This Winter, Flu Won’t Be Cute

August 1, 2012

Seal FluScientists have been speculating about whether bird flu will mutate into an airborne disease for the last year—one study was almost censored because of fear that it could lead to a biological terrorist attack by indicating how to cause the mutation. Now  the ingredients are set, and the long predicted return of a flu pandemic may be on the horizon. H3N8 is a type of flu that crops up from time to time—first in racing horses, more recently in greyhounds (and then all dogs), and now in seals. Up and down the east coast, seals are dying from H3N8, which has become particularly strong and deadly, damaging lung tissue as the infection spreads. Seal flu is airborne, but it doesn’t currently infect humans. The concern is that seals may be able to incubate both H3N8 and H5N1 (bird flu, which infects humans but isn’t airborne) and that they will breed a super strong, airborne virus capable of infecting humans. While it hasn’t mutated yet—the bird flu threat is clear. Expect to see dire predictions every winter until it finally becomes airborne. Flu shots won’t save you. A flu shot takes 1-2 years to develop, and is based on a prediction of which strains will be active at the time the vaccine is ready (since things cycle, this works okay). Unfortunately, new mutations, like the ones that could lead to bird flu being airborne, aren’t necessarily foreseeable. All you can do is support yourself with a healthy diet, exercise, and plenty of hand washing (especially in public places). Encourage sick people to stay at home—and support sick office mates by picking up the slack (better than you getting sick!). What do you think? Share your thoughts below:

{ 2 trackbacks }

Swine Flu Readily Mutating — Colloids For Life Blog
September 12, 2012 at 5:03 am
Deadly Bird Flu Research Resumed — Colloids For Life Blog
January 29, 2013 at 6:04 am

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