I received this in an e-mail from the US Embassy in KL last week:
“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.”
Clearly my stockpiling was truly in preparation for bird flu. Thankfully I’ve also got enough DVDs to last me about a year of “sheltering in place” as well.