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Yes, pandemics are serious business.
Yes, we need to prepare for a pandemic.  One occurs every thirty years on the average.
We must prepare on a personal, a community, a national, and a planetary level.
The current situation, epicentered in Mexico City, must be monitored closely.

But people, some of the comments I see here are nothing more than ignorant scaremongering.
And I say that advisedly.
Because I try to be polite and thoughtful here in my comments.  I give out donuts very infrequently, and I don't think a comment of mine has ever been TR'ed, and certainly not hidden, to the best of my knowledge.

But regarding this H1N1 situation that is developing, I am GETTING SICK OF seeing comments from people who not only don't know what they are talking about, but are making it harder and harder to have a relatively rational and scientific diary discussion online.

I've finally begun to give donuts to those whom I consider to be the most egregious scaremongers.    Is this TR abuse?  If using a sexist or racist epithet, or promoting a conspiracy theory is...then I think I'm justified.
But I'd love to hear from other, and perhaps wiser, heads...  Examples and resources below the fold.

For example, I've seen a number of references to the BBC article
http://news.bbc.co.uk/...
which has at least one really bogus quote (bolding mine) which many people seem to reference:

"I work as a resident doctor in one of the biggest hospitals in Mexico City and sadly, the situation is far from "under control". As a doctor, I realise that the media does not report the truth. Authorities distributed vaccines among all the medical personnel with no results, because two of my partners who worked in this hospital (interns) were killed by this new virus in less than six days even though they were vaccinated as all of us were. The official number of deaths is 20, nevertheless, the true number of victims are more than 200. I understand that we must avoid to panic, but telling the truth it might be better now to prevent and avoid more deaths.
Yeny Gregorio Dávila, Mexico City

As I said to a commenter:

And sorry, but if any of you commenters don't know enough about viruses to read that above (bolded) sentence and know it is bogus, you should not be commenting here until you spend an hour or so at fluwiki.

I said the above because:

  1. There is no vaccination for this new H1N1 flu, and any doctor should know this.
  1.  Vaccinations even for the right virus take time to work.

Another Example:
We DO NOT KNOW the CFR (ratio of number of fatalities to number of patients) in Mexico.  This information has not and probably will never be confirmed, since we do not know how many people had a mild form of this illness, never went to a hospital, and were never counted as patients, just recovered on their own.  We cannot compare Mexican flu death numbers to Mexican flu patient numbers.  We just don't have the info.

So people who say things such as:

This flu has a lethality rate of 25-100 times that of typical influenza which is 0.1%, and it is highly virulent, hence the rapid spreading.

JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.
It is idle gossip -- but it scares people.  It is counter-productive.
Considering ONLY US cases (and we probably have a pretty good count of the number of deaths so far -- ZERO -- due to the high awareness of this disease among medical professionals -- the mortality rate in the US so far is ZERO (since the poor little baby that died in Texas was actually from Mexico, where he contracted the disease)...

WHAT TO DO

If you -- like any sensible person -- are concerned about the possibility of a pandemic, you should (if you have not already) visit fluwiki,
http://www.fluwikie.com/...
and take sensible precautions.  
http://www.fluwikie.com/...
Stockpile enough provisions to take care of yourself, your loved ones and pets for as long as you can manage -- even if there is not a pandemic within your lifetime (which there may well be) you will be prepared for hurricane, earthquake, breakdown of social order, alien invasion, etc.

Learn the simple hygiene things (again from fluwiki) that you can do to avoid illness.

If you want to be even more up to date and informed, check the CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy page daily, or hourly)
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/...
and the Effect Measure page
http://scienceblogs.com/...
for epidemiological advice and info.
Follow the links at these pages if you want to know more.

But PLEASE don't post comments based on ignorance that can only scare people, and make them feel hopeless or agitated.  THIS HELPS NO ONE.

I'm sorry if you don't like this diary.  I try to be a positive rather than negative influence here.  And I think this is important.

UPDATE
I have updated the one person I TRed since it turned out that s/he was not a doctor (just looked like one, to me and at least one other commenter.  

However, when I have a minute and peek at GrannyDoc's diary, I am still shocked at the number of REALLY DUMB comments I see, the same thing over and over, from people who have not taken the time or energy to educate themselves even marginally and are just...scaremongering, whether they believe that it is helpful, or whether they just want everyone else to be as frightened as themselves.
So I repeat:  Don't Spread Fear.  Prepare, and spread Information.

Originally posted to lurkersince03 on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 10:57 AM PDT.

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