11 June 2009

Don't Call it "Swine"

I don't know about you, but I am utterly fascinated by how this influenza outbreak continues to play itself out -- especially because I am smack dab in the middle of reading a book about the search for a polio vaccine AND just last year I read a book all about the Spanish influenza outbreak in 1918. Can you say "parallels"?

The path being taken by H1N1 is almost identical to the 1918 virus in that it started small, took a breather, and then came back big time (that part is coming), and that it mostly affected the young and healthy -- rather then the elderly or sick, which are the usual victims of influenza.

What's next? Well, the World Health Organization today officially raised the alert level to six (the highest) -- the first time it has done that since the Hong Kong flu of 1968. Combined there are more than 29,000 cases (144 deaths) in 74 countries. Of course, that is a far cry from the estimated 50,000,000 who died (deaths, not just cases) from the 1918 outbreak.

You can read more about the rise in the alert level here.

No comments: