There have been 2 bird flu deaths reported in Indonesia – one being a five year old girl after her uncle died from it a few days earlier. Officials believe that they were infected by sick pigeons as they lived in the same house with livestock in the nearby village.
Fears have risen in the area as deaths from China were reported in December after 18 months of having no cases of bird flu there. Egypt and Indonesia had reported new cases of the H5N1 recently. In both cases in Egypt they had exposure to backyard poultry. Scientists worry that bird flu may be able to mutate so that it is able to pass from human to human through the air, in the droplets produced by an infected person’s cough or a sneeze.
Could these new cases be related to the weather as researchers discovered a link between La Nina and the past flu pandemics? We are in a back-to-back La Nina pattern now.
There is an international debate raging now on whether research can be done to find out more on these deadly bird flu cases. In December a U.S. advisory board asked two leading journals, Nature and Science, to withhold details of the research for fear it could be used by bioterrorists if it is leaked out. Sad that research may be halted because of the possible threat.
Researchers argued for the release of this research to help public health officials prepare more for a scenario where the virus could mutate and become more deadly, spreading from person to person via coughs and sneezes. Researchers believe that they are one to three mutations away before the viruses used may become transmissible via airborne particles.
Which threat do you think is most fearful, a pandemic or a bio-terrorist attack?