Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Avian flu- is the pandemic closer?

This would seem to be bad news
Researchers have sequenced the bird flu viruses that killed two people in Turkey in early January, and say that one of them contains a worrying mutation.

This genetic tweak can make the H5N1 virus more adapted to humans than to birds, and more adapted to the nose and throat than to the lungs. This latter effect could help to increase the chances of bird flu being transmitted between people, researchers say
Of course additional mutations will be required before efficient human to human spread can take place.

I would not be particularly worried that the virus is in Turkey or that a relatively large number of people seem to be infected. Many of the identified cases in Turkey did not have severe disease. As a more developed country, these less severe cases were picked up, while in Vietnam, say, less-severe cases probably never came to medical attention.


Post a Comment

<< Home