Thursday, May 07, 2009

Time for another flu post

First a link to Medscape’s Alert Center. It looks like a pretty good resource and features some interesting video blogs, most notably by John Bartlett, “the bomb” when it comes to emerging infectious diseases.

Now a word or two about the name. Apparently it’s now officially Influenza A H1N1. Swine flu was unsatisfactory because of the mistaken reference to the 1976 scare. Not the same bug. But Influenza A H1N1 seems even worse because not only the 1976 Swine flu but also the 1918 flu were H1N1 strains. In fact, Influenza A H1N1 signifies nothing. Why not a geographic name such as the three previous pandemics were given? The 1918 pandemic was called Spanish flu (which didn’t originate in Spain, BTW); the 1957 pandemic was named Asian flu; the 1968 pandemic was Hong Kong flu. H1N1 is not very informative but, as Dr. Bartlett suggests in one of his video blogs, at least it's politically correct.

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