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View Diary: Bird Flu: What We Don't Know (109 comments)

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  •  You are right (none)
    the 1918 virus has been reconstructed by molecular biologists. And it was found that the virus probably  was an avian influenza virus that acquired the mutations to let it go H-to-H.

    And why youngers rather than olders: I am not an influenza specialist, but there may have been earlier influenza viruses that older people caught which have given them some immunity to H5N1. It's sort of a double sword when we start immunizing people against current influenza strains to keep them healthy, but then because of herd immunity, kids may never "see" flu.

    I am not sure that my children, who are teens, have ever had honest-to-God flu (meaning a true influenza virus). I am in my 50's and remember getting flu. Now I am immunized, because my workplace pays for it. But I understand that the immunization does not protect against H5N1.

    The first signs in North America are likely to be in migratory birds. If you can remember, West Nile virus affected crows more than other bird species. I have a cottage on a major waterway, I will be taking gloves up this spring to deal with any bird carcasses that I find.

    I am also so slightly paranoid that I am keeping my masks from my job, to recycle, for our family.
    If things go bad, masks will be impossible to get.

    •  Strong immune systems = death (none)

      When you think of bird flu, it may help to think of it as an autoimmune disorder triggered by the H5N1 virus.  There is some evidence that the body's immune system overreacts; the process is called a "cytokine storm".

      Cytokines are hormones created by the cells engaged in fighting an infection to signal other cells to the battleground.  In turn those cells generate cytokines to summon more cells, which creates a positive feedback loop.  In normal cases of the flu, other cells create cytokines that suppress this cycle.  In a bird flu infection, the cycle is not suppressed and the body begins to fight against itself.  

      Thus people with weak immune systems like the elderly catch bird flu, but their immune system is too weak to damage the body.  Children and young adults, on the other hand, have strong immune systems that can mount a response that ends up killing them.

      Source:  Flu Wiki

    •  Strong immune systems = death (none)

      When you think of bird flu, it may help to think of it as an autoimmune disorder triggered by the H5N1 virus.  There is some evidence that the body's immune system overreacts; the process is called a "cytokine storm".

      Cytokines are hormones created by the cells engaged in fighting an infection to signal other cells to the battleground.  In turn those cells generate cytokines to summon more cells, which creates a positive feedback loop.  In normal cases of the flu, other cells create cytokines that suppress this cycle.  In a bird flu infection, the cycle is not suppressed and the body begins to fight against itself.  

      Thus people with weak immune systems like the elderly catch bird flu, but their immune system is too weak to damage the body.  Children and young adults, on the other hand, have strong immune systems that can mount a response that ends up killing them.

      Source:  Flu Wiki

    •  Gloves no good (none)
      You will not contract the virus through your skin.  Use gloves but throw them away or wash them with TSP after.  A face mask and safety glasses are more important.  The bird will shed virus so put it in a plastic bag.
      I still need to seal my chicken coop.  I get sparrows in there.

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