Since first posting this blog I have received a comment that will give the readers two direct links to National Geographic articles on the subject at hand. The comment and links are at the end of this blog.
Sometimes when I have a lot of time on my hands, which is quite often these days, I actually read articles in National Geographic as opposed to just thumbing through the photographs.
Quite by accident I ran across an article in the October 2005 issue of National Geographic that questioned when the next flu pandemic would arrive. What with the current swine flu, or Influenza A, H1N1, I thought that was certainly prescient. At the time, the big concern was the avian flu in Asia. I recall that there was great worry that migratory birds might spread it across the ocean to here in the good old USA. I guess the avian flu is still a concern, but I found what the article said about flu in general and its references to the great pandemic in 1918 and the outbreaks in 1957, and ‘68 enormously interesting.
One item that caught my eye was that pigs can catch avian flu from birds and can catch flu from humans and that a new strain could result. Could that be what has happened this time around? I also heard the rumor that the current swine flu might have been the result of a flu strain escaping from a laboratory. I heard that on the Dr. Dean Ewell radio program yesterday (that was probably a taped repeat from last week) . He seemed to doubt it, but did not totally discredit it.
There has been some accusations that health officials and the news media overreacted in this current outbreak that first came into the news in April, which so far, although it has spread throughout the world and is blamed for many deaths, does not seem to be as bad as might have been feared. But after reading the National Geographic article I referred to, I can see why there is concern. The truth is scientists and doctors don’t know the potential of this flu or future flu outbreaks and can only go by what they have learned so far. And if a new strain was to get away from containment efforts in the early stages there might be no stopping it. This current strain I think did get away, but so far is not as virulent or as survivable itself, as might have been feared (it seems so far).
I did read about the 55-year-old assistant principal dying over the weekend in New York. The flu is going through the school system there. His death was attributed at least partly to the swine flu. It was also reported he may have had another underlying condition.
I suffered from an upset stomach last night and some other intestinal problems, shall we say. I think it may be due to eating too many oranges on Sunday or even a restaurant meal I ate going out to lunch with my mother. But the thoughts of swine flu were on my mind. But I don’t seem to have flu symptoms at this time (headache and extreme body ache or fever).
Feeling much better today, May 19. I think it was the oranges. I swallowed a couple of seeds. They were Valencias.
A few days ago I blogged that the swine flu had come to the city and the county where I live (at the top of California’s Sacramento Valley). The count of flu cases here, as I said, so far is 1 and the victim has recovered. A day or two ago I read that there was a case in the next county south of here, same result.
And I sure hope that was the oranges that made my stomach ache.