Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flu News on NPR

Transmission In U.S. So Far Not From Casual Contact

Ira Longini of the University of Washington is collecting data on the U.S. outbreaks to plug into computer models that estimate the speed of transmission. "We're not seeing community-wide transmissions," Longini says. "Those would be contacts in casual settings such as subways or movie houses or restaurants or places where people come close to one another but don't spend a lot of time together."

Longini says all the U.S. cases of swine flu so far have involved someone who was infected in Mexico and then infected close contacts in schools or their own families — not casual contacts.

But Fukuda [the WHO's chief flu adviser, Dr. Keiji Fukuda] says the world "is in the process of moving" to Phase 6 — a pandemic. However, he says, "we still need to see the evidence that we are there." Swine flu cases could develop explosively, fizzle out entirely or disappear with warm weather and come roaring back in the fall, as the fearsome flu pandemic of 1918-19 did, he said. [emphasis mine]

The WHO will be watching the Southern Hemisphere closely in the coming months, as it enters its main flu season.

Imnsho if we get a reprieve until the Fall, when they hope to have vaccines in circulation, we'll be fine. I'm still considering whether I'll need to spend the summer out of town. If this ratchets up children at least, I predict, will be sent to country relatives. This is not a bad thing.


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