Fears of Another Flu Pandemic

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

Scientists have recreated the strain of the 1918 deadly Spanish flu virus that killed about 50 million people worldwide. They found the 1918 virus has similarities to the current "bird flu," also known as the H5N1 virus, infecting people in Southeast Asia.

The H5N1 virus has killed 65 people so far in Asia. The difference between the two strains of flu virus is the 1918 bug was able to spread from human to human quickly. So far, the H5N1 virus strain has not been proven to have that ability, but health officials say it has the potential.

If the H5N1 virus is able to spread from person to person the consequences could be deadly.

"The worst scenarios are frightening and they are not that far-fetched," said Dr. Dean Sienko of the Ingham County Health Department.

At this point, there is no proven vaccine and few anti-viral medications to treat the virus.


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