I’m always curious to know what the experts are thinking when it comes to influenza, well, it’s interesting to me, and I’m sure the others around Flublogia are equally curious. As to whether anyone else might be, most days I have my doubts, but New Scientist thought enough readers would be to take a straw poll:
AS THE swine flu pandemic continues to sweep the world, what do public health officials, epidemiologists and flu researchers think will happen in the coming months? When New Scientist asked 60 of them, it turned out that half are concerned enough about the possibility of a virulent swine flu outbreak to take precautions such as acquiring a supply of Tamiflu for their families. Though most do not think it likely that a nastier strain will emerge, many are worried that if it did, their local hospitals and other parts of the health infrastructure could not cope.
No one can say for sure what will happen in the coming months. In the 1918 pandemic, the virus mutated and became more pathogenic over time. Last week, when swine flu fatalities doubled in Argentina – now in its winter flu season – the fear was that the virus had changed, though genetic sequencing proved that wasn’t the case.
As I tend to say, perhaps too frequently, we cannot know what the future has in store for us, at least not with any certainty. Anyone who says they know what will be, even with something as “simple” as the eight-gene influenza virus, is either ill informed or delusional, perhaps even both.
The New Scientist article, and please do read it in its entirety, should be sobering to any who believe the fall/winter months ahead will be no more eventful on the influenza front as the Spring/Summer. If half of those experts are concerned enough to feel it’s actionable, shouldn’t we?
Something to consider for those who have yet take the advice of our officials: Prepare now for what may be ahead of us. And, it may not be too far ahead either. Schools are starting to reconvene and that means influenza infections will ramp back up.