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July 29, 2005


This germ is not a flu and has no relationship to avian or swine flu, nor any potential for a global epidemic like influenza in 1918. It has been seen only in persons who had direct contact with dead or dying pigs. It is a strep germ which is showing increased virulence. Serious? yes, obviously for those who work with pigs. Very serious for them. Needs attention. But don't start with the the duct tape. Not that kind of deal at all. This is not Ebola, Marburg, etc.

see comments on dKos in response to your post there. That this is not flu is likely, but not clinched. That it was difficult even getting thist much information is the point of this post.

China's actually being relatively open with this outbreak, compared say to its handling of SARS at the time of the original outbreak in Guangdong in November and December of 2002. Hong Kong newspapers got wind of it at that point, but China's government didn't comment at all (or tell even the Hong Kong government) until after it had taken root in Hong Kong in February/March of 2003. By comparison, this is early notice. And the WHO itslelf has said that China is under no obligation to report this outbreak (it's not a big enough public health emergency and there is of yet no evidence of community transmission). That said, I think it would be smart if the Chinese government actually invited foreign experts in as this would increase confidence that it wasn't telling porky pies. At the moment, it's just passing some information along to the WHO.

Yes, compared to the incredibly low bar of past SARS behavior, this is an improvement. But your comment on what China could do to improve confidence is on the money.

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