Just following orders

Since he provides interesting blog posts everyday, has always been willing to answer my e-mail questions, and asked for all of his readers to do so, here is a link to Tyler Cowen's new single-issue blog on The Avian Flu. I wasn't sure why Prof. Cowen thought the Avian Flu was an important enough issue to focus his attention on it, so I read the entire site archive. I think this must be what has gotten his attention: But it's not a death count that has scientists spooked. About 70 percent of people infected with avian flu die from it. The mortality rate for the Spanish flu, by comparison, was less than 3 percent. The fear is that if natural genetic mutations make the virus more capable of being transmitted from person to person, it could ravage the globe.

Probably combined with: The fact that two viruses — one with a proven track record of transmitting easily into people and another with a mortality rate of between 50 and 80 percent — are circulating in Asia at the same time is something to keep a very close eye on," William L. Aldis, the World Health Organization representative in Thailand, told The Associated Press.

If H7 and H5N1 came into contact and exchanged genetic material, it could create an "organism with H5 lethality and H7 transmissibility," said Aldis.

If you're interested, they're linking to a couple of Avian Flu related stories per day, including interesting ones about vaccine testing.