Detailed information about suggested preparations, as well as planning checklists, are available on the U.S. government’s one-stop web site on pandemic influenza (www.pandemicflu.gov), also the World Health Organization (www.who.int/en/) and the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) websites.

12 weeks of 'sheltering-in-place?' Drinking from swimming pools?

Maybe I should unsubscribe from these e-mails.


  • At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hahahaa..so typical american..uuu we are scared from everything..dont worry about it..about splavovi--there are nice ones and the ones where mafia people go..either way, if u re careful in any city, then it should be fine. enjoy!

  • At 4:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Unsubbing won't make avian flu go away. It's honestly not hype.

    Do a little research.

  • At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    People--please don't dismiss this information. There are some very smart doctors and scientists that are VERY concerned about this virus. Ask yourself why. Plese read up on it. This e-mail is great advice and everyone around the world needs to hear it.

  • At 6:19 PM, Blogger rachel said…

    Thanks for the concern, everyone...

    I still think this e-mail is fear-mongering.

    My aunt is a very knowledgeable person about bird flu and such things, as she is the head of public health for reasonably large US city.

    I'm not going to worry about it until she tells me to.

  • At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I don't want to discount your aunt's public heath background or her knowledge on the subject. However, you need to take avian flu seriously and not depend upon anyone to tell you when to worry. Take a more mature attitude.

    I am very familiar with the State Dept warning you received. It is warranted, so be forewarned. Make sure you have one or two escape options where you are at, at all times - and I don't mean an airline ticket or taxi.


  • At 6:35 AM, Anonymous your brother said…

    why can't you be more mature?
    p.s.:I'm resigned to death

  • At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Some sort of generation gap here I suspect. It's not about being resigned to death or fear mongering. It's all about awareness of your surroundings, and knowing what's going on in the world and not letting yourself be a victim. That's the State Dept message. The world can be a tough place out there. We all like to think that bad things only happen to every body else and not us. Life is not like in Hollywood movies. Sorry about my maturity comment, it was not meant personally. Do I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the State Dept warning ? Yes. Do I have some special knowledge or insight into this subject? Yes, far more than your aunt.

    Godspeed to you both, you will not hear from me again, but remember what I and some of the others have said.


  • At 2:56 AM, Anonymous allyson said…

    Ellen and I watched a documentary about the flu epidemic of 1918 and it was scary. It's hard to know how paranoid this email is, but I guess keeping some extra food and chlorine tablets around won't hurt. I also wanted to let you know that I got your letter a while back! What fun!


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