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April 25, 2009



I posted the cite elsewhere on today's manic board but Glaxo has a treatment which is effective for this and 5 million doses of it on tap. Don't get hysterical about this ---yet.


Just what the economy needs, a plague.


Tamiflu apparently works.


How long before Napolitano closes the border with Canada?

Charlie (Colorado)

Augh. I guess I may hve to write something for PJ. It's been too long anyway.

Okay, here's the story, folks:

(1) "swine flu" is just the flu. It's "swine flu" because similar strains have been seen in swine recently, just like "bird flu" was killing mainly birds. Birds, swine and humans swap flu virus pretty promiscuously, and the virus itself is a complete tramp, swapping proteins with other variants with wild abandon.

It's an influenza A strain, and last I looked was thought to be an "H1N1" variant, which just means it has certain types of key proteins in the shell. Remember "Hong Kong flu"? It was an H1N1.

By the way, resistance does tend to match those proteins. Notice that the age range for really sick patients is 25-45. When was HK flu? 1968. Odds are good that those of us over 45 have been exposed to something similar already. (Don't know that for sure, but that's the way I'd bet.)

(2) closing the borders won't actually help (although, God knows, closing the border with Canada would help less) because people aren't the only carriers of the virus. It's perfectly happy to hitchhike with birds, and birds spread flu virus world wide. But flu tends to spread south to north, and west to east.

(3) it does look like a relatively bad flu, so its not unreasonable to be a little cautious. But people die of the flu *every* year, It's not clear what the real mortality rate is; as of yesterday, there had only been 8-10 cases north of the border and no deaths; only a few dozen deaths in Mexico.

Mexico isn't known for the wonders of its general health care system; pretty fair bet that there have been a lot of people with this flu.

(5) there are several known antivirals that work, like amantadine and Tamiflu.

Summary: it's the *flu* people. Don't panic. Wash your hands, and use hand sanitizers, and you reduce your exposure a lot. If there is a real pandemic, it turns out "flu masks" really do help. But I'd worry a lot more about driving on the highway and, hell, 15,000 people die from accidental falls every year.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

So, are you saying Charlie that those of us who had the Hong Kong flu in '68 have some immunity to the H1N1 strain now?

I was the sickest I've ever been from the HK flu in '68. For two weeks, I felt like I wasn't going to make it. Finally, I started to improve, but I was still very wobbly, when my then 3 year old woke me in the middle of the night with convulsions and a fever of 105. I rushed him to Children's Hospital, where for the next 30 hours, I stood next to a gurney and bathed his small body with icy water to try to bring the fever down. We were in a long hallway lined with gurneys and other children with other concerned parents in attendance.

The emergency room/hospital was packed with patients and we were being shuffled to any free space.

At some point during the ordeal, a doctor came and told me that it "did not look good" for my son and that even if he did survive, the prolonged high fever might cause brain damage. It was a very frightening time made even more so since I was only at about 25% recovery from my own bout.

When my son's fever finally broke we'd been there over 30 hours and when they told me they thought he was out of the woods, I collapsed in exhaustion. I remember bringing him home and my landlady, who lived in the duplex below, met me at the door and took him and then led me to her own bed and said she wasn't going to let either of us go home upstairs alone until she got us well.

My son was a little terror at 3 years old, but not for the next few days. He would sit on her lap limp and I remember her saying she had prayed that he would get up and start pulling pans out of her cupboards or do something to show that he was still the active little boy he'd been just a few days earlier. An old Italian mother who believed in feeding you well and pampering you to the point of embarrassment, but she earned a permanent star in my memory and hopefully a permanent star in the heavens for what she did for us that week.

Those in San Diego who think they've had no contact with anyone from Mexico may not realize they have. For instance, the Cleaners where my d-i-l is the manager has Mexican pressers who shop in Mexico and have family there. Customers come in who travel across the border. In an area such as this, you could come in contact with lots of people who travel across the border and never even know it. They're everywhere.

Charlie (Colorado)

So, are you saying Charlie that those of us who had the Hong Kong flu in '68 have some immunity to the H1N1 strain now?

At least some, yes.

And I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I was saying it couldn't/wouldn't be serious for some people. My Aunt Katy died of the HK flu, or rather complications of it, in '68. But every 'flu can be serious for some people, just like measles.

It's just that this isn't some peculiar mysterious "swine flu", some special thing. It's just the flu. Get the vaccine when it comes out. Wash your hands. See your doc if you get a respiratory bug with fever and especially if you feel confused or stupid-- flu, for some reason, has cognitive effects a rhinovirus doesn't.


Thank you, charlie.

After the SARS and bird flu panics, I just can't be bothered to be worried when people try to scare me about these things anymore.


Oh! I just remembered during the campaign when there was going to be a project where the gov't worked with google to figure out where the flu was.
Maybe they are testing that or something.

Something's up, because Robert Gibbs has assured the press that President Obama does not have swine flu. I repeat, President Obama does not have swine flu. So relax.


I repeat, President Obama does not have swine flu.

Are swine immune?

BTW drudge has a headline that says O was greeted in Mexico by a man now dead from swine flu.

Charlie (Colorado)

Yeah, Felipe Solis. 64-65 years old.

narciso, I dno't see anything about cause of death, but as we know my Spanish is like that of a 7 year old. You get anything?


Gateway Pundit has it up too, from Bloomberg who does not say the man had swine flu. However, I would think that one could infer that the man did not die of a heart attack or they would have said so. As far as we know, the man did not commit suicide, or get ran over by a bus, etc.

Charlie (Colorado)

Okay, found a formal story about it. paro cardiaco, heart attack.

Charlie (Colorado)

On the other hand HK flu was an H3N2, not H1N1. On the other other hand, there have been a lot of H1N1's recently.



The Flu killed 50million people in 1918. So far unconfirmed reports are saying up to 200 people have died on 1,400 cases which is a 14% fatality rate. Which means if it spreads world wide keeping the same fatality rate upto 850 Million people could die. Swine FLu is not the same as seasonal flu. Seasonal flu is a slow evoluntionary flu that changes slightly from year to year. Swine flu and bird flu are flu strains that experience rapid evolution by swapping markers from other flu strains. Which mean that humans have no immunity to it. vacines take about 3 to 4 months to mass produce.

You say closing the borders will not do "any good" That is not true. Closing borders while it will not "stop" the spread it will SLOW the spread thereby giving the powers that be to mass produce the vacine. There is a big difference in death rates depending on the rate of transmission. If everyone gets sick in the first month it will overload the hospitals, health care system. By slowing the spread by sealing the border, restricting travel etc we can place less stress on our healthcare system thereby decreasing the deathrate.

As far as the "mild" form in the USA. It is too early to tell. We have too few samples to make a guess that is is more mild than the Mexico city flu strain. At only 8 people even at a 14% fatality rate there still would not be any deaths seen. We need to wait for more cases to make a statement that the swine flu in the USA is different than the one in Mexico. IMO it will be seen to be the same in the long run.

The antivirals you speak of are not available to the mass population in the USA without a prescription. Most people will not seek a doctor out with Flu because we have been taught to "deal with it". They will only seek out medical care when the Flu becomes serious and by that time the effectiviness of the antivirals are way less then if taken at the onsit of the sickness.

So while I understand you plea to not "panic" you are doing a disservice to the population. This is something that should deeply concern the entire population. The government should seal the border as much as possible to limit the speed of the spread, antivirals should be made available to the general population and information on death rates, spread etc should be made availave to the population as it comes in. The gov should not keep information from the population for fear of a panic, they shoould not make light of it either. they should inform the population at all steps, do what is needed to protect the majority etc.


Didn't they say the same thing about AIDS wiping out half the race if we didn't pour jillions and education into it but fast??



I was stationed in England during the 1968 flu outbreak. Our neighborhood had over 50% sick. Basic services broke down. No one collected the garbage, and stores if open no longer delivered food to old and infirm customers. Buses had honor pails for customers to drop their fares.

As an Air Force medic, I took scheduled x rays, but we spent most of our days reading magazines because everyone was sick on the ward. My wife worked in the base library, and she was sicker than a dog. Her boss asked her to open the library because the entire staff was sick. She only had two customers because people were sick. The next day, she stayed home in bed.

A similar temporary break down in services could happen again if too many people get sick at once. No one panicked, and I don't remember serious deaths, but society fell apart for about two weeks, and it took people longer to regain full strength.

I think closing the borders and quaranteening is a good idea, but it is getting a little late now.

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