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Pandemic Schmandemic June 12, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.
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The World Health Organization just declared the H1N1 influenza virus has created a pandemic. This virus is less virulent than the usual slate of seasonal influenza virus variants and is less deadly. If you look at only the numbers of people who have died where the H1N1 was one of the primary causes of death, the numbers are much lower than the ones heard on the media. Those include people who have the virus in their systems, indicative only that they were exposed and might have had mild or nonsympomatic cases. These people often had other, severe medical issues.

The H1N1 virus initially gained quick medical and media notice because it appeared to be very virulent in Mexico and its DNA showed DNA evidence of cross-species mutation from bird and porcine (swine) influenzas. It later proved by DNA testing to not be the cause of many of the deaths in Mexico.

This novel, somewhat mild virus has been monitored by DNA testing. This is possible because the equipment to do it, the PCR instruments, are now common and inexpensive. They are now scattered worldwide. The last pandemic declared by WHO was 41 years ago. All previous diseases that spread globally were monitored by primitive methods, such as plain old physical symptoms of people.

This is the PCR pandemic. A decade ago, it would not have received as much attention. A generation ago, it might have passed by unnoticed as just a seasonal flu or cold with fever, sniffles, et cetera. Virologists and the medical profession still preach gloom-and-doom scenarios, saying it might mutate at any time and its spread in the Southern hemisphere could be a major epidemic since it is the start of their winter season.

Do not hold your breath, yet.

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