September 11, 2009
Good news for everybody who doesn’t have A/H1N1 swine flu yet -recent studies suggest that just one low dose of the vaccine could stop you from contracting the highly contagious but so far mostly mild strain of flu. Isn’t that awesome? Now instead of dying in your sickbed, you can live to see the total collapse of society brought about by legions of sniffling rioters who didn’t get vaccines.
Sure, it’s a mixed blessing, but look on the bright side – at least you won’t fall victim to some filthy animal disease.
July 15, 2009
Authorities in the United kingdom are clamoring for better tracking of the spread of H1N1 swine flu so they can better understand what they’re dealing with. Better mapping of outbreaks and tracking of fatalities could be be the best bet for helping to understand and hope to control the spread of the virus. That said, it’s beginning to look more and more like this is simply going to get as bad as it’s going to get – no matter what we do, a worldwide pandemic may just be something we’ll have to batten down the hatches for.
Especially considering that vaccine deliveries may be delayed by a month or two in the UK, and with sources predicting up to 100,000 cases a day, humanity doesn’t really have a month head start to give. On the flip side, Brits should be happy they’re getting anything at all. Getting supplies of a vaccine against a world wide virus when there’s not going to be nearly enough around is just one of the many fringe benefits of being a wealthy nation.
More bad news about H1N1 tomorrow morning when the really bad stuff hits the fan.
July 7, 2009
Turns out that you cannot stop swine flu, you can only hope to… uh, never mind.
World Health Organization director Margaret Chan opened a conference on the disease last week calling the novel flu virus “unstoppable.” And there’s no more official rendering of that verdict than today’s announcement that the H1N1 swine flu variant has become a pandemic, according to WHO guidelines.
The announcement made health officials in the United Kingdom seem particularly prescient when they announced just one day before that an ounce of prevention may not be worth a pound of cure in this case. On Thursday, recently appointed Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham announced that public health officials had given up on trying to contain the spread of the disease, which is spreading rapidly in Britain. With diagnosed cases doubling every day in the United Kingdom and the possibility of the nation seeing 100,000 new cases every day as soon as August, doctors are switching tack from preventing the disease to managing it’s effects and helping patients to cope.
The task of coping with the disease could prove relatively easy – while it spreads like wildfire, the strain remains a relatively mild one. With more than 90,000 cases diagnosed, only 429 deaths have been reported, with mortality occurring mostly in patients with existing health problems other than the flu. But combating the new strain will be expensive – the British government has ordered almost eight million doses of vaccine for swine flu, which should be available in just a few months, at a cost of 88 million euros. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon estimated the UN will need $1 billion to help poorer nations combat the virus worldwide.
But even in the midst of a global recession, the fact remains that money spent on health care is generally money well spent. After all, if even Europe’s finest sorcery students are susceptible to the H1N1 swine flu, what hope do us mere mortals have of avoiding the coming pig plague?