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"Sorting fact from fiction about the bird flu"


Source: CTV.CA

Published: 26 Oct 2021

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Although there's lots of speculation and concern, there's no certainty that the H5N1 bird flu strain will lead to the next human flu pandemic. Angela Mulholland sorts out some of the myths surrounding this frightening possibility.

The bird flu in Asia will soon lead to a flu pandemic

It's impossible to confirm that the H5N1 bird flu strain in Asia and now in Europe will lead to the next human flu pandemic, although it is worrisome. While the World Health Organization says there is no reason yet to panic, they concede that with the virus spreading quickly and its behaviour continually changing, "the probability that a [human] pandemic will occur has increased."

The bird flu has mutated so that it can spread human to human

Although there have been a handful of suspected cases of human-to-human transmission in Asia, they have been rare and require further study to confirm.

According to the WHO, data from these incidents suggest that transmission requires very close contact with an ill person. What's more, none of the cases spread beyond a first generation of close contacts and caused illness in the general community.

The original article can be found at:

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 6 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Applicable

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Overall, a good factual story about what is and is not known about avian influenza. However, there is no comparative data on flu vaccines or evidence on indications and effectiveness of flu vaccines. Also, this article would further benefit by describing the evidence for the effectiveness of Tamiflu (oseltamivir).

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