Wednesday, April 24, 2013

H7N9 - More Scary by the Day!

There is no plan to turn this blog into an H7N9 blog, though I am having some thoughts of starting a new blog specifically about this threat.

Why am I being such an alarmist about this issue?  There are several reasons.  The first is due to the fact that this flu has sprung up in such a sudden and unexpected fashion.  Many of the other bird flues that have evolved over the last decade have been seen in the bird population for months or even years before they began to spread into the human population.  Though this virus was first detected in turkeys in Minnesota in 1988, it has essentially gone dormant for the last 25 years until reappearing with the vengeance this spring.  Additionally, this flu doesn't seem to have an impact to birds.  Therefore, it's hard if not impossible to tell they are infected.  This is different than previous previous cases of bird flu in which the birds became ill or died when infected.

The second reason I am concerned about this flu is that it is arriving on the world scene at the time of great economic trauma.  Much of the world is still mired in recession or debt crises.  Governments are more worried about economic issues and aren't necessarily paying attention to emerging threats like a pandemic.  Furthermore with the economic situation impacting government spending around the world, many countries are not in a position to take the necessary steps if this flu becomes a pandemic to stop or slow the spread.

Here's the latest from a variety of new sources around the world:

From NBCNews.Com

"New Bird Flu Strain 'one of the most lethal' Influenza Viruses"

"Taiwan Confirms First H7N9 Bird Flu Case Outside of China"

"Bird Flu Spreads To Taiwan, As More Signs of Human-to-Human Transmission Emerge"

"The Wikipedia Flu Scorecard"

Maybe I am so interested in this story because I have spent a too much time reading and watching apocalyptic books and TV shows recently.  Between TV shows like "The Walking Dead", movies like "Oblivion" and books like "World War Z".  The popular media is full of stories of pandemics and world destruction.

It's been almost 100 years since the last major pandemic, is this the beginning of the next one?  Only time will tell.

Thanks and please to all! ~J.

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