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View Diary: H5N1: Another Country (Or Two) Heard From (64 comments)

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  •  speaking of WHO (0+ / 0-)

    Most public health specialists from around the world believe that there will be another human influenza pandemic, a pandemic caused by an avian influenza virus that can cause human illness and has mutated to a form that spreads from person to person. Such a random event has occurred three times during the past century, causing three different influenza pandemics.

    David L. Heymann, Assistant Director-General
    World Health Organization

    But i quite agree about seasonal flu being an issue.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 09:33:44 AM PST

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    •  Here's some info from CDC & 'pandemics history.. (0+ / 0-)

      I still say we'd be better off channeling our adrenalin into saving lives from an influenza that really is killing hundreds of thousands.

      From the CDC...

      "Who should get a flu shot?
      In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, the ACIP makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination."

      From wikipedia...

      "The "Spanish flu", 1918–1919. First identified early March 1918 in US troops training at Camp Funston, Kansas, by October 1918 it had spread to become a world-wide pandemic on all continents. Unusually deadly and virulent, it ended nearly as quickly as it began, vanishing completely within 18 months. In six months, 25 million were dead; some estimates put the total of those killed worldwide at over twice that number. An estimated 17 million died in India, 500,000 in the United States and 200,000 in the UK. The virus was recently reconstructed by scientists at the CDC studying remains preserved by the Alaskan permafrost. They identified it as a type of H1N1 virus[citation needed].
      The "Asian Flu", 1957–58. An H2N2 caused about 70,000 deaths in the United States. First identified in China in late February 1957, the Asian flu spread to the United States by June 1957.
      The "Hong Kong Flu", 1968–69. An H3N2 caused about 34,000 deaths in the United States. This virus was first detected in Hong Kong in early 1968 and spread to the United States later that year. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses still circulate today"

      •  I'd say you're not quite getting it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharoney, KenBee

        it's not either-or. We need to do both. The ability to handle the next pandemic in the US is extremely limited. You need to learn how to deal with illness without the benefit of hospitals, which will be overwhelmed.

        You are, in effect, arguing to not strengthen the levees before hurricane season because there are other pressing needs. Big mistake.

        In fact, check the CDC site for their pandemic flu section. Click on pandemic flu, and it will send you here:

        It is difficult to predict when the next influenza pandemic will occur or how severe it will be. Wherever and whenever a pandemic starts, everyone around the world is at risk. Countries might, through measures such as border closures and travel restrictions, delay arrival of the virus, but cannot stop it.

        Health professionals are concerned that the continued spread of a highly pathogenic avian H5N1 virus across eastern Asia and other countries represents a significant threat to human health. The H5N1 virus has raised concerns about a potential human pandemic because:

               * It is especially virulent
               * It is being spread by migratory birds
               * It can be transmitted from birds to mammals and in some limited circumstances to humans, and
               * Like other influenza viruses, it continues to evolve.

        They get it. So does WHO. Who else would you like to link to?

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 10:07:36 AM PST

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        •  I'm asking that the next time you do a bird flu.. (0+ / 0-)

          update, you include information on the threat and prevention of the human influenza that we have here and now and that kills many people unnecessarily.

          •  any other frontpagers.... (0+ / 0-)

            ...that you'd like to impose story criteria on?

          •  seasonal flu and pandemic flu (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sharoney, KenBee

            are on a spectrum. There's a legitimate concern that talking about the milder seasonal variety dilutes focus on the pandemic issue, which is, as you can see from the post here (below the fold) quantitatively different. Preparing for seasonal flu does not prepare for pandemic. Preparing for pandemic does prepare us for seasonal flu (investment in vaccine capacity, teaching home care, emphasizing personal hygiene, etc).

            So, thank you for the suggestion. A seasonal flu post would be useful and perhaps forthcoming, but is different than what I am writing about today.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 11:03:56 AM PST

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          •  The threat of H5N1 is in its potential. (0+ / 0-)

            One trouble in talking about both H5N1 and seasonal flu (what you refer to as "human flu") is illustrated by your post above.

            If everyone took a flu shot, we'd save lives. A flu shot protects you and keeps you from carrying it to others, many of whom like the elderly, newborns and those with chronic health problems like asthma and diabetes could die from it.

            In a diary on H5N1 (which is a type of flu), I will pretty much guarantee you that some readers looked at your intial paragraph and misunderstood it to say there was (or will be) a vaccine for H5N1. There is not, nor will there be one for the first 6 months of pandemic unless there is major sceintific breakthrough and related growth in manufacturing capacity.

            (All news reports that reference a vaccine for H5N1 are either bird vaccines, very limited production pre-pandemic vaccines that only protect against current (primarly bird-versions) of H5N1 or the beginning steps of brand new technology that will provide help, if at all, years from now.)

            Bird flu is mainly a problem of birds and a few humans who live/work close to them and their family members.

            Absolutely true, for the moment.  But that's like saying it is not the fall that kills you, its the sudden stop at the end.

            H5N1 is at present, primarily a bird disease that can be contracted by humans under limited circumstances.  So, at the moment, it is a problem of birds - right up to the point it mutates or combines with seasonal flu to become a disease that passes easily and effectively from human to human (like the seasonal flu.)  Then it suddenly becomes a problem for humans - a big problem for all humanity - and by then it is way too late to do much of anything to plan or prepare.  

            While it does not appear that H5N1 has made that full jump in the recent cluster of cases in Pakistan, the threat to assess for your family and community is in this question: What if it had been?

            Think of the constitution as a levy. Think of our democracy as New Orleans.

            by Into The Woods on Mon Dec 17, 2007 at 11:34:16 AM PST

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