Deadly 1918 Flu = Weaker H1N1 in 2009
I don’t normally post on weekends, but I’m squeezing this quickie in because I promised:
Yesterday, Scientific American’s Twitter account mentioned an online article about the 1918 influenza and its weakening effect on modern pandemics.
Today, here it is: Pandemic Payoff
You should read the whole article if you want some reassurance about swine flu. First of all, you’ll learn about recent vaccine research that shows previous brushes with the flu – any flu – appear to help immune systems over age six recognize H1N1.
But the best part comes on page two, with a description of the H1N1 we’re dealing with today as sort of a weaker descendant (though still not a strain to take lightly) of that deadly 1918 strain. You see, H1N1 virus had never cropped up in humans before 1918, so exposure during that pandemic is, in a way, gruesome good news for our 21st century selves. Meaning, in my mind at least, that other future variant strains should have the same less-than-devastating qualities.
Now, avian flu (H5N1) is another story altogether, but let’s just choose not to worry about that scenario for the time being, shall we?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. As I write this, my former Florida kids are playing in the snow.
SNOW. IN OCTOBER.
I love it.