Web Zap*Germs Archive

October 13, 2005

Avian Flu Blog On the Case

An economics professor and PhD student at George Mason University in Virginia have established the Avian Flu Blog to track developments in this rapidly developing situation. I've been in touch with Silviu Dochia, the student blogger, and received the following background on the blog and the avian-flu crisis:
The avian flu blog was started by Tyler Cowen, an economics professor from George Mason University. Dr. Cowen has been very active in the blogosphere over the past couple of years. His best known site is, written together with Dr. Alex Tabarrok.

Our avian flu blog was created in the first days of April, 2005. The main contributors are Dr. Cowen and myself....Our site is intended to be a clearing house for information on avian flu. We believe that decentralized communication and expertise can make a difference. We do not intend the site to be a source of medical advice.

My view on the current situation: A flu pandemic seems quite likely in the future. In animals, the flu will continue to be spread by migratory birds all around the world. This is something we will have to live with for a long time, it will not go away. It is possible that at some point in the future the virus will change in a way that makes it transmissible from person to person. Now we know that the 1918 virus was also a pure avian strain, which makes the current situation even more worrisome. Given the fact that this problem is very dangerous and will not go away, it is crucial we prepare for it today.


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