What’s up with H7N9, the new avian influenza?

I have a new article up today at Slate, examining the emergent H7N9 avian influenzas, and a bit of a review of “bird flu” in general: While we were carefully watching H5N1 in Asia and Europe, another influenza virus—2009 H1N1—appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Ultimately traced back to swine, this virus was easily spread between […]

Holy influenza, batman!

Typically when we think of flying things and influenza viruses, the first images that come to mind are wild waterfowl. Waterbirds are reservoirs for an enormous diversity of influenza viruses, and are the ultimate origin of all known flu viruses. In birds, the virus replicates in the intestinal tract, and can be spread to other […]

Biblical fever = influenza. You’re kidding me, right?

Via Bob O’H and Cath Ennis comes this truly bizarre article from the Virology Journal: “Influenza or not influenza: Analysis of a case of high fever that happened 2000 years ago in Biblical time”. Now, regular readers will know that I normally love this type of thing; digging back through history to look at Lincoln’s […]

How long does it take to sequence an influenza virus?

…asked Joe. Answer: only a few days to sequence, clean up the data, and submit to NCBI. Seven H1N1 swine flu sequences are up (H/T Jonathan Eisen). I’ve not had a chance to crack anything open yet, but I hope to see some analysis from more of the genomics geeks soon…However, one bummer is that […]

Swine influenza–older posts

While there’s interest and some new readers, I figured I’d link some of my older posts on swine influenza and pandemic influenza in general for some additional background information and history. Keep in mind that these are unrelated to the current outbreak. Pandemic influenza series (a bit dated, but still some good information in there, […]

Influenza meta-update: H5N1 spreading, new swine influenza virus found

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything on influenza. It’s certainly not that nothing interesting has happened recently–far from it, there are new stories on influenza out every day. Rather, there are just a lot of people out there covering it, and covering it well. However, it’s been an unusually busy few days on the […]

Influenza and masks, redux

It’s difficult to believe that it’s been over a year since I last wrote a post on the use of masks in the event of an influenza pandemic. Since then, there’s been a virtual glut of information out there, and from what I’ve seen at least, people, businesses, organizations, government, etc. interested in preparation seem […]

Influenza: the year in review, and looking forward

Influenza season is wrapping up here in the United States, and it seems so far that the 2006-7 season was pretty typical. The first cases of the disease were reported in late October, and cases were sporadic throughout November and early December. After increasing a bit in mid-late December of 2006, outbreaks declined slightly in […]

Influenza virologist Robert Webster stops by to talk shop

Readers who are regulars at Effect Measure or Deltoid will be familiar with the opinions of attorney and author Michael Fumento. Fumento considers himself an avian flu “skeptic,” and recently issued a “challenge” (the title, “My avian flu challenge to the leftist bird-brained squawkers”, might give you some clue as to its scientific value) to […]

Pandemic influenza awareness week: It’s that time again

Flu shots are rolling out, and there should be no shortage this year. A few new articles remind the public of the importance of these vaccinations, especially in high-risk groups (something that I touched on here regarding data showing that vaccination during pregnancy can help protect the newborn). You can find the guidelines for target […]