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Earth Medicine

Flu + La Nina = Pandemic? 105

Posted by timothy
from the african-or-european-swallow dept.
New submitter MrEricSir writes with some scary speculation from a BBC article about the confluence of climate and disease: "A correlation between illness and cold weather is nothing new but this one is very specific: La Nina changes the migratory patterns of birds which can (and often does, according to this theory) cause flu pandemics."
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Flu + La Nina = Pandemic?

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  • La Niña? (Score:4, Informative)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @12:47PM (#38726108)

    The ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) usually exhibits a period of three to five years - so it's not exactly like La Niña is an uncommon event. If there's a correlation, it's pretty weak.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @12:55PM (#38726230)

    That's not what pandemic means. (A flu which affects a wide area and makes people sick is just regular old seasonal flu.) A pandemic is an epidemic of a single flu strain which occurs on a global scale.

    Don't make me define "epidemic" for you.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @01:20PM (#38726576)

    It does not have to be "global scale". Here is a quote from the WHO criteria for declaring a pandemic.

    "The Pandemic will be declared when the new virus sub-type has been shown to cause several outbreaks in at least one country, and to have spread to other countries, with consistent disease patterns indicating that serious morbidity and mortality is likely in at least one segment of the population."

    So a new flu strain in two countries that could cause death in elderly people would be considered a pandemic. That is far from a global scale. It may eventually become global but does not need to be global to be declared a pandemic.

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