H5N1 bird flu makes a deadly jump

To all the naysayers who said we had nothing to fear from bird flu, you may want to heed this. We now have the first confirmed case of a human-to-human transmission of H5N1 bird flu, resulting in one death. Overall, out of 343 reported infections, H5N1 has killed 211 people. This isn’t something that can be ignored any longer. H5N1 poses a very real, very immediate threat to humanity, perhaps worse than the devastating 1918 influenza outbreak. Now of course it’s not going to cause the end of humanity as we know it, but the potential is there to cause millions of deaths. All of the requisite pieces required for a wide scale bird influenza pandemic have fallen into place.

This news also serves as a grim notice to idiotic, evolution-denying creationists everywhere that they are wrong. They claim that evolution isn’t possible because there is no such thing as a beneficial mutation. Well, obviously, the ability to spread between humans is a hugely beneficial mutation (to H5N1, not to us, of course), and now it has happened. Will they continue to deny reality even as it happens right in front of their faces? Somewhere, during a future H5N1 pandemic, a creationist may fall ill to the disease, and repeat to their very grave the falsehood that their present circumstances are simply not possible because viruses cannot mutate and evolve.

3 Responses to “H5N1 bird flu makes a deadly jump”

  1. snaked Says:

    I seem to recall discussing the politicization of evolution with a scientist friend of mine (NOT a biologist) who had observed that High Priest Bush used the word “change” to describe potential threats from animal born nasties making the jump to humans at least once. I don’t think the creationism fan club will take this sort of thing as an earth shaking blow as long as they don’t have to call it “evolution.”

  2. Keith Says:

    Yeah, evolution is actually a big part of creationism. It’s just that there’s no change between species, just with a species (post-Noah’s flood, there was only a dog, from which all breeds of dogs came, according to creationists).

    OK, we have bird flu and it’s a really bad thing. What can we do to prevent it? Do you think admitting there’s a problem will make fighting it more effective? (I think those that have the ability to fight already have admitted there’s a problem, it’s just the creationist propagandist minority who haven’t.) Or is it just that we should admit that we’re doomed?

  3. Cyde Weys Says:

    Ignoring the whole evolution issue, yes, there are lots of things we can be doing against H5N1. For one, we’ve already developed a vaccine for it, and the United States has stockpiled something like 1 million doses to treat emergency personnel in the event of a flu pandemic. The simplest solution is simply to stockpile more doses of the vaccine. The only reason we haven’t is because it costs money, but when you do a cost-benefits analysis and weigh the very real risks of a pandemic and how much damage would be done to the economy in the event of a pandemic, the vaccines are totally worth it. Now allow me to digress again … if we weren’t spending so much damn money in Iraq, maybe we could afford the vaccine for our citizens!