Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?

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Offline AllenG

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« on: 27/04/2009 08:25:18 »

Purple tags are confirmed, pink are suspected cases, dots indicate a death.
Google Map of the Outbreak

"Responding to what some health officials feared could be the leading edge of a global pandemic emerging from Mexico, American health officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday as 20 cases of swine flu were confirmed in this country, including eight in New York City."
Source:By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. Published: April 26, 2009

Is that as scary as it sounds?
« Last Edit: 27/04/2009 08:29:18 by AllenG »

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Offline Chemistry4me

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #1 on: 27/04/2009 09:05:21 »
I certainly hope not.

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Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #2 on: 27/04/2009 09:18:38 »

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

"Life is not measured by the number of Breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

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Offline Karen W.

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #3 on: 27/04/2009 09:37:14 »
 updated 15 minures ago:

1,614 sick in Mexico

13 suspected in New Zealand

20 Confirmed in USA.

7 Confirmed in California

6 in Canada

1 confirmed in spain and 7 suspected

1 suspected in France

1      "           "  Israel

1      "           "  Brazil

« Last Edit: 27/04/2009 16:37:27 by Karen W. »

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Offline Don_1

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #4 on: 27/04/2009 10:17:04 »
Quote from: BBC
Two people are still undergoing tests in Lanarkshire after returning from Mexico with "mild" flu-like symptoms.

If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.

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Offline JimBob

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #5 on: 27/04/2009 16:08:28 »
I am glad I am somewhat reclusive.
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Offline AllenG

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #6 on: 27/04/2009 18:59:37 »
On top of it all, Mexico was just hit with an earthquake.



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Variola

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #7 on: 27/04/2009 19:44:35 »
I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.

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Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #8 on: 27/04/2009 20:43:59 »
With just a couple of thousand cases we are possible at the start of a pandemic, but we are not anywher near the midst of it yet.
The WHO have some more data about it here.
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html
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blakestyger

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« Reply #9 on: 27/04/2009 22:29:22 »
The WHO have some more data about it here.

Went off them after that guitarist was suspected of being a paedo'. [:0]

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Offline JimBob

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« Reply #10 on: 27/04/2009 23:28:14 »
I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.

The mortality rate is the same as any other flu. Over 36,000 people die in the US every year from the existing strains of the flu. As of yet, this swine flu is as yet to be determined to be as horrible as it is presented in the media.

FOG!


I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Variola

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« Reply #11 on: 27/04/2009 23:50:21 »
I'm just trying to dig out some research on this particuar strain of 'flu but so far I am not finding much  [???] I will ask my lecturer tomorrow as she is an immunologist.
We have been awating a pandemic for a long time, the last real scare (apart from H5N1) was in 1976, with another flare up of Spanish/Swine 'flu, the panic that ensued resulted in a mad hunt for a vaccine, of which one company made to the wrong virus!!! But the pharmaceutical companies were not silly, they pressed for immunity knowing that rushing to make and test a vaccine was a risky business. It proved a wise move as the American government pushed through trying to vaccinate people, resulting in some deaths, and other people developing Guillian-Barre.
However as this is swine 'flu, it will be an H1N1 type, or close variant of, and as such it will have been seen before in the population and the majority of people with have has exposure and immunity. To really get a pandemic going you need a different H and N conformation, or a particuary lethal strain such as the one of 1918.

Where is Dr Chris when you need him??
« Last Edit: 28/04/2009 00:05:00 by Variola »

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Variola

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« Reply #12 on: 27/04/2009 23:52:00 »
I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.

The mortality rate is the same as any other flu. Over 36,000 people die in the US every year from the existing strains of the flu. As of yet, this swine flu is as yet to be determined to be as horrible as it is presented in the media.

FOG!


I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.
I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.

The mortality rate is the same as any other flu. Over 36,000 people die in the US every year from the existing strains of the flu. As of yet, this swine flu is as yet to be determined to be as horrible as it is presented in the media.

FOG!


I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.


If a few apostrophes is the best you can do.....tut

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Offline turnipsock

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #13 on: 28/04/2009 00:07:02 »
are you sure the 'dots' mean a death? The two people in the Monklands hospital are still alive and only showing minor symptoms according to the imparcial BBC.

I guess this is what happens when we start harvesting organs from pigs...they get their own back!
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Offline JimBob

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« Reply #14 on: 28/04/2009 00:30:08 »
I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.

The mortality rate is the same as any other flu. Over 36,000 people die in the US every year from the existing strains of the flu. As of yet, this swine flu is as yet to be determined to be as horrible as it is presented in the media.

FOG!


I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.
I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.

The mortality rate is the same as any other flu. Over 36,000 people die in the US every year from the existing strains of the flu. As of yet, this swine flu is as yet to be determined to be as horrible as it is presented in the media.

FOG!


I suspect this may well be the pandemic we have been overdue for for so long, and the panic is that it is swine 'flu again, the same family that caused the H1N1 pandemic of 1918.
However I dont think the mortality rate is that high, from what I have seen on the news. I will have to do some digging and trawling on the net, but I heard mention somewhere of 100 cases where people have died if thousands have been infected thats not a high mortality rate. We have much better medical technology now to combat the symptoms of the disease, and we also have antimicrobials on our side. So that could be the reason for the low mortality rate, or it could be thast the strain itself isnt that pathogenic, and only really causes problems in infirm or immunosupressed people.


If a few apostrophes is the best you can do.....tut

Are you so old you can't see the screen? You quoted me TWICE before putting your useless remark in.

A FOG is a FOG. It is nit-picking by definition. The smaller the nit, the greater the FOG! You don't really get it, do you?

See http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=18900.0

Please note the word "slightest."
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lyner

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #15 on: 28/04/2009 01:14:38 »
Is there any reason why a new, highly infectious, virus should also make people very ill?

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Offline JimBob

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« Reply #16 on: 28/04/2009 02:18:00 »
The problem seems not to be in the US. No one has died here. But as I said, 36,000 die every year from flu strains already in existence.

There was a swine flue epidemic in the 70's that was bad as well. It killed a lot of people here. I had it myself and it was bad.
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Variola

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« Reply #17 on: 28/04/2009 08:10:43 »
Quote
Are you so old you can't see the screen? You quoted me TWICE before putting your useless remark in.

We most old folk need things repeated to them so I thought I would help you out  [:P]

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Variola

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« Reply #18 on: 28/04/2009 08:22:19 »
Is there any reason why a new, highly infectious, virus should also make people very ill?

It depends on its pathogenicity and utationrate. The initial outbreak in 1918 of H1N1 wasn't too bad, it did kill people but it was nothing compared to the strain that reappeared in the Autumn. People were dying very quickly, hours rather than days. This swine 'flu is the same family H1N1 but at the moment it appears to be a nasty 'flu that just happens to be quite infections, as most influenza's are. But the H1N1 isn't new in immunological terms so the population as a whole has 'seen' it before, hence he infection rate isn't as high as it could be, especially in comparison to 1918.

The government are going to set up a 'flu helpline, where you can ring in and get advice if you think you have swine 'flu.Gee..what a help!!

Lol just seen on the news that The Express has the headline "KILLER FLU IS HERE"....nice to keep a sense of perspective!!!

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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #19 on: 28/04/2009 08:49:32 »
Quote from: BBC
Two people are still undergoing tests in Lanarkshire after returning from Mexico with "mild" flu-like symptoms.


These two cases have been confirmed, but the patients are reported as responding well to treatment. A number of people, with whom this couple had contact, said to be suffering 'mild flu like symptoms, are being monitored.

The health minister has pointed out that the UK has a stockpile of Tamiflu, left over from the Bird Flu scare, sufficient for 33 million treatments.
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.

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Offline BenV

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« Reply #20 on: 28/04/2009 09:17:11 »
However as this is swine 'flu, it will be an H1N1 type, or close variant of, and as such it will have been seen before in the population and the majority of people with have has exposure and immunity. To really get a pandemic going you need a different H and N conformation, or a particuary lethal strain such as the one of 1918.
I get the impression that this is effectively a human h1n1 wrapped in pig surface antigens.  This means that even prior exposure to human h1n1 will offer no protection...

Quote
Where is Dr Chris when you need him??
All over the media, talking about swine 'flu!

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Offline BenV

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« Reply #21 on: 28/04/2009 14:22:13 »

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Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #22 on: 28/04/2009 18:43:19 »
LOL...LO..LOL.. PRETTY FUNNY Ben!

"Life is not measured by the number of Breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

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Variola

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« Reply #23 on: 28/04/2009 19:17:58 »
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get the impression that this is effectively a human h1n1 wrapped in pig surface antigens.  This means that even prior exposure to human h1n1 will offer no protection

Really??? But if it has been in human cells,enough to cause person-person transmission, which it has done, then surely it should be coated with human epitopes??
And if it has the same H1N1 conformation, then the body should recognise the virus when its flagged up on the host cell surface??

Actually that may not be right at all...If its a mutated mix, as is being suggested on the news etc then there might not be the aqquired immunity to it...although most A types have been seen in the population....I think..I'll just argue with myself until someone puts me right!!!
Although it is spreading, its virulence still doesn't appear that great considering its potential pool of hosts, no more that seasonal 'flu really.which I am guessing means its transmission rate isn't that good, or that there is some immunity???
 Plus most people who have had the virus have had either mold symptoms, or the usual unpleasant symptoms of seasonall flu, very few people have died in comparison to numbers infected.
I think the real risk will be if it re-emerges with a stronger pathogenicity or virulence.

NB I reserve to right to change my mind about that though!!!! Or argue with myself again!

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Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #24 on: 28/04/2009 19:59:43 »
Is there any reason why a new, highly infectious, virus should also make people very ill?

Sort of.
If you are a virus with a very high mortality rate you tend to kill your host before they pass you on to another victim. That means you are not likey to get to be an old virus, so you must be a new one.
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Offline wolfekeeper

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« 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 »

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Offline stereologist

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« 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.

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Offline JimBob

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« 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.
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Variola

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« 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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blakestyger

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« 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.


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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...


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Offline Don_1

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« 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.
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.

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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.


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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 »
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Offline JimBob

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« 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 
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Offline Don_1

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« 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.
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.

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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 »

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Offline Don_1

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« 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.
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Offline Bored chemist

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« 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.
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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
Science is continually evolving. Nothing is set in stone. Question everything and everyone. Always consider vested interests as a reason for miss-direction. But most of all explore and find answers that you are comfortable with

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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!!!!!!!!

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Offline JimBob

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« 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.
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Offline Bored chemist

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« 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).
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Offline kathforscience

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« 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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paul.fr

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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.

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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 »

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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!

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Offline AllenG

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« Reply #47 on: 30/04/2009 02:17:21 »
Quote
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.

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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 »

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Offline Chemistry4me

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Are we in the midst of a Swine Flu Pandemic?
« Reply #49 on: 30/04/2009 08:39:49 »
Whoa! Steady there fellow! [:)]