Friday, February 10, 2012

La Nina, influenza's girlfriend

Since my planned pandemic week of reviews is coming along (hopefully soon), I thought this would be timely.

At least some of the flu pandemics are helped along by the weather.

Richard Black, BBC News, 16 January 2012 (hat tip: NC)

US-based scientists found that the last four pandemics all occurred after La Nina events, which bring cool waters to the surface of the eastern Pacific.

In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they say that flu-carrying birds may change migratory patterns during La Nina conditions.
However, many other La Nina events have not seen novel flu strains spread around the world, they caution.

The regular forms of influenza, if not always the pandemics, do seem to have a temperature element to their spread.   Thus it is generally thought of as a disease of the winter.  Somehow I don’t think we will be so luck as to see it go away with global warming.


Humble wife said...

Hmm, sounds plausible to me.

russell1200 said...

Yes, it is not stated as a primary factor, but an occassional contributor. Other events need to line up as well.

For myself, I am always interested to see how my posts will actually look when posted.

I do use the preview, but somehow they seem to have a life of their own.