Monday, May 4, 2009

Swine Flu Over

The Flu has been mild - Mexico declares the crisis over: (the 'first wave' of an epidemic normally takes at least six to eight weeks) While we can all hope for the best, a couple of historical facts, all taken from John Barry's 'The Great Influenza.'

"As it passed from person to person it adapted to its new host, became increasingly efficient in its ability to infect and changed from the virus that caused a generally mild first wave of disease in the Spring of 1918 to the lethal and explosive killer of the second wave in the Fall." (p.370)

"When the virus floats in the air (it is an airborne pathogen) it can infect someone else for anywhere from an hour to a day after it is exhaled (the lower the humidity the longer the virus survives)" (p.256)

"All influenza viruses mutate constantly" (p.92)

In the 1918 pandemic "influenza killed more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century; it killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years." (p.5)

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