I was watching Dr Chan of the WHO the other day give a rundown on the swine flu. It was the usual don't run for the hills cyoa don't panic the general population type of presentation. I almost fell asleep listening because I've heard and read so many of those types of presentations. But one thing slightly peaked my interest. She said that this virus could go away for a while and come back in a mutated form and be much worse than the initial outbreak. Now I'm thinking it would be some stronger form of the same virus that combination of swine, bird and human. Then I came upon what their real concern was about in all this:
The genetic building blocks of the swine flu virus come from pigs, humans and birds. Scientists believe that the virus mutated into its present version in pigs which may have been exposed to an avian version of the flu, which then mutated into its present form. Disease experts are especially concerned that the ability to mutate seen so far in the virus could eventually see it combine with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.
We were lucky with the last outbreak of bird flu which is about 82% fatal. The bird flu was rather difficult to spread from bird to human then human to human. That is no longer the case. With the possibility of swine flu combining with HIV there is also the thought of it joining with other nasty viruses like ebola, marburg or other hemoragic virus. Even though that might be highly unlikely due to the locations where the latter viruses are found it may just be something to consider. With ebola there is no treatment or cure and it's always fatal. How would we deal with such combinations? There would be quarintines and like Mexico did the shutting down of entire cities. This could be much like the black plague that wiped out 2/3 the population of Europe with trucks and haz mat crews traveling the streets to bag and pick up the dead. Scary thoughts for sure.