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 Everyone is blaming H1N1, but could a different strain of Influenza be the cause of Mexican deaths?

A new study by University of Maryland researchers suggests that the potential for an avian influenza virus to cause a human flu pandemic is greater than previously thought and the results also illustrate how the current H1N1 swine flu outbreak likely came about. 

Regular hand washing is recommended by both the WHO and the NHS as one of the most effective ways of controlling infections.   Using a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available is also a good idea.

With swine flu topping the agenda of business around the world, global risks specialist, Maplecroft has released three new maps and indices revealing the countries most at risk from an influenza pandemic.

The Influenza Pandemic Risk Index (IPRI) consists of three categories: Risk of Emergence, Risk of Spread and Capacity to Contain. Each index generates a list of countries most at risk and that require a tailored policy response on the part of government and business. Maplecroft's research focuses on global risks to business.

The map of Risk of Spread shows the United Kingdom most at risk to the spread of an influenza pandemic, ranking number 1 out of 213 countries.

People who want to take extra precautions against swine flu should look for masks with built-in filters, according to Dr Robin J Harman, a pharmaceutical and regulatory expert.

There has been much debate about the benefits of wearing a mask to prevent infection with swine flu. Ordinary surgical masks provide some protection from airborne particles, but the UK Department of Health has stated that 'basic face masks don't protect people from becoming infected'.(1)

High school biology teachers may be even more important than the curriculm, according to a University of Minnesota study published in the May issue of BioScience.

Co-authors Randy Moore and Sehoya Cotner, professors in the College of Biological Sciences, surveyed 1,000 students taking introductory biology classes at the University of Minnesota to learn how biology majors view evolution compared to non-majors. Results showed that the two groups' views were similar and revealed that high school biology teachers influence whether majors and non-majors college students accept evolution or question it based on creationism.