Drew, on Apr 27 2009, 11:49 AM, said:
Yesterday this administration declared a "public health emergency." While Janet Napolitano immediately said "That's not as bad as it sounds," the very fact that she had to add the disclaimer suggests the administration is worried about setting off "official panic."
But now that we've got official panic, it puts the Obama administration and Matt Drudge on the same side -- perhaps for the first time ever.
So it goes.
The media also reports that the handful of cases in the U.S. have been described as "mild".
Found this interesting:
Swine flu has been hopping from pigs to humans for decades, sometimes causing disease, sometimes not. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control, 76% of swine exhibitors at a 1988 county fair had antibodies in their bloodstream indicating a prior swine flu infection, even though the exhibitors showed no signs of illness.
Also . . .
As of this writing, 80 people in Mexico have succumbed to swine flu. By comparison, the CDC estimates that 36,000 people in the United States die each year of influenza-related illnesses. And in spite of this, we in the medical community still have a hard time convincing people to get their flu shots. If you’re not afraid of influenza, then you shouldn’t be afraid of the swine flu. Even in the event that someone gets infected with swine flu, we have medications with demonstrated effectiveness against the strain that’s currently active.
All of which I posted up-thread.
Yes, it responds to Tamiflu and Relenza, but no, those aren't vaccines, so they will not stop the spread of the virus should it go pandemic... and if it does, we don't have enough Tamiflu and Relenza stockpiled to treat the vast majority.
Yes, the US cases here have so far been mild but we should not draw premature conclusions based on that. First, mild by comparison to what? To the cases in Mexico where people are dying? Well, that's a relief: it's not killing people here. At leats not yet. CDC and Fort Dietrich say they have no idea why the US cases have been mild, and of course, there is no guarantee they will REMAIN so. The initial outbreak in Mexico may have presented exactly like this, and -- crucially -- the 1918 pandemic began with a milder strain in the first six months,
followed by the more virulent strain... the one that killed 100 million people and is known as "the greatest medical holocaust of all time."
Healthy young adults were particularly susceptible to the pandemic strain, though (as everyone knows) the flu typically preys on the young, the elderly, and the immunosupressed. Healthy young adults seem particularly susceptible to *this* strain, as well. Very troubling.
BTW, it's NOT just another swine flu (despite what the media are calling it). It's a mutant strain containing elements of swine, avian and human influenza virus, which have combined in a way researchers have not seen before. This is the stuff pandemics are made of.
Does that mean it *will* become one? No, thankfully. But does it mean it COULD? Yep. And people have to know it. If that scares them, so be it. At least they'll be scared and *informed*, which is infinitely better than un-scared and uninformed.