Saturday, August 8, 2009

Swine Flu

The CDC has quietly changed its standards for flu testing so that only the most seriously ill patients are tested to confirm H1N1 infection. Unlike "normal" flu viruses this one continues to spread in warm weather and there continues to be deaths. Once school starts it will spread much faster, the question is will it spread through the population without mutating into something really dangerous.

There is a big push to test a vaccine developed in Australia. You should notice that one is yet to be developed here even though we had it months before they did. Years of underfunding have degraded our public health service. The good news is that we have had a few months since the adults have retaken government to equip hospitals with emergency supplies.

An actual 1918 outbreak that would kill 10-20% of the population (mostly under 40) would snowball into a disaster requiring martial law. The problem is that now that this "super bug" flu is in circulation is that no one can predict how it will mutate. We could have a series of new flu viruses that would each require a new vaccine just as we do with "conventional" flu. This assumes that a workable vaccine is possible. The outbreak at a military base during the Ford Adm resulted in the production of a vaccine that killed more people than the flu did.


Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it (and my mood might be influenced by pain from a bad back with more pain added by a recent auto accident...hit from behind three times) but I keep feeling that there isn't much effort being made to reduce the possible damage from a flu epidemic for not only the Republican idea of why waste money on myths such as epidemics and global climate change but the powers don't really care what happens to most of us.

Of course with the aging of America and the lower birth rate of whites and the already claimed need to import all sorts of workers (bringing in aircraft mechanics when you have a lot of unemployed American and legal immigrant aircraft mechanics) ...if we do lose a lot of the under 40 can think of all sorts of scenarios using these factors as justification.

Andis said...

In the past two years I have lost everything but my health and my family. I have two small ones age 2 and four.

Sometimes I feel ashamed that I cant earn more, to protect them from what appears to be an economy in permanent decline.

I'm afraid that one injury at work or illness will push us in the street. The thing that keeps me going is knowing I can go home and see their little faces. thinking about the possibility of loosing one or both to the the flu just kind of kills my last bit of optimism