Sunday, May 03, 2009

H1N1 : Hysteria is the real danger!!!

In 1976, fearing the spread of a new strain of flu, the US govt started to innoculate the population. The problem was the side effects of vaccine caused a higher death rate that the flu itself which was quite mild.

It appears the Mexican authorities have grossly overestimated the number of deaths due to the H1N1 virus and have cut the number of deaths from 176 to 101 [Link]. President Obama said at a press conference to mark his 100 days in office that the primary concern is that the virus is new - if it was an old virus spreading in the same manner, the extra precautions would be unnecessary. The hysteria over this flu which so far has proven quite mild has caused people to overcrowd emergency rooms all over the world causing those with genuine health emergencies to wait. The negative economic impact threatens what appear to be a weak recovery. In Egypt the plan to cull thousands of pigs[Link] have caused riots between Christian farmers and the police. The move makes no sense given the flu has not spread to Egypt and the virus is capable of human to human transmission which means killing all the pigs in Egypt will not do anything to stop the spread. The mortality rate of those infected by H1N1 appears no worse than that of the common cold. The Chinese have started retaining Mexicans and quarantining them even though they showed no symptons of the flu[Link]. It looks like the fear surrounding the H1N1 is starting to cause more harm than the virus itself.
Hysteria over swine flu is the real danger, some say
Story Highlights
Ron Paul: "There is too much hysteria ... there hasn't been that great a danger"
"I haven't seen such a panic," says Southern California medical official
Some say there are other diseases to worry about: "Malaria is killing thousands"
updated 1 hour, 17 minutes ago
By By Faith Karimi CNN

(CNN) -- As the number of swine flu cases rises around the world, so is a gradual backlash -- with some saying the threat the virus poses is overblown.

Workers in South Korea, where one case of swine flu is confirmed, disinfect a terminal Sunday at Incheon airport.

By Sunday, 787 cases of the virus, known as influenza A (H1N1), had been confirmed in 17 countries, the World Health Organization said. The number of fatalities grew to 20.
"There is too much hysteria in the country and so far, there hasn't been that great a danger," said Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas. "It's overblown, grossly so."
Paul, who was a freshman senator during a swine flu outbreak in 1976, said Congress voted to inoculate the whole country at the time.
Twenty-five people died from the inoculation while one person was killed by the flu, Paul said, adding that he voted against inoculation. Watch Ron Paul talk about 1976 swine flu »
The United States' only death this year from the virus was a 22-month-old boy in Texas who was visiting from Mexico. The other 19 cases were in Mexico.
"I wish people would back off a little bit," Paul said.

Others shared Paul's sentiment, saying the fear of the flu has gotten out of hand.
"We have people without symptoms going into the emergency rooms asking to be screened for swine flu at the expense of people with real illness," said Cathy Gichema, a nurse in Pikesville, Maryland.
"Schools are being shut for probable causes - sending these kids congregating to the malls. How is that helping," Gichema said.
Dr. Mark Bell, principal of Emergent Medical Associates, which operates 18 emergency departments in Southern California, said the level of fear is unprecedented.
"I haven't seen such a panic among communities perhaps ever," Bell said. "Right now, people think if they have a cough or a cold, they're going to die. That's a scary, frightening place to be in. I wish that this hysteria had not occurred and that we had tempered a little bit of our opinions and thoughts and fears in the media."
Governments and health officials, however, say the concern is not unfounded.
The virus -- a hybrid of swine, avian and human flu -- can jump from person to person with relative ease. And while most of the cases were reported in Mexico and the United States, it has also been confirmed in countries outside North America.
On Saturday, the virus strain was found in a herd of swine in Alberta, Canada, and the animals may have caught the flu from a farmer who recently returned from a trip to Mexico.
It could be the first identified case of pigs infected in the recent outbreak.
"We have determined that the virus H1N1, found in these pigs, is the virus which is being tracked in the human population," said Brian Evans of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
But Evans and other officials said it is not uncommon for flu viruses to jump from humans to animals, and that it does not pose a risk for consuming pork. The number of pigs infected was not disclosed.
In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Obama said the concerns over the new virus are justified because lack of immunity makes it potentially risky.
"Unlike the various strains of animal flu that was in the past, it's a flu that is spreading from human to human. This creates the potential for a pandemic which is why we are acting quickly and aggressively," Obama said.
The president, who said the virus is a "cause for concern but not alarm," added that the government has anti-viral treatment to treat the current strain of H1N1.
In addition, the WHO started distributing 2.4 million doses of a common anti-viral drug to 72 nations.
"I think the world is infinitely better prepared than it was 90 years ago," said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl, referring to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed as many as 20 million people.
In Mexico -- the epicenter of the outbreak -- masks have become a common fixture. Nearly half those cases in the country involve patients 19 and younger, the health ministry said.
"I can hold for maybe another week or two and that's it," said Guillermo Jimenez, a waiter who hasn't worked in a week since the government ordered about 35,000 public venues to shut down. "We don't have any money. We have mouths to feed. I don't know what I'm going to do now."
Still, some say the hype over H1N1 has led to undue hysteria.
"I'm sure the deaths in Mexico have something do with the infrastructure," said Anthony Markovich, a graduate student in Marina del Ray, California. "I know our health care system has its flaws, but it is more advanced."
The world should focus on diseases that have more fatalities, according to Markovich.
"This is a joke compared to other things going on," he said. "Malaria is killing thousands of people daily, the economy is not getting any better, it is time to move on."
Pakistan resident Faisal Kapadia agreed.
"When you put it in context, 700 cases in the world is nothing," said Kapadia, a commodities trader in Karachi. "I understand it is a horrible new disease and governments should find a cure for it, but the media has created too much paranoia."
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Anonymous said...


I think that swine flue is a virulant virus with very low fatility. However, even a fatility rate of 0.1% can leave millions dead (many more than sars).

Hence, I think we should take this very seriously.

Anonymous said...

poor pigs, wrongly accused of spreading virus to human. at last some people are fighting for them!

Anonymous said...

the learned CJ delivered his judgement concerning the wife-stabber case.

The wife has started a blog to point out the factual inaccuracies in the judgement. She maintains that she was not consulted on this issue by the Prosecution.

the question is how can the court deliver justice when mitigation claims are not verified with the wife? the only substantiation the wife-stabber had was his words and psychiatrists (all one sided).

Is this how the singapore criminal justice system works???

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 8:48,

I was think about it also. But let me ask you - who is Russell Tan? Why did he do this?

His wife is lucky to be alive....and Russell Tan is lucky to that his wife is alive otherwise he would have been a murderer.

It is difficult to guess what his intent was and whether he was mad or just out to kill his wife. It is always strange to me that people who love each other enough to marry each other live together can end up hating each other enough to want to kill the other person.

The presecution could have given him a pass because temporary insanity plea doesn't stand up very well in court.

The husband and wife probably have a lot of hatred for each other. "He did this .." and "she did that..."....etc there are probably no angels here. Russell is going to jail and his life is totally ruined. IMHO, it is time for both of them to move on.

yamizi said...

I agree with your title man

CHRIS HO said...

A single death is a tragedy. A hundred death is but statistics...

Sensational news... we are what we read.

Anonymous said...

So sad to read of that's lady's blog, so sad when I think of the children.

Anonymous said...

People sometimes do things inspite of themselves. They just cannot help themselves.

Much of the cause is stress that builds up unconsciously through life situations. Education teaches you to make a living but doesnt teach you how to de-stress except for some simple techniques like physical exercises, games.

Well man can de-stress if he/she just mentally practise giving out his energies in a positive manner every now and then. Don't hold too much to your energies/thoughts.

And I think Lucky has a natural or learned knack for this for how else could he continue writing this blog with all kinds of people coming in and disturb him at times?

Hey Lucky you did a smart "Tai Chi" move, haha, when with a simple press of the button you remove your 2 articles on the AWARE saga which became the playground of ISD trolls to poke dirty fun at you and discredit the blog's commentary.

Ghost said...

I don't think they should have changed the name to H1N1 virus. It's called the swine flu from the start and the name has struck. Changing it now will not help anyone

Anonymous said...

A lot of people seem unduly hysterical over H1N1 and almost all pharmacies are out of hand sanitisers. I asked a friend to get some Tamiflu from Bangkok and it seems that almost all pharmacies there have run out of stock as well.

Anonymous said...

The more you are afraid to died, the more paranoid you will be.

We are so worry about getting the swine flu but nobody care whether they will died from a heart attack, the number one "killer" in Sink.

Anonymous said...

I think this panic mongering should stop. We have thousands of equally contagious deseases that have killed much larger populations and are still extant. Caution, yes, but this is ridiculous in the extreme. Yet another example of the sensationalism sought by the media by feeding off the fear of people. All the damn thing needs is a travel advisory and not hog the front page.

DanielXX said...

poor Mexicans. I think they will be ostracised by international community for 1 year. for one, i will be scared to talk with an amigo, or even a texan since they're next door.

Anonymous said...

to Lucky

thank you for your comment. I've always enjoyed reading your blog.

who is russell tan? IMHO, he is either evil (with or without religious tone) or delusional.

the two of them had married not out of love.

i can safely say that the wife doesn't hate him. "despises" cuts closer because she sees again and again how he tries to get out of trouble with falsehoods. the ends (of selfish personal gain) justifies the means. No honour, no integrity.

she knows she has a life to live, and a purpose to live for. she and her children feel blessed to be able to live ordinarily and happily for now.

Lucky Fan said...

yr analysis is spot on.

btw, i dont need that nkf mp to scare me.

but do i have a choice. 4 decades as a singaporean. never a chance to vote.

Anonymous said...

I find this hysteria is created to benifit some major pharmaceuticals, who wants to benifit out of this new hysteria created. From my childood i have seen this coomon cold which comes every year afftects every one, specially this perticualr season is a rainy season. I have my own douts all about this H1N1. I may be wrong but these are my worry's.

/thank you/

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muebles en teruel said...

The guy is absolutely fair, and there is no suspicion.