Comments Posted By Crawford Kilian
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For some background on flu bloggers, see my article "Blogging the Pandemic" in The Tyee ( My own blog "H5N1" offers links to some extraordinary sites with both current news and expert analysis.

As for differences between 1918 and today: In 1918, many people had experienced the 1890 flu pandemic and had antibodies that protected them somewhat. We have zero immunity to H5N1 because until 1997 it was strictly a (rather harmless) fowl virus.

As for the disproportionate death rate of young, healthy persons in 1918, that was attributable to the strength of their own immune systems. A strong system, faced with a serious attack, launches what is called a "cytokine storm" to destroy the infection. The damage is catastrophic. In effect, the immune system kills the individual it's supposed to protect.

Think of an army that's lost the ability to distinguish between invaders and its own civilians. That's a cytokine storm. It's sadly ironic that in 1918 so many of the victims were themselves young soldiers, drafted to defend their homelands and dying within days of their enlistment.

Comment Posted By Crawford Kilian On 1.08.2005 @ 18:43

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