April 30, 2012

Mother Nature: The World's Deadliest Bioterrorist

The Economist, The Economist


AP Photo

SOME things are best kept secret. It is hard, for instance, to argue that public interest dictates publishing the blueprints for an atom bomb. The matter is less clear-cut, however, when scientific information that has the potential to wreak havoc might also stop that havoc happening.

Take bird flu. It has killed more than 330 people since 2003. That may not sound many, but it amounts to 60% of the 570 known cases of the disease. The only reason the death toll is not higher is that those who succumbed caught the virus directly from a bird (usually a chicken). Fortunately for everyone else, it does not pass easily from person to person.

But it might.

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TAGGED: Influenza, Influenza Virus, Infectious Disease, Bioterrorism