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stompk 04-26-2009 06:24 AM

New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
Now there are 85 deaths in Mexico, a dozen cases in the US, a pocket of infections in New Zealand, a British Airways crew under quarantine.

Disease and pestilence has arrived.

Entropy 04-26-2009 01:22 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
I've been lurking around here for quite some time, but after the past few days, I had to make a post about this.

This breakout of swine flu, seems extremely disturbing. Health organizations arent answering many questions about the disease, as well as finding a vaccine for humans, even though a vaccine is available to pigs.

And is it not strange that the virus has been found in states that are on all sides of the country?
The West: California
The East: New York
The South: Texas
Midwest: Ohio
Western Midwest: Kansas

Watch this, and tell me this is not unnerving.

BlueAngel 04-26-2009 08:16 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
I wouldn't classify the number of Swine flu cases reported as SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE.

BlueAngel 04-26-2009 08:33 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
World govts race to contain swine flu outbreak

World govts race to contain swine flu outbreak

New York AP – By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer
Lauran Neergaard, Ap Medical Writer – 15 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The world's governments raced to avoid both a pandemic and global hysteria Sunday as more possible swine flu cases surfaced from Canada to New Zealand and the United States declared a public health emergency. "It's not a time to panic," the White House said.

Mexico, the outbreak's epicenter with up to 86 suspected deaths, canceled some church services and closed markets, restaurants and movie theaters. A televised variety show filled its seats with cardboard cutouts. Few people ventured onto the streets, and some wore face masks.

Canada confirmed cases in six people, including some students who — like some New York City spring-breakers — got mildly ill in Mexico. Countries across Asia promised to quarantine feverish travelers returning from flu-affected areas.

The U.S. declared the health emergency so it could ship roughly 12 million doses of flu-fighting medications from a federal stockpile to states in case they eventually need them — although, with 20 confirmed cases of people recovering easily, they don't appear to for now.

Make no mistake: There is not a global pandemic — at least not yet. It's not clear how many people truly have this particular strain, or why all countries but Mexico are seeing mild disease. Nor is it clear if the new virus spreads easily, one milestone that distinguishes a bad flu from a global crisis. But waiting to take protective steps until after a pandemic is declared would be too late.

"We do think this will continue to spread but we are taking aggressive actions to minimize the impact on people's health," said Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Barack Obama's administration sought to look both calm and in command, striking a balance between informing Americans without panicking them. Obama himself was playing golf while U.S. officials used a White House news conference to compare the emergency declaration with preparing for an approaching hurricane.

"We're preparing in an environment where we really don't know ultimately what the size or seriousness of this outbreak is going to be," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters.

Earlier, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the outbreak was serious, but that the public should know "it's not a time to panic." He told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Obama was getting updates "every few hours."

In Mexico, soldiers handed out 6 million surgical-style masks to deal with a deadly flu strain that officials say may have sickened 1,400 people since April 13. Special laboratory tests to confirm how many died from it — 22 have been confirmed so far out of 86 suspected deaths — are taking time.

The World Bank said it would send Mexico $25 million in loans for immediate aid and $180 million in long-term assistance to address the outbreak, along with advice on how other nations have dealt with similar crises.

A potential pandemic virus is defined, among other things, as a novel strain that's not easily treated. This new strain can be treated with Tamiflu and Relenza, but not two older flu drugs. Also, the WHO wants to know if it's easily spread from one person to a second who then spreads it again — something U.S. officials suspect and are investigating.

"Right now we have cases occurring in a couple of different countries and in multiple locations, but we also know that in the modern world that cases can simply move around from single locations and not really become established," cautioned WHO flu chief Dr. Keiji Fukuda.

There is no vaccine against swine flu, but the CDC has taken the initial step necessary for producing one — creating a seed stock of the virus — should authorities decide that's necessary. Last winter's flu shot offers no cross-protection to the new virus, although it's possible that older people exposed to various Type A flu strains in the past may have some immunity, CDC officials said Sunday.

Worldwide, attention focused sharply on travelers.

"It was acquired in Mexico, brought home and spread," Nova Scotia's chief public health officer, Dr. Robert Strang, said of Canada's first four confirmed cases, in student travelers.

New Zealand said 10 students who took a school trip to Mexico probably had swine flu, and on Monday it said three students in a second group just back from Mexico probably have it as well. Spanish authorities had seven suspected cases under observation. In Brazil, a hospital said a patient who arrived from Mexico was hospitalized with some swine flu symptoms. A New York City school where eight cases are confirmed will be closed Monday and Tuesday, and 14 schools in Texas, including a high school where two cases were confirmed, will be closed for at least the next week.

China, Russia, Taiwan and Bolivia began planning to quarantine travelers arriving from flu-affected areas if they have symptoms. Italy, Poland and Venezuela advised citizens to postpone travel to affected parts of Mexico and the U.S.

Multiple airlines, including American, United, Continental, US Airways, Mexicana and Air Canada, are waiving their usual penalties for changing reservations for anyone traveling to, from or through Mexico, but have not canceled flights.

Officials along the U.S.-Mexico border were asking health care providers to take respiratory samples from patients who appear to have the flu. Travelers were being asked if they visited flu-stricken areas.

The U.S. hasn't advised against travel to Mexico but does urge precautions such as frequent hand-washing while there, and has begun questioning arriving travelers about flu symptoms.


Associated Press writers Mark Stevenson and Olga R. Rodriguez in Mexico City; Frank Jordans in Geneva; Mike Stobbe in Atlanta; and Maria Cheng in London contributed to this report.


Containment sounds good to me.

That would mean that no one is allowed in or out of Mexico.

BlueAngel 04-26-2009 09:42 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
Here's my two cents.

The first containment measure should be that Mexico is quarantined.

No one is allowed in or out of Mexico.

Doesn't take a CDC official to figure this out.

Is swine flu 'the big one' or a flu that fizzles?

Is swine flu 'the big one' or a flu that fizzles?

By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer

Mike Stobbe, Ap Medical Writer – Sun Apr 26, 2009

8:03 pm ET

ATLANTA – As reports of a unique form of swine flu erupt around the world, the inevitable question arises: Is this the big one?

Is this the next big global flu epidemic that public health experts have long anticipated and worried about? Is this the novel virus that will kill millions around the world, as pandemics did in 1918, 1957 and 1968?

The short answer is it's too soon to tell.

"What makes this so difficult is we may be somewhere between an important but yet still uneventful public health occurrence here — with something that could literally die out over the next couple of weeks and never show up again — or this could be the opening act of a full-fledged influenza pandemic," said Michael Osterholm, a prominent expert on global flu outbreaks with the University of Minnesota.

"We have no clue right now where we are between those two extremes. That's the problem," he said.

Health officials want to take every step to prevent an outbreak from spiraling into mass casualties. Predicting influenza is a dicey endeavor, with the U.S. government famously guessing wrong in 1976 about a swine flu pandemic that never materialized.

"The first lesson is anyone who tries to predict influenza often goes down in flames," said Dr. Richard Wenzel, the immediate past president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

But health officials are being asked to make such predictions, as panic began to set in over the weekend.

The epicenter was Mexico, where the virus is blamed for 86 deaths and an estimated 1,400 cases in the country since April 13. Schools were closed, church services canceled and Mexican President Felipe Calderon assumed new powers to isolate people infected with the swine flu virus.

International concern magnified as health officials across the world on Sunday said they were investigating suspected cases in people who traveled to Mexico and come back with flu-like illnesses. Among the nations reporting confirmed cases or investigations were Canada, France, Israel and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, in the United States, there were no deaths and all patients had either recovered or were recovering. But the confirmed cases around the nation rose from eight on Saturday morning to 20 by Sunday afternoon, including eight high school kids in New York City — a national media center. The New York Post's front page headline on Sunday was "Pig Flu Panic."

The concern level rose even more when federal officials on Sunday declared a public health emergency — a procedural step, they said, to mobilize antiviral medicine and other resources and be ready if the U.S. situation gets worse.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say that so far swine flu cases in this country have been mild. But they also say more cases are likely to be reported, at least partly because doctors and health officials across the country are looking intensively for suspicious cases.

And, troublingly, more severe cases are also likely, said Dr. Richard Besser, the CDC's acting director, in a Sunday news conference.

"As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," he predicted. "We're going to see more severe disease in this country."

Besser also repeated what health officials have said since the beginning — they don't understand why the illnesses in Mexico have been more numerous and severe than in the United States. In fact, it's not even certain that new infections are occurring. The numbers could be rising simply because everyone's on the lookout.

He also said comparison to past pandemics are difficult.

"Every outbreak is unique," Besser said.

The new virus is called a swine flu, though it contains genetic segments from humans and birds viruses as well as from pigs from North America, Europe and Asia. Health officials had seen combinations of bird, pig and human virus before — but never such an intercontinental mix, including more than one pig virus.

More disturbing, this virus seems to spread among people more easily than past swine flus that have sometimes jumped from pigs to people.

There's a historical cause for people to worry.

Flu pandemics have been occurring with some regularity since at least the 1500s, but the frame of reference for health officials is the catastrophe of 1918-19. That one killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people worldwide.

Disease testing and tracking were far less sophisticated then, but the virus appeared in humans and pigs at about the same time and it was known as both Spanish flu and swine flu. Experts since then have said the deadly germ actually originated in birds.

But pigs may have made it worse. That pandemic began with a wave of mild illness that hit in the spring of 1918, followed by a far deadlier wave in the fall which was most lethal to young, healthy adults. Scientists have speculated that something happened to the virus after the first wave — one theory held that it infected pigs or other animals and mutated there — before revisiting humans in a deadlier form.

Pigs are considered particularly susceptible to both bird and human viruses and a likely place where the kind of genetic reassortment can take place that might lead to a new form of deadly, easily spread flu, scientists believe.

Such concern triggered public health alarm in 1976, when soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., became sick with an unusual form of swine flu.

Federal officials vaccinated 40 million Americans. The pandemic never materialized, but thousands who got the shots filed injury claims, saying they suffered a paralyzing condition and other side effects from the vaccinations.

To this day, health officials don't know why the 1976 virus petered out.

Flu shots have been offered in the United States since the 1940s, but new types of flu viruses have remained a threat. Global outbreaks occurred again in 1957 and 1968, though the main victims were the elderly and chronically ill.

In the last several years, experts have been focused on a form of bird flu that was first reported in Asia. It's a highly deadly strain that has killed more than 250 people worldwide since 2003. Health officials around the world have taken steps to prepare for the possibility of that becoming a global outbreak, but to date that virus has not gained the ability to spread easily from person to person.

stompk 04-27-2009 06:44 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire

Originally Posted by BlueAngel (Post 56080)
World govts race to contain swine flu outbreak

World govts race to contain swine flu outbreak

New York AP By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer
Lauran Neergaard, Ap Medical Writer 15 mins ago

A potential pandemic virus is defined, among other things, as a novel strain that's not easily treated. This new strain can be treated with Tamiflu and Relenza,

Where did they get this information??


The above translation describes two patients in the Netherlands who died from infection with Tamiflu resistant H1N1. Their immune system was compromised, and the H1N1 was not susceptible to Tamiflu (oseltamivir) treatment.
Fatal Tamiflu Resistant H1N1 Cases in The Netherlands

stompk 04-27-2009 06:59 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
The flu has now been confirmed in Colorado.

Has everyone seen The Stand?

Entropy 04-28-2009 02:00 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
Swine flu has arrived in Indiana.

My current living quarters.

BlueAngel 04-30-2009 05:09 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
STOP the fear mongering, NOW!

BlueAngel 04-30-2009 05:21 PM

Re: New Flu Spreading Like Wildfire
Mexico's health chief hopeful swine flu has slowed

Mexico's health chief hopeful swine flu has slowed


'The U.S. caseload rose slightly to 109 as schools nationwide shut their doors, and the crisis even reached the White House, which said an aide to the secretary of energy apparently got sick helping arrange a presidential trip to Mexico.'

How does someone get sick helping to arrange a presidential trip to Mexico? Did he travel to Mexico or merely help arrange the trip while in the US? They say the aide got sick. Did he get sick or did he contract the Swine flu?

AP – Swine flu vaccine in the works

Swine flu alert level raised

Associated Press Writers Paul Haven And Niko Price, Associated Press Writers –

3 mins ago

MEXICO CITY – Mexico's top medical officer voiced optimism Thursday that swine flu has slowed in the nation hardest hit by the virus, but the World Health Organization cautioned there is no evidence the worst of the global outbreak is over. The U.S. caseload rose slightly to 109 as schools nationwide shut their doors, and the crisis even reached the White House, which said an aide to the secretary of energy apparently got sick helping arrange a presidential trip to Mexico.

European health ministers holding an emergency meeting in Luxembourg vowed to work quickly with drugmakers to rush a vaccine into production, but American health officials suggested inoculations could not begin until fall at the earliest.

Mexican Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova told The Associated Press new cases have leveled off and the death rate has been nearly flat for several days. He said the next few days would be critical in determining whether the virus was truly on the decline.

"The fact that we have a stabilization in the daily numbers, even a drop, makes us optimistic," he said. "Because what we'd expect is geometric or exponential growth. And that hasn't been the situation. So we think we're on the right track."

The health ministry, which earlier said 168 people were believed killed by swine flu in Mexico, on Thursday would only confirm 12 of those deaths and would not say how many were suspected.

The World Health Organization's top flu official, responding to similarly hopeful remarks from other Mexican officials, sounded a more cautious note about whether the virus had peaked.

"For things to go up and down in a country is expected. If it didn't do that would be very unusual," Dr. Keiji Fukuda said in Geneva. "Hopefully we'll see more of the data of what's going on there. But I expect even in Mexico you will see a mixed picture."

Mexico has imposed what amounts to a five-day shutdown of the country, beginning Friday, in hopes of slowing the virus. All but the most essential government services will be suspended, most businesses have been urged to close, and Mexicans have been encouraged to stay in their homes.

On Wednesday, the WHO said swine flu threatened to become a pandemic, and for the first time it raised its threat level to Phase 5, the second-highest. Fukuda said Thursday there were no immediate signs that warranted declaring a Phase 6 pandemic.

Phase 5 means a virus has spread into at least two countries and is causing large outbreaks. Phase 6 means outbreaks have been detected in two or more regions of the world and a pandemic is under way.

The only confirmed U.S. swine flu death so far is a Mexican toddler who succumbed earlier this week in Texas. New cases of swine flu were confirmed Thursday in Europe, but no deaths have been reported outside North America.

In the United States, Vice President Joe Biden stirred concern by saying in an NBC interview that he would discourage family members from flying or even taking the subway because of the swine flu threat.

The White House insisted Biden meant to say he was discouraging nonessential travel to Mexico, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was compelled to state flatly: "It is safe to fly. There is no reason to cancel flights."

The U.S. government has urged Americans to wash their hands and to stay home from work and avoid traveling if they feel ill.

Also in Washington, the Obama administration said an aide to Energy Secretary Steven Chu apparently got sick helping arrange President Barack Obama's recent trip to Mexico. The aide did not fly on Air Force One and never posed a risk to the president, the White House said.

The U.S. is taking extraordinary precautions, including shipping millions of doses of anti-flu drugs to states. Scientists cannot predict what a new virus might do, and the outbreak could always resurge later.

Scientists are racing to prepare the key ingredient to make a vaccine against the strain, but it will take several months before human testing can begin. Production would not start until fall.

"I don't want anybody to have false expectations," Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Craig Vanderwagen told reporters. "The science is challenging here." He said 600 million doses in six months was "achievable" based on a fall start.

In hopes of avoiding confusion, the WHO announced it will stop using the term "swine flu," opting for the bug's scientific name, H1N1 influenza A. Obama administration officials have also pointedly referred to the virus as H1N1 in recent days.

Alarm over swine flu led Egypt to begin slaughtering hundreds of thousands of pigs in what medical experts say is a misguided attempt to prevent the virus.

The WHO raised its tally of confirmed cases around the world to 257 from 148, with most of the new cases from Mexico. The worldwide count is believed to be considerably higher, and the WHO count lags behind what individual countries report.

Switzerland and the Netherlands became the latest countries to report infections, and Canada confirmed 15 more mild cases on Thursday. New Zealand, Britain, Germany, Spain, Israel and Austria also have confirmed cases.

In the United States, cases have been confirmed by federal and state officials coast to coast. Nearly 300 schools were closed Thursday, including at least 200 in Texas and 62 in Alabama.

The Red Cross said it was readying an army of 60 million volunteers who can be deployed around the world to help slow the virus' spread, including by educating people about hygiene and caring for the sick.

Already, the looming shutdown was being felt in Mexico City. Traffic cleared in the notoriously clogged avenues, and the attorney general's office said even crime was down one-third compared with last week.

Mexico City's infamous smog dropped to levels normally seen only on holidays, said Jorge Fuentes, spokesman for Mexico City's Atmospheric Monitoring System, though he noted the air quality was still technically "bad."

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said authorities would use the five-day partial shutdown in Mexico to consider whether to extend emergency measures or ease some restrictions. The dates include a weekend and two holidays, Labor Day and Cinco de Mayo, minimizing the added disruption.

Cordova told the AP that Mexico City's shutdown, already in motion for days, was starting to work. Most of the Mexicans hospitalized with confirmed cases of swine flu have already been released, and he expects the suspected death toll to drop as health officials do further tests.

"Without a doubt, once we study all the cases we're going to see some where there is no evidence or justification for linking them to this virus," he said.

"I think, given the evolution this is having, given the full recovery we are seeing with treatment, there is reason to be calmer, there's reason to think that this can be solved quickly and well," he said. "We simply have a new virus with what is fortunately a low mortality rate ... so I think this problem will be resolved favorably."

Swine flu is a mix of pig, bird and human genes to which people have limited natural immunity. It has symptoms nearly identical to regular flu — fever, cough and sore throat — and spreads similarly, through tiny particles in the air, when people cough or sneeze. About 36,000 people die each year of flu in the United States.


AP writers contributing to this report included Frank Jordans in Geneva; Lauran Neergaard in Washington; Alexandra Olson, Morgan Lee and E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City; Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands; and Balz Bruppacher in Bern, Switzerland.



'The U.S. caseload rose slightly to 109 as schools nationwide shut their doors, and the crisis even reached the White House, which said an aide to the secretary of energy apparently got sick helping arrange a presidential trip to Mexico.'

How does someone get sick helping to arrange a presidential trip to Mexico? Did he travel to Mexico or merely help arrange the trip while in the US? They say the aide got sick. Did he get sick or did he contract the Swine flu?

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