Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Thoughts About H1N1 Hysteria

There is a great deal of concern about H1N1 and the coming fall. Some experts suggest that we could be hit aggressively and widespread vaccination is essential while others think it will not be a major problem. If we look back into history can study the 1918 Spanish Flu. According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, the 1918 virus contained eight novel genes which have combined with other flu viruses to trigger illness in humans and pigs ever since. H1Ni is a fourth generation descendant of the 1918 virus. There is good news according to the report. Pandemics and epidemics triggered by the flu viruses seem to be getting less severe over time. This may be due to a genetic shift that allows the virus to shift. Remember, a virus that kills its host doesn’t live that long. It is not to its advantage to wipe out everyone.

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