Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Puzzle

(Picture from Mexico Day of the Death)

"This swine flu, meanwhile, does seem to spread easily by airborne transmission. But how deadly is it? Despite the 100-plus deaths in Mexico, we don't really know. And that's why epidemiologists are working frantically to figure out the Mexico mystery: Why do the death rates there appear to be so much higher than those in the United States? In Mexico, it has reportedly killed about 100 of the 1,600 official suspected cases; elsewhere, it has appeared to take a far milder course, with zero deaths out of approximately 300 instances. There are several possible explanations for this discrepancy—any one, two, all, or none of these ideas could shed light on how deadly this virus might prove. In order of ascending likelihood for Mexico's higher mortality:"
(Slate)

3 comments:

Pierre said...

I can just imagine a room-full of bureaucrats with a map sprawled out in front of them. Little red pins are sticking out from it - one for every confirmed infection.

And with every new pin going on the map, they go "Shit, shit, shit!"

Then, they wait helplessly until the next pin to fall in place...

It's like battling a wildfire, except you have 6.5 billion little forests that keep moving around.

Dody G. said...

You know what's awesome? Preparation for pandemic flu was removed from the US stimulus package because it was deemed unnecessary for the economic focused stimulus.

Except with a pandemic, no one's going to go to work.

Jesse said...

this is my theory: like all cold and flu viruses, it mutates quickly. by the time it has reached the US it has become milder. if this is true, then we expect that after the first rash of deaths in mexico, there will be few new ones.