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Europe Ignoring Swine Flu?

May 30th, 2009 1 comment
Table. U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
updated May 29, 2009,

States* Confirmed and Probable Cases Deaths
Alabama
71 cases
0
Arkansas
6 cases
0
Arizona
540 cases
3
California
553 cases
0
Colorado
68 cases
0
Connecticut
149 cases
0
Delaware
115 cases
0
Florida
165 cases
0
Georgia
28 cases
0
Hawaii
71 cases
0
Idaho
12 cases
0
Illinois
1002 cases
2
Indiana
138 cases
0
Iowa
71 cases
0
Kansas
34 cases
0
Kentucky**
50 cases
0
Louisiana
114 cases
0
Maine
11 cases
0
Maryland
48 cases
0
Massachusetts
416 cases
0
Michigan
229 cases
0
Minnesota
47 cases
0
Mississippi
13 cases
0
Missouri
29 cases
1
Montana
14 cases
0
Nebraska
43 cases
0
Nevada
84 cases
0
New Hampshire
35 cases
0
New Jersey
72 cases
0
New Mexico
97 cases
0
New York
553 cases
4
North Carolina
14 cases
0
North Dakota
6 cases
0
Ohio
18 cases
0
Oklahoma
67 cases
0
Oregon
132 cases
0
Pennsylvania
123 cases
0
Rhode Island
13 cases
0
South Carolina
41 cases
0
South Dakota
6 cases
0
Tennessee
100 cases
0
Texas
1403 cases
3
Utah
122 cases
1
Vermont
3 cases
0
Virginia
29 cases
0
Washington
575 cases
1
Washington, D.C.
14 cases
0
Wisconsin
1430 cases
0
Wyoming
1 case
0
TOTAL*(49)
8,975 cases
15

*includes the District of Columbia

**one case is resident of KY but currently hospitalized in GA.

Some estimate over 100,000 cases of swine flu in North America, and Japan’s cases, by some counts, tip swine flu into pandemic. So say the New Scientist editors. European health officials however are balking, claiming there is no evidence of sustained H1N1 transmission in Europe. Those same editors go on to say, “That’s hardly surprising, as Europe isn’t doing the relevant tests.”

Most health departments in Europe are suffering from swine flu test equipment shortages. In the UK, officials are only testing potential swine flu cases if they meet the following criteria. Fever above 38 Celcius or history of fever AND two or more flu-like symptions (cough, sore throat, etc.) AND contact with a confirmed swine flu case OR have been in Mexico or the US in the past week.

If that seems convoluted and backwards you’re more perceptive than UK health officials. Swine flu is spreading in Japan, usually when those falling ill have had no contact with US/Mexico travelers.

Before you dismiss these public health administration lapses because you think swine flu is overhyped, we encourage you to read other articles on swine flu tracker. Specifically take note of the typical wave-like pattern of past flu pandemics. The virus can mutate in the southern hemisphere during the northern hemisphere’s summer  months and return stronger.

European nations are familiar with both the power of pathogens and the consequences of inept policies thereof. (foot and mouth/hoof and mouth anyone?) If you happen to be or know a prominent health officer in Europe, consider telling them that evidence has debunked the old head in the sand technique for dealing with swine flu.

Current US swine flu cases

The table to the right displays current swine flu cases in the US by state.

For international human cases of swine flu infection
please visit the World Health Organization web site.

NOTE: Because of daily reporting deadlines, the state totals reported by CDC may not always be consistent with those reported by state health departments. If there is a discrepancy between these two counts, data from the state health departments should be used as the most accurate number.

Swine Flu Update

May 6th, 2009 1 comment
Swine flu in Mexico, or a Michael Jackson video?

Swine flu in Mexico, or a Michael Jackson video?

Some are saying parts of Mexico look like a scene out of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

Dr. Richard E. Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has bluntly stated: “As this moves forward, I fully expect that we will see deaths from this infection.” He’ was right. Tuesday marked the first domestic US death from swine flu. An earlier swine flu death in the United States originated in Mexico. The child died in the US when its caretakers brought it to Texas for treatment. In the same vein, (not to discount these tragic deaths,) the first domestic swine flu death was an elderly person with other health problems.

The one piece of encouraging news is that, outside of Mexico, swine flu victims can make a quick recovery if the illness is treated early. Of the thousands of suspected cases in Mexico, only about one thousand people remain hospitalized today, suggesting that the illness is very treatable if medical attention is sought in the early stages.

And though the initial spread of swine flu is by some accounts waning, experts predict that the northern hemispheres winter flu season will likely welcome a more virulent version of the H1N1 swine flu virus. Health organizations will pay close attention to the swine flu in the southern hemisphere in an effort to perfect a vaccine before the more populous northern flu season.

More good news. In an effort to halt or slow the spread of the swine flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) released 2.5 million doses of Tamiflu on Tuesday for distribution in developing countries.

See the swine flu tracker swine flu map page for more information on swine flu cases near you. Stay tuned for more swine flu updates.

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 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.

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