In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries.
Ever since evolution of the swine flu virus accelerated in 1998, virologists and veterinary-science have warned (PDF) that factory hog farms create the ideal conditions for generating novel viruses. They worried that three things would happen:
- That a novel swine virus would jump species and infect humans.
- That this species-jumping virus would efficiently spread among humans.
- That such a novel, “promiscuous” virus would resist treatments.
Last spring, with the onset of the HINI pandemic, the first two fears came two pass. As for the third one, well ….
Epidemic experts say they are investigating the apparent spread of Tamiflu-resistant swine flu virus among four patients at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and five in a hospital in Wales. These clusters appear to be the first in which a virus resistant to the antiviral Tamiflu, a mainstay of flu treat, has spread from person to person, researchers said Friday.
In Wales, doctors have confirmed five Tamiflu-resistant swine flu cases in one ward of an unidentified hospital. Three more patients on the ward are being tested for drug-resistant virus; a ninth patient is infected with virus that is still susceptible to Tamiflu.
And that’s not good.
if Tamiflu-resistant virus spreads widely, swine flu will become tougher to treat and may cost more lives, says Duke’s Daniel Sexton, who is leading the hospital’s investigation.
Now is it time to start seriously investigating the CAFO-swine flu link?