Avian Flu On Steroids

Ok, ok, I am trying to be a little less of an alarmist lately, and there have been a lot of positive developments.  For example, it is being reported that there will be enough of the H1N1 vaccine for everyone and that it will be available earlier than expected.  However, and this is the thing that keeps bugging me:  The chief infectious disease pathologist at the CDC, Dr. Sherif Zaki, said the new virus had burrowed into the lungs of the 90 or so people he examined after they died, and they had huge amounts of the virus in their blood.

This in turn caused what is known as acute respiratory distress syndrome — an often fatal development that leaves patients gasping for breath.

“This is almost exactly what we see with avian flu,” Zaki said. “This looks like avian flu on steroids.”

Zaki said 90 percent of the fatalities he looked at had some condition that would predispose them to serious disease. They had a median age of 38 and one victim was a two-month-old infant who died within a day of getting sick.Nearly half — 46 percent — were obese, many had fatty liver disease, 27 percent had heart disease and 22 percent had asthma, he said.

So, in the vein on not being an alarmist, this guy only examined 90 people.  And this still has not surpassed the 30,000 + deaths in the U.S. from seasonal flu.  And no one really knows what will ultimately happen with the life of this H1N1 virus.

Swine Flu Anxiety

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German authorities warn of swine flu mutation risk

Germany’s federal agency for infectious diseases said on Tuesday there were signs the H1N1 swine flu virus had started to mutate and warned it could spread in the coming months in a more aggressive form…

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said recently the virus is currently “pretty stable,” but warned it could still change into a more deadly form, perhaps mixing with the H5N1 bird flu virus circulating widely in poultry.”

Oh, man.  If swine flu and bird flu mix into a virus easily spread among people, that would really, really suck.  But, I think a lot people are just saying things to be alarmists.  I’m not ashamed to admit I am one of them.

Current stats: 5,5867 confirmed cases world-wide, and 238 deaths.

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