Recent headlines remind us that H5N1 has not disappeared. It continues to infect and kill people. In Africa, five new cases in Egypt were reported to the WHO this month. In Asia, cases have been reported in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia within the last few months. China hasn’t reported any human H5N1 cases since January 2009 and no animal cases since June 2009. This, of course, is not credible. The H5N1 cases in Vietnam and Cambodia are likely spill over from China.
It is worth remembering that the case fatality rate for H5N1 ranges from 40-80%.
H1N1 continues its slow burn across the globe. Outbreaks and deaths are reported in Hong Kong with some regularity, likely indicating a significant level of unreported activity in mainland China.
We know that H5N1 can exchange genetic material with other flu viruses, in the laboratory, and produce offspring even more dangerous than their parents. But will H5N1 and H1N1 meet in the wild (or a dark lab) and produce a highly lethal, highly infectious virus that is unleashed on an oblivious public?
H5N1 and H1N1.
Two monsters dancing alone in the dark.