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Author Topic: Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?  (Read 24218 times)

Variola

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #50 on: 30/04/2009 20:13:55 »
Well really you need Dr Chris the expert to answer those, but in his absence I will try  and give you a decent answer!!

The 'flu virus operates in general the same way any other virus does, by invading the hosts cells, and mounting a takeover and reordering the cell to make copies of the virus intracellular. The flu virus is engulfed by the cell, as part of the body’s natural 'clean up' system, and drawn into the cell inside a 'bubble' of cell membrane. It then disperses its RNA and takes over the cell machinery. When there are enough copies inside the cell, the virus particles ( virons) burst out of the cell, taking some of the cells coating to wrap itself in. Then the virus particles move on another cell and do the same, and so on and so forth.

Flu viruses just love epithelial respiratory tract cells, cells that line the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs. In fact, it adores these cells and spends much of its time infecting them, which is why with 'flu you get a cough, running nose, sore throat etc. Sometimes it also likes to attack muscle cells,( usually associated with joint) which is why you feel so achy with 'flu. The high fever associated with 'flu is the body’s way of fighting the infection, virus/bacteria don't like operating at higher temperatures, unfortunately nor do we!! It can also infect the cells of the intestinal tract, particularly in children, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea.

What goes on in an infection depends entirely on your own immune system and particular strain of virus. If your immune system has 'seen' that type of virus before, no problem. It will already be making anti-bodies that are specific to that virus, which will latch on to it and flag it up to other cells of the immune system, and the virus will be dealt with without causing any symptoms and before it has chance to replicate.If your body hasn’t seen the virus before then the immune system will set to work to try and rid the body of the virus. Problem is it can take 4 or 5 days before it starts making the antibodies to the virus, and by then the virus could have mounted a mass invasion, and be replicating like mad. In normal healthy adults this isn’t usually too serious, but in children, elderly or those with a compromised immune system it can be a problem. The body then has a long mop up task to get rid of the virus. It does depend on the virus’ ability to replicate quickly, and influenza is a past master at it!! By the time your natural defenses have kicked in, it’s made you feel pretty bad indeed. In most people, the flu will make them feel bad for a week or two, then it’s a slow progression to feeling better, but some people can be overwhelmed by the virus ,go into shock and die. Others can succumb to secondary infections that set up home while the immune system is busy fighting the virus.

The main difference between a cold and ‘flu is that ‘flu infects the lungs, whereas a cold just tend to stay in the upper respiratory tract. It’s true that you cough with both colds and flu, but the cough from a cold virus is generally is in the upper respiratory tract and not deep in the lungs. Pneumonia can often be associated with ‘flu because of the havoc flu wreaks on the lungs, it leaves the way clear for the pneumonia to set up home. ‘Flu can also cause respiratory failure, which I believe is how most people in the 1918 pandemic died, on post mortem , their lungs were found to be full of fluid. Other obvious differences is in how you feel, with a cold, if you were in bed and someone came in and announced you had won the lottery you would leap out of bed, with ‘flu, you wouldn’t care!!

Ok thats 4 done, I'll do the other 4 in a short while!!

 

Offline JimBob

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #51 on: 30/04/2009 20:18:53 »
Well, while researching this for my own use I answered these questions for myself. I also have a bit of medical knowledge and a background in zoology so here is my interpretation from some sources and from my own meemory - thus it isn't infallible. Her Herness can correct me if I am wrong.

Q. Can someone bottom line how  the influenza virus operates?
A. A virus attaches itself to the outer wall of a cell, injects RNA into the cell where it replicates, causing the cell to die. As replication proceeds, the cell wall bursts and a host of new viruses are released to repeat the replication process.

Q. What cells does it invade?
A. SEE ABOVE

Q. What goes on during an infection? How is it different from a really nasty cold?
A. Closely related. Influenza is, however a much more dangerous pathogen as it produces very high fever, diarrhea, extreme fluid loss and, possibly most importantly, a greater risk of secondary infections, including bacterial infections, that are as dangerous or more dangerous than the virus itself. One of the features of the 1918-19 outbreak was the increased immune response or immune feedback that led to destruction of lung tissue and fluid build up in the lungs due to the immune system trying to put more white blood cells in the area to fight infection. So many cells are driven into the area that there are hemorrhages that drown the person in their own fluids.

Q. Why is it so infectious?
A. Good question. Any one have a concrete answer?

Q. How long does it live outside of the body?
A. The virus can remain active for about a week at body temperature and longer at lower temperatures.

Q. Why is it seasonal?
A. Not really well understood. Possible reasons:
        1. Because it remains infectious longer at the lower temps, increasing the chance that it will be picked up by a human being.
        2. People are indoors more and in closer contact with others
        3. The dryer air during colder weather dries out mucous membranes decreasing mucous production, a major way viruses are defeated.   
        4. Increased travel and holiday celebrations during the holiday season in the northern hemisphere.

Q. How can it mix with other strains?
A. Viruses are rather unstable - they are just RNA, occasionally DNA, covered in a protein and, sometime, a layer of lipids (fats.) As several strains of one type are often are resident at a low level in a host that has immunity to them, one cell can be attacked by two types at the same time. While the RNA replication process continues in the cell with both viruses duplicating, they can mix strand, one strain contributing to partial replication and the other finishing the replication.
 

Variola

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #52 on: 30/04/2009 21:18:43 »
Quote
Her Herness can correct me if I am wrong.


Tut.... I won't bother answering the rest now.... :P
 

Offline Dege

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #53 on: 30/04/2009 21:36:04 »
hey everyone sorry to miss such a important topic ;D lol but yeah i just got word that another case was found in Georgia. no more have yet been found yet.

but if you want my say on the topic its just another thing to scare people. I mean just look, every year some 30,000 people die from the common flu. so then  every couple of years there is a mutation in the virus and everyone completely FREAKS out,but until we have a higher death rate then I wouldn't call it a pandemic. but yeah anyway that's what I say.   [|)]
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #54 on: 30/04/2009 22:06:30 »
Trouble is, can we rely on the death rates we are being given? Take the tsunami for example. for several days the death count was hidden, and even then began to climb very slowly until independent footage arrived on the scene.

 

Offline JimBob

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #55 on: 30/04/2009 22:39:22 »
I really wouldn't be worried about what is going on at present. It is what the future holds that is the possible problem. At present, the NORMAL flu around all of the time kills 300,000 to 500,000 a year across the world. In the US there are usually 36,000 people a year who succumb to it. So far this year, 13,000 people have died from the flu that is always with us. 100's will die in the US this week from the normal flu.

Yet that is not all of the story. As noted in the summaries above, the virus is easily changed. An outbreak of a highly contagious but not virulent flu is a huge red flag. If the highly contagious virus changes slightly, it can become a high mortality killer. THAT is the reason that the W.H.O. and other health organizations are seemingly overreacting. It is the future possibilities that are the most worrisome, not the present realities.
 

Offline Dege

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #56 on: 30/04/2009 22:58:56 »
i agree but the general public is also in a panic state. but yes I could see the influenza virus being a huge threat to the worlds population being that it changes almost every year and each time takes more people with it.
 

Offline AllenG

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #57 on: 01/05/2009 01:29:34 »
Variola, Jim Bob,

Thanks for taking the time.


 

Offline chris

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #58 on: 23/07/2009 22:31:02 »
To answer the original question at the top of this post...YES!
 

Offline Variola

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #59 on: 24/07/2009 09:07:36 »
Yes, just take no notice of my post at the top.
 

Offline profound

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #60 on: 31/07/2009 19:11:45 »

The news here earlier said we have had 7 cases in California already as of earlier today! It sounds horrible so far!


I am very worried about this.really scared.A friend told me intercourse with a pig by someone might have started this just like Aids was started by intercourse with a monkey.is this true.How ELSE could the disease get transmitted?.Have they been arrested yet?

How can I protect myself.Would a gas mask and rubber gloves help? What about a firemans suit?
3 people have died in my town already.

I AM REALLY FRIGHTENED AND VERY SCARED.
« Last Edit: 31/07/2009 19:17:16 by profound »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #60 on: 31/07/2009 19:11:45 »

 

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