Feeling Under the Weather?
There’s a reason “under the weather” describes a person’s health status: Scientists have found a link between La Nina patterns and flu epidemics. According to an article in Summit County Voice, climate patterns affect bird migrations and, therefore, genetic mixing of flu virus (http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/01/16/climate-la-nina-linked-with-flu-pandemics/).
They confirmed this theory with the major flu outbreaks on record from 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009; all were preceded by Pacific La Niña episodes. Says the report, “different species of birds intermixing could favor the kind of gene swapping—or genetic reassortment—that creates novel and therefore potentially more variations of the influenza virus.” Changes in migration not only alter the pattern of contact among bird species, but could change the ways that birds come into contact with domestic animals, which was the case in the 2009 swine flu pandemic.