« | Home | »

My Media Easter

Tags: | |

The influenza season draws to a close. But the virus isn’t going quietly. Monday 2 April started early for me with an interview on the Today programme about the sensible decision by the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity to give up trying to censor papers describing the enhancement of bird flu infectivity in ferrets. I covered the same story for Good Morning Scotland. The benefits of knowing about potentially nasty mutations before they take us by surprise far outweigh any risks from al-Qaida virologists.

Interviewed later in the day by Tay FM and the Dundee Courier about several sudden deaths at a care home in Broughty Ferry (the posh Dundee suburb). Flu confirmed. Another interview with BBC Scotland on Tuesday evening about the same.

Wednesday teatime, the Belfast Telegraph calls asking for a piece about the interim independent report on deaths in neonatal units in December and January caused by pseudomonas. Most of the infected babies were washed with tap water when they had their nappies changed: the taps were the problem.

Thursday: Good Morning Scotland. Another Broughty Ferry interview: is the outbreak over? Seven deaths so far.

Friday: a copy of the Belfast Telegraph arrives. Seven flu deaths at a care home near Buncrana, Donegal.

These flu events are typical. Outbreaks with high mortality in care homes are not rare. Almost certainly the infections were caused by influenza A H3N2, the dominant seasonal virus for many years. Like all viruses it mutates. Maybe the Broughty Ferry and Buncrana outbreaks were facilitated by a new mutation, not a big change but enough to mean that the vaccine was less effective.

These flu stories remained local. So does flu most of the time. One of the failed predictions about swine flu was that it would sweep rapidly across the country. It didn’t.

There is some good news: the flu vaccine for 2012-13 will contain the new H3N2 virus.

Comments on “My Media Easter”

  1. Simon Wood says:

    Isn’t pneumonia called “the old man’s friend”, as Kathleen Jamie reminded us on “Woman’s Hour” this week?

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.

  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • jayavarman on How to Rig an Election: Before US election day 2000, Jeb Bush's Florida government disenfranchised a large number of voters in primarily Democratic districts, though it still...
    • Harry Travis on How to Rig an Election: Mr. Newey's comment is exceptional, noting the non sequitur nature outrage by the US Establishment and especially the liberal US press. Trump, with hi...
    • ikp on Maddening, Fiendish, Formidable: To buy Nemo from the USA, email your order to the editor at ikp1000@cam.ac.uk. You can pay with PayPal.
    • thebears on How to Rig an Election: Can't comment on accuracy, but this certainly aspires to tell you how the Congressional races are looking: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/201...
    • Jeremy Bernstein on How to Rig an Election: As a physicist who has followed closely nuclear arms proliferation I have noted and commented on in print on Trump's willful ignorance of the subject...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement