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Author Topic: Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?  (Read 24281 times)

Offline wolfekeeper

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #25 on: 29/04/2009 00:46:19 »
Highly infectious viruses are more likely to be deadly, because there's less incentive from the virus's point of view not to be... you've infected and moved on before you kill. It's the low infectious viruses that can't be deadly.

Still, most viruses, even highly infectious viruses won't be deadly, but they can happen.

But if they are deadly they will tend to be knew viruses, because over time it still pays to evolve to being less deadly, or at least less immediately deadly (AIDS).
« Last Edit: 29/04/2009 00:49:51 by wolfekeeper »
 

Offline stereologist

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #26 on: 29/04/2009 02:19:45 »
This whole time I thought people were saying there was a 'swine flew' epidemic. No wonder I've been out hunting for bacon on the wing and gotten nothing.

Now I understand why the man selling hunting licenses laughed in my face and tossed me out the door.
 

Offline JimBob

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #27 on: 29/04/2009 03:49:34 »
I think you are in the wrong section - it is "That CAN'T be true !" that has a flying pig icon.
 

Variola

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #28 on: 29/04/2009 08:35:42 »
Quote
Highly infectious viruses are more likely to be deadly, because there's less incentive from the virus's point of view not to be... you've infected and moved on before you kill. It's the low infectious viruses that can't be deadly.

Not so, varicella zozter ( chicken pox) is highly contagious but its rarely more than unpleasant, as is parvo B19. Conversely Ebola, which is particulary nasty, is not that contagious when compared to airbourne viruses, and is usually restricted to close contact ( thankfully). Viruses have no idea if they are deadly or not, if fact many viruses co-exist quite happily in their host, its not in their interest to kill them.
 

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #29 on: 29/04/2009 11:00:08 »
The ineresting thing about this whole affair is human behaviour, particularly the wearing of face masks.

Newsreel shots from Mexico show many people wearing masks that are clerly non-toxic particle masks of the type you'd wear to break up a bit of concrete. Some are in surgical masks that not much better.

The grim reality is that masks are of little value with these viruses as they are only effective when dry - they quickly become wet just by breathing through them and then they present a further hazard when they are handled during disposal - firstly virus particles are transferred to the hands (and then to goodness knows where) and when the mask itself pollutes the environment it's left in.

Fortunately this virus isn't very robust outside the body; the best advice seems to be - keep washing your hands.

 

Offline BenV

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« Reply #30 on: 29/04/2009 12:01:32 »
Apologies for the language, but I thought this was funny...

 

Offline Don_1

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #31 on: 29/04/2009 12:06:48 »
What I find rather disturbing about this outbreak is not so much the virus itself, as the attitude of some incredibly selfish and stupid individuals who, having the 80+ to waste, are getting private prescriptions for Tamiflu and buying the drug 'just in case'.

OK, so we apparently have enough to treat 33 million, but just suppose, unlikely though it is, the UK were to be hit by this pandemic on a truly massive scale and we run out of Tamiflu (& other treatments). Those who can afford it have the treatment sitting in their first aid box unused because they don't get infected, while those who could not afford their own personal stockpile die because there are stocks left in the chemists'.

I'm sorry, but I think these people are the scum of the Earth.
 

Variola

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« Reply #32 on: 29/04/2009 12:54:56 »
Some anti-virals are only really useful in the early stages of infection, after that they have limited use. I am not sure how responsive this strain is, although it is sensitive to them,how effective treatment with anti-virals will be after several days of infection is a different matter.

 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #33 on: 29/04/2009 13:00:01 »
Perhaps there is another perspective. I would be like to able to buy in advance. As a person with a severely compromised immune system I wish to have an anti-viral at had if I get ill. I cannot fight off something as sever as the more virulent stain found in Mexico which will be the next wave of the strain to spread. And this could very well be a very long period of flu epidemic. The 1976 came back a second time as a weaker form but it was still deadly to some. In 1918 the second was much worse than the first.

Some people will sacrifice other things to protect themselves, no matter what the cost.

As The Pox just said, there is no time to wait if you are infected. The earlier the treatment is begun the better the prognosis. Hours make a critical difference - quite possibly the difference between life and death.
« Last Edit: 29/04/2009 13:05:06 by JimBob »
 

Offline JimBob

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #34 on: 29/04/2009 14:27:22 »
As of this Morning we do not have swine flu - it is the H1N1 Flu Virus. CDC and W.H.O. did this as this strain is an amalgam of swine, avian, human and one other virus that I cannot recall at the moment 
 

Offline Don_1

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #35 on: 29/04/2009 17:05:30 »
JB, I think those 'at risk' such as the very young, elderly or those with a suppressed immune system should be given the treatments in advance, not have to buy them.
 

Offline Aklumog

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #36 on: 29/04/2009 18:34:41 »
Unfortunately, we embrace capitalism. Besides, is $120 too much to spare?
« Last Edit: 29/04/2009 18:37:01 by Aklumog »
 

Offline Don_1

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« Reply #37 on: 29/04/2009 18:54:31 »
It is for some. Apart from that, our NHS GP's will give a prescription for nothing and the cost of the drug would be 7.10 from any chemist.

We pay for our health service through our taxes, there is no reason why those who are not so wealthy as some should suffer as a consequence. Fine, if you have the resources and wish to pay for private treatment, it should be available, but not if such results in the detriment to the NHS.

It would be a bit like paying health insurance in the USA and then finding you have to pay again if you want the best treatment.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #38 on: 29/04/2009 20:02:54 »
What I find rather disturbing about this outbreak is not so much the virus itself, as the attitude of some incredibly selfish and stupid individuals who, having the 80+ to waste, are getting private prescriptions for Tamiflu and buying the drug 'just in case'.

OK, so we apparently have enough to treat 33 million, but just suppose, unlikely though it is, the UK were to be hit by this pandemic on a truly massive scale and we run out of Tamiflu (& other treatments). Those who can afford it have the treatment sitting in their first aid box unused because they don't get infected, while those who could not afford their own personal stockpile die because there are stocks left in the chemists'.

I'm sorry, but I think these people are the scum of the Earth.

Would you care to think about that again, but from the point of vierw of someone in the developing world who can't rely on a government stockpile of the drugs, nor on any other supply of the stuff?
It might be in order for them to say "those bastard rich countries got their first and can outbid us."

Paying for medicine always seems to produce this dilemma. It's the basic explanation of things like the NHS.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #39 on: 29/04/2009 20:16:44 »
Paignton Community College closed today because of confirmed swine flu
 

Variola

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #40 on: 29/04/2009 21:01:30 »
Paignton Community College closed today because of confirmed swine flu


Good grief!!!!!!!!
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #41 on: 29/04/2009 21:09:02 »
Unfortunately, we embrace capitalism. Besides, is $120 too much to spare?

For many people, yes. I am fortunate to have a little extra to spare on my Social Security. Most others do not.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #42 on: 29/04/2009 22:39:07 »
The ineresting thing about this whole affair is human behaviour, particularly the wearing of face masks.

Newsreel shots from Mexico show many people wearing masks that are clerly non-toxic particle masks of the type you'd wear to break up a bit of concrete. Some are in surgical masks that not much better.

The grim reality is that masks are of little value with these viruses as they are only effective when dry - they quickly become wet just by breathing through them and then they present a further hazard when they are handled during disposal - firstly virus particles are transferred to the hands (and then to goodness knows where) and when the mask itself pollutes the environment it's left in.

Fortunately this virus isn't very robust outside the body; the best advice seems to be - keep washing your hands.



There's another couple of problems. They are practically pointless if you have a beard- think about the effect of that factor in some parts of the world.
Also they induce a false sense of security; they make people think they are safe so they don't take sensible precautions like washing their hands (which works rather better than the mask anyway).
 

Offline kathforscience

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« Reply #43 on: 29/04/2009 23:25:49 »
From the evidence I have seen, rather than all the hype, the swine flu strain seems to be fairly mild. The media keeps reporting that around 150 people have died in Mexico - but only 7 of those have been confirmed as being directly due to swine flu.

The panic seems to be in the affluent, worried west as usual - but the people who will die in their thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands will be those in the developing world. Those already battling a cocktail of infectious diseases - TB, HIV/AIDS, malaria etc etc. The elderly, the weak and the very young who become co-infected with any strain of flu will be hardest hit.

No tamiflu for them either...

 

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #44 on: 29/04/2009 23:52:19 »
The ineresting thing about this whole affair is human behaviour, particularly the wearing of face masks.

Try this link from NPR, and listen to the audio:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103540200

IIRC, the primary reason for wearing the face mask is to keep peoples hands away from their face and mouth, not to prevent infection via inhalation.
 

Offline ukmicky

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #45 on: 30/04/2009 00:23:14 »
Quote
What I find rather disturbing about this outbreak is not so much the virus itself, as the attitude of some incredibly selfish and stupid individuals who, having the 80+ to waste, are getting private prescriptions for Tamiflu and buying the drug 'just in case'.

OK, so we apparently have enough to treat 33 million, but just suppose, unlikely though it is, the UK were to be hit by this pandemic on a truly massive scale and we run out of Tamiflu (& other treatments). Those who can afford it have the treatment sitting in their first aid box unused because they don't get infected, while those who could not afford their own personal stockpile die because there are stocks left in the chemists'.

Thankfully I have asthma so have already had a flu shot  ;D


But if it did start affecting lots of people in the uk i may have been tempted to go to the chemist to buy a packet of tamiflu,nothing wrong with a bit of forward thinking and taking precautions to protect yourself. A week out of work for me or my wife would be very costly , so if you can afford it and it spreads enough why not.

I can see the swine flu subject being the number one subject  in this weeks Naked scientists podcast
« Last Edit: 30/04/2009 00:30:12 by ukmicky »
 

Offline BenV

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #46 on: 30/04/2009 00:57:02 »
I can see the swine flu subject being the number one subject  in this weeks Naked scientists podcast
I'll bet you it's not - and I should know!

We interviewed Paul Digard about it last week - http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/interviews/interview/1104/

Frankly, there's wall to wall coverage anyway and the only real news is updates on suspected/confirmed cases and the death count.  I'm sure that we will report on any new scientific developments, but keeping up with hype isn't really our sort of thing.

Bear in mind, the live show is Sunday evening, and the podcast goes out on Tuesday - so figures would be outdated even before the pod goes online.  Also, should people listen through the back catalogue in a few months time, it (hopefully) will seem irrelevant.

However, Chris has been requested for interviews on pretty much every news outlet there is - he's hardly had time to sleep!
 

Offline AllenG

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #47 on: 30/04/2009 02:17:21 »
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Thankfully I have asthma so have already had a flu shot  ;D



This strain was not covered in this year's flu shot.
It'll be in next year's.
I recommend investing in flu vaccine manufacturers.
 

Offline AllenG

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #48 on: 30/04/2009 08:34:57 »
Can someone bottom line how  the influenza virus operates?
What cells does it invade?
What goes on during an infection?
How is it different from a really nasty cold?
Why is it so infectious?
How long does it live outside of the body?
Why is it seasonal?
How can it mix with other strains?

Thanks,

--A
« Last Edit: 30/04/2009 08:37:52 by AllenG »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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« Reply #49 on: 30/04/2009 08:39:49 »
Whoa! Steady there fellow! :)
 

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