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August 11, 2005

H5N1 reported in Tibet

Reuters has just reported that avian flu has been found near Lhasa. While the type of bird was not specified by the Chinese, the assumption is that chickens were infected.

Some people may think it's not a big deal—too bad for the chickens and geese, maybe, but that's all. But the disease is already creating economic and ecological havoc in regions where it's broken out, which include some very poor communities with few resources. That in itself is cause for concern.

Added to that is the growing likelihood of dangerous mutations: more viruses, in more hosts, means more chance that a particular virus will change into one that transmits easily and lethally between humans. If it happens in a poor area, among people with little or no medical infrastructure, so much the worse for everyone.

Tibet is no longer far away.

Posted by dymaxion at August 11, 2005 02:02 PM

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