Swine flu

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Tweefo (July 23, 2009, 19:46:30 PM):
I know very little about medicine but is this right or do I have it completely wrong? The Swine flu is called H1N1/09 but it's got a mortality rate of about 0.5%. Bird flu is also called H1N1 but it's got a far higher mortality rate, something like 40%. So if you get swine flu you (if you survive) will build up anti bodies and if you get Bird flu then stand a better chance. Sort of a natural vaccination?
Mefiante (July 24, 2009, 13:37:35 PM):
Er no, bird flu’s pathogen is H5N1 while that of swine flu is H1N1. H5N1 is a subtype (strain) of the influenza A virus, whereas H1N1 is a subtype of the influenza C virus. In each case, a variant of the influenza virus is the pathogen (and hence the “flu” designation) but they are not the same virus. Put simply (it’s a bit more complicated in reality), influenza viruses mutate fairly quickly and so auto-immunisation through fighting off a particular strain is only partly effective because the pathogens’ “signatures” change from season to season. That’s also basically why we keep getting colds every year, more or less.

Anyway, something about pigs and flying springs to mind here but it might be construed as impish… ;D

Tweefo (July 24, 2009, 13:45:57 PM):
Thanks. So we are going to die anyway?
Mefiante (July 24, 2009, 13:52:55 PM):
Well, yes, one way or another, but not necessarily from a flu. Older people have higher immunity to H1N1/09 than younger ones do, probably because they have been exposed to a wider range of related pathogens.

bluegray (August 05, 2009, 13:44:04 PM):


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