Monday, June 06, 2005

Health news

Two pieces of good news from the world of medical science:
  1. The avian flu that has been garnering worrying headlines over the last couple of months may be susceptible to quick intervention by vigilant health authorities -- efforts aimed as much at local birds as at infected humans. This is a remarkable instance of attempts to prevent worldwide pandemics by intervening at their sources.

  2. A more frightening, if more distant, foe may be close to neutralization: a vaccine for Ebola/Marburg viruses may be on the way. An immediate blessing to those in Angola and other affected regions, and a relief to think we don't need to fear the mass casualties that could result from one affected airline passenger...
Both of these developments require ongoing vigilance, but they help diminish the fear of uncontrolled outbreaks over large areas, the kinds of epidemics that tax the resources of local governments and health agencies. Targetted intervention means more restricted logistical requirements, but it means that outbreaks must be noticed and acted on in days or weeks.

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