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Thread: Swine Flu: A misnomer

  1. #1

    Swine Flu: A misnomer

    Having just travelled from China to Newark, I have been inundated with reports of the so-called "swine flu" pandemic that panicked hundreds of millions of people worldwide. First reported last month, this is a novel Mexican flu virus that expresses the H1 (hemagglutinin 1) and N1 (neuraminidase 1) markers and hence is called the H1N1 Flu. Unfortunately, the H1N1 flu virus has been tagged the "swine flu" even though it has nothing to do with pigs and is not being spread by pigs. As of today, the H1N1 flu virus has been confirmed in 226 cases in the United States and only one person has died (Source). Yesterday, a herd of pigs has been found to have H1N1 infection in Canada and this was because a human gave it to the pigs (Source).
    A farm worker in Canada has infected a herd of pigs with swine flu, the first documented case of the virus being passed from humans to animals.

    The herd of pigs tested positive for the H1N1 virus after the worker returned from Mexico with the disease. The herd has been quarantined.

    Brian Evans, a senior official from Canada’s food safety agency, said that up to 200 pigs had been infected at the Alberta Farm, and that both the man and pigs are recovering, adding that the virus did not seem to have spread.
    One of the reasons why there has been widespread fear about the H1N1 virus is because the 1918-1919 flu pandemic that infected 20 million people worldwide and killed 500,000 Americans was a viral strain that expressed the H1N1 markers. The H1N1 flu can infect pigs, hence the name "swine flu". In 1976, there was fear about swine flu that had appeared amongst soldiers in Fort Dix, New Jersey. A soldier by the name of Lewis died of the flu and this led to a debate concerning the need for mass inoculations (Source). It is sad that the United States did not learn from the 1976 experience. At that time, the Center for Disease Control was panicked by the possibility of a flu pandemic and forced the inoculation of 40 million people for a flu that never came. The vaccine caused many cases Guillain-Barre syndrome (an auto-immune peripheral nerve demyelination condition). As the above cited article pointed out:
    The swine flu case of 1976 forever reduced confidence in public health pronouncements from the government and helped foster cynicism about federal policy makers that continues to this day.

    Citing the swine flu fiasco, for instance, one scholar recently authored a report suggesting the threat of AIDS has been similarly overblown.

    Yet Joseph Califano, one of the earliest to use the word "fiasco" in describing the swine flu affair, came to the conclusion that it all couldn't have been avoided. Califano, whom President Carter appointed Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare after beating Ford in the November election, said the doctors had no choice but to err on the side of the caution.

    In "The Epidemic That Never Was," Califano said that faced with the threat of another killer plague with the potential to end millions of lives, the doctors were right to seek an inoculation program.
    The WHO and the CDC are once again making the same mistake. they made in 1976. By calling wolf so loudly before there is evidence, they are making it much more difficult to mobilize the country and the world the next time there is a real pandemic. Less than 600 people have been reported to have this infection and fewer people have died than from the normal flu outbreaks. Yet, the CDC continues to beat the drums of fear. WHO has not yet reduced its level 5 (out of 6) pandemic emergency.

    So, is this the fault of scientists or policy makers? There is no evidence that the H1N1 virus would be more virulent than normal. In fact, this particular influenza A H1N1 virus first isolated from Mexico does not even express the PB1-F2 protein that is believed to cause increased virulence of flu viruses (Source). All four of the known flu pandemics of the past 100 years had a serine amino acid in the 66th position of the PB1-F2 protein. For example, the 1918 H1N1 influenza virus, the 1957 H2N2 virus, the 1968 H3N2 virus, and the 1997 avian H5N1 virus all had this particular amino acid in the 66th position. As Peter Palese of the Wall Street Journal pointed out (Source):
    If this virulence marker is necessary for an influenza virus to become highly pathogenic in humans or in chickens, then the current swine virus doesn’t have what it takes to become a major killer.
    Please, it is important that our officials stop crying wolf. If they do this too many times, the world will no longer respond to the next real pandemic.

    Last edited by Wise Young; 05-03-2009 at 03:26 PM.

  2. #2
    C5/6 incomplete

    "I assume you all have guns and crack....."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Hampshire, England.
    Poor old Mexico, as if it didn't have enough problems......

  4. #4
    The truth behind Egypt's decision to kill 300,000 pigs may be politics, not ignorance:

    Egypt is predominantly Moslem , you all know that. Egypt has Christians, the biggest group are the Copts, but there are other denominations. A small group of Copts are the Zabaleen. Who are the Zabaleen and what does all have to do with Egyptian politics and economy?

    Zabaleen basically pick up all the rubbish, or garbage. They have done this in Egyptian cities for centuries. What they also do is use the organic material to feed their pigs. They raise pigs and sell them on an as needed basis. The service they provide is incredible. Daily pick up and no charge. They basically recycle pretty much all the material.

    For some time now, part of the modernization and continued corruption of Egypt by the Mubarak dynasty, they have wanted to take away that work from the Zabaleen and give garbage contracts to corporations that will do the service for a price. Trucks sold by European companies, contracts, charges etc. Of course the reasons used are sanitation, public health. Instead, they should be looking for a way to help the Zabaleen enter into modern methods and sustain their way of living.

    So, what an excuse, the swine flu. Now the Egyptian government wants to slaughter the 300,000 pigs owned by Zabaleen for the prevention of the swine flu. The original decree was that the Zabaleen would be compensated for the pigs, but now they are saying that since they can sell the pigs, they will not be compensated.
    Much more at the (Source)

  5. #5
    Religion and fear can really fuck with human minds.

  6. #6

    Current situation

    4 May 2009 -- As of 06:00 GMT, 4 May 2009, 20 countries have officially reported 985 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection.
    Numbers of laboratory-confirmed cases and deaths
    Maps of laboratory-confirmed cases and deaths
    What is the basis of all the fear surrounding this flu virus? Basically, if you read between the lines, the WHO and CDC have the capability of mobilizing the health resources of the world to prevent a pandemic.

    An influenza pandemic

    An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness. With the increase in global transport, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions, epidemics due the new influenza virus are likely to quickly take hold around the world.

    Outbreaks of influenza in animals, especially when happening simultaneously with annual outbreaks of seasonal influenza in humans, increase the chances of a pandemic, through the merging of animal and human influenza viruses. During the last few years, the world has faced several threats with pandemic potential, making the occurrence of the next pandemic a matter of time.

    Consequences of an influenza pandemic

    In the past, influenza pandemics have resulted in increased morbidity and mortality and great social disruption. In the 20th century, the most severe influenza pandemic occurred in 1918 -1919 and caused an estimated 40–50 million deaths world wide. Current epidemiological models project that a pandemic could result in 2 to 7.4 million deaths globally.

    If an influenza pandemic were to occur today, we could expect:

    * the pandemic virus to spread rapidly due to the high level of global traffic;
    * vaccines, antiviral agents and antibiotics to treat secondary infections to be in short supply, with a period of several months before any vaccine becomes available;
    * medical facilities to be overwhelmed with demands to care for both influenza and non-influenza patients;
    * widespread illness to result in sudden and potentially significant shortages of personnel to provide essential community services.

    Detecting a new pandemic virus

    Continuous global surveillance of influenza is key to the early detection of a virus with pandemic potential. WHO has a network of more than 120 National Influenza Centres in over 90 countries that monitor influenza activity and isolate influenza viruses in every region of the world. National Influenza Centres will report the detection of an “unusual” influenza virus immediately to the WHO Global Influenza Programme and one of the five WHO Collaborating Centres. Rapid detection of unusual influenza outbreaks, isolation of viruses with pandemic potential and immediate alert to WHO by national authorities is critical to a timely and efficient response.

    Preparing for an influenza pandemic

    Contingency planning for an event that will occur at an undetermined time in the future is difficult, particularly in the face of limited resources and other urgent problems and priorities. However, there are two main reasons to invest in pandemic preparedness

    * Improving public health infrastructure through pandemic planning has immediate and lasting benefits, increasing overall response capacity for all threats to public health.
    * Strengthening coordination mechanisms at national and international levels contributes to better global preparedness and response for disasters and public health emergencies.

    WHO has developed a global influenza preparedness plan, which outlines the responsibilities of WHO and national authorities in the event of an influenza pandemic. WHO also offers guidance tools and training to assist in the development of national pandemic preparedness plans.

  7. #7

    Afghanistan quarantines its only pig
    Afghanistan -- which surely needs no more frightening concerns -- has amply protected itself from swine flu, ahem, the AH1N1 contagion, by putting the country's only pig in solitary confinement. The farm animal lives in the Kabul Zoo.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    The truth behind Egypt's decision to kill 300,000 pigs may be politics, not ignorance:

    Much more at the (Source)
    That is a damn shame.
    No one ever became unsuccessful by helping others out

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by r4karte View Post
    Hi all,
    Don't have that much idea about swine flu but i know that its very dangerous. Our government has found out few cases in of swine flu, thanks god all six are negative.Thanks God...
    No, it's not.

  10. #10
    I have a question for the nurse or Dr. Wise. Is it worth giving Anthony the vaccine Tamiflu to maybe prevent him from getting this flu, or should we just treat this flu like any other? We have never gotten any flu shots. I know alot of ppl get flu shots every year. We are not a sickly family and rarely get sick. We also do not come into contact with a lot of ppl during our days.

    I've also heard that Tamiflu is not readily available but there still is some but has expired and the FDA is saying it is ok to use the expired stuff in emergencies.

    Let me know if I have my information right. If it was up to me I would not get Anthony or his caregiver one, although she does have a young boy in school that seems to always be sick.

    Anthony has a Drs. appt next week so I will also ask him. Just wondering.

    Oh yeah, me and his dad are travelling to Mexico in December but not a populated area (Akumal), probably still won't get the shot. Any advice and thoughts appreciated.

    Like it has been said more ppl have died from the regular flu every year than this H1N1, so far.
    Cindy Waters
    mom to Anthony, right c5, left c4 (24yo)
    injury march 2003

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