Mary's Library

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Flu (correction)

ALEX sent me a comment regarding yesterday’s flu posting. He chastises me for “blogging about false yet alarming news” and points out that there is currently no bird flu being spread person-to-person in Romania.

He’s right, the outbreak mentioned on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News is in Indonesia.

However, CBS does say that the cases are suspected to have been spread person-to-person. This is from the story at the CBS News site:

“The WHO has said it is possible the disease may have spread through limited human-to-human transmission in the latest cluster of cases [in Indonesia], but it doesn't appear to have spread outside the family. Earlier, health officials said they had no evidence that anyone in the cluster had contact with poultry infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus, and tests on birds in the village of Kubu Sembelang, where the family lives, all came back negative.”

And this is from CNN, dated yesterday:

“PETER CORDINGLEY, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: They can't find an animal source for this infection [the one that’s in Indonesia, not in Romania] and that worries us. And in the absence of a known animal source, we have to treat this as possible human-to-human transmission of the virus.”

So the alarming news was true, but its geographical location was false.

And where did I get the idea this was going on in Romania? The only mention of Romania I've come across lately is a Spokesman-Review AP report that the so-called Dracula Castle, said to have been that of Vlad the Impaler (which it was not), is being given back to the family from whom the Communists confiscated it in 1948.

Once owned by Queen Marie of Rumania, the castle is being returned to the current owner, Dominic van Hapsburg (yes, those Hapsburgs.)

Here is ALEX’ email:

This is preposterous! The Avian flu virus while easily transmissible from birds to humans, is NOT yet in a form that that would allow person-to-person contamination. Of more than 120 deaths worldwide on account of the virus, only ONE report of human-to-human contamination is known, which is hardly grounds for generalization. I don't know whether you misunderstood CBS or rejoice in blogging about false yet alarming news, but please check your facts. Need sources? Try this one for starters:


Sorry, Alex. Mary’s Library regrets the error.


At 6:19 AM PDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Experts here in the UK are saying very forcefully and very openly that it is only a matter of time before the crafty little critter virus mutates into the person to person spread variety.IMHO as a health professional who works in preventive medicine we should be fully aware and talking about this possibility NOW.It's not scaremongering , it's reality and we are preparing very openly for the scenario.


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