Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu / H1N1 Novel Confirmed in Minnesota - Spiffy

"Cold Spring Virus Confirmed as H1N1 Flu"
FOX 9 (April 30, 2009)

"COLD SPRING, Minn. - Lab tests by the CDC have confirmed the illness of a Cold Spring, Minn. was caused by the H1N1 novel influenza virus.

"Preliminary tests by the Minnesota Department of Health revealed a “probable” H1N1 virus infection , but additional testing was needed at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The infected person has ties to Rocori Middle School in Cold Spring. The middle school and St. Boniface Elementary have been closed since the probable infection was reported by the health department Tuesday night...."

"...Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan said Wednesday the state wants to get away from the term "swine flu," saying MDH will refer to the virus as H1N1 influenza...."

That last is, I think, part of a Minnesota government tradition of being protective (over-protective, I think - but that's off-topic). Pork production is a significant part of Minnesota's economy: and sooner or later the idea's going to catch on that pork is dangerous. As far as I've read, it's still about as dangerous to handle as any other raw meat: and cooked, it's fine. But, people who are scared will feel and do odd things.
Updated/Corrected (April 30, 2009)

"WHO changes swine flu name to 'influenza A (H1N1)' " (April 30, 2009)

"GENEVA - The World Health Organization will begin referring to the swine flu virus as "influenza A (H1N1)," the United Nations health agency said on its website Thursday.

"From today, WHO will refer to the new influenza virus as influenza A (H1N1)," said the health agency.

"The WHO earlier Thursday told AFP that it was re-examining the name of the swine flu virus after complaints that the name was causing an unjustified clampdown on pork trade.

On Wednesday, officials in the United States decided to call the new A/H1N1 flu virus that emerged in Mexico '2009 H1N1 flu.'

"Pig farmers in the United States, Mexico and Canada are reeling from bans on their exports of live swine and pork meat imposed by several nations including Russia and China...."

I've written about assumptions being chancy things: and got caught making an assumption, myself. Live and (I hope) learn.

Back to the swine flu/h1n1 novel virus: The Minnesota Department of Health has a decent page about the swine flu (h1n1 novel, here in Minnesota): "H1N1 Novel Influenza." And, their home page has a toll-free hotline number (8 a.m.-8 p.m.).

I'll give them credit: they're doing a pretty good job of making information available.

The Fox 9 article said that the person in Cold Spring had ties to one of the schools that are closed - but didn't have contact with the school while he or she was most infectious.

An interesting point: the person with swine flu / h1n1 novel in Cold Spring hadn't been to Mexico, but had contact with someone who did. Which brings up a significant point: H1n1 novel is being spread from person to person. Pigs aren't involved anymore.

Which brings up something for another post.

A pretty good starting point for getting information is a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) page that's updated daily: "Swine Influenza (Flu)." Good news: it's authoritative information, without fluff. Bad news: Although it's updated, it's generally several hours out of date. Today's, date stamp April 30, 2009, 10:30 AM ET, doesn't list the confirmed case in Minnesota. Still, it's a pretty good resource.

List of posts relating to Swine flu 2009; and list of background resources:

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