Thursday, October 27, 2005
France Says No Bird Flu On Reunion
France's health minister said on Thursday that tests on a man on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion showed he was not infected with the potentially deadly H5N1 bird flu virus.Actually, there are strains of bird flu other than H5 out there, including H7 and H9. And there are H5 variants. I have a silent running bet with myself that H9 will go human before H5, although the H9 will pick up genes from the H5 to do it. We'll see! They both have similar natural selection pressures.
"This is not a virus of the H5N1 strain, so it is not bird flu," Health Minister Xavier Bertrand told a news conference.
Authorities said on Wednesday that three people recently returned to La Reunion from a holiday in Thailand were believed to have caught the virus after a visit to a Thai bird park.
Samples were sent to Paris for further analysis. The results of the tests on the two other suspects are due on Friday, Bertrand said.
All three suspected cases on Reunion were treated with Tamiflu, and it appears to have worked so that is a positive sign. The H5N1 strain that is running across Europe and now probably down to Africa ought to be susceptible to amantadine for the time being.
China also announced no cases of human bird flu, ignoring the consistent reports of human bodies after eating sick fowl. The two kids got sick in a village that was having an outbreak of bird flu.
It's a winner.
What's the bigger threat? A globalisation that exports cheeseburgers and pop songs or a globalisation that exports the fiercest and unhealthiest aspects of its culture? Far too many American conservatives still think the dragons are at the far fringes of the map - that, in the 21st century, America can be a 19th-century republic untroubled by the world's pathogens because of its sheer distance from them.
But, in an age of globalised proximity, all of us in the modern multicultural West are like Lincoln on the steps of the Capitol that Saturday morning: the world is in the room with us.
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