FluNow that H1N1 (swine flu) seems to be alleviating, does there still seem to be a threat that bird or avian flu may make the jump to humans such that it turns into a major pandemic?
Yes, I think the threat is just as real now as it was before we got distracted by the whole H1N1 situation. I agree with what poster #2 said...hopefully the whole H1N1 thing has people (both the authorities and the general public) considering what might be necessary if a more deadly pandemic were to suddenly appear. It sure doesn't seem like the H1N1 situation has been all that smooth. When I took my kids to the pediatrician back in early September they acted as if the H1N1 vaccine would be available in the immediate future. As far as I know, that office still doesn't have it available for all it's clients. If this were to happen in a more lethal pandemic, I'm afraid it would be utter chaos as people scrambled to get the vaccine...IF there was even one available.
I don't really think that what happens with Swine Flu likely has anything to do with the potential for bird flu to make the jump. I think it's more just that we're paying attention to Swine Flu now so we ignore/forget about bird flu.
I suppose the one thing Swine Flu might have done to help is to raise awareness and maybe give the authorities sort of a trial run at dealing with an epidemic. Maybe they'll have some of the kinks out and do better if bird flu gets bad.
What we all need to remember is that flu viruses seem to be cyclical in that they are more prevalent, and then they die down, before rising into prominence again. In addition, the viruses have a tendency to mutate slightly, and so the same virus will reoccur in a different more resistant form. Hopefully, the people in charge of our nation's (and world) vaccines have taken note.
I agree with poster #2 in that Swine flu has taken a front row seat in the media, this has not changed the fact that there is a possibility of other flus reaching pandemic levels. The media seems to determine how we respond to these viruses, if it is a slow news day we tend to hear more about the flu than we do on days when there is more significant news.