As last week drew to a close, I felt increasingly unwell. My grandson Jack had been suffering with a cold all week, and I guess I had caught it from him. While he is getting better, I found myself spending the first 48 hours of my holiday with a pounding headache, dry persistent cough, and sucking pastilles for a raging sore throat, and generally feeling very miserable. But thankfully, I am sure it’s just a cold (a bad one mind you) and not flu.
The national flu vaccination campaign is in full flood, with ever increasing numbers taking this up. All children between the ages of 2 years and 16 years old should receive it every year. The injected flu vaccine contains inactivated strains of flu virus and doesn't cause flu. The flu vaccine is often grown in fertilised hens eggs, although egg free vaccines are available for those with an egg allergy.
Scariest hen and flu story this week was definitely that published in the Lancet regarding poultry markets in China. The story showed that these live poultry markets created a huge flu reservoir and that following closure of some 800 such markets across Shanghai, Huzhou, Hangzhour and Najing, the number of new H7N9 bird flu cases dropped by 97%. There have been 137 cases of H7N9 bird flu deaths according to the WHO, and most of which were in the months immediately after the virus was found to be moving away from infecting animals to infecting people.
I do like gardening and like seeing my hens pottering about. And in a week where I joined other colleagues to test out our University Vision I was struck by the near Wittgenstein like thought (‘roughly speaking; objects are colourless’ Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) contained in a Tweet sent last Friday which posed the question as to how people who are blind pick their socks. I