H1N1 ("Swine") Flu

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Cave Man, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    I just read the two MMWR reports on the Mexican swine flu. Looks like scary stuff - much worse than the avian influenza that's been on everyone's radar. Let's hope this doesn't get out of hand.
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    8 cases in the NYC area, not too far from me. From my new spring ensemble...

  3. waynesun macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2006
    It doesn't look too serious. Gibbs said earlier today (along with Obama's team of Med experts) that the cases are being treated, and most of those affected have managed a nice recovery.

    It's seriously being blown out of proportion (however, I am still knocking on wood as I'm in the age range for the disease). The white house press sec and the rest of the health departments have been stressing that the situation isn't as bad as the media is making it seem. The declaration of emergency is more of a measure to prepare local governments properly for disease prevention, and is not as alarming as it sounds. As of now, they're only looking to see if the Swine Flu turns into something more deadly.

    So take off your tin foil hat!
  4. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    It is premature to declare this not "too serious". With influenza, the prinicpal concerns are (1) transmission efficiency, (2) site of virus replication and (3) pathogenicity. There are several things about this virus that are particularly alarming.

    1. Its transmission is highly efficient. This is likely because of H and N gene segments that already have ability to bind to mammailan sialic acid residues on cells. This virus already has those.

    2. It apparently replicates in the lower respiratory track as well as upper. This is a combination for transmission and pathogenicity.

    3. It is killing young health adults, implying the virus is causing substantial immunopathology, just like the 1918 pandemic strain.

    4. Its mortality rate is very, very high at this point, on the order of 5% to 10%. In comparison, the 1918 pandemic virus (an avian influenza virus that adapted to binding to mammalian sialic acid residues) killed "only" 1% of the people it infected. As you say, "most" people are surviving (95%), but the survival rate was far higher for the 1918 pandemic.

    5. The combination of shedding virus prior to disease onset and the efficiency of binding to mammalian sialic acid means this virus is no where near contained.

    6. I'll bet money that isolates are already being inoculated into embryonated chicken eggs. If this virus has avian gene segments (since all H1N1 influenza viruses are decendents of the 1918 pandemic strain) and those eggs die in 4 to 5 days (instead of 7 required for high titered virus production for vaccines), we could be in deep sh!+. The global capacity for influenza vaccine production is about 250,000,000 doses per year, and that's if this virus can be propagated by traditional means. If it must be grown in cell culture, then there becomes a real problem with capacity because it is not even close to egg production.

    7. This virus is resistant to amantadine and rimantidine but sensitive to zanamivir and oseltamivir.

    With air travel as it is, this story could get ugly in the next year if proper public health precautions are not implemented. If we're lucky, this year's vaccine (which contains an H1N1 strain) may confer partial protection. If so, then the fatality rate (but not illness rate) could be reduced for those of us who received the vaccine.
  5. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    Is there a link to an article on this or something?
  6. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Hundreds. You can check google news.
  7. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

    Jan 28, 2009
    remember this sells so it will get blown all out of proportion so news companies can make a buck.
  8. -sdp macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2009
    I move a little while ago to Mexico City and I've had really bad luck so far. Stolen iphone, stolen car and now Swine Flu....great.

    The streets are mostly empty which is extremely weird as there is always stuff happening. Most are wearing surgical masks and the super markets are full. I had to go downtown yesterday and saw plenty of tourists (and not just fromt he US) so if I go down at least I'll know a lot of the world will go too ;)
  9. Eanair macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    Mmm, I've been reading about it. I'm not in panic mode yet, but there are some alarming things about it nonetheless...and we are overdue for a pandemic.

    Strain A/H1N1.

    Fantastic. :rolleyes:

    Cytokine storm, anyone?
  10. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    I went through the Bradley terminal at LAX today... there was a Mexicana flight from Mexico City in the quarantine rooms and a flight from Auckland was in the process of having passengers screened for illness upon disembarking in another terminal.
  11. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    On the other hand 80 people dead in a short period of time from a pathological strain of influenza is one of the most justified things to be concerned about. Hopefully it's not just the tip of the iceberg.
  12. srl7741 macrumors 68020


    Jan 19, 2008
    In my world
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    At this point I'm not too worried either (though I reserve the right to change my mind as more information develops).

    My feeling is that this flu has been running rampant in Mexico for a few weeks, but since it doesn't make most people very sick, it was not noticed. In fact it was probably masked by other people with regular flu symptoms.

    The only reason it was noticed was because the expected end of the regular flu season didn't come. Once they noticed something odd, samples were sent to the US and Canadian labs (the only ones in world who can type this kind of virus) and the strain identified. Normal Asian type flu also kills a small percentage of people, and I suspect they will eventually find that the fatality rate for this flu will be about the same - if it doesn't mutate again.

    Pharmaceutical companies and news companies will milk it for all its worth, though.
  14. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    I'll wait for the CDC report from Atlanta.

    I do know that signs were going up, at the hospitals I visit, at the end of the work-week.
  15. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    Yup. The ambulance service I work for has been sending out frequent updates about it too.

    While I am no where near panic mode about this outbreak, it is asinine to suggest that there is nothing to worry about. Good information has been given above to suggest why caution needs to be taken with this.
  16. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    May 15, 2007
    I'm where I need to be
    Auckland? Really? Do you know why? I only asked because I recently arrived at LAX from Auckland ;)
  17. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    There was a group of students that returned to New Zealand from Mexico with flu-like symptoms. I don't think that there were any problems on that flight; it was just a precautionary measure.
  18. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I trained an an epidemiologist. I'll weigh in.

    First and foremost, Cave Man is right. There are many disturbing features of this particular strain, and many of its workings appear on the whole to be similar to the makings of another pandemic.

    That said, there is a good deal of press, and a good deal of scientific attention being paid to this occurrence. Based on how much I have heard about this on the radar before the major news sources got ahold of it, the response has been well coordinated and the measures are in place to develop an infrastructure to deal with the threat should its containment measures fail.

    The REAL disaster we ought to be worried about is the potential infection that is OFF the radar, transmits readily with high pathogenicity, and is not generating any significant response by either local health authorities or the government officials in charge of calming the public. The bird flu thing, by comparison to past disease outbreaks, was WELL targeted by relevant health authorities. This looks to be the case with the swine flu outbreak. However, we are due for a major population disease event, and given the nature of international travel and the disparity in health networks across the world, it could be bad.

    I don't see this as a big deal in the long run. In the short run, it may be rocky. This doesn't appear to be the foundation for a massive, worldwide epidemic yet. Time will tell.
  19. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
  20. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    Neither were the dozens of people who died from it.

  21. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

    Jun 2, 2008
    I'm glad it can't be spread by eating pork products.:)

    I had a BLT today. :eek:
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Still not worried (at this point, reserve the right to change my mind)... see my post from yesterday. Dr Donald Low, medical director of the Ontario's public health laboratories and chief microbiologist at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital was quoted as saying
    So.... the rate of mortality is fairly low when you consider how many people have died from those hundreds of thousands. In a normal flu year, with normal flu, thousands are expected to not recover.

    I believe this is worth being wary of, and watching closely, because it is so new. But at this point it doesn't look like it is dangerous.

    Link to News Story

    Canada is well prepared for this as we had to deal with SARs a few years back, and have one of the two microbiology labs able to work with this new virus.
  23. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    I still have my bunker packed and ready from SARS, and bird flu so i'm safe. I have spare foil hats if anybody needs one, one size fits all. ;)
  24. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    Its already spread did you ever see the special on avain flu one person from china brought it over killed half of the us. 20+ are infected KNOWN and thousands go to Mexico and probley think its a normal flu.

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