Posts Tagged ‘Swine Flu’
Now that there are documented reports of healthy individuals contracting and dying from swine flu, it becomes a more serious issue. Yes, the authorities are still trying to calm people by reassuring them that most cases are mild, but it cannot eradicate the uncertainties that such a thing can strike close to home.
Every time someone coughs or sneezes, we joke about swine flu, and I hope that “normal” bystanders will recognise that we are only teasing and not think that we have swine flu and attempt to have us removed or quarantined. But, I suppose that since it is becoming more serious, the jokes should end.
The school has sent out notices to encourage us to teach the kids to follow good sanitary hygiene, whether at home, school or anywhere else. We do our best, but we cannot guarantee that the kids will follow everything we tell them. It does not help that the state of public bathrooms leaves much to be desired in terms of sanitation and hygiene. Perhaps, the councils should start by having more people inspect these public toilets more often and ensuring that there is adequate soap and water or even hand sanitizer.
Swine flu is not “uncontainable”, so everyone is at risk. But, steps need to be undertaken to prevent the spread or at least, limit it.
We have had seven deaths in the UK linked to swine flu. Though the flu has not been confirmed as the cause of death in all the new cases, it may have hastened it. The only thing reported about all seven cases is that they all suffered underlying health problems, despite the fact that they are all relatively young (under 40), except one. What these “underlying health problems” are is not revealed except in the case of the youngest – a girl of 6 with an immune disorder. The secrecy behind the health problems leaves one wondering if it is not a cover-up.
So far, most cases are mild, but the pandemic is spreading at an extremely rapid pace and it is expected to increase in the coming month, with predictions of around 100,000 new cases a day. At that rate, it would not be surprising for resistance to occur. In fact, it has already occurred outside of the UK. Given these statistics, I find it extremely shocking that there are some ill-informed people giving swine flu parties. With the holiday season coming on, the chances of catching swine flu seem almost inevitable.
Despite all the warnings about swine flu, it still has not reached pandemic level. One of the biggest concerns is that it may mutate and become more virulent. Another concern is that it may mix with the avian flu and create a maor crisis. However, a recent study suggests that the avian flu virus has not adapted to colder climates. This makes it less likely to be carried in human noses, or at least, noses of humans living in colder climes.
The reason that many other human viruses can cause infections in our colder noses is that these viruses have adapted themselves to the cold. There are still some that prefer warmer climes. That is why sometimes cold air is recommended for cold sufferers. The swine flu virus (H1N1) is able to survive in colder climates, therefore, it has been able to spread. We would have a bigger catastrophe if the avian virus mutates. Fortunately, this takes time and scientists are able to monitor any changes.
Experts still urge us not to be complacent about the swine flu, but some people are suggesting trying to get it now while it’s mild and you can develop an immunity to it. This would only be advisable if you are healthy and can quarantine yourself so as not to inadvertently infect someone who is immunocompromised in any way.
Swine flu cases continue to increase. The WHO have upgraded the pandemic level warning to 5, one step short of calling it “imminent”. In Mexico, schools and businesses have closed until at least 6 May. In the US, about 100 schools have closed due to the rise in potential swine flu. In the UK, one school has closed for a week. Businesses in Mexico have suffered due to the shut-downs and travel restrictions. This can only worsen the global recession crisis.
Though a flu pandemic is a potentially serious crisis, the world is more prepared than it has been in the past. So far, the virus appears to be responding to anti-viral therapy. Nevertheless, there is always concern that the virus may mutate, which would make it more virulent.
Are we overreacting to this new strain of the flu? Or, could it be another SARS-like epidemic? Whatever the case, vigilance is necessary, including measures to reduce the spread of the virus. We should be grateful for the fact that the illness is still treatable at this stage.
The US reported its first casualty from swine flu today. It occurred in a toddler in Texas. It has been expected that eventually there would be mortality from swine flu outside of Mexico.
Though it is not a full blown pandemic as yet, the WHO have declared that is not longer containable. Because of this, travel restrictions are of no use in controlling it. Yet, many people have changed their holiday plans and even some travel agents have cancelled trips to Mexico.
The number of confirmed cases have risen around the world, despite the fact that the actual number of confirmed cases in Mexico have declined. This is because they applied more rigorous testing to the samples. Could it be that it is not swine flu that is causing all the problems?
The swine flu has been spreading, with more deaths in Mexico and more confirmed cases in the US and Canada. There are increasingly more suspected cases reported in Mexico and this has spread to other countries as well, including Spain, Israel, New Zealand and Australia. These cases have been reported in tourists who recently visited Mexico.
The WHO have not increased their pandemic alert level, but they have issued travel advisories. Because of this, there is concern in the travel industry and shares have plummeted.
Yet, so far, there have been no deaths outside of Mexico. The international cases have been comparatively mild and all have responded to antiviral therapy. The deaths in Mexico may be attributed to the fact that it is more severe and many have been unable to receive treatment. A British woman in Mexico reported that she was very ill and could not get out of bed. However, she was unsure if she had the swine flu. Information, according to her, was rather scanty.
There is a small outbreak of swine flu in Mexico that has killed 60 people. It is being blamed for 800 more cases of illness. Seven other cases of swine flu in southern US have been reported. All those have survived. It is unclear at this time whether the cases in the US are linked to the ones in Mexico. Interestingly, the seven in the US had no contact with pigs.
Tests are still being done on the cases in Mexico to confirm that it is swine flu in all of them. A spokesman for the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reported that the virus that has been identified in the confirmed cases show a mixture of pig, bird and human viruses. This is the first time that experts have seen such a combination strain.
It is rather late in the season for influenza, but it is an unusual virus that we are dealing with. Schools have been closed and a vaccination campaign has been started. However, it is doubtful that the vaccine will have much effect since it was produced for a different strain of the flu. People are urged to take preventative measures. Experts have been nervously awaiting a major flu pandemic, so one wonders if this is the start of a major worldwide problem.
So, what can you do if this swine flu does spread? Well, it’s best to take care of your general health. That means eat right, get plenty of rest, wash hands thoroughly when required, cover up when you sneeze or cough, isolate those who are ill. Vaccination will depend on whether the correct vaccine is distributed. However, it is recommended to take the vaccine even if it is does not cover the correct strain, because it should confer some protection against fatality.