WHO raises swine flu pandemic alert to phase 5 - page 2

Do not panic, but the WHO has just raised the Pandemic Threat Level to Phase 5. I would suggest that you do some prepping if you have not done so. Be calm, and be practical. What does your family... Read More

  1. by   RedWeasel
    I have a coworker who is going to Mexico on Thursday....I just couldn't do it. I half hope the shut the border so she can't go. I worry about her! We heard on our floor tonight that there were 3 cases in my state that hadn't had any confirmed yet and a few others near us. I feel it would be smart to make all staff wear masks all the time--to prevent getting and spreading it before symptoms appear. It just makes sense. Plus why wait till it is widespread to shut down travel to other countries and borders. Isn't the idea prevention, not playing catch up? It is weird at the CDC they break down the numbers of confirmed per state. The largest numbers are Texas, NY and CA---all 'border' states to me in relation to the USA. It is only a matter of days for those numbers to climb as the influx rises in the states towards the center of the USA (if that makes sense-its late sorry).
  2. by   libnat
    Stopping travel for something like this now is rather pointless.

    Even if it had been detected earlier you wouldn't contain it's spread forever and with an incubation period who knows who has it. Good hygiene and a vaccine seems the most sensible approach to infectious disease.
  3. by   Valerie Salva
    I give up. Who?

    :lol_hitti
  4. by   Absolutely13
    Quote from libnat
    Stopping travel for something like this now is rather pointless.

    Even if it had been detected earlier you wouldn't contain it's spread forever and with an incubation period who knows who has it. Good hygiene and a vaccine seems the most sensible approach to infectious disease.
    No vaccine has been developed yet and it appears to have spread to new locations by travel. Mutated strains are a big concern too.
  5. by   indigo girl
    Quote from silvergirl
    I have a coworker who is going to Mexico on Thursday....I just couldn't do it. I half hope the shut the border so she can't go. I worry about her! We heard on our floor tonight that there were 3 cases in my state that hadn't had any confirmed yet and a few others near us. I feel it would be smart to make all staff wear masks all the time--to prevent getting and spreading it before symptoms appear. It just makes sense. Plus why wait till it is widespread to shut down travel to other countries and borders. Isn't the idea prevention, not playing catch up? It is weird at the CDC they break down the numbers of confirmed per state. The largest numbers are Texas, NY and CA---all 'border' states to me in relation to the USA. It is only a matter of days for those numbers to climb as the influx rises in the states towards the center of the USA (if that makes sense-its late sorry).
    Here is the WHO briefing on the decision to go to Phase 5. They will never shut the borders or restrict the travel of people or goods.
    It is too late for prevention. Expect Phase 6 within 2 weeks, imo. They said we are close to it.

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/multi.../en/index.html
  6. by   libnat
    they don't have the power to shut boarders even if they wanted to. sovereign nations and all that. besides it would kill the world economy.
  7. by   Chewie_123
    http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian.../en/index.html
    Doesn't have a whole lot of info, but does go over the levels.
  8. by   indigo girl
    H1N1 Influenza 2009

    http://flutracker.rhizalabs.com/

    Quote from flutracker.rhizalabs.com

    For an interactive map, please click on the map or go to this snapshot within Rhiza Insight, where you'll be able to access the raw data and make your own version of the map. Please excuse any performance issues, because of the popularity of this topic, our servers are getting hit quite a bit.
    This map is a work in progress. I could not get it to work, but will try again later. Frankly, I do not think that they will be able to keep up with all the suspect cases, only confirmed which will be much less. Effect Measure does a better job of explaining about suspect and confirmed cases than I am able to do as they are public health officers.

    http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasur...itions_and.php
    Last edit by indigo girl on May 1, '09
  9. by   indigo girl
    Exponential Growth: Swine Flu Probe Slowed by Backlog in Mexican Sample Testing

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...uDo&refer=home

    Quote from www.bloomberg.com

    Swine flu samples caught in a laboratory backlog in Mexico are slowing the probe into the severity of the virus that’s sweeping across the world, experts including the World Health Organization’s Francesco Checchi say.

    Mexico, the first country known to be hit by the new H1N1 flu strain that has reached 11 nations, has about 35,000 samples waiting to be analyzed, said Dick Thompson, a spokesman at the World Health Organization. Those samples, which experts say hold the key to understanding the virus, are held in a guarded laboratory surrounded by walls, gates and guards, that’s less than 4 miles from downtown Mexico City.

    “While we know of a given number of confirmed swine flu deaths, we do not know by any means the actual number of swine influenza cases that have occurred in Mexico,” Checchi, a WHO epidemiologist, said in an April 28 e-mail. “It is extremely difficult to assess just how lethal the virus is in Mexico.”

    The Canadian government said April 29 that it will test 200 patient samples to help get Mexico through the logjam. Canada has also given Mexico genetic analysis equipment that can pinpoint H1N1 in patients within a matter of hours, said Miguel Angel Lezana, director of the National Center of Epidemiologic Control in Mexico City. Scientists are working night and day on the effort, he said April 28 in an interview.

    As testing ramps up, the number of people confirmed with swine flu is likely to jump into the thousands in the coming days to weeks, said Gustavo Reyes, laboratory chief at Mexico’s National Institute of Respiratory Diseases’ Center for the Investigation of Infectious Diseases in Mexico City. About 90 percent of suspected cases of swine flu, which now number about 2,500, will soon be confirmed, he said.

    “Overall we had an almost exponential growth compared with two weeks ago,” he said in an interview yesterday.

    Many cases may never be diagnosed, Reyes said. The new virus has a tendency to disappear from sputum five to seven days after infection, and people who arrive at the hospital later than that often can’t be sampled, he said.

    General hospitals that treat Mexico’s poor routinely give antivirals to those with influenza symptoms and send them on their way without taking samples, Reyes said.

    “It’s probable that we’ve been missing some cases,” he said. “The mild cases surely have been confused with a minor respiratory deficiency caused by other viruses.”

    Mexico has just three laboratories with the level 3 biosafety rating required to do the precise testing to confirm swine flu, said Reyes, whose lab is one of them. Becton Dickinson and Co., the Franklin Lakes, New Jersey-based maker of medical devices, will donate equipment worth about $500,000 that will enable him to diagnose cases in hours, rather than the five or six days it took to send samples to the CDC for confirmation.

    The Pan American Health Organization, a Washington-based division of the WHO, has an office of about 30 people in Mexico City and has sent at least 12 more scientists to Mexico to help trace and understand the virus, said Daniel Epstein, a spokesman.

    CDC has lent five scientists to PAHO for the effort, said David Daigle, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based CDC.

    Careful studies are needed to confirm which cases are caused by the H1N1 A strain, commonly known as swine flu, and which are linked to other viruses. Most of Mexico’s patients have been diagnosed only with rapid tests that can determine whether a patient has some form of flu, Lezana said.

    On April 28, about 60 ambulances began fanning out in search of swine-flu infected people. Doctors and emergency medical technicians are giving antiviral medications, Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Relenza, to those who appear sick, and sending the worried well on their way.
  10. by   indigo girl
    CDC Guidelines on Pregnancy and Pandemic Flu

    http://afludiary.blogspot.com/2009/0...nancy-and.html

    The CDC has spoken, and this is what they have to say about pregnant HCW. Healthcare facilites should take notice, and I am wondering if they will just say that PPE is adequate protection for everyone. If the CDC has written this guidance, they must not be certain that it is enough. I find these guidelines to be serious cause for concern.

    http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/...-educators.htm

    Quote from www.cdc.gov

    Health care workers treating patients with suspected or known illness easily transmitted by contact, droplet, or airborne transmission (e.g. influenza viruses) should do a risk assessment to determine the type of transmission-based precautions needed. Contact, droplet, or airborne precautions may be indicated (OSHA_pandemic_health.pdf, pages 16-17).

    Pregnant women who will likely be in direct contact with patients with confirmed, probable, or suspected influenza A (H1N1) (e.g., a nurse, physician, or respiratory therapist caring for hospitalized patients), should consider reassignment to lower-risk activities, such as telephone triage.

    If reassignment is not possible, pregnant women should avoid participating in procedures that may generate increased small-particle aerosols of respiratory secretions in patients with known or suspected influenza, including the following procedures:

    * Endotracheal intubation
    * Aerosolized or nebulized medication administration
    * Diagnostic sputum induction
    * Bronchoscopy
    * Airway suctioning
    * Positive pressure ventilation via face mask (e.g., BiPAP and CPAP)
    * High-frequency oscillatory ventilation
  11. by   indigo girl
    Swine flu: the overreaction overreaction

    http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasur...n_ove.php#more

    Quote from scienceblogs.com

    Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations and a well-known authority on emerging infectious diseases was on PBS's Newshour last night and she made a very important but little appreciated point. Mexico has made a major national sacrifice for global public health by shutting down its country and interrupting transmission of disease. The cost to Mexico has already been enormous it will continue to pay in other ways.

    There is some evidence from 1918 that cities that acted immediately to interrupt transmission by reducing opportunities for contact ("social distancing") did better than those that didn't. We would of course expect this on common sense grounds as well. That's what Mexico has done -- and I echo Laurie Garrett's point, they have done so at great cost to everyone's benefit. That is what is behind CDC's recommendations that a school be closed as soon as a case is confirmed. There is a cost to that, too.

    The irony is that the overreaction backlash will be more severe the more successful the public health measures are. If, for example, the virus peters out this spring because transmission was interrupted long enough for environmental conditions (whatever they are) to tip the balance against viral spread, CDC and local health officials will be accused of over reacting.

    If this virus does wane with the summer months (something we expect to happen), it's current mildness and its disappearance may lead citizens and decision makers back into the kind of reckless disregard of public health facts that has produced our current weak and brittle health infrastructure. But flu season will come again next fall, and it would be no scientific surprise if this strain is part of flu's repertoire. Most of the world would still be unprotected unless we spend the interim preparing for the possibility it will reappear in a more serious clinical form (flu viruses are notorious for that kind of change). When I say prepare, I am not just talking about a vaccine, although that will be an important, but difficult< part. We will also need to invest urgently in a health care, public health and social infrastructure to absorb the consequences of potentially large scale absenteeism. We will also need to work out policies that will allow social distancing measures to work (child care, sick leave policy and other issues).
    The Editors of Effect Measure are senior public health scientists and practitioners. Paul Revere was a member of the first local Board of Health in the United States (Boston, 1799). The Editors sign their posts "Revere" to recognize the public service of a professional forerunner better known for other things.
  12. by   canoehead
    It's the FLU. It happens every year. Every year it's a different strain. We didn't predict this strain because Mother Nature got one up on us. It's not deadlier or more virulent, it's just the FLU, like always.

    So we didn't predict H1N1 coming around right now, there was a time not too long ago that we didn't have vaccines for flu at all, and mankind survived. People are stockpiling groceries and water, but the world will not shut down.

    Remember that people are making money off flu now, so it's in their best interest to scare you silly. That's all I'm saying.
  13. by   indigo girl
    Flu's True Severity Is Still Unknown

    Don't Leap to Conclusions, WHO Warns

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews

    No one can predict what will happen, even if it disappears this summer in the northern hemisphere, it may reappear in the fall or winter, virulence unknown at this time. It is too soon to call it, one way or the other.

    Quote from www.washingtonpost.com

    The pathogen that has seized the world's attention has an official name (swine-origin influenza A H1N1), an acronym (S-OIV), a nickname (swine flu) and an apparent birthplace (Mexico). But the essential nature of the pathogen, its personality, its virulence, remain matters of frenetic investigation. Like all influenza viruses, it is mutating capriciously and, thus, is not a static and predictable public health threat but an evolving one.


    Influenza is a simple virus, with just eight genes, but it makes poor copies of itself, leading to constant mutation. Most of those mutations are dead ends, but, given enough chances, the virus can become more infectious or more lethal. Although the United States is past its flu season, the Southern Hemisphere, where the virus has spread, is entering the cold months when influenza can become explosive.


    Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, said the situation is analogous to forecasting a hurricane when meteorologists know only that there is a high-low pressure gradient in the Atlantic. "Everyone in one week wants an answer as to what it will do. Anyone who gives you an answer right now, do not listen to them about anything else because you cannot trust them," Osterholm said.

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