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18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 09 November 2011

Flu experts around the world are planning for the possibility of a global flu pandemic. Flu is seasonal – and many people succumb to the infection every year. But when flu is caught from an animal – like a bird or pig – it can be much more dangerous. Luckily bird flu has so far shown a very limited ability to pass from human to human. New research reveals that a young Cambodian boy and his teacher were found to have two strains of flu at the same time. Neither was bird flu and the two viruses didn’t combine. But scientists are worried about what might happen if they did.

As well as analysing strains of flu for any genetic changes, researchers are also trying to track the spread of infection. And this week a Europe-wide flu survey has gone live – to monitor the health of people across the continent. The public is being asked to note any symptoms – as well as how long their illness lasts and whether they previously had a flu jab.

There’s news of the curious link between two medical conditions - why is it that people with diabetes are three times more likely to develop TB?

And – a delicate question – is it true that sugar causes wind?


4 items
  • Checking the genes of flu in Cambodia

    Two types of flu have been found in a Cambodian boy and his teacher, but luckily the viruses hadn’t combined. Claudia Hammond talks to Patrick Blair about planning for a potential flu pandemic

  • A Europe-wide survey to map the spread of flu

    This week a Europe-wide flu survey has gone live – to monitor the health of people across the continent. Claudia Hammond talks to Dr Ken Eames who runs the UK Flu Survey

  • Is it true that eating sugar gives you wind?

    Burping is a sign that you are swallowing air when you eat, so you need to chew food properly. Professor Ray Playford explains why some foods produce more gas because of bacteria that break them down

  • The link between diabetes and tuberculosis

    It’s been known since Roman times that a diabetic with symptoms such as sweet-tasting urine might also suffer from TB. The definitive link was made just 3 years ago. Helen Sharp reports



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