Monday, January 02, 2012
A Bird Flu Death In China. What It Means — And Doesn’t Mean
Science and news cycles sometimes converge in unhandy ways. That was the case on on January 1, when word came out of Shenzen, a Chinese city bordering Hong Kong, that a 39-year-old bus driver, surnamed Chen, had died of the H5N1 (or bird flu) virus. The deeply personal tragedy for Chen and his family ought not to be such scary news for most other folks. Since 2003, there have been only 573 confirmed cases of H5N1, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and though 60% of the victims have died, that’s still a vanishingly tiny number of people in a global population of 7 billion. As long as the H5N1 virus doesn’t jump easily from person to person — which it manifestly does not — it will remain a danger only to those who happen to come in contact with infected poultry.
at 1/02/2012 08:45:00 AM