Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Richard Besser talks about the possibility of a pandemic. What is a pandemic, aside from being a media magnet?
"A pandemic is basically a global epidemic -- an epidemic that spreads to more than one continent," says Dan Epstein, a spokesman for the Pan American Health Organization, a regional office of the World Health Organization.Tamaflu has proven effective in beating the virus, so perhaps talk of a pandemic is hype at this point. There are 6 cases in California and 2 in Texas. The best thing you can do is wash your hands regularly. No, you can't get it from eating bacon.
Influenza pandemics have struck about three times every century since the 1500s, or roughly every 10-50 years. There was one in 1957-1958 and one in 1968-1969. The most infamous pandemic flu of the 20th century, however, was that of 1918-1919. An estimated 40 million people died in less than a year, and what made it so different from seasonal flu epidemics is that it killed primarily young people, those aged 20-45. WebMD
Here's a story that looks at how this virus may have started. Makes sense to me.
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Here's more from the CDC.
Obama monitoring swine flu: