Saturday, November 12, 2005

Of Bird Flu and Deep Dog Doo...
Okay, Imight have been wrong in my originial assumption. I can admit that. I can live with it, even. It's been known to happen.

Apparently, the Avian Flu just might be something dangerous in way I never thought of before.

According to some new research, the Avian Flu kills by causing your body's immune system to go into overdrive, producing large numbers of "killer cells". About 10 times the number associated with other, more common influenzas. Apparently this vast increase in auto-immune defenses is itself a danger, causing swelling in the lungs, which causes respiratory problems for otherwise healthy people.

In other words, the healthier you are, the more you have to worry. I can't recall ever having to worry about being killed by a flu bug when I was otherwise perfectly healthy. I wonde rif this means that if you have AIDS, you might actually have a better chance of surviving since your immune system is so depressed the flu can only cause it to start working like sled dogs? Something to wonder about, I guess.

Additionally, I've read this morning that the same influenza virus has now been found in pigs. It has already begun to mutate and infect mammals, in other words. Previously, transmission was between birds and people who came into contact with birds or bird byproducts (feces, guts, etc). It now appears that H5N1 is capable of infecting other mammals as well. Whether this is a mutation or an innanate ability is still being debated.

So now here we are: we have a tricky bug that manages to spread itself quite nicely despite the best efforts to contain it. The people most at risk would be the people that would not necessarily be so under normal conditions. And finally, the authorities we're depending on (the ones that have the most information and experience with this disease) are typically Chinese Vietnamese and Canadian, and working with the dubious filter of socialst/communist government (which means the inconvenient truth will not be told until it is too late).

Now, the results of all this research are still not in, and at this point we're still talking speculation. But perhaps I pooh-poohed this thing a bit too quickly.

PS- Here is a link to the story:

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