Washblog has a worthy piece, regarding assessing the current risk of Swine Flu (now to be called “2009 H1N1” flu, in deference to the pork industry, whose product has been unfairly maligned by the possibility of a pandemic of a flu comprised of genetic material obtained through its contact with birds, swine and humans).
Among the highlights of the post, which you can read here, are:
- The H1N1 virus that is the basis of this new virus is inherently capable of human-to-human transmission, which is particularly problematic.
- There is no way to know if the virus we are dealing with today will mutate into new forms, nor can we predict if the virus will become relatively more dangerous if and when new populations are exposed.
- It is possible this flu strain, which is appearing quite late in the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season, will further mutate, particularly as a result of spreading during the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season, then return to our part of the world, in the Fall.
- It is possible that a useful vaccine will be available for fall – and it is also possible that this virus will have morphed into a form that will be resistant to the newly developed vaccine.
- All of this can and will change rapidly – sometimes on a day-to-day basis.
It will be a significant challenge, particularly if the incidence of flu diminishes before returning in the Fall, for all of us to adopt habits which are effective in slowing the transmission of the flu. Among these are simply hand-washing, staying home from school or work if you are feeling flu-like symptoms, and coughing into your sleeve.
The Griffin Neighborhood Association maintains a list of emergency preparedness information, and information tracking the incidents of 2009 H1N1, on its web site.