By Mike Davis
Special to the OC Voice
2 May 2009
The hordes of US students on spring break returned from Cancun this year with an invisible but sinister souvenir.
The Mexican swine flu, a genetic chimera probably conceived in the fecal mire of an industrial pigsty, suddenly threatens to give the whole world a fever.
Initial outbreaks across North America reveal an infection rate already travelling at higher velocity than the last official pandemic strain — the 1968 Hong Kong flu.
Stealing the limelight from our officially appointed assassin — the otherwise vigorously mutating H5N1, known as bird flu — this porcine virus is a threat of unknown magnitude.
It seems far less lethal than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003. As an influenza, however, it may be more durable than SARS.
Domesticated seasonal Type-A influenzas kill as many as 1 million people each year. Even a modest increment of virulence, especially if coupled with high incidence, could produce carnage equivalent to a major war. (more…)