Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bird flu

is spreading, not only to Europe, but to Africa as well.

While attempts to contain infectection by culling poultry may work in Europe, there is no way most countries in Africa have the resources to do this.

At this point, I think there is no hope of containing spread among birds. And it is probably just a matter of time until the virus either reassorts with an influenza virus that effectively infects humans and creates a hybrid that combines the unfortunate features of being immunologically new to the human immune system and efficient at human to human spread. Or, worse, develops the ability to spread effectively between humans on its own.

My sense is that this pandemic will be less severe than some fear (some data indicates many peo0ple are infected, but don't necessarily have severe disease, much less die), but it is definitely coming.


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