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April 27th, 2009, 12:04 AM
April 27, 2009


U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/donald_g_jr_mcneil/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Responding to what some health officials feared could be the leading edge of a global pandemic emerging from Mexico (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/mexico/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), American health officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday as 20 cases of swine flu (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/i/influenza/swine_influenza/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) were confirmed in this country, including eight in New York City.
Other nations imposed travel bans or made plans to quarantine air travelers as confirmed cases also appeared in Mexico and Canada and suspect cases emerged elsewhere.
Top global flu (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/the-flu/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) experts struggled to predict how dangerous the new A (H1N1) swine flu strain would be as it became clear that they had too little information about Mexico’s outbreak — in particular how many cases had occurred in what is thought to be a month before the outbreak was detected, and whether the virus was mutating to be more lethal, or less.
“We’re in a period in which the picture is evolving,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, deputy director general of the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/). “We need to know the extent to which it causes mild and serious infections.”
Without that knowledge — which is unlikely to emerge soon because only two laboratories, in Atlanta and Winnipeg, Canada, can confirm a case — his agency’s panel of experts was unwilling to raise the global pandemic alert level, even though it officially saw the outbreak as a public health emergency and opened its emergency response center.
As a news conference in Washington, Homeland Security (http://www.dhs.gov/index.shtm) Secretary Janet Napolitano (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/janet_napolitano/index.html?inline=nyt-per) called the emergency declaration “standard operating procedure,” and said she would rather call it a “declaration of emergency preparedness.”
“It’s like declaring one for a hurricane,” she said. “It means we can release funds and take other measures. The hurricane may not actually hit.”
American investigators said they expected more cases here, but noted that virtually all so far had been mild and urged Americans not to panic.
The speed and the scope of the world’s response showed the value of preparations made because of the avian flu and SARS scares, public health experts said.
The emergency declaration in the United States lets the government free more money for antiviral drugs and give some previously unapproved tests and drugs to children. One-quarter of the national stockpile of 50 million courses of antiflu drugs will be released.
Border patrols and airport security officers are to begin asking travelers if they have had the flu (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/the-flu/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) or a fever (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/fever/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier); those who appear ill will be stopped, taken aside and given masks while they arrange for medical care.
“This is moving fast and we expect to see more cases,” Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/), said at the news conference with Ms. Napolitano. “But we view this as a marathon.”
He advised Americans to wash their hands frequently, to cover coughs and sneezes and to stay home if they felt ill; but he stopped short of advice now given in Mexico to wear masks and not kiss or touch anyone. He praised decisions to close individual schools in New York and Texas but did not call for more widespread closings.
Besides the eight New York cases, officials said they had confirmed seven in California, two in Kansas, two in Texas and one in Ohio. The virus looked identical to the one in Mexico believed to have killed 103 people — including 22 people whose deaths were confirmed to be from swine flu — and sickened about 1,600. As of Sunday night, there were no swine flu deaths in the United States, and one hospitalization.
Other governments tried to contain the infection amid reports of potential new cases including in New Zealand (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/newzealand/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), Hong Kong (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/hongkong/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and Spain.
Dr. Fukuda of the W.H.O. said his agency would decide Tuesday whether to raise the pandemic alert level to 4. Such a move would prompt more travel bans, and the agency has been reluctant historically to take actions that hurt member nations.
Canada confirmed six cases, at opposite ends of the country: four in Nova Scotia and two in British Columbia. Canadian health officials said the victims had only mild symptoms and had either recently traveled to Mexico or been in contact with someone who had.
Other governments issued advisories urging citizens not to visit Mexico. China, Japan, Hong Kong and others set up quarantines for anyone possibly infected. Russia and other countries banned pork imports from Mexico, though people cannot get the flu from eating pork.
In the United States, the C.D.C. confirmed that eight students at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, had been infected with the new swine flu. At a news conference on Sunday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/michael_r_bloomberg/index.html?inline=nyt-per) said that all those cases had been mild and that city hospitals (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/hospitals/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) had not seen a surge in severe lung infections.
On the streets of New York, people seemed relatively unconcerned, in sharp contrast to Mexico City, where soldiers handed out masks.
Hong Kong, shaped by lasting scars as an epicenter of the SARS outbreak, announced very tough measures. Officials there urged travelers to avoid Mexico and ordered the immediate detention of anyone arriving with a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit after traveling through any city with a confirmed case, which would include New York.
Everyone stopped will be sent to a hospital for a flu test and held until it is negative. Since Hong Kong has Asia’s busiest airport hub, the policy could severely disrupt international travel.
The central question is how many mild cases Mexico has had, Dr. Martin S. Cetron, director of global migration and quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control, said in an interview.
“We may just be looking at the tip of the iceberg, which would give you a skewed initial estimate of the case fatality rate,” he said, meaning that there might have been tens of thousands of mild infections around the 1,300 cases of serious disease and 80 or more deaths. If that is true, as the flu spreads, it would not be surprising if most cases were mild.
Even in 1918, according to the C.D.C., the virus infected at least 500 million of the world’s 1.5 billion people to kill 50 million. Many would have been saved if antiflu drugs, antibiotics (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/antibiotics/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) and mechanical ventilators had existed.
Another hypothesis, Dr. Cetron said, is that some other factor in Mexico increased lethality, like co-infection with another microbe or an unwittingly dangerous treatment.
Flu experts would also like to know whether current flu shots give any protection because it will be months before a new vaccine can be made.
There is an H1N1 human strain in this year’s shot, and all H1N1 flus are descendants of the 1918 pandemic (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol12no01/05-0979.htm) strain. But flus pick up many mutations, and there will be no proof of protection until the C.D.C. can test stored blood serum containing flu shot (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/specialtopic/influenza-vaccine/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) antibodies (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/test/antibody-titer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) against the new virus. Those tests are under way, said an expert who sent the C.D.C. his blood samples.
Reporting was contributed by Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Washington, Jack Healy from New York, Keith Bradsher from Hong Kong and Ian Austen from Ottawa.

Copyright 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

Understanding Swine Flu

United States officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday over increasing cases of swine flu, but urged Americans not to panic, as most of the cases have been mild. Related Article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/world/27flu.html)
@import url(http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/flash/newsgraphics/2009/0426-nat-flu-web/flu.css); Confirmed cases

As of Sunday, officials had confirmed 20 cases of a new A(H1N1) swine flu virus in the United States, including eight New York City high school students. Six cases were identified in Canada — all linked to travel in Mexico. While only a handful of swine flu cases in Mexico have been confirmed, officials say there are at least 1,400 suspected infections and at least 86 suspected deaths.

Swine flu and humans

Swine flu viruses can be passed between pigs and humans, but human infections are not common. Most infections occur among people with direct pig contact. Sometimes a flu virus can mutate to be more transmissible to humans. An outbreak occurred among soldiers in Fort Dix, N.J., in 1976, resulting in 200 infections, several serious illnesses and one death.
Human symptoms All flus are passed by coughs and sneezes. Symptoms can included fever, fatigue, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea. Seasonal flus typically kill the old and young. New flus like this one can kill healthy people whose own immune reactions overwhelm them.

Vaccine and treatments Officials do not know if the seasonal flu vaccine will protect against the A(H1N1) swine flu virus. In the laboratory, the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza are effective against this new flu; amantadine and rimantadine are not.

Swine flu versus avian flu The avian flu, A(H5N1), is found among birds and humans and is highly lethal but not very transmissible. Scientists believe this new flu is more transmissible but less lethal.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands frequently, avoiding touching the face, covering the nose and mouth when sneezing and staying home when sick. People cannot be infected by eating pork.

Copyright 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

April 27th, 2009, 01:03 AM
I wonder if Donald Rumsfeld has an investment in a Swine Flu vaccine (as he did with Tamiflu (http://www.talkleft.com/story/2006/03/12/041/43370), the heavily promoted Bird Flu [hoax?] vaccine).


April 27th, 2009, 01:13 AM

April 27th, 2009, 05:34 AM
1400 in mexico? How did this jump from 100 or less in other news agencies?

April 27th, 2009, 08:08 AM
It's a good way to deal with the Mexico Drug problem. Now there is a good excuse for an international initiative to stop every Mexican for questioning and grab them off the street under the guise of "quarantine"

Footnote: Texas, where 37% of the population support secession and it governor who called for secession have asked for Federal Aid to deal with this. :rolleyes:

April 27th, 2009, 09:33 AM
Adios, Texas.

What do we really need it for anyway?

April 27th, 2009, 09:41 AM
Off topic for a moment: Texas governor is ignorant of the law. Texas has no different path to secession than any other state.

What is different is that the 1845 resolution to annex Texas stipulated that it could divide into 5 separate states, free or slave in accordance with the 1820 Missouri Compromise. It's all here. (http://www.snopes.com/history/american/texas.asp)

April 27th, 2009, 09:44 AM
Adios, Texas.

What do we really need it for anyway?

Cultural repository for big hair. ;)

April 27th, 2009, 09:48 AM
One thing we have to keep in mind with all of this.


This is not Malaria, or smallpox, or Polio.

It is a debilitating disease that makes you feel like hell for a week or two that could hurt small kids and elders, but aside from that, all the media panic being spread about this is quite irritating.

They name it "swine flu" because of its origins, but somehow calling it that makes it sound worse, more foreign. Hell, it even makes you think about AIDS (and the "rumor" that it was originally present in monkeys...).

The key here is to stay healthy, keep good care of yourself, and try not to lick toilet bowls.

Seriously though, this is an unnecessary national emergency, and Texas should be told to STFU.

April 27th, 2009, 09:57 AM
Yeah it was 'just' the flu for at least 20, young healthy, people in Mexico.

April 27th, 2009, 10:03 AM

This is not Malaria, or smallpox, or Polio.

That's the common [and dangerous] perception.

Read about the 1918 -1920 Spanish Flu pandemic. It killed so many people so quickly that no one knows even an approximate number. So the estimates are 50 to 100 million dead.

All of today's flu virus strains are descendant of the virulent 1918 virus. All it would take is a mutation for a similar pandemic.

April 27th, 2009, 12:22 PM
If memory serves me correctly, pneumonia is the #1 worldwide killer of humans.

April 27th, 2009, 12:26 PM
That's the common [and dangerous] perception.

Read about the 1918 -1920 Spanish Flu pandemic. It killed so many people so quickly that no one knows even an approximate number. So the estimates are 50 to 100 million dead.

Apply that to who got it and the state of the medical system at the time.

Were these deaths the direct result of the flu, or from bacteriological infections of the lungs due to pneumonic reaction from the flu?

All of today's flu virus strains are descendant of the virulent 1918 virus. All it would take is a mutation for a similar pandemic.

Again, you have to look and see where this is coming from. You want to Panic? Go on ahead. I hear they are selling Theraflu at the local market. Pick up as many packages as you can! You never know what may come next!!!!

The lesson is simple. Take care of yourself. Don't be afraid to go to the doctor. What I have been hearing from doctors and others in the profession is that this callout is just a warning, not an actual threat as of yet, and that the arial strain of this virus seems substantially less strong than the one aquired through direct contact. (That was just a line I heard on the news this morning while getting ready...).

Alonzo, do you have any more info on the 20 that died? What was the ratio? What socioeconomic group were they in? How old were they? It is always horrible when people die, but when an 80 year old dies from the flu, you do not set the entire population to panic.

April 27th, 2009, 12:28 PM
If memory serves me correctly, pneumonia is the #1 worldwide killer of humans.

Pneumonia is different than the flu.

I will have to check and see if it is a disease or rather a symptom OF a disease. I THINK it might be the bacteriological infection of the lungs due to abnormal levels of fluid in them.

Basically your lungs are drowning themselves.....but this is not directly related to the flu. It can happen in many different ways....

April 27th, 2009, 12:59 PM
Apply that to who got it and the state of the medical system at the time.

Were these deaths the direct result of the flu, or from bacteriological infections of the lungs due to pneumonic reaction from the flu?You obviously didn't take my suggestion to do any research on the subject.

The last pandemic in 1968-1970 killed one million worldwide, and 34,000 in the US.

Despite the state of the medical system, there is no cure for another viral strain that causes the common cold, despite decades of opportunity to study it and find one. That's it's not deadly is just a matter of luck.

The 1918 outbreak was the first significant worldwide occurrence because troop movement in WWII and the increased popularity of steamship travel provided an opportunity for transmission and mutation. Compare that to the state of worldwide travel today.

The lesson is simple. Take care of yourself.Cytokine storm. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine_storm) See "Role in Pandemic Death."

Again, you have to look and see where this is coming from. You want to Panic? Go on ahead. I hear they are selling Theraflu at the local market. Pick up as many packages as you can! You never know what may come next!!!!The only panic in this thread is your posting. Is this going to go the route of the Smoking thread?

Virologists have been stating for years that another major pandemic is just a matter of statistics. The only defense is to treat any early suspicious cases with extreme seriousness, because after a few weeks, it would be too late. For the two extremes, panic is more beneficial than burying your head in the sand.

April 27th, 2009, 01:18 PM
One thing we have to keep in mind with all of this.

This is not Malaria, or smallpox, or Polio.

You're exactly right. This isn't some slowly spreading disease. This is much worse. This is a disease that spreads quickly, and every few generations mutates into a form that instead of killing infants and the elderly by overwhelming their immune system, instead kills HEALTHY adults by triggering an overreaction of the immune system.

Will it end civilization? No. Does it have a 99.9% mortality rate like (untreated) HIV? No. But I'm personally frightened by the idea of a disease that in 1918 infected 1/4 the US, and killed 2.5% of all adults. Lets see - 2.5% of NYC is ~250,000 people. See a lot of spare hospital beds? Ventilators? I'm not curious to see how our medical system, which has baked out all of its spare capacity in the name of "efficiency" will do in a crisis.

April 27th, 2009, 01:27 PM
Alonzo, do you have any more info on the 20 that died? What was the ratio? What socioeconomic group were they in? How old were they? It is always horrible when people die, but when an 80 year old dies from the flu, you do not set the entire population to panic.

young healthy

As far as I know the majority were young and healthy. While I get your point that that alone isnt cause for global panic your indifference to the possible risks show you dont understand the potential of a pandemic.

April 27th, 2009, 03:01 PM
The last pandemic in 1968-1970 killed one million worldwide, and 34,000 in the US

Zip, that is bad, but questions on that:

1. How many did not die?
2. How many were under the age of 3 or over the age of 60?
3. How many were in rural, or medically unprepared/underserviced areas?

I guess I should look into it too, but the point I am making is simple, panic is an easy thing to foster over something that may not warrant it.

April 27th, 2009, 03:06 PM
As far as I know the majority were young and healthy. While I get your point that that alone isnt cause for global panic your indifference to the possible risks show you dont understand the potential of a pandemic.

Please don't patronize me Alonzo.

Panic and misinformation can cause more problems than any particular disease. Crying "wolf" about something is going to do very little good. Are you staying home? Are you going out in a mask, goggles and rubber gloves for the next 3 months?

Because if this is truly as you are saying it, and how all of you seem to be saying it is, then that's what you all should be doing.

But whatever. I am sure Roche isn't worried.

April 27th, 2009, 03:29 PM
Obviously we shouldnt all be walking around in masks, that is one extreme. You seem to be demonstrating the other extreme which is being very blase and passing it off as nothing but a normal winter cold. I for one am not condoning mass panic but I think we should all be at least aware of the potential for a pandemic.

According to Wikipedia most of the victims of the pandemic in 1918 were healthy young adults.

According to BBC the current victims in Mexico were all between 20 and 50 years old.

April 27th, 2009, 03:29 PM

Normally, I wouldnt think much of outbreaks but once they start putting up pictures of entire hemispheres and track # of incident the situation starts to become a little bit on the eerie side. With all the world-wide traveling within hours and cross-contamination of people from Ancorage to Patagonia, San Francisco to Saigon a potent/contageous enough bug can and will spread in a matter of weeks, if not days.

By the time we realize what is going on by finding enough infections that a disease trend is noticed; then afterwards performing characterization of a microbial culprit [which is not a little stupid 2 minute blue-red litmus tests like TV programs and movies like to project :rolleyes:;it could take weeks for this step to happen] things could get very serious

Being proactive is the only way to go IMO.

April 27th, 2009, 05:35 PM
1. How many did not die?There are no accurate figures because the flu quickly spread virtually everywhere on earth (even remote Pacific islands), and was somewhat masked by WWI casualties, which was the same demographic that targeted by the flu -young healthy adults.

The rapid spread of the disease in the US was facilitated by the coincidence that in early 1918, men were being mobilized for war.

What is known is that the worldwide infection rate was 50% of the population. The mortality rate of those infected was between 2% and 20% (typical mortality rate from influenza is 0.1%).

2. How many were under the age of 3 or over the age of 60?Half the deaths were in the 20-40 age group. There were very few deaths among children and the elderly.

3. How many were in rural, or medically unprepared/underserviced areas?About 600,000 people died in the US, more than in any of its wars.

One of the first significant outbreaks in the US was among sailors on a ship in Boston harbor in late August 1918. By October, 200 people in Boston were dead, and 850 people had died in New York - in one day.

During the week of November 1st, the PHS reported a total of 12,357 deaths in New York City. For the previous six weeks a total of 30,736 deaths were reported.
source: http://1918.pandemicflu.gov/your_state/new_york.htm

April 27th, 2009, 11:24 PM
Can a even a deadly Swine Flu thread not get partisan on WNY?


April 28th, 2009, 12:40 AM
Air travel will no doubt take a big hit (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aseiWsaKUFJU&refer=home) in the coming weeks.

April 28th, 2009, 01:04 PM
Some good old swine flu vaccine propaganda... er - PSAs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iJLpe1tZl8&feature=player_embedded) from the last outbreak in 1976.

April 28th, 2009, 10:21 PM

Fun quotes.
“As this moves forward, I fully expect that we will see deaths from this infection.”
“It is here and it is spreading"
"I really think we need to be prepared for the worsening of the situation"

and to cap it off, this quote (paraphrased in the article) from the press release of the WHO:
Given the widespread presence of the virus, the Director-General considered that containment of the outbreak is not feasible

For all our advancements... we're still just as vulnerable as a society to the mercies of genetic shuffling and recombination. Lets all hope we get lucky (this time).

April 28th, 2009, 10:58 PM
DHS Sets Guidelines For Possible Swine Flu Quarantines

Posted by Declan McCullagh | April 28, 2009 5:12 PM (http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/04/28/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4975598.shtml)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has sent a memo to some health care providers noting procedures to be followed if the swine flu outbreak (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/27/health/main4970710.shtml) eventually makes quarantines necessary.

DHS Assistant Secretary Bridger McGaw circulated the swine flu memo, which was obtained by CBSNews.com, on Monday night. It says: "The Department of Justice has established legal federal authorities pertaining to the implementation of a quarantine and enforcement. Under approval from HHS, the Surgeon General has the authority to issue quarantines."

McGaw appears to have been referring to the section of federal law (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00000264----000-.html) that allows the Surgeon General to detain and quarantine Americans "reasonably believed to be infected" with a communicable disease. A Centers for Disease Control official said on Tuesday (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/28/health/main4975082.shtml) that swine flu deaths in the U.S. are likely.

Federal quarantine authority is limited to diseases listed in presidential executive orders; President Bush added "novel" forms of influenza with the potential to create pandemics in Executive Order 13375 (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/pdf/05-6907.pdf). Anyone violating a quarantine order can be punished by a $250,000 fine (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/nprm/docs/42CFR70_71.pdf) and a one-year prison term (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00000271----000-.html).

A Homeland Security spokesman on Tuesday did not have an immediate response to followup questions about the memo, which said "DHS is consulting closely with the CDC to determine appropriate public health measures."

The memo from McGaw, who is DHS' acting assistant secretary for the private sector, also said: "U.S. Customs and Coast Guard Officers assist in the enforcement of quarantine orders. Other DOJ law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Marshals, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives may also enforce quarantines. Military personnel are not authorized to engage in enforcement."

Quarantines are hardly new: their history stretches at least as far back as the Bible, which describes (http://www.bartleby.com/108/03/13.html) a seven-day period of isolation that priests must impose when an infection is apparent. The word literally means a period of 40 days, which cities along the Mediterranean shipping routes imposed during the plague of the 15th century, a legal authority reflected in English law and echoed in U.S. law.

Congress enacted the first federal quarantine law in 1796, which handed federal officials the authority to assist states in combating the yellow fever epidemic. In response to the 1918 influenza epidemic, states levied quarantines and imposed mask laws – with the District of Columbia restricting residents to their homes and San Francisco adopting the slogan "Wear a Mask and Save Your Life! A Mask is 99% Proof Against Influenza." Public health authorities quarantined (http://www.syr.edu/aboutsu/chronology/1906.html) the entire campus of Syracuse University for two-and-a-half weeks in October of that year.

Until recently, the last involuntary quarantine in the United States was in 1963. Then, in 2007, Andrew Speaker, an Atlanta lawyer, was quarantined (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/31/health/main2869316.shtml) inside a hospital in Denver on suspicion of having extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (http://www.cbsnews.com/elements/2007/05/30/in_depth_health/whoswho2866426.shtml). It turned out that the CDC was incorrect and Speaker had a milder form (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/03/health/main3012409.shtml) of the disease.

The CDC's error is one example of how quarantines can raise civil liberties issues. If a suspected swine flu patient is confined to a hospital isolation ward for a week or two, who pays for the bills? What if private businesses find their buildings requisitioned in an emergency? Or if hospital employees charged with enforcing the quarantine fail to show up for work?

McGaw's memo on Monday also said that the federal plan to respond to pandemic influenza was "in effect."

The Bush administration released the National Strategy For Pandemic Influenza (http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/federal/pandemic-influenza.pdf) in November 2005; it envisioned closer coordination among federal agencies, the stockpiling and distribution of vaccines and anti-viral drugs, and, if necessary, government-imposed "quarantines" and "limitations on gatherings."

A Defense Department planning document (http://fhp.osd.mil/aiWatchboard/pdf/DoD_PI_Implementation_Plan_August_2006_Public_Rele ase.pdf) summarizing the military's contingency plan says the Pentagon is prepared to assist in "quarantining groups of people in order to minimize the spread of disease during an influenza pandemic" and aiding in "efforts to restore and maintain order."

April 28th, 2009, 11:00 PM
The present Swine Flu strain is H1N1, similar to the 1918 Spanish Flu. The mortality rate, at about 2.5%, isn't exceptionally high, but tens of millions died because it was easily passed among humans, and spread quickly.

Hong Kong has had recent experience with with two much more lethal virus strains:

1. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Very contagious and a mortality rate of 17%. In a 2003 outbreak in Hong Kong, 299 of 1755 that were infected died. Thanks to an exceptional response by health organizations, the virus was contained, and a worldwide epidemic avoided.

2. Avian Flu (H5N1). Only 421 people contracted it, but 257 died (61% mortality rate). Fortunately so far, it hasn't mutated into a more contagious form.

As a result, Hong Hong is one of the best prepared cities to handle a flu epidemic.

From NYTimes
The lessons learned from SARS did not go to waste in Hong Kong. While Mexico struggles to confirm cases of swine flu and sends samples to the United States, Hong Kong is already performing swift genetic tests on patient samples and will have laboratories doing so at six local hospitals by Thursday. Tens of thousands of doctors and nurses, including retirees and those with medical training who have moved to other occupations, are tracked on databases and ready to be mobilized.

Contingency plans are ready to keep public transport, electricity, food supplies, telecommunications and other vital services running even if large numbers of people fall ill. And at a time when many hospitals in the United States are already at full capacity and keep few extra beds in reserve, Hong Kong has 1,400 beds in respiratory isolation units, mostly built over the past six years for fear that bird flu or SARS would become a serious problem, and 15 times as many beds as the territory needs on an everyday basis.

For a population of seven million people, Hong Kong has stockpiled 20 million treatment courses of Tamiflu, a medicine to which the new swine flu virus has not yet developed resistance. Hong Kong also has Asia’s best-known flu specialists and extensive research labs that were expanded in response to fears of SARS or a long-feared pandemic of bird flu, which is caused by a different influenza virus from swine flu.

Government lawyers are also moving quickly, carrying out all the procedures on Monday to make swine flu a disease for which health professionals are required by law to notify the authorities of any suspected case. The Hong Kong government also has broad and detailed legal powers to quarantine possible cases and suspend a range of civil liberties in order to track down anyone who has been in contact with a carrier of a communicable disease; many other countries, including the United States, are still debating how to handle legal issues during a possible pandemic.

SARS “gave us a lot of valuable insights and practical experience in managing a large outbreak,” said Gabriel Matthew Leung, Hong Kong’s under secretary for food and health.

Hong Kong is unusually vulnerable to flu. World Health Organization officials describe Hong Kong and its labs as their sentry for flu in Asia, because the territory’s tests may uncover infected people arriving from other places that are either unequipped to identify influenza or have a habit of keeping medical problems a secret.

Still, in a measure of the terror that SARS has left, the territory’s stock market suffered some of the heaviest losses in Asia on Monday on swine flu fears. The Hang Seng Index fell 2.74 percent. Shares of Cathay Pacific, the dominant airline here, dropped 8 percent and shares of mainland China’s Air China fell 12.8 percent on fears that many passengers will stop flying.

April 28th, 2009, 11:16 PM
I am glad that it did not hit Los Angeles,CA.

April 28th, 2009, 11:17 PM
Oh but it has....
even with a possible death;)
your gubernator has declared a state of emergency!

April 29th, 2009, 09:03 AM


April 29th, 2009, 04:14 PM
Alert level raised to #5 out of 6
- At Level 1, there aren’t any flu viruses circulating among animals that are known to have made people sick.
- Level 2 indicates that there is a virus spreading among wild or domesticated animals that has been reported to have made human beings sick.
- Level 3, where we were on Monday, means that while an animal-based flu has caused illness in people, such cases have been “sporadic,” that is, in WHO-parlance, unlikely to threaten an entire community.
- Raising the alert to Level 4, as the WHO did Tuesday, means that the flu is being spread from one person to another at a rate that does threaten a community.
- Level 5 means that such “community-level” outbreaks have been found in at least two countries in a region of the world, (which seems to be the case now).
- Level 6, the highest level of alert, means that such clusters and community level outbreaks have spread to at least two regions of the world. That constitutes a true pandemic.

April 29th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Only 7 swine flu deaths, not 152, says WHO

Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

"Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation," Ms Allan told ABC Radio today.

"That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico."

Ms Allan said WHO had confirmed 40 cases of swine flu in the Americas, 26 in Mexico, six in Canada, two in Spain, two in Britain and three in New Zealand. [source] (http://www.smh.com.au/world/only-7-swine-flu-deaths-not-152-says-who-20090429-aml1.html)

Meanwhile AP is still carrying the inflated number (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Swine-flu-hits-home-in-US-now-apf-15077508.html?.v=1).

US swine flu cases near 100, spread to 11 states

The Geneva-based World Health Organization sounded its own ominous alarm, raising its alert level to one notch below a full-fledged global pandemic. Said WHO Director General Margaret Chan: "It really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic."

Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in Atlanta there were confirmed cases in ten states, including 51 in New York, 16 in Texas and 14 in California. The CDC counted scattered cases in Kansas, Massachusetts , Michigan, Arizona, Indiana, Nevada and Ohio.

State officials in Maine said laboratory tests had confirmed three cases in that state, not yet included in the CDC count.

And the Pentagon said a Marine at the Twentynine Palms base in California had been confirmed to be ill with swine flu and was isolated, along with his roommate. A Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, Maj. David Nevers, said the sick Marine was doing well and his condition continued to improve. Nevers said about 30 others who had been in contact with the sick Marine would be held apart for five days as well as to see if they show symptoms.

April 30th, 2009, 11:02 AM
Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild
Genetic data indicate this outbreak won't be as deadly as that of 1918, or even the average winter.
From LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-sci-swine-reality30-2009apr30,0,119808,full.story)

...scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics.

In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.

Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point -- becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak.

"There are certain characteristics, molecular signatures, which this virus lacks," said Peter Palese, a microbiologist and influenza expert at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. In particular, the swine flu lacks an amino acid that appears to increase the number of virus particles in the lungs and make the disease more deadly.

Though scientists have begun to relax about the initial toll, they're considerably less comfortable when taking into account the fall flu season. They remain haunted by the experience of 1918, when the relatively mild first wave of flu was followed several months later by a more aggressive wave.

The longer the virus survives, the more chances it has to mutate into a deadlier form.

"If this virus keep going through our summer," Palese said, "I would be very concerned."

April 30th, 2009, 12:33 PM
WHO raises its tally of confirmed swine flu cases to 236 worldwide

Associated Press
Last update: April 30, 2009 - 10:18 AM (http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/44059722.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUvDE7aL_V_BD77:Dii UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUr)

GENEVA - The World Health Organization has increased its tally of confirmed swine flu cases around the world to 236 from 148.

The global body says most of the new confirmed cases came from Mexico.

WHO's flu chief Keiji Fukuda said Thursday the number of confirmed cases in Mexico has increased to 97 from 26, including 7 deaths.

WHO's tally of confirmed cases has lagged behind those that individual countries report because it has to wait for formal notification from the affected nation.


Not even a thousand sick people worldwide and all this hysteria? Absurd.

More people are probably moving to tent cities (http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/04/28/sacramento-s-homeless-camp-more-fiction-than-fact/). :rolleyes:

May 1st, 2009, 10:51 PM
Mexicans turn to humor,
creativity to endure flu

http://d.yimg.com/a/p/ap/20090427/capt.3bcbfb69de4b4e169155c98e4d1a3b06.aptopix_mexi co_swine_flu_mxev108.jpg?x=400&y=261&q=85&sig=XFgV8H3Ukwm_i0mc9SZ9nQ--
A man wears a decorated protective mask as he talks on
his cell phone in downtown Mexico City, Monday, April 27, 2009.
A fatal strain of swine flu has been detected in Mexico while the
virus has been confirmed or suspected in at least a half-dozen
other countries.
(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer Mark Stevenson, Associated Press Writer Fri May 1, 2:18 pm ET

MEXICO CITY – Televisa is cutting all "nonessential" kisses from its soap operas. A song called the "Influenza Cumbia" is climbing the charts. Cringe-worthy swine flu jokes are spreading faster than the illness ever could.

As Mexicans lock themselves inside in fear of the virus, they can't help but have a little fun with it as well.

The surgical masks that Mexicans have donned by the millions have become canvases for creativity, with some adorning their protective coverings with painted-on monkey mouths, outsized mustaches or "kissy lips." Newspapers offer smiley cutouts for people to paste to their masks, and some drivers have fashioned masks for their cars.

Dog lovers walk the streets of Mexico City with matching masks for their pooches, though doctors have yet to confirm that chihuahua-to-chihuahua transmission is a major public health threat.

Mexico's ebullient, spontaneous culture is still trying to adjust to the new anti-flu campaign, in which kissing, hugging, handshakes, eating on the street and standing in crowded places — all part of daily life in this city of 20 million — are now discouraged.

There might not be much traffic on Mexico City's streets, but gallows humor about what some call "The Aporkalypse" has been circulating around the metropolis.

"Did you hear that Mexico has become a world power?" goes one joke. "When it sneezes, the whole world gets the flu."

Mexico has decreed an almost total nationwide shutdown for the next five days, creating a particular challenge for parents. They need to keep their little ones from going stir crazy, while also making sure they heed the government's public safety instructions.

But as any parent will tell you, there is always a way.

Regina Martinez, 2, wouldn't wear a mask, so her mother, Jane, got creative. On Thursday, Regina pranced down a Mexico City street, her mask decorated with embroidered hearts.

"I made it for her because she didn't want to wear it, so I made her a special one," Jane Martinez said.

"I'm Tinkerbell," Regina chimed in, speaking shyly through the mask.

With no place to go, television has become one of the only available distractions. But even on the small screen, the disease has made its mark on that most Mexican form of entertainment: the telenovela.

Nothing defines the formulaic soap operas more than overly dramatic kisses. But Televisa, the world's biggest producer of the soaps, has decreed smooching will be reduced to a minimum in accordance with government guidelines to avoid close contact.

"When the script of a telenovela requires a kiss, the kiss will be give in accordance with the guidelines so as not to expose the actors to any risk," a Televisa spokesman said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

He played coy on exactly how the new "safe kisses" would be carried out — air kisses? cheek kisses? — leaving observers to speculate.

"Until this thing is over, they will have to give telepathic kisses," joked author and cultural critic Carlos Monsivais.

Mexico's music culture has also embraced a lighthearted approach to the epidemic. The band Agrupacion Carino came out with the song "Influenza Cumbia" just two days after the health alert was issued. The lyrics are not the most sophisticated, with references to Superman and Indiana Jones.

"It's better to commit suicide with tacos," the singer croons to a bouncy synthesizer. "They say it's the perfect flu. They don't know Mexico City folks live in the smog."

And like swine flu, dark humor has spread beyond Mexico's borders.

A U.S. company has rolled out T-shirts featuring a pig-shaped Mexican flag. "I went to Mexico and all I got was swine flu," it reads.

And of course the Internet is alive with dark, swine-flu fun. In a game called "SwineFighter," players blast viral-looking piggies with a hypodermic needle.

And what global catastrophe would be complete without its own Facebook page?

Actually, "Swine Flu" has several pages on the popular social networking site. The most popular — set up April 26 with a profile picture of a cute white pig — has accumulated more than 20,000 fans.

The page's creator, who identifies himself only as John, boasts on the page: "There's more people infected on Facebook than in real life."


Associated Press writers Paul Haven and David Koop contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.

May 1st, 2009, 11:43 PM

May 3rd, 2009, 02:05 AM
Oh boy, you made me laugh. That is priceless. :)

May 4th, 2009, 09:57 AM
Latest little excerp from CNN this morning had a few tidbits on there:

1. That the flu strain originated in the States (Hooray!)
2. That many of the reported cases in Mexico were not the Swine Flu, nor were the deaths.
3. The strain they have been able to isolate and examine does not have some of the RNA sequences found in the more virulent strains of the flu.

Now she wasn't saying that we should all go out and kiss a pig (as the picture shows), but that sometimes a "pandemic" just means it spread over a wide area, not that it is truly threatening a "Night of the Dead" type Zombie Pathogen "Will Smith where are you!!?!" disease.

June 11th, 2009, 11:44 AM
Swine flu
Declaring a pandemic
Jun 11th 2009
From Economist.com

The world is suffering from the first flu pandemic in 40 years

THE World Health Organisation is poised to raise the threat level for swine flu to pandemic status on Thursday June 11th, the highest possible. This would be the first influenza pandemic since 1968, when Hong Kong flu killed 1m people. Almost 28,000 cases of swine flu and 141 deaths have been confirmed in 74 countries since the A(H1N1) virus was first identified in Mexico in late March. In Australia alone, the number of people infected has jumped from around 500 to 1,200 in one week. However, in a new paper published in Nature on Thursday, researchers suggest that the strain had probably been in existence for months before it was isolated, highlighting the need for good surveillance.


June 11th, 2009, 01:50 PM
OK, what's with the panic mode?

141 confirmed deaths out of 27,737 cases??? One half of one percent chance of dying?

Now subtract those deaths caused by poor medical condition or care and see what we are at. (Example: US at 0.2%, Mexico at 1.85%, 9X the rate of the US).

I think it should be a concern, but showing that skeleton when there are probably more deaths from the common cold (ok, maybe not, but you know what I am saying) is getting really sensational.

June 11th, 2009, 02:06 PM
I believe normal flu does have a higher death rate.

June 12th, 2009, 11:08 AM
OK, what's with the panic mode?

I believe that the fear here is that the eeeevil spirit of Darwin will cause this to merge with the avian flu, turning it into a genocidal plague that wipes out the world, except for some survivors in Boulder and Vegas...

Seriously though, this flu could turn bad in the fall... right now this flu is pretty much the only game in town - so not a lot of chances to mix and match genes with other flu variants. Once fall comes around, and the other flu varieties start spreading, it could be a whole 'nother story - it could pick up more deadly traits from the avian flu - which is in circulation in egypt and south asia (but without an ability to jump person to person, thank God). That would be Bad, with a capitol B.

June 12th, 2009, 01:44 PM
Thing is, viruses are not swingers. They do not interbreed that easily. One, to my knowledge at least, does not pick up the characteristic of another by contact, they can only evolve their own way to "greatness".

So this is a concern, and it should be treated seriously (and seriously treated) but having visages of death on all these stories when ened his pale horse is snorting at it is just fear mongering.

If it isn't politics its religion. If it isn't them, try disease.

If it isn't THAT, then try to find something, if ingested, that will kill you (like road gravel!!!!! WATCH OUT!!!!)

June 12th, 2009, 02:54 PM
Thing is, viruses are not swingers. They do not interbreed that easily.Viruses don't breed at all. They are not considered to be life forms, sometimes described "at the edge of life."

They do frequently mutate, by two means: antigenic drift (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=26116), and the more serious antigenic shift (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=26115)

How viruses work. (http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Oct05/avianflu.thevirus.ws.html)

June 12th, 2009, 03:14 PM
Thing is, viruses are not swingers. They do not interbreed that easily. One, to my knowledge at least, does not pick up the characteristic of another by contact, they can only evolve their own way to "greatness".

Alas, this is not the case. Influenza is a well known swinger... from the always informative wikipedia:

Antigenic shift is the process by which at least two different strains of a virus (or different viruses), especially influenza, combine to form a new subtype having a mixture of the surface antigens of the two original strains.

So the bottom line is that if this fun strain infects someone (or something) with Avian flu, there is a small but lethal chance of a super fun flu*, with characteristics of both.

*fun may vary by location. Your idea of fun may not match the flu virus's.

June 15th, 2009, 09:14 AM
Viruses don't breed at all. They are not considered to be life forms, sometimes described "at the edge of life."

I know. :cool:

June 15th, 2009, 10:50 AM
They used to have their own soap opera! :D

June 15th, 2009, 10:58 AM
Yeah, but it was like a flea circus. You needed to special lens to watch the show. I think that Ronco guy used to sell them.

June 15th, 2009, 02:17 PM
Just like one.

But no jumping...

Or activity......

Or fleas......



November 5th, 2009, 12:57 AM
From The Huffington Post:
Iowa Cat Gets Swine Flu; First Reported Case In A Feline (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/04/iowa-cat-gets-swine-flu-f_n_346397.html)
MICHAEL J. CRUMB (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/04/iowa-cat-gets-swine-flu-f_n_346397.html#) | 11/ 4/09 06:02 PM | http://www.huffingtonpost.com/images/v/ap_wire.png

DES MOINES, Iowa — A 13-year-old Iowa cat has been infected with swine flu, veterinary and federal officials said Wednesday, and it is believed to be the first case of the H1N1 virus in a feline.

The domestic shorthaired cat was treated last week at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames and has recovered, officials said. The virus also has been confirmed in two ferrets – one in Oregon and the other in Nebraska – but they died.
"We've known certainly it's possible this could happen," said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Tom Skinner. "This may be the first instance where we have documentation that transmission occurred involving cats or dogs."
The veterinarian who treated the cat, Dr. Brett Sponseller, said two of the three people in the cat's Iowa home had flu-like symptoms before the cat became ill. The case was confirmed at both Iowa State and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Other influenza strains have been known to cross species, but Sponseller cautioned against drawing too many conclusions from the cat including whether other pets could also get the swine flu.
"It's well documented in influenza in general, but this is the first highly suspected case of H1N1 going from humans into a cat," he said.
The indoor cat was lethargic, had a loss of appetite and appeared to have trouble breathing after it became infected, Sponseller said. Its owners declined to comment.
Officials said pet owners should take the same precautions against spreading swine flu to pets as they would with humans.
Getting children vaccinated for swine flu can also help prevent the illness from spreading to pets. There is no swine flu vaccine for pets.
Dr. Ann Garvey, Iowa's state health veterinarian, said it is not yet known how sick cats or other pets could get from swine flu.
"Because we haven't seen that many cases, it's difficult to give a blanket assessment on how sick it can make an animal," she said.
Officials also stressed that there is no evidence that swine flu can be passed from pets to people.
"But it's so early in the game we don't know how it's going to behave. But that doesn't appear to be the concern. There's no sense of them passing it on to people," said Michael San Filippo, spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Associated Press Medical Writer Mike Stobbe in Atlanta contributed to this report.

The Benniest
November 5th, 2009, 01:40 AM
A while back I had the swine flu. It sucked.. a lot. I feel great now (thank God), but it took about a week and a half to fully get over it. I'm just feel very blessed that it didn't get any worse than it did.. :)

Ugh, and wonderful.. now the pets in my city are being infected by this crap. :(

November 5th, 2009, 08:09 AM
Exterminate all cats!


Hmmmmm. Bacon

Note the chart.


November 5th, 2009, 08:57 AM
I guess this is just a bad year. All those people saying they would only do something when pigs fly.......

November 5th, 2009, 09:53 AM
Info has recently surfaced on this one.

That the gov't has created an outrage with the country because it is now allowing big corporations such as banks and financial institutions to obtain H1N1 vaccine shots for their top-brass administration employees instead of allowing hish-risk people like infants, small and older children and the elderly to be given the vaccine.

Earlier last month, it was the prisoners in Boston's county jails who were being allowed to obtain the shots. Now these big corporations are getting first dibs because the blatenttly backwards-ass gov't is playing games with the ones who seriously need this vaccine?!

I don't get it. Since when do innocent and dying children and elderly people have to take a back seat to the gov't, who, for decades, has solidly stood behind them when it came to their health & well being?

Now, just as what has happened with the stimulus funds, these big co's who can very much afford to pay for their own medicine, have once again stepped over their boundry line and are in bed with the gov't to get stuff that should first be given to those who need it most! :mad:

November 6th, 2009, 07:44 AM
Now Wall Street wants in on the act, sparking even MORE outrage among communities and states.

This is now being called Flu Shots For Fat Cats!

Washington, DC is now beginning to put its foot down, saying that all remaing flu shot supplies are being sent to hospitals & clinics across the country, so that ailing infants, small & older children and the elderly can be administered their fair share of the shots. It's about damn time! :mad: