CNN (August 5, 2009)
"More than 1,100 people worldwide have died from swine flu since it emerged in Mexico and the U.S. in April, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.
"As of July 31, the total number of victims killed by the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, stood at 1,154 -- an increase of 338 since WHO's previous update on July 27.
"The virus has spread around the world with unprecedented speed, spreading as widely in six weeks as common influenza viruses spread in the six months, according to WHO.
"WHO data showed the total number of laboratory confirmed cases at 162,380, but the number could be higher since individual cases no longer have to be tested or reported...."
So far, 168 countries and territories have reported one or more cases of the infection. That number is up, with new cases in
Swine Flu Vaccine in DevelopmentThere's a sort of good news/bad news aspect to news about a vaccine against this Swine Flu / 2009 H1N1 Flu.
Good news: There's a vaccine that's in clinical trials now.
Bad news: In America, at least, it won't be available until about October.
"... In a background briefing with reporters on Tuesday, two senior administration officials said the vaccine, which is still in clinical trials, would require two shots. The first shot would be followed by a second shot three weeks later. Immunity to the virus would finally kick in two weeks after that.
"That means someone who is vaccinated by the time the program is expected to launch in late October won't get protection until late fall...."
I'm not terribly surprised that developing a new vaccine takes that long, from getting something that works in the lab, through the process of seeing how it works in most people, to producing and distributing 96,000,000 doses. That's what a company has contracted to provide for nine governments, according to CNN.
It won't be enough. Odds are that around 160,000,000 Americans, including me, will need the vaccine.
Sounds Like Some Kinda PlotThe lack of fit between how many people could use the new vaccine, when they would need it, and how much will be available - plus its not being available right now - will probably spawn conspiracy theories. I wrote about conspiracy theories and the current pandemic earlier this year. (May 8, 2009)
It might be fun to come up with a story involving Elvis, the Montauk Monster, and space aliens with invisible flying saucers that 'reveals the real truth' about Swine Flu / 2009 H1N1 Flu. But I wouldn't believe a word of it.
I certainly don't want to add to the "gargantuan fearmongering engaged in by western governments" that one serious thinker apparently believed would be used to prepare the gullible public for martial law.
Just the same, I think it would be silly to ignore a fast-spreading and potentially lethal disease. So, from time to time as something new comes up, I'll probably write a post on this topic.
Meanwhile, there's the usual common-sense advice: wash your hands before you eat or prepare food, and all that.
List of posts relating to Swine flu 2009; and list of background resources: