Save the Planet!
dengue!
barthanderson
Swinefighter -- The Swine Flu Game.

Pandemic
dengue!
barthanderson
The World Health Organization seems to be softening people up for a move to Level 6, that is, calling H1N1  a pandemic.

Let's review:

Endemic means that a disease is native to a particular region. So what does pandemic mean?

Right. It's not a reference to the death count or severity of the outbreak. It's a reference to where H1N1 can be found. WHO is wise to spell this out for an information-hungry public ahead of time.

Meanwhile, check out this article (via H5N1 blog) SARS Sleuth Tracks H1N1, Criticizes WHO: One virus hunter's take on how important it is for WHO to accurately get their levels right during an outbreak.






Get Your Tapaboca On
dengue!
barthanderson
Swine Flu Starts a Trend in Mexico: Face Masks (LA Times)


Newspapers here have carried graphics showing how to turn a piece of scrap cloth into a mask. Some people have tried to add a splash of personality by painting their masks with skeleton faces or colorful butterflies...The tapaboca phenomenon in Mexico has yielded some incongruous images: the motorist with face covered, though alone in his car; the couple aboard a motorcycle, masked but not wearing helmets; sunbathers wearing swimsuits and surgical masks.

Newspaper columnist Juan Villoro said the mask, by revealing only the eyes, added a touch of the exotic to Mexican life. "Those who are not good-looking at least have become mysterious," he quipped in Friday's edition of the Reforma newspaper
.

It's telling that this fad has been indulged in Japan for decades.



Man Bites Dog
crazed
barthanderson
Pig Herd Contracts H1N1 from Farmhand

Patron Saint on The Uptake
dengue!
barthanderson
I'll be on The Uptake, live, at 2pm-ish tomoorw (Sunday, May3) talking about The Patron Saint of Plagues and H1N1 swine flu. Huge hat tip to the Irish-Jewish-Lesbian mafia (seanmmurphy and, especially, lyda222 ) for the hook up.

If you miss it, don't sweat. The Uptake will no doubt archive it. I'll keep you apprised.

Meanwhile, it seems like some others are starting to draw the lines between PSOP and the "current unpleasantness" (to quote Willy Wonka).


Texas cancels school competitions
crazed
barthanderson
Via darinbradley 

Texas cancels all school competitions through May 11
.

Of note in this article, the 23-month-old boy who died in Houston was from Mexico City and had underlying health problems. Terrible as that is, those circumstances make the case seem rather unusual and incidental for a "US confirmed death" and has to be of some relief to public health officials in the States.

Plus, the article describes a fascinating, city council level discussion on the immigration issue vis a vis H1N1.







(no subject)
crazed
barthanderson
First US death attributed to H1N1.

A cross-section, top to bottom look at a hot zone
crazed
barthanderson
Mexico and the World Health Organization better get on the same page about the number of H1N1-related deaths in Mexico, pronto. Here's what the Mexican federal government is saying (from the Sydney Morning Herald):

Mexico's Health Minister, Jose Angel Cordova, told reporters that the probable death toll from swine flu in his country had risen from 152 to 159.

Meanwhile, WHO is sticking to official, lab tested, and confirmed cases only:

"That figure[150+ deaths ~b.] is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven."

Awesome!

Well, they both better have a long talk with this guy, Dr Antonio Chavez, a specialist in respiratory diseases at the Mexico National Institute of Health, from Mexico City:

"The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks."


And there you have a peek into the stressed out, confused, red-lined craziness inside a hot zone. It's also why everyone has to be a little skeptical of the news they're reading out of Mexico.


 



(no subject)
crazed
barthanderson

When is Swine Flu Human Flu?
crazed
barthanderson
It's a nightmare trying to Google decent information on swine flu right now. SO. I beseech thee, holy intarwebs! Hear my query!

In avian flu, the key "antigenic shift" that can rearrange a poultry-to-poultry flu virus into a poultry-to-human virus (or human-to-human flu virus)  occurs, typically, when there is prolonged contact between birds and humans. That's why there was so much attention paid to Indonesia over the last few years, because there is a cultural predisposition for owning flocks of chickens in that country.

Is it the same thing with swine flu? Is it contact between pigs and humans? Or does the shift happen solely among pigs and the humans are irrelevant? What are the prime conditions under which there might be an antigenic shift in pig-to-pig swine flu, making it into a human friendly virus?




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