The Perfect Storm?
So what would be the perfect flu storm? H1N1 (Swine Flu) a highly contagious, mostly mild and easily spread among humans disease, intermingles with H5N1 (Bird Flu) a very deadly illness (has killed about 60% of those infected) but has had a difficult time sustaining transmission amongst humans. That by the way is what virologists call recombination.
A ProMed post this morning picked up a story reported in a Vietnamese website noting that H1N1 was spreading in public vehicles (buses) in the Ha Tinh province and the government was urging sick people to stay home. The article then went on to discuss a man who had just died in the same village of H5N1 (bird flu) had a relative who works in a local private High School in District 9 where 73 students and five teachers have contracted swine flu.
Gulp….this is getting a little close for comfort….Of course this is all random in the world of viruses. These two viruses would have to be in the same person at the same time….
The medical editor of ProMed concluded the post with these observations…
“This suspected case of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection, if confirmed, will become the 112th case and the 57th death to have occurred in Viet Nam. The most recent previous case died on 27 Apr 2009 in Thanh Hoa province. The concern in the current (suspected) case is that there is a potential epidemiological link with an outbreak of influenza pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection among teachers and children at a school in the same province. Confirmation of the H5N1 diagnosis is awaited, as are more details of the investigation of the outbreak at Ngo Thoi Nhiem private High School.”
This will be closely watched by the infectious disease professionals who will no doubt be keeping all of their fingers crossed.
Look at Vietnam – http://www.lookatvietnam.com/2009/07/ministry-cautions-about-swine-flu-spread-on-public-vehicles.html
ProMED Digest V2009 #353 – http://www.promedmail.org