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MEXICO CITY — Bird flu kills more than 60 percent of its human victims, but doesn't easily pass from person to person. Swine flu can be spread with a sneeze or handshake, but kills only a small fraction of the people it infects.
So what happens if they mix?
This is the scenario that has some scientists worried: The two viruses meet — possibly in Asia, where bird flu is endemic — and combine into a new bug that is both highly contagious and lethal and can spread around the world. Scientists are unsure how likely this possibility is, but note that the new swine flu strain — a never-before-seen mixture of pig, human and bird viruses — has shown itself to be especially adept at snatching evolutionarily advantageous genetic material from other flu viruses.
Should You Be Worried?
"This particular virus seems to have this unique ability to pick up other genes," said leading virologist Dr. Robert Webster, whose team discovered an ancestor of the current flu virus at a North Carolina pig farm in 1998.
The current swine flu strain — known as H1N1 — has sickened more than 2,300 people in 24 countries. While people can catch bird flu from birds, the bird flu virus — H5N1 — does not easily jump from person to person. It has killed at least 258 people worldwide since it began to ravage poultry stocks in Asia in late 2003.
The World Health Organization reported two new human cases of bird flu on Wednesday. One patient is recovering in Egypt, while another died in Vietnam — a reminder that the H5N1 virus is far from gone
Originally posted by Iamonlyhuman
I thought that the current H1N1 was a combined strain of swine, avian and human already. So are they saying that the more lethal to human H5N1 avian flu is different than the avian flu that's already in there?
"The new strain contains gene sequences from North American and Eurasian swine flus, North American bird flu and North American human flu, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
I'm confused now.
Originally posted by Redpillblues
Many of us on here have been trying to warn people of this for 2 weeks now..say response..Ah,its just a flu...
Its gonna get ugly..
"My great worry is that when this H1N1 virus gets into the epicenters for H5N1 in Indonesia, Egypt and China, we may have real problems," (Webster) told The Associated Press. "We have to watch what's going on very diligently now."
Originally posted by fleabit
So there is a very low chance it 'could get ugly.' Stop stating this as if it's fact. I get weary of people trying to sensationalize and alarm people with over the top fear-mongering.