Friday, December 23, 2011

Holy frijole.. H5N1


We all remember the H1N1 virus from a few years ago right?  Well there's a new virus in town, H5N1, that top virologists have been studying.  H5N1 is a strain of influenza that's deadly in birds.


H5N1 has been coaxed by researcher Ron Fouchier from Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and his team to leap between species, from birds to ferrets.  This research was completed in state of the art facilitates with rigorous bio safety controls --people in anti-contaminate space suits etc.  That's good to know.. but while the risk of being infected in this controlled setting is less than 1%, it is not zero.. 

This research having been completed is controversial, scientists mutated strains of a deadly influenza that are transmissible between mammals-- we're mammals.  The research specifically demonstrated that with the induced mutations H5N1 was not only transmissible between mammals in close contact, but was also an airborne infectious agent.  That's f*cking scary. If one ferret sneezes while the hatch is open, and one researcher becomes infected..
These scientists did this research to test if the H5N1 virus had the potential to acquire random genetic changes that could possibly make it transmissible to humans.  Now we are armed with the knowledge that this deadly flu very well has the potential to jump species and potentially infect humans.  

What has been ignored, or at least under-reported, is that there are 600 documented cases of H5N1 infection in humans with a 60% mortality rate.  

When construction began on a skate park near my house a few years ago a mass grave of nearly 100 individuals was discovered.  They all died during the bird flu epidemic of 1918, which had a 2.5% mortality rate... 

I think this is scary.  Check out the article below for more info and do some more googling of your own if you're interested. 

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