Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine Flu

Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the U.S. in San Diego County and Imperial County, California as well as in San Antonio, Texas. Internationally, human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in Mexico.

U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
State# of laboratory 
confirmed cases
California6 cases
Texas2 cases
International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
Country# of laboratory 
confirmed cases
Mexico7 cases
Cases will be updated daily at 3 p.m. EST
NOTE: Only international human cases confirmed by CDC laboratories will be reported

Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected with similar swine influenza viruses.

The above information is from the CDC Website.  The swine flu outbreak is the latest example of focusing on one threat (avian flu or H5N1) to exclusion of others.  H5N1 was thought to be the next most likely to mutate into a variant that was sustainable through human to human contact creating a pandemic.  The swine flu seems to have beaten H5N1 to the punch and has combined elements of swine, avian, and human flu variants.  In short, the current flu outbreak is showing some very unusual patterns.  First, the flu is breaking out in April which is normally the end of flu season.  The flu is seems to have a proclivity to attack 25-45 year olds.  This may have to do with this age demographic being out and mingling more than other age groups.

The Obama Administration has had several setbacks this week keeping this issue from coming to the forefront.  Chrysler may file for Chapter 11, GM appears ready to end the Pontiac brand (something that had not been proposed previously), the nomination of Health and Human Services secretary is stalling, and DHS Secretary Napolitano continues to be criticized for a report linking disgruntled vets to right wing militia groups.  All of this has kept the President from coming with statement on swine flu.

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, however, human infections with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses has been documented.  From December 2005 through February 2009, a total of 12 human infections with swine influenza were reported from 10 states in the United States. Since March 2009, a number of confirmed human cases of a new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in California, Texas, and Mexico have been identified. An investigation into these cases is ongoing.  (Source, Centers for Disease Control)

An article about swine flu in the paper had an interesting recommendation, if you are sick stay away from hospitals.  Hospital patients have open wounds and weakened immune systems, showing up the swine flu will only lead to spreading the spreading the disease.  I don't know how practical such a recommendation is as it assumes you know what illness you have.  Flu symptoms can be mimicked by other diseases and as such for young or elderly people they should still seek out medical attention.


Anonymous said...

I have created a simple website which has more information about Swine Flu. I thought it might be of interest to you:


Nomad said...

I've heard from a few different sources that there would be no vaccination for such a rare virus as the Swine Flu, I hope this isn't the case

Bob Baylor said...

John, thanks for the link!

Nomad, according the article I posted yesterday the swine flu shows some reaction to the WHO vaccine. I'm not sure how long the virus will remain susceptible as it apparently is a fast mutating variant.