Comments Posted By David March
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Thanks for the post on Avian Flu. It looks like a subject we'll hear about a lot more, whether we want to or no.

Laurie Garrett, whom you might recall as NPR's eloquent science reporter for a decade, wrote an excellent book a few years back, “The Coming Plague.” Reading even just a few chapters of that book will give you a pretty good sense of the real problems involved in identifying and preparing for new infectious diseases, and the political and social hurdles in implementing policies and medical programs.

More recently she has written an excellent comprehensive article for Foreign Affairs, the online e-magazine published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

It's lengthy — some 5,000 words, or about 13 pages — but you can't read it and walk away wondering whether it's worth preparing against the threat posed by Avian Flu and its sibling strains. In the first paragraph, she points out that Avian flu has killed about 50 percent of documented patients infected since 1997. A few paragraphs later she points out that examination of U.S. records from the “Spanish Influenza Pandemic” of 1917 to 1918 indicate a mortality rate of about ONE PERCENT of all persons infected. Ironically, where we have become accustomed to warnings that young children and the elderly are thought to be most vulnerable to flu outbreaks of the last few decades, the Spanish flu was most savagely fatal among young adults, possibly because the older populace had gained partial immunity from several nationwide flu outbreaks some decades earlier.

Comment Posted By David March On 24.09.2005 @ 23:33

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