Saturday, May 02, 2009

Obama: "H1N1 Could Come Back In A More Virulent Form."

A few more quotes. The first is a statement from Obama from his Friday Cabinet meeting. The second is a recent statement from Laurie Garrett, a follow-up to her 2007 TED talk on H5N1 bird flu.
"Since we know that these kinds of threats can emerge at any moment, even if it turns out that the H1N1 is relatively mild on the front end, it could come back in a more virulent form during the actual flu season, and that's why we are investing in our public health infrastructure."
- Barack Obama, May 1, 2009, from CNN: Number Of Confirmed H1N1 Cases Worldwide Soars
"But the interesting thing is, Why do we have flu so late in the year? Usually the flu season has been over for quite some time, so this is a very unusual situation. And one of the things that's interesting about why flu is seasonal, and is the sort of bad-news endpoint of the paragraph I am now uttering: When flu is coughed or you sneeze it, the virus is suspended in a liquid environment. Ideally an environment with lots of polysaccharides and sugars, an environment like mucus. Suspended in mucus, the virus can go from your hand to a doorknob, from a doorknob to another person's hand; it can go onto the surface of a telephone ... all those things are contagious to others. Mucus also protects the virus from ultraviolet rays. One reason flu is seasonal -- as the temperature rises, these things tend to dry out. So in the summer, it's very, very unusual to see flu virus circulating. The bad new is, if this virus has indeed taken hold, it will move to the Southern hemisphere for their winter, and it will come back to us, possibly in a different mutation, this fall. As our temperatures drop, we may see a return. This is the ominous issue."
- Laurie Garrett, April 30, 2009, from TED's blog: Q&A With Laurie Garrett: "This Is A Huge Wake-Up Call"
Photo of Obama speaking at an April 29 press conference on H1N1 flu from

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