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zapping mossies: how to curb, if not eliminate, malaria

This is something that could make a huge difference world-wide.

1:05 min

“During his demonstration, Myhrvold released hundreds of mosquitoes into a glass tank. A laser tracked their movements and shot them down one by one, leaving their carcasses on the bottom of the tank. Myhrvold said that the lasers could shoot between 50 and 100 mosquitoes per second.

“Besides being fast, the laser is accurate, too; it can distinguish butterflies from mosquitoes, and can also tell the difference between male and female mosquitoes. Only female mosquitoes, whose wings beat at lower frequencies, bite humans.

“ You could kill billions of mosquitoes a night and you could do so without harming butterflies,” Myhrvold said.”


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on flu vaccination

“The report backs up a rough estimate used by health officials in recent weeks that more than 60 million Americans had been vaccinated.

“It also shows that vaccination rates were a bit higher for people deemed to be especially vulnerable to the new influenza, including children, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions”

“An estimated 55 million became ill from swine flu from the time it was first identified in April through mid-December. About 246,000 Americans were hospitalized and 11,160 died.”

Which suggests that vaccination in the USA has been very useful, though I cannot find deaths attributed to flu vaccine, or figures for those vaccinated who also caught swine flu.

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“In 1957, Dr. Schuchat said, officials “gave the all-clear whistle” in midwinter and did not encourage flu shots, which were then rarer and also less purified. As a result, she said, there was another substantial wave of deaths in March 1958.

“But she conceded that no pandemic was identical to any other. The death rate from swine or H1N1 flu appears to be about a quarter of that of the 1957 flu, but that may be because of antiviral drugs and better ventilators, not the virus itself.” [Quoted from]

(Dr. Schuchat means that the 1958 epidemic caused 4 times the deaths. Swine flu is an H1N1 variant, as is most of what is being called ‘seasonal flu’. The 1958 strain was H12N2. Reports suggest there has been very little seasonal flu so far this time. The ‘flu season’ is equivalent to the ‘cold season’. Thus, in terms of normal UK winter patterns, it is just beginning now!)

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