Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Flu awareness: more people are catching on

At last. Those of us who have been paying attention to H5N1 are moving from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream. When I see signs urging people to get vaccinated I know that there is still a lot of ignorance (there is no vaccine for the bad strain being monitored) but at least an awareness is growing. Public discussions will inevitably lead to talk of panic, but with enough discussion and education I think that scenario can be better controlled. The more people read, learn and ask questions, the less likely a panic will ensue.

This is a good sign.

The page views since I set up H5N1 last March total 72,150, so 20% of all page views have been just since last Tuesday. Before the ABC News "Primetime" item on avian flu, I'd been getting perhaps 500 page views per day. That night and the following day, the number spiked to just over 6,000 in 24 hours, and it's been interesting to see that it settled down to four times the previous average.
While many other sites link to H5N1, they don't seem to bring many visitors here. But I hope that if you're here, you'll follow the links to the other flu blogs and news sources. No one site can give a real overview of the situation, but a few minutes' surfing can keep you remarkably up to date.
Nothing dramatic to report.
If and when the virus mutates into a human-to-human strain, that is when the the alarm bells will start ringing. To date there has been species jumping, but human cases have been associated with contaminated animals (chicken, swine), not other humans.

Stay tuned and keep reading.

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