Saturday, May 9, 2009

Deliberately get swine flu?

Whether or not to actively seek out swine flu infection has been an idea debated and toyed with by experts and non-experts alike. The reasoning goes as follows (like what Dr. Bob mentioned in last class):Flu outbreaks tend to come in waves, with mild ones followed by more virulent ones. This was seen in the 1918 Spanish flu. Infection with the current swine flu might protect against later more deadly versions of the virus. Other details that remain to be resolved are whether to infect now, or towards the need of the season, when the virus is most similar to the strain that will likely return.

Moms on twitter have even suggested "swine flu parties", like "chicken pox parties", where people gather to deliberate infect others. However, experts in general advise against this because of how little we know about this flu. While these experts admit that in hindsight, deliberate infection may have a been a good strategy for the 1918 flu, especially in poorer countries, the current flu is too unpredictable to risk.


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