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Quickly Noted: The Swine Flu

April 23, 2009

Shades of 1976? Today the CDC released information that in addition to two non-related cases (the people are non-related, the flu isolates are) of swine flu reported in southern California earlier this week, there are now a total of seven confirmed cases, two in Texas and three more in California.

The thing about these cases that have folks spooked is that it’s an odd re-assortment: the viruses contain genetic pieces from four different sources: North American swine influenza viruses, North American avian influenza viruses, human influenza viruses and swine influenza viruses usually found in Asia and Europe. The other thing that’s worrisome is that they’re not sure how any of these people were infected, and are leaning towards human-to-human transmission, though nobody is confirming that. Way too early to make any definitive statements.

This is definitely something to keep an eye on going forward.

The best place I’ve found for updates on the situation so far has been from @CDCEmergency on Twitter. You can download the MMWR on the two original cases here. For those more biologically inclined, Revere has an interesting post up as well.

And finally, as an aside(?), there was some information bopping around Twitter yesterday and today on some sort of severe respiratory disease in Mexico. Whatever it is it’s scared the Canadian health authority into ordering a travel advisory for folks returning from areas of Mexico. And just now, Dr. Niman, of Recombinomics, has just posted on the implications of these outbreaks here.

Photo by johnmuk

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