China to Mexico Swine Flu Airlift

May 5th, 2009 No comments

Mexico has dispatched a plane (or planes) to China to collect the 70+ Mexican citizens who’ve been detained / quarantined due to swine flu fears.

Tensions are high in Mexico as both government officials and residents accuse China of inhumanely overreacting. China detained all Mexicans who shared a plane with the once passenger who tested positive for the H1N1 virus, the cause of swine flu.

Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

Surely you recall how just a few years ago China faced worldwide scorn for not taking serious steps to combat bird flu. Now they’re facing criticism for quarantining people in luxury hotels to prevent a swine flu pandemic. Would these critics be happy if China had done nothing?

One of the primary reasons we’re noticing some attenuation to the spread of swine flu is the responsible actions taken by some governments. Mexico closed sporting events because of bird flu. Texas halted school sporting events. China separated potential swine flu zombies from the general public. Just because none of them had swine flu does not make it a bad policy.

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Check swine flu tracker’s swine flu map for the latest in swine flu cases near you.

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Swine Flu Perspective

May 3rd, 2009 No comments
Will swine flu be a splash or a tsunami?

Will swine flu be a splash or a tsunami?

Time to put the current swine flu outbreak in its place. Though we might be seeing the beginning of a lull in the initial swine flu outbreak, flu experts predict the swine flu will continue to spread in the future, and will likely become much more prevalent in the 2009/2010 flu season. It is not uncommon for flu outbreaks to exhibit wave-like patterns. As we’ve no natural nor acquired immunity to this H1N1 strain, it could get ugly. How ugly?

This image puts swine flu into perspective. As recently as 40 years ago, over a million people died from a flu strain. That’s almost one in 3,000 people on the planet dead, a figure that belittles the current epidemic.

However, should scientists/governments/et al develop and manufacture enough reliable vaccine, this swine flu could remain a relatively mild flu outbreak. Unfortunately, manufacturing and distributing enough flu vaccine is challenging at best. What’s the motivation? Some say the a serious flu pandemic would hit the global economy to the tune of  more than three trillion dollars. ($3,000,000,000,000.00) That’s incentive.

Be sure to check the latest swine flu map. And become familiar with swine flu symptoms. Use the links at the top of this page.

151 Swine Flu Cases in the US

May 2nd, 2009 No comments
swine-flu-map

Swine Flu Map

Revised estimates put the total US swine flu cases at 151. One baby from Mexico who came to the US for treatment remains the lone US swine flu death. The first reported swine flu cases in the US (of the current H1N1 virus strain,) were on April 22 in southern California. The previous incidence of swine flu in the US was in 1976 when 13 fell ill and one died in New Jersey.

As much as most US media implies that this recent outbreak of swine flu began in Mexico City, the April 22, 2009 date associated with two cases in California are the first cases reported by the US media.

It wasn’t until a day later, on April 23rd when we first learned of a debilitating respiratory illness in Mexico. It is unknown if the two California cases are related to the swine flu outbreak in Mexico.

It’s important to note that most of Mexico is free of sine flu. Popular Mexican vacation spots like Cabo San Lucas have reported no swine flu. Post your swine flu questions in the comments of any post.

Swine Flu Map Added to Swine Flu Tracker

April 30th, 2009 1 comment

Swine flu updates on the fly. You asked for it. Here it is. Click swine flu map above for more swine flu maps.

View 2009 H1N1 Flu Outbreak Map in a larger map

Stay tuned to swine flu tracker for more. If you have swine flu questions, post them in the comments to any post.

Cabo Swine Flu Update

April 30th, 2009 18 comments

Swine flu update. I’ve been getting a lot of comments about Cabo swine flu on another blog. Seems appropriate to address it here. Readers’ comments below. My responses in red.

Cabo Swine Flu Mailbag

  • What a shame. There are no cases of swine flu reported in Los Cabos as of today (April 28) yet many people will cancel their vacation plans due to the fear and panic that is spreading faster than the virus itself. I’m with Dan. While common sense precautions should be taken, undoubtedly this scare will all blow over in a few days or weeks (remember SARS?) and if you cancel your plans, you’ll miss out on having a fabulous time here.
  • i cant believe how irresponsible the media is… i live in cabo and its totally safe, we are like an island and the hot dry environment is non conducive for the spread of flu.
  • I am supposed to leave for Cabo San lucas on Saturday May 2, the 3 other passengers I booked the trip with are terrified that they will shut down the borders, and we will not be able to get back, anything I could tell them to make them feel better? I really want to go on vacation, and I am soo pissed at the media as well for making this bigger than it is! Tell your compatriot travelers to stop being little babies. ;) I’d only cancel your trip if you were going to Mexico City. Cabo should be fine. You’ll have a great time. Check out my Cabo guide.
  • listen… the medication that you need for this flu they sell over the counter. im not saying that this is something you should ignore, however with proper hygiene and basic precaution, you have nothing to worry about. almost 40,000 americans die every year from the flu and its always based on the same issues. lack of attention, precaution and available medical help. Or in other words, if you feel a little sick, go see a doctor.
    Dont let the media scare you from living your life… read up on this flu, check your sources and make your own educated decision. Dont forget that weather MSMBC or FOX, news is based on ratings and since the economy and drug wars have faded from the spot light, the associated press will jump on anything that has legs.
  • I’m from LA but live in England. I’m getting married in Vegas on the 9th and going to Cabo on the 14th. If my flight is flying, I’m going to Cabo! I’ve got cold medicine, antibac soap and plenty of tissue! I’ll wash my hands often and steer clear of subways (i know there isn’t oen there). I’M GOING TO CABO FOR MY HONEYMOON DAMN IT!!!
  • I’m supposed to be going to cabo for memorial day and I have no idea what to do….I really do not want to settle for anywhere else!
  • My husband and I are flying to Cabo on May 19th-27th —We are apprehensive but feel that Cabo is as safe as anywhere in Mexico. We are travelling by Alaskan Airlines, and feel reasonably safe, since this is a non-stop flight from San Francisco. We do not want to reschedule, as anyone who travels to Cabo knows how hot it can get further into the Summer. Your pros and cons will be appreciated. Shirley and Norm
  • I’m going to Cabo next Saturday May 9th, and I’m still definitely going!!! This is just the flu… over 100 people a day die on average in the US from the regular flu alone! No wonder so many people have the flu in Mexico City it is the most populated, polluted city on the planet… they say spending a day in Mexico City is like smoking 2 packs of cigarettes. The place is gross and Cabo isn’t even on the mainland… If you leave in Cali or would go to Cali its the same as going to Cabo. See ya there!!

That’s it for swine flu Los Cabos. The long and the short of it: No swine flu in Cabo yet. Joe Biden says avoid planes. I say be careful, have fun. See you in Cabo!

Avoid Swine Flu Avoid Planes

April 30th, 2009 No comments

Vice President Joe Biden today told anybody who’d listen that it’s time to avoid crowded confined spaces like planes and subways. This hits home because I’m hopping on a few planes in the near future. We’re not all lucky enough to have a private jet, so Biden’s remarks don’t bode well to business and vacation travelers worried about swine flu outbreaks on planes.

So am I going to wear a mask while traveling to the SW US? I’m not leaving for a few days, so I’ll wait and see what happens with the swine flu outbreak over the next few days. Does this swine flu warning from the number two guy scare me? No.

Swine Flu Shuts Down Texas

April 29th, 2009 No comments

Every school sporting event and academic event in Texas has been cancelled or postponed until at least May 11th, 2009 because of the Texas swine flu outbreak. Regional track meets – cancelled. Over 50,000 students denied their extracurricular activities. Is this justified? Sadly, yes.

The old “better safe than sorry” adage applies to swine flu, caused by the H1N1 flu virus. The world health organization today upped the swine flu pandemic alert status to reflect the high potential for a global swine flu pandemic.

The Obama administration and CDC continue their two-faced freak-out/stay calm approach. Arguably, it’s warranted. A potential swine flu pandemic requires that we become more aware of our own and others’ health practices while at the same time, we should not fall victim to swine flu panic.  It’s a fine line.

Too much panic is self-defeating and could lead to calls of crying wolf over swine flu. Conversely if we stay too calm, we could fall victim to the swine flu zombies. Case in point. I ordered a pizza today. Two actually. One with pineapple and black olives, the other with peperoni and double cheese. (Heart attack in a cardboard box… if it doesn’t kill me, the swine flu might!) And while I didn’t order any swine flu topping on either pie, the thought crossed my mind… “What if one of the pizza makers just came back from spring break in Mexico City with a case of swine flu?”

I decided that scenario was unlikely, and I really wanted pizza. But it illustrates a potential conundrum that might become more common, should the “swine flu pandemic” actually become a true pandemic. According to the WHO, it’s on its way. Stay tuned to swine flu tracker.

First US Swine Flu Death

April 29th, 2009 No comments

Well, not really. Unless you count a sick baby from Mexico coming to the US for treatment as the “first US swine flu death.” I don’t mean to discount the tragedy of any swine flu deaths, but at the same time the swine flu fear mongering around this first swine flu death in the United States is inexcusable.

Let’s try to think of a good analogy… You live in Plainville. Somebody from Badville (500 miles away) has been dumping dead kittens in your town. The media starts reporting that your town isn’t safe for kittens. Right, it’s not the best swine flu analogy, but it’ll do.

What can you do to avoid swine flu and avoid being the second swine flu death in the US? Start by avoiding infected people. Don’t go to Mexico City. What about swine flu in Cabo and other parts of Mexico? No swine flu in Cabo yet. One reader tells us that’s because Cabo is a hot, drty desert. But maybe they’re stashing all of the swine flu vaccine there. You should investigate and report back! OR, just maybe, there aren’t any swine flu cases in Cabo San Lucas because it’s just not there. Who would go on vacation with swine flu symptoms anyhow?

Obama’s Swine Flu Assurances Fall Flat

April 28th, 2009 No comments

President Obama on the swine flu outbreak…

  • “heightened state of alert”
  • “public health emergency”
  • “not a cause for alarm”

There’s a lack of consistency in the president’s swine flu message. This is the gaffe-like language we expect from Joe Biden, not Barack Obama. Hints for the president on issuing future swine flu pandemic announcements:

  • Use consistent language. Don’t sell me swine flu doom and gloom and FUD in one breath and tell me not to worry in the next.
  • Educate about swine flu. Don’t scare. People are worthless when they’re scared. Tell people to wash their hands or something.
  • Regularity. Nobody likes it when they don’t take a dump for a few days. So tell us what’s up every day. If the swine flu outbreak is really a public health emergency, I want you talking to me about it every day.
  • Wear a mask. Lead by example. How incredible would it be to see the president of the USA wearing a blue surgical mask on TV talking about swine flu? Sure, it’d cause panic in the streets, but at least it’ll work a little faster than the current Obama swine flu message. Who even knows what he’s trying to do?

The president (and his aides) should be telling people how to avoid swine flu. What are the swine flu symptoms, etc. I know it’s not typically the “job” of the prez to do that sort of thing, but you have to admit, it’d be better than saying what he’s already said about swine flu.

Swine flu tracker is just getting started. More newsy posts to follow, unless you prefer the Obama bashing.

How is the swine flu transmitted?

April 27th, 2009 5 comments

How is swine flu transmitted? Swine flu is transmitted just like any other flu. (Its symptoms are similar too.) So think of the usual cold/flu transmission vectors and you’re on the right path. Coughing, sneezing, touching, etc.  The best way to avoid swine flu, and I swear, my doctor said as much today when I got my annual physical, “Don’t hang out with people who have swine flu!”

Sounds like a smarmy remark, but that’s the truth. If you suspect you’re near anybody with swine flu or any flu for that matter, go somewhere else! If you must be near those with swine flu and don’t mind looking like a flu safety freak, you can try some of these measures.

  • wash your hands regularly
  • don’t rub your eyes
  • wear a surgical-type mask
  • cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough (preferably NOT with your hands!)
  • don’t shake hands
  • don’t touch doorknobs and other public items

Basically, if you want to avoid swine flu, watch a few episodes of Monk on USA and act like Mr. Monk. You don’t need to solve crimes (or do his unhealthy OCD schtick,) but his knack for cleanliness and fearing germs will prevent swine flu transmission.

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