Sunday, August 30, 2009

Swine Flu / Influenza A(H1N1) - Epidemic in Japan, New Virulent Strain, and Two Cases Down the Street: Now it's Personal

"WHO warns of severe form of swine flu"
Reuters India (August 29, 2009)

"Doctors are reporting a severe form of swine flu that goes straight to the lungs, causing severe illness in otherwise healthy young people and requiring expensive hospital treatment, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Some countries are reporting that as many as 15 percent of patients hospitalized with the new H1N1 pandemic virus need intensive care, further straining already overburdened healthcare systems, WHO said in an update on the pandemic...

"...Earlier, WHO reported that H1N1 had reached epidemic levels in Japan, signaling an early start to what may be a long influenza season this year, and that it was also worsening in tropical regions.

" 'Perhaps most significantly, clinicians from around the world are reporting a very severe form of disease, also in young and otherwise healthy people, which is rarely seen during seasonal influenza infections,' WHO said.

" 'In these patients, the virus directly infects the lung, causing severe respiratory failure. Saving these lives depends on highly specialized and demanding care in intensive care units, usually with long and costly stays.'..."

There's quite a bit more to the Reuters article: It's not particularly hard to read, although the language gets a tad technical in spots - unavoidable in discussing a disease, its symptoms, and probable effects.

Panic in the Streets? Not Here

I suppose by Monday evening there'll be more op ed pieces about fear-mongering and public hysteria.

Of which there has been some. Last spring, hog farmers in Egypt were pretty agitated. The Egyptian government, reacting to no swine flu cases - at all - in the country, started slaughtering pigs. (April 30, 2009)

I'd say that was more government hysteria than public hysteria. Not Egypt's finest hour.

Pig farming is a big part of the local economy - and, so far, Washington hasn't freaked out and ordered them all killed. And, although I'm pretty sure that a few of the 4,000 or so people who live in town are agitated about swine flu, I've yet to see anything I'd call "hysteria."

On the other hand, several people at the school down the street got infected with H1N1 over the summer. Two have been hospitalized. The school district explained that the infected group was just that: a group. And, that reasonable precautions have been taken - so parents don't need to worry about sending their kids to school on September 8.

And, yes: school opening is going according to schedule.

From what's in the public accounts, it sounds reasonable.

Granted, our youngest child will be home schooled starting this year - but that's been on the agenda for over a year. Our oldest started home schooling - at the request of the school - in 7th grade, and it's worked so well that we've given each of the kids the option. So far it's 4/4 for home schooling.

Back to that Reuters Article

People with asthma and diabetes may be at higher risk from this mutant flu - which makes it a bit personal for me. I've got diabetes, and several members of the extended family have asthma.

Interestingly, WHO hasn't found that people with AIDS are at a higher-than-usual risk from this years swine flu / H1N1.

What's in a Name? WHO's settled on H1N1

I see that WHO is calling the pandemic 'H1N1' - which is good enough for me. Labels are handy things: more so when they're consistently used.

WHO's updating its home page for H1N1: "Pandemic (H1N1) 2009." This is one of the better online resources I've found: for relatively current, pertinent, and plausible information about the pandemic.

In Japan, make that "the epidemic." They're not having a good time there, according to Reuters.

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


Wisata Melayu said...

Good post and nice blog friend.. i can get many information on you'r blog... thank's a lot friend...

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Wisata Melayu,

Thank you, and: my pleasure.

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