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Swine flu deaths spur global epidemic fears

Public Health Swine Flu 2009

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#1 Shalamar

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:30 PM

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A unique strain of swine flu is the suspected killer of dozens of people in Mexico, where authorities closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in the capital on Friday to try to contain an outbreak that has spurred concerns of a global flu epidemic.

The worrisome new virus which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths in the U.S.

"We are very, very concerned," World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human ... It's all hands on deck at the moment."

The outbreak caused alarm in Mexico, where more than 1,000 people have been sickened. Residents of the capital donned surgical masks and authorities ordered the most sweeping shutdown of public gathering places in a quarter century. President Felipe Calderon met with his Cabinet Friday to coordinate Mexico's response.

The WHO was convening an expert panel to consider whether to raise the pandemic alert level or issue travel advisories.

There is no vaccine that specifically protects against swine flu, and it was unclear how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer. A "seed stock" genetically matched to the new swine flu virus has been created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, said Dr. Richard Besser, the agency's acting director. If the government decides vaccine production is necessary, manufacturers would need that stock to get started.

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Bolding mine, and this IS worrisome, when you find three virus's combining like this.
Color me rather unsettled with it having already spread beyond one nation.
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#2 Drew

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 09:02 AM

Holy Crap! It IS the 1970s again!
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#3 Shadowfire

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 10:07 AM

Realistically are these fear of a 'global epidemic' real or scaremongering because it might remotely happen aka 'SARS will kill us all, all is lost, humanity is doomed etc etc'.

Edited to add an anecdote:

I remember when a Chinese kid at college got a bad head cold and the entire college got shut down for 2 weeks...

Edited by Dusty, 25 April 2009 - 10:09 AM.

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View PostRobL, on Jul 20 2009, 06:35 PM, said:

Every time I see a political thread I fondle myself just a little bit.............

'I honestly cannot justify that. You see, advertising isn't an art. Appealing to the English? Use someone from Hollyoaks and diss United. Scots? Talk about how evil Thatcher was. SNP is awesome etc. Americans? Well they be thick as sh*t so short sentences and shiny things and some Jesus helps too.. French and Germans? Talk about the war. Irish? f*ck that we can't sell sh*t in Ireland. That's frankly how it all works. So what I'm trying to say is that I'm happy you're dumping all this cash into advertising... I honestly don't see what you want me to do with it.  And also, that blip in the records in June was me buying monitors.-- never ask me to be 'brutally honest' about a budget.

You of course realise that anything you post here is comprised of ASCII characters? Each character is 7 bits with a parity bit making 8... I guess that's fairly meaningless to you which is actually the point. At most your sentence is a few kilobytes and considering I'm doing a file transfer of over a billion bytes right now those bytes making up your words are invisible with their insignificance, which is exact what I think of your post. Insignificant.

#4 Shalamar

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 01:46 PM

Part of what is worrisome is that Mexico City, the current hotbed of the never-before-seen virus  is an international city with many, many tourists and business travellers coming in and out  It's claimed 86 lives already - not the number of ill, but those who have died from it, and it has already passed into the US. And from later articles there is is to consider:

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This virus is a mix of human, pig and bird strains that prompted WHO to meet Saturday to consider declaring an international public health emergency a step that could lead to travel advisories, trade restrictions and border closures. Spokesman Gregory Hartl said a decision would not be made Saturday.

Scientists have warned for years about the potential for a pandemic from viruses that mix genetic material from humans and animals. Another reason to worry is that authorities said the dead so far don't include vulnerable infants and elderly. The Spanish flu pandemic, which killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19, also first struck otherwise healthy young adults.
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They noted there had been no direct contact between the cases in the San Diego and San Antonio areas, suggesting the virus had already spread from one geographic area through other undiagnosed people

So I am not panicking but I am concerned, also in part in that this is not the usual time of the year when flus pop up - late fall and winter.
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#5 RobL

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 04:04 PM

Don't we usually have one of these pandemics about every hundered years? If so, its about time we did have one.


Anyhoo, anyone else reminded of "Stephen King's The Stand"?

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#6 Rhea

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 04:11 PM

Right now this is fearmongering. For reasons that are unclear, the cases in the U.S. and Canada are far milder than those in Mexico.

Right now WHO doesn't view it as a pandemic, but they're meeting Tues. to talk about it.
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#7 Shalamar

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 04:12 PM

Looks at RobL and nods unhappily...

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WASHINGTON The U.S. declared a public health emergency Sunday to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.

Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild and U.S. health authorities can't yet explain why

as of 12 minutes ago:

US declares public health emergency for swine flu
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#8 RobL

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 04:32 PM

Guess I won't be eating my pork burritos anytime soon............ :(

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#9 ShotenStar

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 05:02 PM

View PostRobL, on Apr 26 2009, 05:32 PM, said:

Guess I won't be eating my pork burritos anytime soon............ :(

But you don't get it from eating properly cooked pork.  You get it from working with live pigs, like in a factory farm where thousands of pigs are confined to a small area, or from having contact with someone who works with live pigs, or some other human-to-human contact where the initial contact is live pigs.

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Edited by ShotenStar, 26 April 2009 - 05:03 PM.

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#10 Shalamar

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 05:21 PM

Star is absolutely correct - this is NOT being passed along by eating pork - cooked or under cooked - it is by contact with carriers ( people and live animals )
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#11 RobL

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 05:38 PM

View PostShotenStar, on Apr 26 2009, 03:02 PM, said:

View PostRobL, on Apr 26 2009, 05:32 PM, said:

Guess I won't be eating my pork burritos anytime soon............ :(

But you don't get it from eating properly cooked pork.  You get it from working with live pigs, like in a factory farm where thousands of pigs are confined to a small area, or from having contact with someone who works with live pigs, or some other human-to-human contact where the initial contact is live pigs.

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I was joking dear.  :whistle:

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#12 BklnScott

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 06:08 PM

Flu pandemics do happen.  They have happened.  This one bears a lot of the hallmarks of the ones that have been really, apocalyptically bad (1917) that it *should* set off some bells & whistles.  It's not fearmongering.  It's prudence.  

The good news is that a) the US cases, for now, are milder and b) that it responds to Tamiflu and Relenza.  Roche is ready to turn over its entire supply to the Federal government, if asked.  Mexico says it has enough tamiflu to treat 1 million people.

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#13 Lin731

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 09:30 PM

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Anyhoo, anyone else reminded of "Stephen King's The Stand"?

Ahhhh...Captain Tripps, The Super Flu brought on by our own government with a huge nudge from the Dark Man, The Walkin Dude...One of my favorite books.

Edited by Lin731, 26 April 2009 - 09:31 PM.

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#14 ShotenStar

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 06:35 AM

View PostRobL, on Apr 26 2009, 06:38 PM, said:

I was joking dear.  :whistle:


Ah So .... unfortunately, there are a bunch of people who will say the same thing in all seriousness.  One of the things that feeds a public panic is the lack of accurate information ... as well as the lack of logical thought processes.

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Edited by ShotenStar, 27 April 2009 - 09:00 AM.

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#15 Chakoteya

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:20 AM

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases - catch them in your handkerchief. 1945 Public Health film.

Don't hack your germs down another person's neck on your commute to work.... basic common sense.

So, let's ground all the airplanes to slow down the spread of infection and quarantine everyone seen coughing in public. Yup, that should do it. The ensuing panic and chaos should be quite good fun to watch. From a distance.
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#16 Omega

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:29 AM

http://xkcd.com/574/

#17 ShotenStar

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:46 AM

View PostOmega, on Apr 27 2009, 08:29 AM, said:


Thank you for that.  Now excuse me please.  I need to clean the keyboard and monitor ....

*star*
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#18 Drew

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:20 AM

Most of you probably don't remember the Swine Flu "epidemic" of the 70s. I think the vaccine killed more people.

I don't so much fear an epidemic as I do a government whipping up panic in the citizenry.

I mean, after the Bird Flu got us all, . . . or at least the ones that weren't dead already from the SARS that got us all . . .

Edited by Drew, 27 April 2009 - 08:22 AM.

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#19 BklnScott

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:56 AM

So the government should adopt a "bury-head-in-sand" approach because people might get upset when they hear that there's a global flu outbreak that might reach pandemic proportions?  Way to shoot the messenger.  

The appropriate reaction when an outbreak with pandemic potential doesn't achieve that potential is RELIEF, not indignation over the failure of the CDC's crystal ball.  Certainly, no one should pretend that the potential didn't exist in the first place, which smacks of typical far-right anti-science nonsense.  

Again, this virus -- a mutant strain of swine, bird and human influenza that has combined in a way we haven't seen before -- does have the potential to become another 1917-style pandemic.  Anyone in public health who decides it's better to sit on that information rather than get it out there, massively, so the public is aware, and can be prepared, should be shot.

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#20 Vapor Trails

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:05 AM

Walking to work this morning, I heard New York City Mayor Michael Bloomburg on NPR telling those who are feeling sick to stay home.

:rolleyes:

For struggling folks, that really isn't an option, and there's a LOT of them out there. :( And some jobs don't have sick leave.

It's either pay your bills, or get kicked out into the street/get your utilities cut/whatever.

:(

Edited by Ghost Rider, 27 April 2009 - 09:06 AM.

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