These changes have striking parallels with the 1918 pandemic which began as a mild infection in the sping of 1918 and evolved into an efficient killer in the fall. The current information coming out of northern Vietnam suggests a similar sequence of events may be happening in 2005, and the flu pandemic has begun as indicated. Moreover, the finding of WSN/33 in swine in Korea suggests the pandemic in 2005 may be beginning on two fronts, with avian viruses becoming more human-like in Vietnam and human viruses becoming more avian-like in Korea. Unfortunately, both sets of viruses can infect birds which could create more mixing and matching of genetic information. This genetic instability could frustrate vaccine efforts based on the last 2004 isolates form Vietnam.
Has the next flu pandemic started?