H1N1 Flu & Other News, Post-Holiday Catch-Up

Current numbers indicate the second swine flu wave, here in the northern hemisphere, is peaking or has peaked. No one knows if a third wave looms.

Tamiflu Resistance Not a Problem, WHO Says
Two recently reported Tamiflu resistance clusters occurred on cancer wards among patients with severely immune-compromised patients, and the World Health Organization says this resistant strain doesn’t show signs of easy transmission among people with stronger immune systems. At the same time, WHO doesn’t have any news yet on the Norway (although it’s also appeared elsewhere) announcement that one H1N1 mutation appears to send the virus into the lungs, resulting in more severe disease.

H1N1 in Dogs, Cats Smashes Previous Ideas of Flu as Host-Specific
With China now reporting swine flu in dogs as well as the cats we previously knew about, Effect Measure discusses why this is unusual and raises some larger, more disturbing questions about the prevalence of the virus.

Time’s Year in Health 2009
It’s the time of year for *Best of 2009* lists, and this one contains 54 subjects ranging from H1N1 (obviously) to ovary transplants to biobanks.

David Beckham Revealed as Asthmatic
This isn’t really news, but it’s notable because, unlike many other athletes who use their fame to increase awareness, Beckham has more or less hidden his asthma from the public. Which raises interesting questions about personal medical privacy vs. the responsibility of role models in our society. In any case, we can add the soccer powerhouse to the list of elite athletes who, with their accomplishments, smash the old stereotypes of asthmatics as weak, inactive, sickly patients who can’t run or compete.

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