What Lies Beneath the Ice? Maybe the Flu
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2009 6:48 PM CDT
A swan runs on a frozen lake.    (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

(Newser) – Another sign of the flu's ingenuity: Two researchers say it can hide for centuries in Arctic ice and re-emerge to infect birds and humans who are no longer immune to that particular strain, reports Wired. When rising temperatures cause the ice to melt, the flu springs back to life and infects the eggs of water fowl, who carry it back to humans.

“It can bring a set of viral genes back to life that have been frozen for centuries or thousands of years,” said an environmental biologist at Bowling Green. “If hosts haven’t seen the virus in a while, then there may be no active immunity.” The theory, still being tested, may explain how identical flu strains re-emerge decades apart.