News Highlights

A Tale Of Two Flu Seasons

5 January 2014 — While much has been made in the media over the past couple of weeks regarding the `Return of Swine Flu’, the truth is that pH1N1 has been with us since 2009, albeit at fairly low levels over the past 3 years. Last year, North America’s flu season was dominated by H3N2, and those over the age of 65 were the hardest hit (see 2013 CDC FluView Week 2 & CDC Media Briefing), while the year before that we saw the mildest flu season in 3 decades (see CDC: The Close Of A Mild Season). This year, the 2009 H1N1 virus is by far, the dominant strain...

MERS or similar virus has been spreading in camels for at least a decade: study

2 January 2014 — A new study provides the first evidence that MERS or a very similar virus has been spreading in camels in parts of the Middle East for at least a decade. The research shows that stored blood samples taken from camels in 2003 all contain antibodies to the virus, or something close enough to MERS that antibody tests designed for MERS detect them...

MERS and H7N9: A Tale of Two Outbreaks

1 January 2014 — When medical malpractice, in the guise of politics, is carried out on a global scale. Last June, I wrote about the outbreaks of H7N9 avian flu and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and what they told us about the politics of healthcare in China and the Gulf states -- especially Saudi Arabia. China, having lost face by suppressing news of the SARS outbreak in 2003-04, was now being much more open; Saudi Arabia, by contrast, was revealing as little as possible. Since then, H7N9 cases dropped off sharply over the summer and rose again in the fall.

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