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This blog is to store what I consider to be important - or weird - stories about health and science. To read these, you will need the Adobe Reader; you may download it at: Be sure to check out my political blog at: Welcome to my friends from LeftWingRadicals!

Monday, July 04, 2005

More on the coming pandemic

I've been harping on this for quite a while.

If you think that a major pandemic isn't coming, you're fooling yourself. Pandemics usually show up about every 20 years; we're overdue. The difference is that H5N1 is much more lethal than any other pandemic in recorded history, although just how lethal it will be when it acquires the ability to pass *easily* from human to human remains a mystery, and will remain so until the pandemic hits. There have been cases of human to human, but they have always been 'close contact' cases.

However, a new report out says that, in Vietnam, they've seen evidence that human to human transmission is becoming easier. Scientists have also seen H5N1 is pigs, and pigs are the best mixing media for H5H1 to acquire a human gene to enable quick, airborne, human to human transmissibility.

Please, get your flu shot when they become available. Even a flu shot not targeted at the H5N1 will help - a little; maybe just enough to keep you alive.

PS. If you're sick (with any cold/flu/etc) and you know it and you come around me, you should really bring some pretty big people to protect you, because I am NOT going to be a happy camper. However, my attitude about that has been in place since the late 70's, when I was running a large company and would fire anyone who came to work sick. And yes, I gave them extra paid days off, on the company's tab, to ensure that they didn't come in. In the end, the company saved a LOT of money and saved a lot of production time that would have been lost. McGraw-Hill took some convincing, but - at least in my plant of 250 people - they listened.

I'm betting good money that they don't have that policy in place anymore.

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