Friday, February 06, 2009

To everyone who has freaked out about the flu ...

... there is a reason to feel a bit more secure today.
Strep infections and not the flu virus itself may have killed most people during the 1918 influenza pandemic, which suggests some of the most dire predictions about a new pandemic may be exaggerated, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.
Yah, but ... something still killed those people.

Well, yes indeedy, but that something was a bacterium, and we now have antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, see?
"Neither antimicrobial drugs nor serum therapy was available for treatment in 1918," Klugman's team wrote.

Now there are also vaccines that protect against many different strains of S. pneumoniae, which cause infections from pneumonia to meningitis.
That's not to say that if you come down with a fever you should just pop whatever antibiotics you have in your bathroom cabinet ... since you should have finished your antibiotics for what they were prescribed for ... but there is no reason to panic about some massive flu epidemic which will wipe out 10% (or more) of the worlds population.

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