H5N1: Avian Influenza

"Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Ooh she gave me Hong Kong Flu
Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Put me on a breeze to Katmandu..."
(Shane MacGowan)

N.B.: this is continued in a log file started 25 January 2004

22 January 2004
Here's a currently-unfolding drama that connects with (a) geographies of human cultures [how?] and (b) the question of how to find stuff we need in order to understand the world around us. There's a pretty scary outbreak of what the mass media tends to label as "bird flu" in East Asia and Southeast Asia. The danger is that it could become pandemic, and it's even possible that the avian virus responsible (that's H5N1) could "exchange information" with a human virus...

There's lots we want to know. We can track emerging news in several ways:

Google News search H5N1 (updated constantly)

Vads Corner (seemingly a personal labo[u]r of love)

WHO Disease Outbreak News and Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response

Canadian Press news story 13 January 2004

News Guangdong story 15 January, another from 18 January --and see current update

Australian press 19 January 2004

...and compare 1998 CNN news story

...but what lies behind this and other virus outbreaks that seem to emanate from East Asia? Why there, why now, what should we do/know about the phenomenon? How do we even approach the question?

This Google search may be a starting place, and it produces some immediate help:

K.F. Shortridge's summary ...see also Virology article, 2000

Eurosurveillance Monthly summary

And NB the connections to SARS: SARS IN CHINA: Tracking the Roots of a Killer Dennis Normile and Martin Enserink Science Volume 301, Number 5631, Issue of 18 Jul 2003, pp. 297-299 ...and see related articles in Science

Influenza: An Emerging Disease Robert G. Webster (Emerging Infectious Diseases 4:3:1998)

Stopping Asia's Avian Flu: A Worrisome Third Outbreak (Dennis Normile, Science Volume 303, Number 5657, Issue of 23 Jan 2004, p. 447) --see also similar others from Science, especially A Molecular Whodunit (Robert G. Webster Science Volume 293, Number 5536, Issue of 7 Sep 2001, pp. 1773-1775)