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View Diary: Flu Stories: Now And Then (11 comments)

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  •  I think you have some incorrect assertions (none)
    The Spanish flu was an ordinary human flu

    It was not.

    Thus, the precursor was probably not circulating widely in humans until shortly before 1918, nor did it appear to have jumped directly from any species of bird studied to date (19). In summary, its origin remains puzzling.

    But one "expert" quoted in one of these alarmist articles, mentioned 10 mutations as being necessary for avian flu to spread easily human-to-human.  If this is true, and I really can't tell you if it is or not, then we can all sleep securely if our biggest worry is the avian flu.

    Some have also asserted that at least 5 of the 10 mutations already exist in H5N1. And it certainly is a logical misstep to say that a unique virus can't be matched or exceeded by another unique virus:

    As new outbreaks of bird flu have peppered Europe and Africa, experts are realizing that they still have much to learn about how migrating birds spread the A(H5N1) virus.

    Nor does HIV have the same pandemic potential (or mutation potential) as an influenza A RNA virus.

    You can follow the virus, you can learn from it, you can prepare for it or for something similar. You cannot merely explain it away by saying those who are concerned about it are 'alarmists' and that because things about H5N1 haven't happened yet, it therefore won't. That's actually a fairly weak assertion and argument. Maps of the virus spread from 1997 to 2005 compared to 2005-6 show that the virus is changing, and cause the virologists familiar with this entity to respect it.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 05:23:01 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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