Beyond bird flu,
If bird and swine influenza strains haven’t been enough to give public health officials agita when trying to persuade Americans to get flu vaccine shots, now they also have to contend with the potential of human-acquired bat flu.
While apparently not posing a current threat to humans, a new influenza A virus discovered in fruit bats in Guatemala is on the radar of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“This is the first time an influenza virus has been identified in bats, but in its current form the virus is not a human health issue,” Suxiang Tong, team leader of the Pathogen Discovery Program in the CDC’S viral diseases division and lead author of the study, said in a release. “The study is important because the research has identified a new animal species that may act as a source of flu viruses.”
Nonetheless, the threat is worth watching because bat flu has the potential to change form, allowing it to be acquired by humans, the authors note.
Outliers hopes “True Blood” or the “Twilight” series picks up on this. We’d love to do an Outlier on Sookie or Bella caring for a cute little flu-sick bat. Ahhhh. honor a request such as Friedlander’s based on the tattoo alone.
But the markings do offer a simple and permanent way to give rescuers important health details.
The American Medical Association does not specifically address medical tattoos in its guidelines. But Dr. Saleh Aldasouqi, an endocrinologist at Michigan State University, hopes that might change.
Aldasouqi, who has written about the tattoos, has seen them among his diabetic patients and feels they are becoming so popular that the medical profession needs to help guide their development.
“My intention has been to bring this issue to the surface so that medical organizations can have a say in that,” he said. “When you just Google it, you’re going to find hundreds of stories and discussions, but no medical say. So I feel we leave our patients kind of afloat.”
The National Tattoo Association, a not-for-profit that raises awareness about tattooing, does not track the numbers or styles of tattoos. Sailor Bill Johnson, a spokesman for the association, said he does about one medical tattoo a year at his shop in Orlando, Fla. ( Outliers included him just because we love his name. We hope he has Popeye tattooed on his arm.)
Taking a nap or sick with the flu? This fruit bat isn’t saying.