The Tao of Politics

One of my main concerns is: how can I make a difference? There are thousands of political blogs out there. It’s easy to get lost in that ocean. So I may blog about politics on occasion, or I may blog about health issues, depending on where my interests lead me, and where I feel I can contribute something of significance.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Tao of Bird Flu
6. So far, bird flu has filled people more with fear than with disease. Better to be fearful than oblivious to risk.

Bird Flu Notes
I think bird flu has already mutated, though human-to-human transmission has not been verified. There are now at least four different strains of H5N1. Scientists say that we will need a vaccine for each strain, and we also need to be able to produce them quickly. While we’re working on all that, we need to remain aware that it may not be H5N1 after all that causes the next pandemic.

This article from New Scientist discusses further developments in the question about how bird flu is spread, via migratory birds or the poultry trade. Scientists have genetically analyzed strains of the virus from many different places, and are able to say, with some certainty, from where the disease originated, and how it was most likely spread. It seems that southern China is the source of the virus, but the Chinese are being very uncooperative, and are denying that most of the problem even exists. Here’s another article on the same subject for more depth. One thing that this last article points out is that chickens in China might be carrying H5N1 without getting sick. This makes it easier to spread the virus, since it persists in the birds, and then they might come in contact with humans or with other birds, transmitting the disease that way. In all fairness to the Chinese, if the birds are carrying H5N1 without getting sick, then they might not realize there is a problem, and that might be the reason for their seeming uncooperativeness. Interesting stuff.

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