Clever Apes: What the flu?

February 29, 2012

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Image of the 2009 H1N1 influenza. (C. S. Goldsmith and A. Balish, CDC)

Just the other day, I was feeling lucky because I haven't gotten a cold or flu this winter. Maybe all that hand washing and hand sanitizing was paying off.  Maybe, maybe not? It turns out that this year's flu season is just off to a late start. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control recently reported that this year's flu season is one of the latest in the past 30 years.

Even though the flu hasn't been making big headlines this year, there is still good reason to remain vigilant in fighting the disease. The influenza virus can mutate rather easily, and just recently a new strain of the H3N2 swine flu was found in a small outbreak in Iowa. The constant mutation of viruses keeps researchers guessing as to which strain is best to use when developing a vaccine. Some scientists are hopeful that a universal vaccine might be possible based on traits that almost all flu viruses share.  

Clever Apes host Gabriel Spitzer recently sat down with The Afternoon Shift host Steve Edwards to discuss all things flu.  You can hear their conversation by clicking "Listen to this story" above or by subscribing to our podcast.