Sunday, August 5, 2007

UK foot-and-mouth disease: deja vu from early 2001

CNN has a story about a possible resurgence of foot-and-mouth disease (or hoof-and-mouth) in the UK today, at this link.

This may sound like small potatoes now compared to other problems, not so much mad cow as the concern over avian influenza, which in recent weeks hasn't been reported as much as it probably should be.

I went to Europe in late April 2001 for 12 days. I recall stories of people putting their shoes into disinfectants at airports (even fears of disruption of air travel), and the predictions of disaster for livestock if the virus got into the United States. And, as I recall, it all started with a careless mistake at a restaurant in Scotland.

Also, during the spring of 2001 there was some kind of spate between China and Taiwan that could have sparked a Cold War nuclear standoff.

How quickly things would change, on 9/11, and with all of the other possible scenarios since that seem so much worse (SARS, and then avian influenza). Just last week I had a bizarre bronchitis for about a week, and I find it strange to catch something like that in July. I wonder if a viral culture would find anything unusual. Some of the Asian URI's don't seem to be seasonally dependent, as they starts in warm climate conditions anyway.

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