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Local Infectious Disease Expert Discusses History and Future of Flu


Aired 5/4/09

What are the key similarities and differences between the 2009 H1-N1 influenza strain and the Spanish flu that killed millions of people in 1918 and 1919? We speak to one of San Diego's leading infectious disease experts about the history and future of the influenza virus.

Maureen Cavanaugh: If the worldwide alarm about the swine flu tells us anything at all, it's that influenza can get us very nervous, very quickly. And, with good reason.

Tens of millions of people died worldwide in the influenza pandemic in 1918, and recent outbreaks of the avian flu virus have been up to 60 percent lethal.

It's not yet time for world health authorities to relax about the 2009 H1-N1 influenza strain, but many flu experts, including my guest this morning, are saying this swine flu doesn't look like the devastating flu researchers have been fearing.

While medical researchers continue their studies on this influenza, the outbreak has sparked new interest in a potential breakthrough in flu virus treatment announced earlier this year.


Dr. Robert Liddington, director of the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.

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