An outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza that started in 2021 has become the largest bird flu outbreak in history, both in the U.S. and worldwide. In the U.S. the virus has led to the destruction of millions of commercially raised chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, and has killed thousands of wild birds. Many virologists are concerned that this virus could spill over to humans and cause a new human pandemic.
University of Washington School of Medicine microbiologist Deborah Fuller explains the challenges, and how mRNA could offer a promising solution
Wearing a surgical mask in an indoor public setting reduces the odds of testing positive for COVID-19 by 66%, and wearing an N95/KN95 type of mask lowers the odds of testing positive by 83%.
This death comes on top of a steep and unprecedented rise in illnesses and hospitalizations in King County and nationally among children for infections caused by multiple respiratory viruses.
The underlying reasons for the convergence of these viruses and the increase in infections so early in the season are not yet clear. But health experts have some clues about contributing factors and what it could mean for the coming months.
As the days get shorter and the weather colder in the northern hemisphere, health officials have warned of a perfect storm of infectious respiratory diseases over the winter months.
As flu season progresses, so does the chorus of advice, professional and otherwise, to drink plenty of fluids and take fever-reducing medications, like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin. These recommendations, well-intentioned and firmly entrenched, offer comfort to those sidelined with fever, flu or vaccine side effects. But you may be surprised to learn the science supporting these recommendations is speculative at best, harmful at worst and comes with caveats.
A the virus has evolved, it seems the most common symptoms have changed too.
. . . and paid a price
If these measures are so effective against the flu, though, why is SARS-CoV-2 still spreading?
Health officials are concerned that the presence of both viruses could put more people in the hospital and strain Washington’s health care system.
We can’t predict exactly what will happen when the flu arrives while COVID-19 still here; That makes it even more important to get a flu shot.
Of these patients, one in three was admitted to the intensive care unit and 7% died.
If you feel even a little bit sick, reschedule any plans you may have to see others in person. Stay home.
It’s hard to conceive a more efficient way to spread infectious disease than flying millions of people around the world in crowded airplanes.