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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

04 May 2009

More Commentary on the Coming Pandemic

This article made me laugh out loud:

Pig-mageddon that kills me!

Remember don't believe everything you read, do a little research first.

I heard on the radio this morning that the count of swine flu cases has risen to 1000 cases!  Imagine how many people are suffering from the common cold right now.  Or better yet the world populations was 6,706,993,152 in July 2008, that means a wopping incidence rate of 1 in 6.7 million.  For comparison you're more like to die of Alzheimer's Disease than catch the swine flu today, catch not die from.

Some more numbers, the overall rate of fatality is 2.5%, the death rate in the US 0.44%, but the poor baby that died was visiting from Mexico, one death in 226 cases.

The Swine Flu, like any flu, presents the greatest risk to  the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems.   If you're in one of those higher risk groups or have loved ones in  those groups take some precautions otherwise enjoy life and don't get to stressed about the swine flu.

Life is the only disease everyone catches, no one recovers from and is invariably fatal.  Enjoy it while you can!


  1. The problem with the statistics you quoted is that any disease statistics are always 'behind the curve' of what is actually happening. They are, in effect, reporting yesterday's news (or last week's or last month's).

    We've been fortunate that the H1NC virus is (so far) not terribly lethal. It has killed a few people with more suspected. But mortality is low unless you are in one of the vulernable groups.

    But the fact it jumped from 1000 to 3200 cases fairly quickly is a sign of its fast rate of transmissibility.

    It is a fast moving influenza. Any influenza is fairly dangerous to those in particular succeptible groups.

    I agree with you that, as a generality, we should not over-react. Nor should we become apocalyptic in our thinking. Pandemic is a descriptive term - unless the virus turns significantly more lethal to the average person, mortality will remain limited.

    I still believe aggressive reaction on behalf of world and national health organizations are acceptable.

    We do live in a far more connected world than at any time in the past - with many of the more lethal diseases or viruses that have swept through human populations, the natural barriers of distance in times past have proven useful.

    Not so much anymore - where a Canadian can bring Swine Flu to Japan from somewhere else in a matter of days. Viruses are very transmissible in the early phases and before people realize exactly how sick they may be or what they have. Containment won't work, but the effort to contain can be at least part of a larger strategy.

    As one of the 'vulnerable groups', I am concerned (somewhat) about the Swine Flu, but not greatly concerned. More to the point, other than personal sanitation and ettiquette and perhaps avoiding sick folks (good for most influenzas or other viruses), there isn't much can be done. I havne't been able to find out if I'm allergic to any of the antivirals so laying in a stock pre-emptively hasn't been feasible.

    Note: If you are to ever need one of these antivirals like Tamiflu or Relenza, you get best results taking them immediately after noticing symptoms (within 12 hours) - good luck getting them through the normal medical system in that period - a personal stock would make sense. Mind you, they probably have expiry and year to year, different viruses will respond to some or none of the four antivirals on the market, so keeping a stock might be challenging. And they can have some scary side effects (Tamiflu especially) - see the issues in Japan in teenagers...

    They've indicated one of the reasons for the spread of H1NC in Mexico despite antivirals is that the medical system isn't fast enough - the antivirals are given too late. The antivirals do not cure the virus, they impede protein reproduction. Give them early, you give the body a big head start and reduce your own virulence. Fail to do so and you become more contagious and the virus gets more of a foothold.

    In the long run, this isn't the superbug that kills us. Just an excuse to practise our preparedness for the inevitable Zombie Plague....

  2. Re Lux Mentis' Comments

    The real problem with the stats I cited is that the sample sizes are too small and too confounded to draw any conclusions from. You did note that once swine flu was in a first world nation the mortality rate drops significantly. The single death in a first world nation at the time of the post was an infant visiting the US for medical treatment. There have now been 4 deaths in the first world nations.

    Keep in mind that more people die from the flu each year in Canada than were reported infected by the swine flu at the time I wrote the blog entry. Nor has this been the first instance of swine flu.

    I would also hypothesize that the spread in Mexico is largely attributed to lack of prosperity rather than response time of the Mexican medical establishment. The mortality rate has also fallen from 2.5% to 1.2% with the majority of fatalities in Mexico.

    Here we are just over a week later and it isn't even front page news any longer. My point was that it's just another case of bleeding, leading the news.


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