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Epidemic Errata w/ Update

Patient Zero from Oaxaca, nowhere near the big, evil, stinky Smithfield CAFO in state of Veracruz.

UPDATE. A more thorough piece here: Earliest Known Mexican Patient Lived No Where Near Smithfield CAFO. (Are there 2 sicknesses at work in this outbreak?)

Mass Grave Found in Downtown Montgomery, Alabama

And from LOLSwineFloo:


When is Swine Flu Human Flu?
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?

(no subject)

A cross-section, top to bottom look at a hot zone
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."


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.