Wednesday, June 24, 2009

German Officials Warn H1N1 Mutating?

Reuters is reporting that German officials believe the swine flu, H1N1, is apparently mutating and could be setting up to spread in a far more virulent and dangerous form.
Germany's federal agency for infectious diseases said on Tuesday there were signs the H1N1 swine flu virus had started to mutate and warned it could spread in the coming months in a more aggressive form.

Experts were concerned about how the flu was developing in Australia and South America, said Joerg Hacker, head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

"It's possible the virus has mutated. In autumn the mutated form could spread to the northern hemisphere and back to Germany," Hacker told a news conference in Berlin.
The flu could become far more deadly than the relatively mild strain that we've seen to date, even as dozens of people around the world have died from this strain (annually in the US anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 die from influenza every year).

It bears watching and public health officials are right to warn that the population should seek vaccination for influenza since it can reduce the spread among the population and vaccine developers are working to prepare the newest flu vaccines to include H1N1 in their mix.

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