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April 26, 2009

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Thanks for posting this. It might be the start of a pandemic, but it is more likely just a bit of a preview for the inevitable flu pandemic that lies in our future. In the latter case, the good that comes from it (not to diminish at all the tragedy of those who have died from this outbreak) will be better preparation for that eventuality.

Call me a cynic but I expect this to be abused politically by the immigration hogs..eh..hawks*. We will also hear that it is G'd's punishemnt for [enter obsession of choice].

*Yesterday it was leprosy (and possibly AIDS), so don't say this is projection on my part.

I doubt many people sick with the flu are going to be walking across our border. Dying in the attempt, maybe, but it's a fairly strenuous way to enter illegally. Nor would even a reasonable legal level of traffic between the US and Mexico effectively block a flue pandemic. So it would be pretty silly to link the issue to illegal immigration.

Stock enough food and other supplies so that you don't have to go to the grocery for a month or two, and rubber gloves and face masks for when you absolutely have to go out, and you ought to be able to wait out the worst of it, if it does get bad. These are sensible precautions that are relatively cheap.

Masks only work if you wear them almost all the time. [...] Intent-to-treat analysis showed no significant difference in the relative risk of ILI in the mask use groups compared with the control group; however, Either wear it night and day, in or out of the house, more or less 100% of the time, or don't bother.

WTF?

Masks only work if you wear them almost all the time.

[...] Intent-to-treat analysis showed no significant difference in the relative risk of ILI in the mask use groups compared with the control group; however, <50% of those in the mask use groups reported wearing masks most of the time. Adherence to mask use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of ILI-associated infection. We concluded that household use of masks is associated with low adherence and is ineffective in controlling seasonal ILI. If adherence were greater, mask use might reduce transmission during a severe influenza pandemic.

[...]

We present the results of a prospective clinical trial of face mask use conducted in response to an urgent need to clarify the clinical benefit of using masks. The key findings are that <50% of participants were adherent with mask use and that the intention-to-treat analysis showed no difference between arms. Although our study suggests that community use of face masks is unlikely to be an effective control policy for seasonal respiratory diseases, adherent mask users had a significant reduction in the risk for clinical infection. Another recent study that examined the use of surgical masks and handwashing for the prevention of influenza transmission also found no significant difference between the intervention arms (12).

Our study found that only 21% of household contacts in the face mask arm reported wearing the mask often or always during the follow-up period. Adherence with treatments and preventive measures is well known to vary depending on perception of risk (27) and would be expected to increase during an influenza pandemic. During the height of the SARS epidemic of April and May 2003 in Hong Kong, adherence to infection control measures was high; 76% of the population wore a face mask, 65% washed their hands after relevant contact, and 78% covered their mouths when sneezing or coughing (28). In addition, adherence may vary depending on cultural context; Asian cultures are more accepting of mask use (29). Therefore, although we found that distributing masks during seasonal winter influenza outbreaks is an ineffective control measure characterized by low adherence, results indicate the potential efficacy of masks in contexts where a larger adherence may be expected, such as during a severe influenza pandemic or other emerging infection.

[...]

We emphasize that this level of risk reduction is dependent on the context, namely, adults in the household caring for a sick child after exposure to a single index case. We urge caution in extrapolating our results to school, workplace, or community contexts, or where multiple, repeated exposures may occur, such as in healthcare settings. The exact mechanism of potential clinical effectiveness of face mask use may be the prevention of inhalation of respiratory pathogens but may also be a reduction in hand-to-face contact.

Either wear it night and day, in or out of the house, more or less 100% of the time, or don't bother.

Cheery reminder:

The 1918 flu pandemic (commonly referred to as the Spanish flu) was an influenza pandemic that spread to nearly every part of the world. It was caused by an unusually virulent and deadly Influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1. Historical and epidemiologic data are inadequate to identify the geographic origin of the virus.[1] Most of its victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or otherwise weakened patients. The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920,[2] spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. It is estimated that anywhere from 20 to 100 million people were killed worldwide,[3] or the approximate equivalent of one third of the population of Europe,[4][5][6] more than double the number killed in World War I.[7] This extraordinary toll resulted from the extremely high illness rate of up to 50% and the extreme severity of the symptoms, suspected to be caused by cytokine storms. The pandemic is estimated to have infected up to one billion people: half the world's population at the time.[8]

[...]

The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but is estimated at 2.5 to 5% of the human population, with 20% or more of the world population suffering from the disease to some extent. Influenza may have killed as many as 25 million in its first 25 weeks (in contrast, AIDS killed 25 million in its first 25 years)[citation needed]. Older estimates say it killed 40–50 million people[3] while current estimates say 50 million to 100 million people worldwide were killed.[13] This pandemic has been described as "the greatest medical holocaust in history" and may have killed more people than the Black Death.

Grist has a piece up today which suggests that the source of the infection is a Smithfield Corp. hog-raising and slaughter facility in a place called Perote, outside Mexico City.

Theirs was the first mention I'm aware of which links a specific locale to the origin of the disease, or links any corpoRat deeds to the outbreak.

"Either wear it night and day, in or out of the house, more or less 100% of the time, or don't bother."

That's not what it said. It was a study of houses with somebody already infected in them. Of course you'd have to wear one all the time in such an environment. This doesn't imply you'd have to wear one in your sleep to avoid catching the flu if you go out of the house.

Brett: I doubt many people sick with the flu are going to be walking across our border. Dying in the attempt, maybe, but it's a fairly strenuous way to enter illegally. Nor would even a reasonable legal level of traffic between the US and Mexico effectively block a flue pandemic. So it would be pretty silly to link the issue to illegal immigration.

Yes, it would be pretty silly to do that. (Nobody rides a rickety hobbyhorse into the ground till it's sawdust like Michelle Malkin does. Nobody.)

"This doesn't imply you'd have to wear one in your sleep to avoid catching the flu if you go out of the house."

You're forgetting sleepwalkers.

:-)

i see you provided a link for downloading a pdf about the flu.

i hate clicking on that sort of thing. how do it know it won't contain a virus?

@kid bitzer:

I'm no expert, but I have read that most pdf viruses take advantage of Adobe Reader's weaknesses, so changing to another software, like Foxit Reader, should be the best option.

Not seeing much evidence in these numbers that the virus is less virulent in the US. In Mexico the mortality rate is not even 1 in 15 of the reported cases while only 11 cases have so far been reported in the US. I would also think that it would be quite likely that many non-serious cases in Mexico would have gone unreported.

thanks, nemo_n

so you're figuring that because it's called 'foxit', it won't get swine flu?

i don't know--the virus has already shown it can jump species.

i just don't want to take any chances, is all.

I'm no expert, but I generally no a joke when I see it.

you're in the no as always, gary. i new you wood be.

Woody @ 9:46 a.m.:

Grist has a piece up today which suggests that the source of the infection is a Smithfield Corp. hog-raising and slaughter facility in a place called Perote, outside Mexico City.

Theirs was the first mention I'm aware of which links a specific locale to the origin of the disease, or links any corpoRat deeds to the outbreak.

Not that I am a fan of factory farming by a long shot, but if I remember my Jared Diamond correctly, humans and domesticated critters have been passing germs back and forth since the beginnings of domestication.

"I doubt many people sick with the flu are going to be walking across our border."

Plus, we don't need to worry about those who are infected but who won't get sick and could spread it to others or those who are infected and who'll get sick after they get into the U.S. No worries!

I wonder, is there any limit to the "liberal" support for illegal activity and those who profit from it? To answer my question, no.

P.S. My comments are deleted so quickly from WaMo it's hilarious. Here are some of the comments they deleted.

NMBDC: Did you just call Brett Bellmore a liberal?

For the record, I'm not in favor of swine flu.

Xenophobes!

At least so far, it appears that the known cases in the U.S. and Canada have more to do with tourism than illegal immigration. And if (still a big if) it turns out to be a deadly pandemic, the wide geographic distribution of those cases suggest the cat is already out of the bag. That's not going to stop racist paranoia, of course, which needs little if any excuses.

As a way of avoiding the cytokine storm caused by a top-notch immune system, I intend to launch a regimen of late nights and strenuous drinking. Where my health is concerned, no sacrifice is too great.

Wasn't google supposed to solve all viral pandemics?

No, that was Facebook.

Ever tried to wear a protective mask for extended periods of time? Especially in warm weather that's not my idea of fun.

Yeah, I have. When we visited the folks back in Michigan for Christmas, several people in the house came down with that winter's flu, which was really nasty. And we had our 2 month old along.

Set up an isolation ward for the little guy, used face masks and hand sanitizer religiously, and he stayed well while the flu went through the rest of us.

Hartmut, there won't be much fun in the outside anyway, and you'll stick at home as much as possible. Better to buy a few surgical masks as long as they are available. Not comfortable, of course, but you will need them when dealing in the public.

I was just saying that a necessity to wear the mask constantly will lead to most people not doing it for the inconvenience.
Btw, do they work without extra impregnation with biozides?
Btw, I guess masks are already out and hand disinfectants too (and unfortunately I do not work at the hospital anymore since my civil service ended).

More information on the possible U.S. Pandemic Phase cover-up here: http://www.outbreakalerts.com/?p=54

Yes, the nutjobs are on it: The whole swine flu scare is just a diversion to push the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius through (so say Concerned Women for America nad Glenn Beck).
Actually, I did not suspect/expect that specific rubbish (but I hear also that it is already used for immigration bashing too)

How gloriously crazy...there's certainly a conspiracy here, as we've seen this movie before! On DIM BULB: http://tinyurl.com/c6bqdn

Hartmut, there are nutjobs on all sides (though as usual the right-wing nuts seem to be in more powerful and prominent positions). I heard a radio caller (on a sane, non-Limbaughvian show) ranting about how Donald Rumsfeld owned the North American distribution rights for Tamiflu and this scare was all about profits for him and other Republicans.

If you're going to get a mask... at least get a full face mask that covers your eyes too. We got the Breath of Life Mask from Technon. Check out their website at http://www.ProactiveAndPrepared.com

Oh, I forgot that Rummy was in the Obama administration ;-)
From the left I'd expect slightly different claims (of the bioweapon research gone wrong tpye). Let's put it this way, the drug companies will of course try to make a buck on this but I doubt that they are behind the scare (and only real whackos* would believe that they spread the virus for that purpose).
Wake me when flying pigs are named as the main vector (hey, it's a hybrid of avian/porcine/human flu).
My apology, if this comes over as snarky but there are already a lot of people dead, so I have not much tolerance for conspirationists of either political persuasion. But the left ones can usually be ignored (in the US. Europe is different there)

*this type of conspiracy theory can be found on both ends of the spectrum and I'd be surprised, if noone came up with it.

While we are at absurdities: the Israeli Ministry of Health has announced that the term swine flu should not be used because pigs are unclean from the Jewish point of view. Instead it should be designated Mexican flu. The WHO concurs because the precise origin of the virus is still not fully clear.

Ok, that's just crazy: Why would you object to naming a disease after something 'unclean'? You'd think it would be a perfect fit.

If you have swine flu just say out loud
now Jesus I believe and I receive you in my
heart please heal me. Remember God
loves you for more help please go to
leroyjenkins..com

It seems that china and japan are doing more about this out break than the usa. But I think that we should all be on the safe said by washing our hands regularly.

this viral strain has been traced to an alkaida based group


Steve, how did you get this? As an employee of the centers involved you should not have this info nor should you talk about it.

Rest assured this group is localized to mexico and we are watching.

Check out this website http://www.swine-flu-tracker.com/ that tracks the spread of swine flu, it really puts things in perspective.

By the way, amazing article. Thank you.

Unbelievable how many people comment material unrelated to the core of the matter.I guess, its the way things are.However the posting is amazing and informative.I am about to travel to South America, including Mexico, around June and I am wondering how things will be,but I will travel even if Al Kaida,Rumsfeld & the his folks are behind it.Should you really look for credible info,please check the World Health Organisation.Another good source I found was from activagers.

It would appear that factory farming may be the most likely cause of the current outbreak (just as it was for the avian flu several years ago). For more see Priming the Pump of a Swine Flu Epidemic at Nature Network.

I think that this is the goverments way of taking us over totally and make a one world goverment... I dont know about you all but I dont want a RFID chip in my hand. I dont want to be made to have deadly vaccines.. WAKE UP PEOPLE .. look up NEW WORLD ORDER online.. fema death camps...

This site is actually quite funny - but doesn't ANYONE find it suspicious that it is swine/swine/human/bird flu combined - and does ANYONE really know how many people in mexico have it or even have died from it? It is my experience that the mexican government is neither accurate or forthright in statistics....

Aside from the political problems with "undocumented workers" or "immigrants".....realspeak = illegals, should we really continue to allow people across the border in hoardes, even if it is to seek better treatment? The borders are flooded with people trying to escape. Do you want it in your school, grocery store, fast food joint? The schools in Texas are closing at an alarming rate!

for anyone who's interested in more info on swine flu, here's a pretty good compilation of swine flu FAQ from various sources - CDC, WHO, red cross, as well as other helpful info.

but doesn't ANYONE find it suspicious that it is swine/swine/human/bird flu combined -

No.

But I am a trained scientist.

According to Effect Measure it's not entirely clear that it is swine/bird/human combination.

And anyhow, so what?

You know it's an epedemic when Mexico starts issuing toilet paper and hand soap. Things have really gotten out of hand. Be afraid, very afraid.

"Aside from the political problems with 'undocumented workers' or 'immigrants'.....realspeak = illegals, should we really continue to allow people across the border in hoardes, even if it is to seek better treatment?"

As someone upthread noted, tourists (i.e. American citizens) -- not illegals -- is what seems to have brought the swine flu into the United States.

Does that mean we should disallow American citizens the right to foreign travel? You never know what one may pick up abroad.

Melle, for good and for ill, globalization is here to stay.

Also, the fact that this particular strain has characteristics of swine/human/bird flu combined is what has scientists particularly grappling for answers.

wow. this is the strangest thing i've ever heard of.

i was considering getting myself a mask, but how would i eat? that's my main issue; i need to eat, or i'll pass out.

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