Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Friday, April 15, 2005

Missing Flu Vials

So two shipments of the H2N2 influenza virus that caused a pandemic in 1957 are missing. Great. And unlike avian flu, this one already spreads efficiently human to human. Except maybe they were never sent out at all:
“We are worried, but CAP (College of American Pathologists-ed) said there is a possibility they were never sent. (Otherwise), I cannot say at this stage what we would possibly do,” Stohr said. “The carrier, the transporter and packager would have to be questioned particularly about these packages."
Great. This quote doesn't give one a great deal of faith in pathologists. You think they could at least keep straight who they sent the stuff out too.

This strain killed between 1 and 4 million in that pandemic.

I think that statistic shows why bioterrorism is so scary. It took nearly 19 people willing to committ suicide to kill 3000 people in the WTC attacks. Think how many more would die if this virus were released. Even assuming better supportive care, antivirals, etch. you'd have to guess at least 10% of the deaths in the original pandemic, which would be 100,000 to 400,000 people.


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