Wednesday, January 11, 2006
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The good news about avian flu
There have been a series of avian flu cases reported in Turkey over the past week, and oddly enough there's been some good news from this development.
First, World Health Organization officials are convnced that this isn't a sign of human-to-human transmission:
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials said that the 14 cases of avian flu recently discovered in Turkey were contracted through contact with infected animals and that there is absolutely no evidence that human-to-human transmission is occurring.Link via Glenn Reynolds, who has more here about US preparedness. I remain convinced that calling for the US to engage in crash preparedness can lead to more harm than good.
Second, Elizabeth Rosenthal of the International Herald-Tribune reports on a very interesting development among some of the avian flu diagnoses -- they're not getting sick:
Two young brothers, aged 4 and 5, are being closely watched at the gleaming new Kecioren Hospital here, a police car at the entrance guarding a potential scientific treasure. Though both boys have tested positive for the H5N1 virus after contact with sick birds, neither has any symptoms of the frequently deadly disease.Here's a link to the medical study abstract cited in the article. Their conclusion is a touch more neutral: "Our epidemiological data are consistent with transmission of mild, highly pathogenic avian influenza to humans and suggest that transmission could be more common than anticipated, though close contact seems required. Further microbiological studies are needed to validate these findings."
This is completely to be expected, just statistically. All the estimates of mortality near 50 percent are based on a self-selected population --- they're the people who show up gravely ill. Anyone who gets the sniffle, says "I've got the flu" and thinks nothing more of it.posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on 01.11.06 at 11:39 AM [permalink]
The Wall Street Journal is probably the best place to follow this. They had this information a few days ago.posted by: chuck on 01.11.06 at 11:39 AM [permalink]
So, I am pretty behind on the news...what exactly ARE the symptoms of this flu?posted by: curious george on 01.11.06 at 11:39 AM [permalink]
Like the symptoms of any 'flu: myalgia, muscle pain, fever, upper respiratory symptoms, headache, chills.
Followed, in some number of sufferers, by pneumonia, organ failure, and death.
Wikipedia has a decent article.posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on 01.11.06 at 11:39 AM [permalink]
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