Under the category of “we are not going to make that mistake again,” news is coming out of China that another possible pandemic might be looming. At this point, there might not be any cause for alarm, but the COVID-19 worldwide disaster has scientists and the medical profession on high alert for further issues.
The new viral infection in question is the G4 EA H1N1 flu strain, which has its ties to the “swine flu.” It was the combined efforts of a team of scientists and doctors from the China Agricultural University, the Shandong Agricultural University, and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention that discovered the potential problem. To their credit, they made this information immediately available to prominent government officials as well as the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).Read More »
What brought this viral infection into the spotlight was a report issued by scientists that noted 10% of the Chinese population’s swine industry workers between 18 and 35 years of age have already tested positive for this new strain. That’s certainly a level of infectivity that warrants concern.
As the world continues dealing with Coronavirus issues that are still adversely affecting many a family and individual, the last thing anyone wants to see is another medical issue of major concern. With that in mind, the attention turns to just how likely it is the world is facing a new medical disaster.
Signs There Could Be Trouble Brewing
Here’s some of the immediate information to come out of the aforementioned universities and Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Controlling the prevailing G4 EA H1N1 viruses in pigs and close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented,” they wrote in their report.
They followed up by adding: “Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus.” Thus, they ended up admitting that there needs to be systematic monitoring of this situation as a preventative measure to keep things from repeating what happened with other viruses throughout history.
Admittedly, scientists have released this information as more of a “look here” than a warning. However, that “look here” comes with some evidence that the world’s top medical organizations need to keep this situation on their collective radars. Here are seven possible factors (in laymen terms) that are making it necessary to issue an alert about this flu issue at this time:
1. There are Signs the Viral Infection is Spreading Within the Chinese Swine Population
As the notorious spreaders of viruses, swine populations all over the world are regularly tested for potential issues. Scientists first noted this particular viral strain several years ago through their normal testing efforts. In the last couple of years, there has been a noticeable increase in positive tests in pig populations all over China.
2. Viral Strain Has Shown Potential to Infect Humans
As indicated above, 10% of China’s swine workers have tested positive for this strain. That leaves little doubt about the fact this strain will infect humans. It’s also noteworthy that the reported infections are not restricted to one area of China.
3. Infection Known to Attach to Human Throat
As a sign this infection enters through the respiratory system, scientists and doctors have discovered that this strain like so many other viruses will attach to tissue in the throat area. It’s not clear yet to what extent the infection spreads from there, but that seems to be where it starts.
4. The Virus Will Spread in Bronchial Cells
After attaching to throat tissue, this viral infection has shown itself capable of reproducing within bronchial cells. If this reproduction proves to be rapid, we could see this flu infecting humans in much the same way many of the Coronaviruses infect humans.
5. The Potential for Human to Human Transmission
The ability of any viruses to be easily transmitted from one person to the next is always the top concern. After doing tests with ferrets, it has become clear this viral infection is transmittable. While humans aren’t ferrets, the way the respiratory system for both specifies works is quite similar. Not only is this infection proving to be transmittable, but it is also proving to be transmittable in many of the same ways Coronaviruses are transmittable.
6. Current Flu Vaccines May Not Help
When looking at the potential for any infection to spread, the medical profession will always search out current vaccines and treatment options to see what’s available to fight the infection. In this case, the flu seems to come with enough structural differences that nothing currently available (flu shots, medication) is immediately known to be a preventative measure or a cure.
7. More Infectious Than Its Predeccessor
Based on the notion this version of the swine flu may have evolved from prior versions of the pig flu, the degree to which it can spread becomes a primary focus. Based on scientific evidence, it would appear this viral strain is more infectious than its predecessors. That’s not good news because we already know humans are at risk.
In light of the difficulty caused by the current coronavirus problem, scientists are putting all the necessary precautions in place to monitor this flu. That includes close and frequent conversations with the W.H.O. and medical leaders throughout the world.
No one is suggesting this is an issue that warrants any level of panic at this time. At work here is the notion of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The world will surely be keeping an eye out here for further future developments.
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