Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Skatche » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:13 pm

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:It should be noted that now, today, the WHO is saying the pandemic is NOT inevitable. This is different than what I read yesterday. However, the words of before still stand, out there somewhere.

I hate having sources demanded of me... it's really hard to remember them, so I have to search and look them up again, and often can't find the original page...


See, this is precisely why I always want sources: conflicting reports. You probably heard that pandemic is inevitable, from someone, but who was that someone? They may very well have been a total asshole. More reliable sources may say something entirely different (if they have strong data), exactly as we see here, or simply refuse to make any comment (recognizing that there is no strong data).

Incidentally, I notice the articles you linked to are about the possibility of a pandemic - saying it's inevitable eventually - and have nothing to do with the current swine flu issue. I suspect that a pandemic is, indeed, inevitable. I also strongly suspect this isn't it.

Rather than pick out those individual voices that support my hopes or fears, I try to remain skeptical of everyone I read. I am skeptical of people who say X; I am skeptical of people who say not-X. Above all I am skeptical of people who don't cite their sources.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:37 am

Governments across the world must prepare for swine flu pandemic

"The World Health Organization yesterday called on all governments to prepare for a swine flu pandemic and warned that if the ­disease took hold across the globe it could prove a disaster for ­poorer countries."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/28/swine-flu-united-states-mexico
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby strange_person » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:41 am

The 1918 epidemic was initially not taken seriously.

I read an article in SciAm, about computer simulation of disease spread. Their conclusion was that, while some countermeasures are more effective than others, the rapidity with which the chosen measures are implemented is by far the most important factor.

Clearly, something is being done.

Ergo, I do not think that swine flu will be the end of life as we know it. I mean, sure, "egermency, egermency, everybody to go from street," but a year from now it'll be like nothing happened.


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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:06 pm

It is now a level 5.

Deep shit, folks.

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.


http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/phase/en/index.html
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Skatche » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:13 am

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:It is now a level 5.

Deep shit, folks.

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.


http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/phase/en/index.html


Yes; it seems people are getting the flu. That happens every year. This flu is no stronger than what you're exposed to every flu season, says one of the WHO guys. Of course, he's more worried about avian flu, but hey - that hasn't been a sensationalist news item in at least a year.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby draque » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:07 am

Skatche wrote:Yes; it seems people are getting the flu. That happens every year. This flu is no stronger than what you're exposed to every flu season, says one of the WHO guys. Of course, he's more worried about avian flu, but hey - that hasn't been a sensationalist news item in at least a year.


Good link there, and an interesting read. I'm becoming increasingly concerned that overreaction to the swine flu might be more damaging than the flu itself (although obviously, this is something to hope for either way). In any event, washing your hands frequently and making a conscious effort to avoid contact with sick people is going to accomplish a lot more than the panic that a lot of people are allowing themselves to fall into.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Alfador » Fri May 01, 2009 9:02 am

Vitamin D, eh?

*clackityclack*

Okay, I just turned the blinds from down and closed, to up and halfway, letting as much sunlight in as it's possible for my apartment to get. Staying happy? CHECK. Oh, and there's nothing to worry about unless they get Madagascar. (that will only make sense to someone who's played Pandemic II--or maybe the first one, I dunno, I never played that one)


...if they do, there's nothing for it but to purge Stratholme to keep it from spreading.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Plasman » Fri May 01, 2009 3:02 pm

I've noticed an interesting point. Most of the sources I've found seem to highlight the number of deaths to this strain of 'flu, but they don't elaborate on the extenuating circumstances, ie. what level of health they were at prior to infection.
It's easy to assume that the people who died were robust and healthy, and were suddenly brought down in their prime - but if someone has a lowered immune system when they catch the virus, of course they are not going to recover as easily as someone healthier.
Has anyone found any information regarding the general living situation regarding those who have died (whether they kept livestock, were victims of poverty, poor sanitation etc.)?

Besides, I thought it wasn't just the 'flu you had to worry about, but what it could lead to, that was the problem. But that's splitting hairs, I guess.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Wic » Mon May 04, 2009 2:49 am

According to those maps, Finland seems to be one of the safest places to be in.

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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Anna » Mon May 04, 2009 7:08 am

Wic wrote:According to those maps, Finland seems to be one of the safest places to be in.

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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Wic » Tue May 05, 2009 11:44 am

America is overreacting.

For comparison:

Swine flu (current)
1124 infected, 24 deaths. 2.31% death rate.

SARS
8,096 infected, 774 deaths. 9.56% death rate.

1918 Spanish flu
500 million infected, 50 million dead. 10% death rate.

And of course the real killer flu you really should be afraid of...

Avian flu
421 infected, 257 dead. 61% death rate.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Tue May 05, 2009 1:30 pm

What I have been trying to get across is that the real fun won't happen with regard to this flu until fall. This is a warning sign. It's nothing.

If- and it is a big if, though a dire one - this flu follows the pattern of other, really fatal flus of the past, then it will fade away for the summer, suppressed by high levels of vitamin D in sun-drenched biology as well as warm air. But it will be residing in animals, in reservoirs, mutating further. A few genes the wrong way, and in the fall, and especially in winter, when things are dark, D is low, and the air is cold and dry - the ideal circumstance for transmission and survival of the virus in air - that things could get nasty. As in really fatal.

We are overcrowded and overpopulated as a species, and the Third World is essentially beyond help. We are a pile of dry, gasoline-soaked wood and flu is a lit match.

With all good luck nothing will happen. Nothing. It will all fizzle out. This year.

But it can happen, and, given time, will happen.

People are concerned because this flu looks like it has potential, and it has brought in to sharp relief that cutting virtually all of the programs that might have helped us may have been a bad idea. Our self-created vulnerability in all regards has been highlighted. Suddenly prudence and preparation for the future sounds wiser than before.

But above all, people who had family members who were devastated, slaughtered, by a flu in the past -such as myself- start to remember all of those old stories we were told as children. Other people's tragedies suddenly seem less boring than before, and more like important information.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Mitsukara » Sat May 09, 2009 3:00 am

The thing is, comparison to present diseases versus past ones doesn't work because you won't have totals until the damage is done. You don't know how bad it is until it's already been bad.

In general, it seems to me the path of wisdom to avoid panicing, keep clean habits, keep up on vitamins and healthy food, and just take decent care of yourself. Avoid completely pointless social contact you don't really have a good reason for, but don't avoid grocery shopping until you're pretty sure there's a deadly epidemic, but unfortunately you probably won't know it's there until it comes.

Like the matter of death itself, it's always looming around the corner, and there's always a chance for it to get more common and worse- just be careful and don't let fear of it waste away the life you have now. Be cautious when you're lucky enough to see it coming, and hope that wherever and whoever it hits, well... hope for magical (or technological!) afterlifes if that's your thing, or rest on your conviction that there is one, or whatever it is you prefer (I'm in the hoping category, myself).

For the most part, I think that's all you can do. Be careful, and where comfortable and preferred, be paranoid, but don't let the paranoia cause more harm than good.

Also, that recursive panic stuff sounds awfully familiar, you two... *cough*

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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Plasman » Sat May 09, 2009 8:39 am

..!
"Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best."


I don't see any usefulness in panicking about this Swine Flu.
If we worry about this and it doesn't come to pass, we will have wasted our time and energy.
If we worry about this and it does come to pass, what good will our worry have been? Will it change anything?

I'm not confusing "Worry" with "Precaution" here. Of course you should be taking precautions with the flu, as you would with any potentially harmful situation (life-threatening or otherwise).
But getting worked up into a stressed state over something that is still, at this time, only potentially deadly, is pointless.

Also, it's worth observing that most of the deaths - so far, mind you - have been concentrated in Mexico, which, as I understand, is still a developing country (or at least has more people with a lower standard of living than the States). I found a partial answer to my earlier question in, well okay, it's Wikipedia, but here's the link:
Wikipedia Article on '09 Swine Flu Outbreak wrote:The CDC does not fully understand why the U.S. cases' symptoms were primarily mild while the Mexican cases had led to multiple deaths. However, research on previous pandemic strains has suggested that mortality can vary widely between different countries, with mortality being concentrated in the developing world. Differences in the viruses or co-infection are also being considered as possible causes. In 1918, influenza weakened the infected, and it was then lung infections such as pneumonia which killed 3% of them. In the current outbreak, the first deaths (13 and 21 April) were diagnosed as 'atypical pneumonias', a pneumonia which, helped by the flu, becomes more dangerous.

So there are other mitigating factors in whether you will succumb completely to the virus, or survive it. It helps to live in a part of the world where effective treatment is possible, as well as having a generally healthy lifestyle to begin with.
Furthermore, the reason so many died in earlier epidemics could be due to the lack of sufficient medical treatment. (what kind of medicine and therapy did they have back in those days? was there enough to go around for everyone who was infected?)
In this case, it's important to note that merely contracting the virus is not a death sentence. As it stands, though, it is too early to tell what will happen with the flu. However, it is also too early to start worrying.

As for the possibility that the virus could mutate, I am 100% with you Jennifer. There is a chance that it could turn into something nastier and kill millions.
BUT - what then? What should we do?
Since this is something that could have happened at any time in history, is there any reason I should start worrying now? :|
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Plasman » Sat May 09, 2009 9:35 am

PS. I didn't mean to sound snippety at anyone here with the above post. I know that it's a really hairy situation for all of you guys in the States, what with being neighbours to Swine Flu Central and all (and me being in a country that hasn't yet identified a single positive case of the flu, yet!) so don't feel as though I'm treating you all like panicky idiots. I respect everyone's statements here, which is actually why I posted the above - to get answers to questions that came up in my mind after reading your comments. Anyway, proceed as per normal.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Wic » Sun May 10, 2009 5:24 am

You need to salvage the situation in politics.

"In the recent outbreak of a potential killer virus, the need of better public healthcare is more and more vital. The United States of America cannot allow the virus to spread in the population of low income families."

I guess I should send that to Obama.
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Re: U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu Outbrea

Postby Plasman » Sun May 10, 2009 9:53 am

Good point.
It would be awful to see people dying of the flu, merely because they couldn't afford better health care. And Hey!, we just happen to be seeing an awful LOT of people with a lot less than they used to have. :( Eeep.
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