Friday, July 29, 2005

swine bug or something else...

take a look at Andy Ho's article in ST on thurs. I think his assertion about H5N1 swapping genes with Ebola a bit sensationalistic (title also!), but his points about the similar symptoms between the mysterious outbreak in Sichuan and the 1918 spanish flu "outbreak was chilling...

"In December 1979, the British Medical Journal published a letter from an army physician that had laid undiscovered in a trunk in Detroit for 60 years. In the 1918 letter, the doctor who was attending to soldiers in Boston during the devastating pandemic that year described in graphic detail how they were dying from the flu: 'Two hours after admission they have the mahogany spots over the cheek bones and a few hours later you can begin to see the cyanosis extending from the ears and spreading all over the face, until it is hard to distinguish the colored man from the white.
'It is only a matter of a few hours then until death comes and it is simply a struggle for air until they suffocate.' (Cyanosis is a bluish or purplish tinge to the skin.)

Note that reports described the Sichuan patients as having skin that turned very dark. Some H5N1 bird flu variants can produce bleeding under the skin. The index case in Thailand's human cases of bird flu this year was initially misdiagnosed as dengue hemorrhagic fever because of that bleeding."


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