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beyond-minnesota

A step ahead in the walk back to the origins of SARS

Being linked to any number of things, including vampires and rabies, bats have always had a public relations problem.

Now, even close to Halloween, bats still can’t catch a break. Researchers may have definitively linked the mammals to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

In 2002, a previously unknown airborne coronavirus generated worldwide panic when it sickened more than 8,000 people in 33 countries, causing more than 700 deaths before disappearing.

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expert-perspectives

Could a universal flu vaccine become a reality in the near future?

In a recent study out of Great Britain, researchers discovered a key that might unlock a universal flu vaccine: blood.

Not just any blood, though. The researchers said the answer to what they call a universal flu vaccine may be in the blood of those who became infected with the H1N1 strain of influenza present during the 2009 influenza pandemic, but who beat the strain without getting sick.

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expert-perspectives

Expert Perspective: When should you get your flu shot?


As the weather across much of the country shifts to the breezy, cooler days of fall, many people have started to consider getting their annual flu shot. For many, the decision of when to get the shot is prompted by reminders at the workplace or from insurance providers.

But is getting the shot earlier in the season necessarily better? Or should you wait until the flu actually arrives before getting a shot, given that recent research has shown the vaccine’s effectiveness can lag after three months.

WCCO recently tackled this subject in a Good Question segment, and found the answer around ideal flu shot timing isn’t necessarily unanimous among flu experts.

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in-the-news

Health Talk Recommends: Solving a Viral Mystery

In September, we posted the first Health Talk piece dedicated to MERS, or what was then described as “a new SARS-like illness that has been confirmed in two people thus far.”

At that time, the message from most experts was simple: we need to know more, and we need to anticipate the next steps of the virus.

Since the first cases of MERS were reported, the virus has sickened 77 people, killing 40 of them according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And many initial questions have been answered, such as how the virus spreads.

But one question remains: where did MERS come from?

Yesterday, New York Times writer Denise Grady published a story that highlighted the search for the origin of MERS. It’s an interesting read and does a good job of profiling the unique challenges of diseases that originate in animals before making the “jump” to humans.

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beyond-minnesota

Middle East coronavirus, is there reason to be alarmed?

In just a few months, concern around a new virus in the Middle East, a coronavirus known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) – has escalated quickly, sparking fears among some public health experts that the virus may pose a substantial threat to the entire world.

Though the name Middle East Respiratory Syndrome may sound harmless – perhaps even bland – the virus represents a very serious potential health problem.

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in-the-news

H7N9: is there reason to fear this flu?

Earlier this week, most of the general public began to see the first news reports on H7N9, a new strain of bird flu currently seen in China.

Now, only a few days later, the news is spreading. But has the flu spread with it? Should the general public be concerned?

Let’s look at the H7N9 facts.

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