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Swine flu pandemic declared by World Health Organization Options
vr091073
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:18:23 PM
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Joined: 5/4/2009
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Location: Mauritius
This is starting to get scary!


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-swineflu12-2009jun12,0,1232742.story?track=rss


Swine flu pandemic declared by World Health Organization

The H1N1 virus is spreading in distinct regions of the globe. But the WHO says the pandemic is only 'moderate in severity' and cautions against overreaction by the public.

The World Health Organization this morning acknowledged what many health experts have been saying for weeks: The outbreak of novel H1N1 virus is now a pandemic.

In a letter sent to its member countries, the WHO said it is officially raising its infectious diseases alert to Phase 6, its highest level, in recognition of the fact that the virus is now undergoing communitywide transmission in Australia as well as in North America. Such spread in two distinct regions of the world is the primary criterion for raising the alert level.

FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article said emergency rooms in Chile had been overrun by people fearful that they had contracted the swine flu virus. Actually, emergency rooms in Argentina, not Chile, reported this trend.

But the agency said that the pandemic is only "moderate in severity" and cautioned against overreactions to the increased alert level.

The announcement marks the advent of the first global influenza epidemic in 41 years. The last one was the Hong Kong flu epidemic of 1968, which killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide.

So far, the H1N1 or swine flu pandemic this year has accounted for 27,737 laboratory-confirmed cases and 141 deaths, although health officials believe many times that number have been infected but have not been tested because their disease was mild.

A normal seasonal flu outbreak kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide.

In most industrialized countries, the rise in the alert level will have little practical effect because health authorities were already behaving as though a pandemic had been declared. In the United States, where there have been more than 13,000 cases and at least 27 deaths, "Our actions in the past month have been as if there was a pandemic in this country," said Glen Nowak, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But it will accelerate the production of a vaccine against the new virus. Several countries have signed contracts for the vaccine with manufacturers that call for its production if a pandemic is declared. Most of them have received so-called seed stock viruses from the CDC in the past two weeks, allowing them to begin the lengthy process of growing the virus in eggs and producing vaccines. But it will still take a minimum of four to six months for the vaccines to be available for use.

The announcement will have more impact on Third World countries, freeing up additional funds for treatment and prevention and helping to make stocks of antiviral drugs more readily available.

The WHO has hesitated to raise the alert level for fear that such an announcement would be misconstrued as an indication that the virus has become more pathogenic. WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl emphasized today that "Phase 6 doesn't mean anything concerning severity, it is concerning global spread. . . . Pandemic means global, but it doesn't have any connotation of severity or mildness."

In fact, he said, all evidence to date is overwhelming that the virus is mild in its effects. Experts fear, however, that as it passes through populations, it could mutate to become more lethal and return with increased force in the winter influenza season. That is what happened with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Officials had said they feared that the announcement would lead frightened people who are not really sick to overrun hospital emergency rooms, impairing the healthcare system's ability to treat the truly sick. That has happened in past outbreaks, and there is already some evidence that it is happening in South America, particularly in Argentina, where the numbers of infected have been growing.

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general of the WHO, also said earlier this week that he fears imposition of travel restrictions, border closing and bans on food imports -- all of which have already happened in the earlier stages of the outbreak.

freeflybendy
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:39:14 PM
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Thousands of people have died from the regular flu already this year. Yes, it is a new strain which is always scary but there is a ridiculous amount of hype about this.
Rondnelly
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:40:51 PM
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vr091073
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:42:22 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/4/2009
Posts: 236
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Location: Mauritius
freeflybendy wrote:
Thousands of people have died from the regular flu already this year. Yes, it is a new strain which is always scary but there is a ridiculous amount of hype about this.


Do you believe that certain parties with a hidden agenda could be using this so as to conduct some sort of psychological warfare in selected places around the globe?
xsmith
Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009 3:55:42 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/26/2009
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Neurons: 4,497
vr091073 wrote:
freeflybendy wrote:
Thousands of people have died from the regular flu already this year. Yes, it is a new strain which is always scary but there is a ridiculous amount of hype about this.


Do you believe that certain parties with a hidden agenda could be using this so as to conduct some sort of psychological warfare in selected places around the globe?


American and European Pharmaceuticals now have the opportunity for a big pay day if they can develop a vaccine. Those who have healthy immune systems would survive any strain of influenza. But if you can frighten people enough, they would opt for a vaccine. Somebody has to pay for the vaccine. Pharmaceutical companies can earn a 5000% markup on many of their medicines.
Rhondish
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009 9:25:42 AM
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This is exactly why it is important to maintain a healthy immune system and not fall for the hype.

If 250,000 to 500,000 people die from the "standard" flu every year, it does seem a bit like overkill to create a level of fear and panic over 30,000 reported cases (cases, not deaths). If the medical community was more focused on wellness instead of the next vaccine or drug they can make money from, the articles would contain information on how to keep you and yours strong and healthy instead of trying to make you afraid.
morkelkey
Posted: Monday, July 6, 2009 3:54:36 AM
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Joined: 7/6/2009
Posts: 2
Location: India
Officials are still gathering information to learn more about the current swine flu outbreak. Save the Children recommends that parents keep informed. After an emergency meeting the World Health Organization has declared the H1N1 virus, also known as Swine flu, a pandemic, the first in 41 years.
peterhewett
Posted: Monday, July 27, 2009 7:38:29 AM
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Location: In my head
Peter posted:

I think the worry about swine flu is its potential to mutate into a more serious virus. It may take a quantum leap. Uncertainty breeds fear and urges preparedness. Better overkill than inertia. If flu with the killing power of the Spanish influenza were to arise in this modern world we would be in serious trouble wouldn’t we.

We travel far more so it follows that the flu would do the same. The population is far greater and cities more densely populated. It would travel like a raging fire through the world’s population.

Quote:
The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920,[3] spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. It is estimated that anywhere from 50 to 100 million people were killed worldwide,[4][5] or the approximate equivalent of one third of the population of Europe.[6][7][8] An estimated 500 million people, one third of the world's population (approximately 1.6 billion at the time), became infected.
cleopatra clover
Posted: Monday, August 10, 2009 9:36:17 AM
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Joined: 4/15/2009
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Location: Malaysia
Peter posted:
I think the worry about swine flu is its potential to mutate into a more serious virus. It may take a quantum leap. Uncertainty breeds fear and urges preparedness. Better overkill than inertia. If flu with the killing power of the Spanish influenza were to arise in this modern world we would be in serious trouble wouldn’t we.

We travel far more so it follows that the flu would do the same. The population is far greater and cities more densely populated. It would travel like a raging fire through the world’s population.

Quote:
The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920,[3] spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. It is estimated that anywhere from 50 to 100 million people were killed worldwide,[4][5] or the approximate equivalent of one third of the population of Europe.[6][7][8] An estimated 500 million people, one third of the world's population (approximately 1.6 billion at the time), became infected.


Your post really made me worried; especially now that two of my daughters are having flu (normal flu)....and cases of H1N1 in my country is increasing.
peterhewett
Posted: Monday, August 10, 2009 11:18:11 PM
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cleopatra clover posted

Your post really made me worried; especially now that two of my daughters are having flu (normal flu)....and cases of H1N1 in my country is increasing.

Peter replied

Hello Cleopatra. I am sorry if it alarmed you, that was not my intention. I was just trying to rationalize the WHO's concern. My Father always said 'If you can't change something, stop worrying about it...if you can do something....do it'. The plus side, of course, is that the medical field is more advanced nowdays.
cleopatra clover
Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:05:19 AM
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Joined: 4/15/2009
Posts: 324
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Location: Malaysia
cleopatra clover posted
Your post really made me worried; especially now that two of my daughters are having flu (normal flu)....and cases of H1N1 in my country is increasing.

Peter replied
Hello Cleopatra. I am sorry if it alarmed you, that was not my intention. I was just trying to rationalize the WHO's concern. My Father always said 'If you can't change something, stop worrying about it...if you can do something....do it'. The plus side, of course, is that the medical field is more advanced nowdays.


Thank you, Peter. You don't alarmed me but just got me worried for awhile, that is all. I am keeping close watch on my two girls, although I am working. Anyway, they are getting a lot better now; but still not permitted to go to school yet. -Cleopatra.
RuthP
Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:19:29 AM

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Joined: 6/2/2009
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Peter is right, that is the concern, but we still do not know whether it will happen. It is also true that there has been significant work on a vaccine; I believe the Japanese may be the farthest along and it is likely there will be something available. Also, two of the antivirals which normally work on flu virus still seem effective, so even now there is medication available (in many, though I recognize not all places.) Which can fight the virus after someone catches it.

In 1918 we were unable to support sick people (medically speaking) nearly as well as we can now. Respirators (for the worst cases) and symptom-relieving medications and parenteral (IV) nutrition simply weren't available in 1918. This means we have a much better chance of successfully treating people who do get sick.

This time we are aware of the potential for a problem and we are keeping an eye on the situation. While food embargoes are stupid, if the situation were to become critical, prohibitions on non-essential travel might be very reasonable.

Finally, wash your hands; keep your hands away from your face. Wipe down desks, keyboards, and phones which are shared and surfaces like handles and doorknobs which many different people touch. You can use disinfectant wipes, but a little rubbing alcohol on a cloth works, too or you can just wash washable surfaces. Wash your hands; keep your hands away from your face. (I know, I repeated that. I meant to.)
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