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Kristin Hayes, R.N.

Flu Updates

By February 14, 2012

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Researchers in Madison, WI were able to genetically alter the virus H5NI, or bird flu, making it much more transmissible among humans.  According to experts this research will allow them to study potential strategies for disease control and to be more prepared in the event of an outbreak, but the government is concerned. In order to prevent this research from being used against the U.S. by bio terrorist groups The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) prohibited two journals, Nature and Science from publishing certain aspects of the research. Personally, I can't help but wonder if the risk of this research is worth the benefit. I mean, essentially, we've just created a weapon that could be used against us. Why? To attempt to prevent a pandemic that may or may not ever even happen. I mean, what are the chances that this virus will naturally mutate in the same way that these scientists have altered it? What do you think?

In other "flu news", while reviewing data from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic research identified school closures as one of the best ways to stop the spread of a pandemic. "Our study demonstrates that school-age children were important drivers of pH1N1 transmission in 2009," says David Earn, lead author of the study published in Annals of Internal Medicine. It should be noted that this data was only taken from one part of the world, Canada.

For more information about these studies read:

U.S. Advisers Explain Request to Censor Bird Flu Research

School Closures Slowed Spread of 2009 H1N1 Pandemic

For more information about the flu read:

All About the Seasonal Flu Shot

New Research Shows Benefits to Pregnant Women Who Receive the Flu Shot

Teaching Your Children Proper Hygiene Can Halt the Spread of the Flu

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