April 11 Flu Update
Here's a Recombinomics link on 1,000s of Vietnemese children in the hosptial with respiratory disease. Hot weather has caused them to sleep with fans on, which distributed whatever they have very nicely. Yet another example of how tightly coupled the flu is with humans.
If this is the flu, the pandemic has clearly begun.Recombinomics comments.Though it may seem beneath the radar, the bird flu is being reported in pigs in Indonesia. This could be significant because pigs and humans can swap the same flu virus.This story represents a common theme, that SARS taught Asia how to fight the flu.China continues the PR offensive in support of North Korea's flu fight.Hong Kong had birds die recently, but it says here it wasn't the flu.CIDRAP on bird flu death in Cambodia.Here's a Recombinomics link on 1,000s of Vietnemese children in the hosptial with respiratory disease. Hot weather has caused them to sleep with fans on, which distributed whatever they have very nicely. Yet another example of how tightly coupled the flu is with humans.Effect Measure on yesterday's development in Cambodia, and blog-within-a-blog on Recombinomics.ProMed on the Cambodian situation and the likely suspect--a Duck.
For reference, here is the CDC data on the role of the pig in an evolving flu virus.
Pigs can be infected with both human and avian influenza viruses in addition to swine influenza viruses. Infected pigs get symptoms similar to humans, such as cough, fever, and runny nose. Because pigs are susceptible to avian, human and swine influenza viruses, they potentially may be infected with influenza viruses from different species (e.g., ducks and humans) at the same time. If this happens, it is possible for the genes of these viruses to mix and create a new virus. For example, if a pig were infected with a human influenza virus and an avian influenza virus at the same time, the viruses could mix (reassort) and produce a new virus that had most of the genes from the human virus, but a hemagglutinin and/or neuraminidase from the avian virus. The resulting new virus would likely be able to infect humans and spread from person to person, but it would have surface proteins (hemagglutinin and/or neuraminidase) not previously seen in influenza viruses that infect humans. This type of major change in the influenza A viruses is known as antigenic shift. Antigenic shift results when a new influenza A subtype to which most people have little or no immune protection infects humans. If this new virus causes illness in people and can be transmitted easily from person to person, an influenza pandemic can occur.