Some are wondering why the new flu has emerged. I’ve seen questions about whether it was “manufactured.” But when something occurs that has been expected for many years why should we jump first to paranoid ideation?
The epidemic of 1918 occurred in the context of WW I during which large groups of susceptible people were thrown together in training and on ships going to war. The virus’s pathogenicity varied as it passed through generations of patients.
What will happen with the current epidemic will depend on how effectively we mobilize to isolate cases (some problems with this) ; the underlying nature of the virus; and how quickly we are able to explore the virus and find a vaccine. For what it’s worthTamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) have been shown to be active against samples of the disease virus.
We have the advantage today of better understanding of viral diseases and a research establishment that may have been primed by the false alarms of the 70’s and the recent SAR’s outbreak. On the other hand our transportation system can spread disease worldwide within a few hours.
From the CDC:
|State||# of laboratory
|New York City||8 cases|
|TOTAL COUNT||20 cases|
|International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
See: World Health Organization
|As of April 26, 2009 9:00 AM ET|
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