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Tests Show That Deadly New Flu Could Spread Among People

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the patient-zero dept.

China 185

An anonymous reader writes in with another news story about how the bird flu may wipe us out. "A new bird flu that has killed 36 people in China can spread from ferret to ferret through the air. A laboratory test showing airborne transmission of the H7N9 avian influenza virus between the animals has raised fears that the virus is poised to become a human pandemic. The H7N9 avian influenza virus emerged suddenly at the end of February and has infected 131 people. A few patients may have caught the virus from other infected people, but no evidence has emerged that H7N9 can readily transmit from human to human."

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185 comments

More ridiculous sensationalism (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828425)

The editor shamelessly says that the bird flu "may wipe us out", yet it has killed 36 out of 131 known cases -- hardly enough to wipe anything out -- and the quote in the actual summary says "no evidence has emerged that H7N9 can readily transmit from human to human."

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (3, Informative)

clm1970 (1728766) | about a year ago | (#43828443)

Exactly FUD. Ferret != Human.and Conditions ferrets in != usual human conditions. There’s no guarantee the virus will spread similarly from person to person, says Ana Fernandez-Sesma, a viral immunologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. In the experiment, ferrets are together for hours with forced airflow under temperature and humidity conditions that favor viral transmission, she says. “I don’t think this is what happens in real life.”

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828479)

What about those of us who make love on the lawn like crazed weasels? Are we at higher levels of risk of infection?

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43829223)

What about those of us who make love on the lawn like crazed weasels? Are we at higher levels of risk of infection?

You're at higher risk from varmint hunters.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (3, Informative)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43828541)

Not exactly FUD. Think of it as a snowball that might turn into a avalanche.
      A 25% kill rate is nothing to sneeze at.
      Ferret are the best animal model we have – and there are open questions on how it was transmitted.
      And, most importantly, there is the question on how this virus would change it if went wide.

A virus needs to balance out 2 factors from a evolutionary standpoint. First, the more copies of itself it turns out the better chance it while have to spread, while the more copies it turns out the more likely it will kill the host so no more copies will be turned out.

If this virus went wide, the more virulent versions would dominate, which means the death toll would be higher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virulence#Evolution [wikipedia.org]

Remember to wash your hands and sneeze into your sleeve everybody! (I am not stocking up on antivirals yet.)

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828575)

> If this virus went wide, the more virulent versions would dominate, which means the death toll would be higher.

Actually, generally virulence goes down as a virus adapts to a novel host. See e.g. the myxomatosis example in Australian rabbits.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43828689)

I am not sure I am following – can you explain?

As I understood it, when Myxomatosis was first introduced, it was the highly virulent kind that went wide first. It burnt itself out because it was killing the hosts faster then it could spread. After that, the less virulent continued to spread.

If you want to argue that in the long term the less virulent kind is the one that survives – o.k. - but that is only after the more virulent kind has spread. Or am I missing something here?

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43829123)

What the GP said is generally true.

Agents (virus or bacteria) that kill 100 percent of those it infects do not last long, and generally do not spread far.
It is a counter productive evolutionary path for infective agents.

Therefore, the tendency is to become less deadly in order to spread wider. Its not like there is any conscious thought involved
here its just that those agents that are totally deadly tend to get buried or burned with their victims, whereas the less deadly
versions spread far and wide due to the mobility of their hosts.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (2)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43829659)

What the GP said is generally true.

Agents (virus or bacteria) that kill 100 percent of those it infects do not last long, and generally do not spread far. It is a counter productive evolutionary path for infective agents.

Therefore, the tendency is to become less deadly in order to spread wider. Its not like there is any conscious thought involved here its just that those agents that are totally deadly tend to get buried or burned with their victims, whereas the less deadly versions spread far and wide due to the mobility of their hosts.

A virus that kills 100 percent of those it infects will do just fine as long as it makes you a bit sneezy and coughy and contagious but not too sick for a while first. Something like HIV, when untreated, results in the death of most of its victims, but there is plenty of opportunity for it to spread before this happens.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (5, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43828617)

It doesn't have 25% kill rate. Of those admitted to hospitals, it killed 25% The other million who got it just stayed home, knowing the flu isn't treatable. Much like the swine flu was overblown. I actually got the real swine flu (from a trip to So Cal). It wasn't that bad. I've had worse flus. I also got flu-based pneumonia from China once. Bacterial pneumonia can be treated. Viral flu can't. The issue is the people that get secondary infections and don't seek treatment. That was what lead to the swine flu initial fatality rates. All flus in the past 20 years have been initially 25% fatal or so, eventually returning to the historical flu levels of under 1%. 25% is 24.9% error.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43828695)

It doesn't have 25% kill rate. Of those admitted to hospitals, it killed 25%

Furthermore, as a virus spreads through a population, there is strong selective pressure to become less lethal, but more contagious. A dead victim is no longer spreading the virus. If the virus can infect someone without killing them, and even without making them very sick, then the victim will go about their business and spread the virus widely. So when a virus first makes the animal->human jump, it may have a high percentage death rate, but the percentage death rate will quickly drop as the virus evolves and adapts to its new host.

There are exceptions. For instance the black death that wiped out 30% of Europe in the 1300s didn't become less virulent. But that is because its primary host was rodents, not humans, and there is evidence that it became less lethal to rodents as it spread.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828761)

TL;DR: Your mom is like a virus, and her STDs aren't killing her because that would stop her from whoring around. You also mentioned something about animals and humans in there as well, which is not surprising at all if you are thinking about donkeys.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43828907)

You have that backwards – virus can either burn fast or burn slow.

A virus that burns slow is less contagious and less lethal to it's host. If it is less contagious then it needs to keep it host alive for a longer period of time so there can be more opportunities to spread (or vice versa.).

As for less lethal over time – that is a maybe. Do you burn hot and fast or long and slow? One strategy does not strictly dominate the other.

If a virus can transfer to a host faster then it can kill off it's old one, there is a selective pressure to go more virulent. Now speed does come with it's own costs, but it can work in a virus favor over the short term.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43829153)

The first time we run into accelerating viruses, we are screwed. Picture something that becomes more "hot" as it encounters more copies of itself, starting slow, and heating up exponentially, with sufficient contagion in the "cold" period. The longer the contagious incubation, the greater the spread and panic would be.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829161)

Those apostrophes of yours?

Don't.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | about a year ago | (#43829999)

Stop trying to prove you mean anything by posting crud like that. If you have a point make it, stop trolling for some semblance of "cool" from your fellow Slashdotters and make it. It's not funny and you take away from meaningful discussion. H7N9 is something to take seriously from both a scientific and social point of view.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#43830139)

"H7N9 is something to take seriously from both a scientific and social point of view."

And yet you totally take away from meaningful discussion by trying to make a point and then fail to back it up with anything.

Stop trying to be cool when you're fucking up just as much as AC, Mr. 7-Digit UID.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#43830131)

"A virus that burns slow is less contagious and less lethal to it's host."

Explain HIV, then. Untreated, 100% fatal and your body can't (excepting a few select of the population, myself included) resist or develop natural immunity on its own (and in my case, born without the CCR5 receptor gene.)

And it's very easily spread. Well, maybe not amongst the typical /. population, but the rest of the world, especially in places with high populations and lacking education. China, India, etc.

I think you need to learn how to play the game of Pandemic.

We did this back in middle school.

That was the EARLY 90s, right after the 80s HIV epidemic.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828977)

When I want your lip I'll scrape it off my zipper.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

TwineLogic (1679802) | about a year ago | (#43829727)

Tamiflu works but you have to be in hospital to get it these days. Back in the day "someone I know" ordered it off the Internet. I understand it can stop the flu in 2 hours and is nothing short of amazing. I am sure it is reserved for people who have viral pneumonia at least for Influenza.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#43830111)

" Ferret are the best animal model we have"

For testing against humans? Wrong.

And from that, I'm immediately dismissing this sensationalist bullshit.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828569)

Dude, who shit in your Wheaties to piss you off so bad? Now I understand that you're likely unhappy about being pounded up the ass by 6 crackheads last night but that's no reason to go off on a rant like that around here.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828583)

These results are bad news, not good news. A positive result on an air transmission of a virus should not make you happy or provide you comfort just because it hasn't been tested with humans (btw, you will get brownie points if you can explain why that test hasn't been performed with a 25% fatal virus).

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (5, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43828589)

In the experiment, ferrets are together for hours with forced airflow under temperature and humidity conditions that favor viral transmission, she says. “I don’t think this is what happens in real life.”

She obviously doesn't take mass transit.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43828665)

I'm sure lab ferrets don't get transported around in mass transit. They're transported between labs in comfortable vans. It's simpler, logistics-wise.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43828815)

I'm sure lab ferrets don't get transported around in mass transit. They're transported between labs in comfortable vans. It's simpler, logistics-wise.

whoosh!

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#43830145)

"She obviously doesn't take mass transit."

Obviously, neither do you. Many modes of transport use HEPA air filtration, and some even now have graphene filters that nothing larger than a salt ion can get through.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (-1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43828621)

Frankly most of their "tests" I have to call bullshit, its like scientists aren't happy unless they rig the living fuck out of tests.

I mean look at their tests that say "This or that causes cancer!" you go "Ohh, that is interesting, I think I'll look at the tests" and what did they do? pumped them so full of the shit it would be no different than if a human mainlined that and ONLY that 24 hours a day for several years....yeah, not really seeing that as a valid "test" for anything.

I don't know how many years they have been pulling this bullshit but I first started looking into it when i saw one of their "tests" which "showed" cigarettes cause cancer by putting a poor monkey in a box with a dozen cigarettes at a time blasting in it so you literally couldn't see the fucking monkey...now who in the fuck would EVER be in a similar situation? Hell I've played in redneck bars and the smoke was never even a tenth as bad as what they were subjecting that poor monkey to, no fucking way in hell anybody in real life would be exposed to anything like that.

So now unless they show that the test was done in realistic conditions I automatically call bullshit because real life just doesn't work like that. hell if you used the same methodology with fricking water you'd have it banned as you can't mainline water 24/7 for 6 months without it killing you either. As the poster above pointed out they cooked up conditions that you would NEVER have IRL with the poor animals practically in a hothouse to keep it as germ positive as possible, and this is supposed to "prove" anything?

The only thing it proves to me is we give too many grants for shitty science.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43828649)

Hyperbole is not a very good debate tool.

And calling an entire field of research 'bullshit' tends to make whatever valid logic or reason in your arguments get totally ignored.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (2)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about a year ago | (#43829183)

Hyperbole is not a very good debate tool. And calling an entire field of research 'bullshit' tends to make whatever valid logic or reason in your arguments get totally ignored.

Oh hell, I thought those were the *rules* here!

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year ago | (#43829379)

Hyperbole is not a very good debate tool.

Are you kidding? Hyperbole is SUPERB debate tool!

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43829547)

What is hyperbole? The fact that you could replace their tests with any substance and get the same results because main lining massive doses of ANYTHING IS BAD even water, or the fact that overdosing an animal or cooking up a test that would never happen IRL is supposed to "prove" anything, other than you know how to rig a test that is?

This is what i can't fucking stand about the USA and the whole "left versus right" horseshit because you HAVE to turn off your damned brain and wave your little flag, no such thing as hypocrisy or bullshit as long as the one shoveling the shit is on the "right" side. I mean did ANY OF YOU even read TFA? The ONLY way you can call that in ANY way valid is if and ONLY if you were testing the risk of working in a hot house, that's it, that's all, no fucking way in a million damned years would you have conditions even SLIGHTLY like this in real life but "Its science herpa de derp".

Well fuck that, bullshit is bullshit and whether its slung by someone in a white coat or not its STILL BULLSHIT. Again use the EXACT SAME CONDITIONS they use to test any substance and replace that substance with water, what will happen? Dead animal because NOTHING IS GOOD IN MEGA-DOSES,okay? Nothing, even the things our bodies require to live can kill you dead if you do nothing but mainline that shit, yet we are supposed to accept results from a test where they practically tied the sick animal and the healthy one together in an environment designed to make germs flourish?

Bad science is bad science and the fact so many of you run to blindly defend it without even reading TFA just shows how God damned knee jerk flag waving bullshit has embedded itself like cancer in this society, its sad and pathetic, that is what it is, someone in a whit coat could tell you the moon is made of green cheese and you'd probably buy it, fucking pathetic.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (4, Interesting)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#43828657)

Similar to the method used to ban natural root beer. They banned Sassafras because rats injected with safrole oil developed cancer.
Turns out they injected them with pure safrole... I did the calculations before and it was the equivalent of drinking something like 72 root beers everyday for 3 years. I can't remember the exact number because it was beyond the realm of sanity.

"Safrole is regarded by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be a weak carcinogen in rats,[4] and considered by the European Commission on Health and consumer protection to be genotoxic and carcinogenic.[5] It occurs naturally in a variety of spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper and herbs such as basil. In that role, safrole, like many naturally occurring compounds, may have a small but measurable ability to induce cancer in rodents. Despite this, the effects in humans were estimated by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to be similar to risks posed by breathing indoor air or drinking municipally supplied water.[6] In the United States, it was once widely used as a food additive in root beer, sassafras tea, and other common goods, but was banned by the FDA after its carcinogenicity in rats was discovered. Today, safrole is also banned for use in soap and perfumes by the International Fragrance Association."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safrole [wikipedia.org]

Safrole is prohibited as a drug precursor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828699)

with a quantity of safrole and a specific frequency of visible light, easily achieved with commercial sources, one can make mdma (obviously there are a few more steps, but the entire process much simpler than other methods)

that's why it's prohibited

Re:Safrole is prohibited as a drug precursor (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#43828723)

with a quantity of safrole and a specific frequency of visible light, easily achieved with commercial sources, one can make mdma (obviously there are a few more steps, but the entire process much simpler than other methods)

that's why it's prohibited

Yes, I read that as well. If that is the driving factor they should just say so and regulate purified Safrole oil. I've ordered Sassafras bark and it's an unnecessary hassle due to this even though the concentration is quite low... and no I wasn't making MDMA :)

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43829573)

THANK YOU, nice to see SOME people in this country still have a God damned brain. You could take those EXACT SAME TESTS and replace the substance with water and what would you get? Dead animal, that's what!

I did the math once when it came to the monkey tests and you would have had to smoke SIXTEEN PACKS A DAY to equal what they were exposing that monkey to...I'm sorry, but bullshit, that's not even physically possible! You would have to chain smoke 3 cigarettes at a fricking time for 18 hours a day to equal what they gave the monkey, now how is that test prove anything other than some scientists like to torture animals?

These others can wave their little flags and scream "science!" all they want, but bullshit bad science is bullshit bad science and I WILL call 'em out when they are doing bad science and that is ALL these tests are! I mean for the love of God they took a sick animal and a healthy animal and stuck them in a pair of hot houses designed so the air from one was pumped into the chamber of the other and its supposed to prove...what? That hothouses are good for germs? Well give them a fucking cookie, who the hell didn't know that?

They can waste mod points all the want but to me it only shows that we hand out grants to damned near anybody these days, no matter how junk the science is.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#43830165)

"I'm sorry, but bullshit, that's not even physically possible! "

I think you underestimate how fast people can smoke a cigarette given the right conditions.

20 cigs per pack times 16 packs a day equals 320 cigs.

320 cigs divided by 18 hours = 17.777777 cigs per hour, or just short of a cig every 4 minutes.

I've done more than a pack in an hour while tripping on acid. I can kill an entire cigarette in under a minute and a half. I do, regularly.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828661)

Wow, I'm not sure which side you are debating for. Either you are making up strawman arguments and conspiracy theories to make an anti-science opposition look crazed, or some asshole hacked your account and is now using it to post some really stupid shit.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Cyberax (705495) | about a year ago | (#43829297)

Actually, ferrets are used EXACTLY because they are the closest model organism to human when the flu virus is considered. So it really is alarming.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about a year ago | (#43829425)

Yean, not at all like cramming 250 people into a flying aluminium tube for 12+ hours with poor air circulation.

Re: More ridiculous sensationalism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828465)

These are the SAME"scientists" that push hoaxes like global warming and mandatory vaccinations. Its all about power and money with these people and the liberal left establishment will never be happy until they have all of it.

Re: More ridiculous sensationalism (4, Funny)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year ago | (#43828495)

No kidding! I mean, have you ever SEEN a virus? Of course not, they're way too small, say those "scientists". How convenient, right? ~

Re: More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43828655)

Yeah, next the UKIP will demand a total ban of foreigners entering the islands.

That would keep proper Brits healthy!

Re: More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828873)

Erm, no. BNP maybe - not the UKIP. My disagreeing with the vast majority of the positions doesn't mean I can put them in the same category as parties who think the nignogs would be happier if they were sent home, even if those "nignogs" are fucking third generation Londoners.

The UKIP is way too Daily Mail for my tastes yet not the racist nutjobs you would allude to.

Re: More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829535)

What do you mean by "racist nutjob"?

Oh, you mean white people who don't want somebody ELSE telling them who they have to associate with, and who don't want that same somebody else FORCING them to associate with people they don't want to.

You rebel you! You support the scum banksters and their lackies, the 'government', aren't you a politically correct hero.

Care to debate me? Thought not.

MOST white people want to live in an all white country - AGAIN. Care to tell me why you believe otherwise? (Apart from 'The T.V. told me,so it must be true. The T.V. is my friend."

You fucking idiot. Please MOVE to Haiti tomorrow, if you think all the races are the same. Why aren't you moving?

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828475)

It doesn't matter. We are all doomed. DOOMED I say! REPENT NOW!

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828527)

Actually, this is pretty serious. Most of the people who were infected became critically ill and the method of death was due to sepsis, respiratory distress, or organ failure. Contrast this with SARS where only the very young or very old became critically ill. This new virus also has twice the fatality rate of SARS and can be spread by animals we use for food.

Your snark is unwarranted. Just because the number is low right now doesn't mean that it is stable or controlled. And the research on ferrets was designed to determine if it was plausible to spread from human to human. If the virus can spread from ferrets in the air, it is entirely plausible that the same applies to humans.

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#43828865)

Actually, this is pretty serious. Most of the people who were infected became critically ill and the method of death was due to sepsis, respiratory distress, or organ failure

It is only a cause of concern -- it means that the pathogen has high virulence; it likely kills quickly, which may be resulting in the virus not spreading efficiently. There are plenty of viruses that have high virulence and kill all their victims but aren't a threat -- just a very high impact threat to the small number of people affected.

There are plenty of flu strains that emerged and had this kind of characteristic of high virulence and high proportion of deaths in the cases that do occur, but did not take a hold, or become epidemics.

The virus may take on mutations that cause it to spread more efficiently. Virulence may decrease in the mutations, resulting in competition --- the virus will likely evolve to a form that will spread to more hosts; to do so efficiently, the host should be infectious for as long as possible (without dying).

To be a serious threat, the pathogen has to be moderately virulent (virulent enough to eventually cause deaths) AND contagious. In other words, it has to spread efficiently, and spread before it kills, to become a pandemic.

See:

the researchers conclude that airborne H7N9 transmission is inefficient.
But the experiment was not designed to quantify the efficiency of airborne transmission and ferrets aren’t perfect representations of people, so it may be difficult to gauge a person’s risk of catching H7N9 through airborne droplets

Re:More ridiculous sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829525)

Hear, hear. Surprisingly, for Slashdot, you're actually questioning the things the Electric Jew tells you, unbelievable.

Of course this won't wipe out humanity, it's a ridiculously small number of cases, just like the last so-called 'bird flu epidemic', which was media induced bullshit. Then we had 'SARS', which was another load of bullshit, how many people allegedly died from that? A drop in the ocean compared to the number of people who died from ACTUAL flu during the same time period.

Cue "fear machine" conspiracy theorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828427)

In 3... 2... 1...

Hey editors (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#43828477)

Just a friendly bit of constructive criticism... if you'd just read the entire summary, you'd have found out that the quote taken from the actual story pretty much directly contradicts both the sensationalistic title and the sensationalistic lead-in.

You don't have to read the articles; but please, at least glance at the summary that was submitted.

Re: Hey editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828581)

well, the submission itself contradicts itself because "A few patients may have caught the virus from other infected people", yet it goes on to state that it can't do it.

Re: Hey editors (1)

ecotax (303198) | about a year ago | (#43828755)

As for the title, they simply copypasted it, so whatever there's wrong with it, should primarily be blamed on the writer of the article.

Didn't this already more or less happen? (0)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year ago | (#43828489)

If I read the article, would it explain why there are more tests on this needed rather than just reviewing case studies from the Spanish Flu of 1918 that's already in history books?

Re:Didn't this already more or less happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828551)

If I read the article, would it explain why there are more tests on this needed rather than just reviewing case studies from the Spanish Flu of 1918 that's already in history books?

Probably not. They'd probably expect you to realise that this isn't the same strain of flu .

Re:Didn't this already more or less happen? (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year ago | (#43828579)

Oh, okay, so it's about a particular strain rather than just, "some strain may come along that could do this"? Thanks for reading it for me, BTW. Check's in the mail and all that.

Re:Didn't this already more or less happen? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43829065)

well, some may come along and it's possible(probable) that the current strain has done it a few times(person getting sick from spending time in the same hospital room with the sick person). but their lab tests say that it's not a huge risk. or some shit like that.

We need... (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year ago | (#43828513)

Hey if you want more funds for your kind of research and/or development, this is what gets some bucks shaken out of the money tree. Since most everybody out there is either unequipped to properly evaluate risks, Stossel did a nice piece on this, it usually works. Bugs (insect, bacteria, viral, or even surveillance), terrorism, ecological disasters, cyber this or that, whatever. Film at 11! Or worse, yet another FUD piece on /.

Wait Until The Wolf Flu (5, Insightful)

Scarletdown (886459) | about a year ago | (#43828567)

The flu to watch out for will be one discovered to be carried by wolves. You will know it by the symptoms of the wolves' eyes getting all weepy and the infected wolves whimpering and crying constantly. It will be quite ironic that the flu that will finally get us will be the Crying Wolf Flu that everyone will ignore due to so many alarmist warnings of other strains of flu over the years that ended up not being such a big worldwide threat after all.

Re:Wait Until The Wolf Flu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829021)

The woodsman's vaccine and the red cloak school vaccination program will keep the Crying Wolf Flu from ever being a threat. The only people who need to be concerned are the elderly. Particularly women with small eyes and teeth. These at risk individuals should stay indoors and avoid contact with strangers.

Just stop, please (2, Interesting)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about a year ago | (#43828585)

Please stop teasing me with talk of a massive population-thinning plague this planet desperately needs. It gets my hopes up, only to later be dashed by hearing only a few dozen people ultimately die. Disappointing to say the least.

Re:Just stop, please (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43828757)

Have you checked yourself into the nearest psychiatric facility to help deal with these genocidal tendencies and impulses?

Because you need to.

Now.

Re:Just stop, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828927)

Have you checked yourself into the nearest psychiatric facility to help deal with these genocidal tendencies and impulses?

Because you need to.

Now.

Oh, I'm sorry. I know it's rather abrasive when an individual talks of genocide.

We'll just kindly STFU now and let governments and military armies continue to do that through pointless wars.

Isn't it amazing how society views change to what is accepted as norm. Perhaps it is you that needs to check in, along with every other nutjob hell bent on control.

Re:Just stop, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829271)

Replying AC because I've modded: I agree totally with his sentiments. The planet's population is completely out of control.

We all know that rising living standards result in a general decline of infant mortality, ultimately leading to population stability. Trouble is, living standards aren't rising in Third World countries, it's the same old dictator-go-round story of waste and conflict.

Human civilisation would do well to go through another plague that culls a good percentage of our population. Countries without decent medicine and infrastructure would naturally suffer the greatest loss of life. Labour would become a valuable commodity again, just as it was after the Black Death.

I'd rather it didn't mean my death and/or the death of my family members of course, but if that's the price for thinning out the hosts of destructive Human crawlers on this planet...

Re:Just stop, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43830065)

However cold it's stupidly simply right. It may be possible that by doing almost everything well that we have not reached Earth's carrying capacity in regard our present technological capabilities, but the requirements for doing so far outstrip our political abilities.

Without some form of relief, whether through plague or a sudden awakening of competence in our rulers, life for most humans will be continued misery. It will only get worse going on as we are.

Re:Just stop, please (2)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43829637)

Have you checked yourself into the nearest psychiatric facility to help deal with these genocidal tendencies and impulses?

Because you need to.

Now.

The _only_ way humanity is going to survive is if very soon there are a lot less people on the planet, or if we turn the comfort level _way_ down. And when a president says "the american way of life is not negotiable" or something like that, you know the latter ain't gonna happen. The way we are living is unsustainable. Hoping for a plague to wipe everyone out certainly sounds like insanity, but no more so than the alternative.

And anyway, psych facilities are mostly filled with people who are a danger to themselves. People who are a danger to others are put in prison. Or government.

Clear as mud summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828609)

"... A few patients may have caught the virus from other infected people, but no evidence has emerged that H7N9 can readily transmit from human to human."

Whew, that's a relief. Boy for a minute there I thought you said that a few patients may have caught the virus from other infected people, but since we have no evidence...

(One cannot express enough sarcasm without visiting Planet Sarcasm deep in the Witty Nebula.)

Makes me wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828639)

...if they were referring to Spanish Flu as "FUD" in 1917.
Then again, armchair visionaries on /. can do with a serious culling.

The end of the world (4, Interesting)

blogagog (1223986) | about a year ago | (#43828645)

The older I get, the more I realize that there are very many people in the world who just don't feel comfortable unless there is some horrible world-ending danger looming over mankind. And it's usually wildly overblown. Here's a short list of all of the things that are supposed to kill me - nuclear war, nuclear power, the end of the ozone, the end of the rain forests, global warming, and pandemics, just to name a few. I'm sure I left out a ton of false armageddons from that list. Overfishing, fertilizers, the end of oil and gas, and clear cutting forests are also supposed not to kill, but to cause us irreparable harm some time between 50 years ago and 'just around the corner'. You can only cry wolf so many times before no one believes you. I'm getting so cynical, I may take up smoking.

Re:The end of the world (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43828891)

Fuck, don't forget smart meters, cell phones, triclosan, non-recycled toilet paper, fast food, Monsanto, and sodas larger than 16 ounces.

Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829005)

I don't know of anyone who says that large size sodas are armageddon level events. Or smart meters. Or...or anything you said, with the exception of Monsanto, but only because maybe genetic engineering will cause some kind of agricultural/ecological collapse (no, genetic engineering is not as harmless as selective breeding...you can do a lot more a lot faster with genetic engineering and introduce very novel traits you never could by selective breeding).

However...I'm surprised the GP doesn't consider nuclear war an armageddon level event. It might not kill every last person...but it will do a pretty good number on the population.

Re:The end of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829643)

Another two worth mentioning: Immigrants and Immorality.

Re:The end of the world (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43830097)

Just because there's a bunch of shit doesn't mean that shit don't stink. There may be some stunted souls as you describe, but their comfort has little to do with reality - only their feelings about it. For you to dismiss the message because you don't like some of the people who carry it is frankly stupid.

It's not necessary for any of the things you list to be world-ending. It's only necessary that separately and in combination that the effects of them impinge on things as they are; any one of them might be deleterious. In combination...?

It's you, I think, paying attention to the chicken littles rather than the science that may be the disconnect.

National Pornographic - death will await us all. (1)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year ago | (#43828669)

Yes, when we are old, when we are young, when we are ill, when we are runover by a drunk idiot, when we are wiped out by a predadtor (drone)!

Wipe out human population, but please start with "National Pornographic" catastrophy shows like "What will then happen is ... that .." are "Death Pornos"

As I said, start paniking, we will all die, someday!

Stupid Title and then stupid article (2, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43828681)

I saw the title and said to myself, "No shit flu can spread from person to person."

Then they talk about "bird" flu and say it spreads from ferret to ferret. I've had a public school education, so maybe I missed the day where they told us ferrets were birds and not mammals.

Re:Stupid Title and then stupid article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828741)

Before you posted your typical Slashdot reader know-it-all shtick, you should've read TFA:

To find out how the virus might spread among people, an international group of researchers infected ferrets, which often stand as proxies for people in influenza studies. Infected ferrets passed the virus to all of the uninfected animals housed in the same cage, indicating that H7N9 spreads through direct contact, the team reports May 23 in Science.

Re:Stupid Title and then stupid article (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43828789)

Before you posted your typical Slashdot reader know-it-all shtick, you should've read TFA:

To find out how the virus might spread among people, an international group of researchers infected ferrets, which often stand as proxies for people in influenza studies. Infected ferrets passed the virus to all of the uninfected animals housed in the same cage, indicating that H7N9 spreads through direct contact, the team reports May 23 in Science.

Well, seeing as the typical article is usually click bate for some blog, or some product, I only click the link on articles that don't have shit ass summaries and crappy titles.

Re:Stupid Title and then stupid article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828875)

You're right, its best not to read the facts and assume its crap. Remain ignorant, its safer! I weep for any children you ever have.

angry little fists of rage, I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829045)

Well, if you think about it, to get closer to knowing if it might spread from person to person, without actually testing people which is unethical, it would make sense to use an animal, yes? And maybe people who've spent their time in epidemiology know more than you about how well ferret transmission correlates with human transmission. Maybe the fact that you aren't an expert in this field actually has fucking consequences for your understanding of the field, you know?

Also, maybe it is called 'bird flu' because it is genetically similar and likely derived from a known bird flu, and maybe this flu has been identified in birds.

Maybe you ought to just shut the fuck up until you learn something about the topic you want to bitch about.

Re:Stupid Title and then stupid article (4, Informative)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#43828777)

I saw the title and said to myself, "No shit flu can spread from person to person."

Then they talk about "bird" flu and say it spreads from ferret to ferret. I've had a public school education, so maybe I missed the day where they told us ferrets were birds and not mammals.

The connection with ferrets is that ferrets and humans share the same "human influenza" virus and can pass it on to each other. So, that means that if ferrets can get this type of influenza and pass it on, there is a reasonable probability that humans can too. That doesn't mean this is an "OMG were all gonna die!!!" sort of thing, it just means that this particular test shows a reasonable probably that humans could spread the virus from each other, and points out that the test were done under ideal (ideal to the virus) conditions.

Frankly I don't think the title is overly sensationalistic, nor is the quoted part of the summary, but the part "how the bird flu may wipe us out" is sensationalistic, inaccurate, and the editor who put it in there should be fired or sent over to Fox News.

Re:Stupid Title and then stupid article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828811)

the part "how the bird flu may wipe us out" is sensationalistic, inaccurate

Sensationalistic, inaccurate, and tongue firmly in check.

and the editor who put it in there should be fired or sent over to Fox News.

Do really want DOJ and the FBI to be looking into Rob's porn stash?

this is the matter . . . (1)

dschinn1001 (2857521) | about a year ago | (#43828721)

bird flue comes from cages ... those birds who are caught, they died. it is same with human victims ... those who were caught in hospital or in homes for retired, are more in danger, than them who can move at fresh air. the panic about bird flue is much too much exaggerated.

Call me cynical (0)

ThePeices (635180) | about a year ago | (#43828769)

Call me cynical, but am I the only person who *wants* a wide scale pandemic that kills off a large percentage of the human race?

We have shown that we cannot, by ourselves, take care of the human population explosion.

Nature could possibly take care of this highly political problem all by itself.

Re:Call me cynical (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43828813)

Call me cynical, but am I the only person who *wants* a wide scale pandemic that kills off a large percentage of the human race?

We have shown that we cannot, by ourselves, take care of the human population explosion.

Nature could possibly take care of this highly political problem all by itself.

Honestly, I don't have a problem with it either. But then I don't really catch the flu so I'm not worried about it.

Re:Call me cynical (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43829277)

We have shown that we cannot, by ourselves, take care of the human population explosion. Nature could possibly take care of this highly political problem all by itself.

What you're saying is that we can avoid killing off ourselves if nature does it first. It doesn't sound like much of an improvement to me.

Re:Call me cynical (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about a year ago | (#43829839)

.. am I the only person who *wants* a wide scale pandemic that kills off a large percentage of the human race?

Hitler had a lot of the same ideals as you, so there's one.

Computer simulation shows this to be true. (0)

pinkushun (1467193) | about a year ago | (#43828871)

I ran this simulation over a dozen times now, the results are terrifying. Try it for yourself, I believe it's called "Plague Inc" in the Android play store. Gulp!

Joker quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828933)

Every time a new version of the flu surfaces everyone loses their minds

This just in... (2)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43829011)

...there exists a virus that can reproduce and spread from one host to another. What an amazing scientific discovery!

Tests Show That Deadly New Flu Could Spread Among People

Something tells me that they're using the term "deadly" just for sensationalism as usual, in the same way that they're making it seem like such a big deal as if it's breaking news that a virus is capable of spreading from human to human...

I can only hope (3, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about a year ago | (#43829089)

I just hope it only wipes out the people who write these kinds of sensationalistic articles.

Queue in end of the world music... (1)

jacobsm (661831) | about a year ago | (#43829341)

It's all a government plot, aka Captain Trips to end life on Earth as we know it.

Stupid fucking story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43830105)

Slashdot has been a psyop website for years, thinking nobody has noticed. Idiotic fearmongering story.

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