A (New) Pandemic Primer


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A (New) Pandemic Primer


Pretty much everything that you need to know about pandemics is right in this post. History, where we are right now, and preparation, it's all covered. Please follow the link to get all of the information.

Thank you, FlaMedic for your most excellent work!

The term `pandemic’ describes the geographic spread of a novel virus, not the severity.

Roughly every 30 to 40 years for at least the past 3 centuries the world has seen an influenza pandemic. Usually these pandemics are mild or moderate, but on rare occasions they can be horrific.

The novel H1N1 `swine’ flu virus that has unexpectedly thrust us towards a pandemic is a distant relative of the seasonal H1N1 virus that has been in circulation – off and on – since at least 1918.

It has picked up genetic material from hosts (pigs) over the years (including some avian genes), that makes it unique enough that most humans have little or no immunity to it.

The good news (at least so far) is that this virus doesn’t appear to have the virulence (severity) that some pandemic strains have demonstrated in the past.

None of this is to suggest that this virus is benign. It isn’t. It is fully capable of producing serious, even fatal, illness in some small percentage of its victims.

For now, the WHO is calling this virus `moderate’ – not mild.

Early studies have suggested that it may be roughly equivalent to the 1957 `Asian Flu’ in virulence, but it is probably too soon to say with any certainty.

And the virulence of any influenza virus can change over time. The flu that we see this summer, or even this fall, may not be the same flu we see next winter or the following year.

And something else you should know; a pandemic is not a short-term event, like a hurricane or a flood. They can last for months – even a year or longer.

This is something we are likely to be dealing with in 2010 as well.

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