We May All Die From Swine Flu

Forget avian flu; a "swine flu" that's already killed eighteen people in Mexico seems to have come to the US, and the World Health Organization are discussing whether or not to declare it a pandemic.

The virus may be called a "swine flu," but it mixes genes from pig, bird and human flus in a manner that the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention is calling "very unusual." There have been over 900 suspected cases in Mexico, with 18 confirmed deaths from it, and now scientists have identified cases in San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego, California that are "genetically identical" to 12 of those deaths. The disease presents with similar symptoms to a common flu, and can be passed between humans, leading to a WHO statement on Friday about the virus:

Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern.

Currently, scientists are studying those who've contracted the virus in Texas and California, and using the data they gather there to calculate whether or not a pandemic should be declared. Me, I'm now hoping that my Walgreens flu shot has unforeseen magical properties.

Deadly new flu virus in US and Mexico may go pandemic [New Scientist]