Monday, April 27, 2009


I certainly don't want to be a fear-monger, although some would place me in that category. The CDC has declared a national health emergency with the outbreak of swine-flu.

How does that impact us? Think of all the cases of flu, nausea, headaches, tiredness, and the like that filter through the ER. Think about the percentage of people that don't wash their hands, don't cover their mouth when they cough, and live in close quarters. Think of the high percentage of patients that have respiratory problems.

For our own little slice of heaven, the ER waiting areas, we might want to issue masks. Certainly to keep patients from contracting the flu from others, but also to keep the staff a little safer. I feel a run on barrier masks with face shields is in our future.

The one hundred-plus deaths attributed to the outbreak are mostly in poorer areas: Malnourishment, compromised immune systems, elderly, those with respiratory problems, and the very young would be thought to be susceptible. However, we are seeing a NY prep school closed, and cases in at least five states, with more to follow. The deaths in Mexico were comprised of patients that were atypically age-grouped (adolescents and adults).

During the avian flu scare not so long ago, it was anticipated that a pandemic of that nature would take less than six months to make its way through all but the most isolated regions of the world. I don't know how much was based on the vector including birds, but probably it was inconsequential. How many people end up with hystoplasmosis? (My little nagging voice is making an issue out of the report that the virus is a combination of human, avian, an pig viruses. It keeps focusing on the avian.)

It would seem that the third-world countries will be hardest hit, with African nations taking a high toll based on the HIV percentages. Likewise Thailand for the same reason. Any high-density, poor, populations. Israel has reported patients, can you imagine what this could do in Gaza?

So-o-o, handwashing, cover your mouth, and limit the handshakes, hugs, and kisses. They can wait until this is over.


fac_p said...

Looks like the "pandemic" is losing its bluster. However heard that the 1918 epidemic started in the spring as mild, but by fall had mutated enough to kill thousands in the US, millions world-wide.

Wonder if catching it now would impart any immunity to a later version?

Anonymous said...

"Wonder if catching it now would impact any immunity to a later version."

I hope so! Just getting over some form of flu. I don't know what strain it was but since I din't oink, guess it wasn't the swine flu.

It's Obama's fault!

Anonymous said...

Please remember we in the Northern Hemisphere are just coming out of our flu season, while the folks in the Southern Hemisphere are entering theirs (it's autumn down thataway). SHould be interesting to see what happens in, say, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and those countries below the equator.

Right now I'm not sure I'd call it a pandemic- pretty darn close, but not there yet. And so far, nowhere near the hype brought on by the media machine, which has been trumpeting the H1N1 A flu as one of the woes from Revelations.

I am aware of the young lady in Tedxas who died from this flu (and it is a tragedy when anyone dies of any flu strain), but so far the numbers have been very low.

Anonymous said...

Still seems like those who died in the States have a compromised system of some sort.

New York is closing schools while Texas is finishing the school year.

So, will the H1N1 make it into the mix for the winter vaccination, or will it be left out?

As someone said, it has all of the southern hemisphere's winter to cook and it might be back with a vengeance.