15,510 Cases of Influenza A(H1N1) Infection, Including 99 Deaths World-Wide

Swine flu cases continue to rise and while many people may not see what the difference is between this and the regular flu, the LA Times points out the flu pandemics have a history of foreshocks.

Scientists think the spring swine flu epidemic may be a “herald wave” of what’s to come. In 1918, a milder wave of flu cases occurred in late winter and early spring, before the deadly pandemic surge in the fall of that year. In 1957, Asian flu was causing unremarkable illness in China, before landing on American soil for the summer outbreaks and a severe winter season.

Another common feature of past flu pandemics is the age groups of the victims. The CDC says that seasonal flu contributes to some 36,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and 90% of those are senior citizens 65 or older. History has shown flu pandemics killing higher proportions of younger adults.

In the end, only time will tell, and hopefully it will tell us soon with winter moving into the Southern part of the world.

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Look to the South

So the H1N1 virus is not a big deal anymore, right?  Not according to this article, which has some pretty scary things to say.

“The Southern Hemisphere has been mostly spared in the swine flu epidemic. That could change when winter starts in coming weeks with no vaccine in place, leaving half the planet out in the cold.

Experts fear public health systems could be overwhelmed — especially if swine flu and regular flu collide in major urban populations.

“You have this risk of an additional virus that could essentially cause two outbreaks at once,” Dr. Jon Andrus said at the Pan American Health Organization’s headquarters in Washington.

There’s also a chance that the two flus could collide and mutate into a new strain that is more contagious and dangerous.

“We have a concern there might be some sort of reassortment and that’s something we’ll be paying special attention to,” World Health Organization spokesman Dick Thompson said in Geneva.

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I Thought We Stopped Calling it the Swine Flu

Oh well.

WHO has confirmed 985 cases of the H1N1 virus worldwide.

Mexico thinks its cases of swine flu are declining and are thinking of re-opening the city earlier than planned.  Again, this is good news but “WHO chief Margaret Chan said the real test would come when the winter influenza season hit countries.”

I feel like everyone is repeating themselves.  In the meantime, take a look at this video so you can get a good visual in your head the next time you see someone sneeze without covering their mouth.

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Will it or Won’t it? Yes?? No? What?

While it’s good that the virus seems to fairly mild right now, people shouldn’t let their guard down just yet.

Swine flu infections in Mexico and the US have peaked but could return with a vengeance in the autumn, senior health officials said yesterday.

Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary of Britain, said that the virus had been contained in Britain but he expected more infections later in the year. “Our evidence from all previous pandemics is that you get two phases,” he said. “You get a first wave that is often very mild and then you get a much more serious wave that comes along in the autumn and the winter,” he told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One.

Below is a picture of several piglets dressed like baby tigers nursing from a real momma tiger, who seems to be pretty gullible.

Where are the pigs?
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“Don’t fall prey to pandemic panic”

Mark Siegel, author of “Bird Flu: What You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic” (which I’d like to read soon but I don’t know how much pandemic literature I can stomach) wrote an article that I actually find comforting.  Some things he mentions:

‘After the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency over the weekend and the World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert to level four on Monday and then to level five Wednesday…it sounded like we were gearing up for nuclear war. In reality, the term “flu pandemic” simply means a new strain is infecting and spreading among people in several areas of the world at the same time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Today, the nervous general public should be comforted by the time of the year. It’s the end of the flu season – and that goes for any type of flu. These viruses thrive in the low humidity of winter, not summer, and it is very likely that this outbreak will die out as the warmer weather comes.”

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