Is the swine flu a threat?

  1. I live in Arizona, and I've been hearing all the news about the new swine flu outbreaks in Mexico and in California/Texas. If the worst case scenario with this virus were to occur, how many people would approximately die from this? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Hundreds of Millions? Billions perhaps? What is the kill rate of this virus? Could it threaten the safety of the entire human species? Will I be safe if I stay in my house and stockpile extremely large quantities of food and water?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    The CDC doesn't seem to indicate taking extreme measures.
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/24/swine.flu/

    The new strain of swine flu has resisted some antiviral drugs.
    Health Library

    * MayoClinic.com: Influenza (flu)

    The CDC is working with health officials in California and Texas and expects to find more cases, Schuchat said.

    A pandemic is defined as: a new virus to which everybody is susceptible; the ability to readily spread from person to person; and the capability of causing significant disease in humans, said Dr. Jay Steinberg, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta. The new strain of swine flu meets only one of the criteria: novelty.

    History indicates that flu pandemics tend to occur once every 20 years or so, so we're due for one, Steinberg said.
     
  4. Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    Approximately how many people die from these flu pandemics? Is this swine flu actually more dangerous/deadly than the Avian flu? Are the two somehow related?
     
  5. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
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    Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    Nothing I'm reading so far indicates that this will be any worse than other "severe" strains of flu. Likely the same general concepts apply, that the most vulnerable will be the elderly, the very young (infants and toddlers) and the immuno-compromised. It says everyone is susceptible, but doesn't mean everyone will be exposed, catch it, or be worse off than if they managed to catch any other strain of flu that would just leave them feeling really horrible for a few days.

    The only particularly notable thing about this strain, and what it sounds like caught the CDC's attention, is that it's spreading outside the usual flu season. The flu season is usually over by now, but it seems this strain is still spreading.

    Edit: Strike that...it seems it is affecting otherwise healthy adults
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/world/americas/26mexico.html?ref=world

    Still, it seems to remain only a small number of cases and a small number of deaths, so it may be like all the panic about SARS, which was quickly contained and controlled and didn't turn into the huge pandemic everyone feared. Modern knowledge about disease transmission may help prevent such large scale pandemics when a new virus strain is detected sufficiently early to focus on prevention rather than treatment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  6. Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    We got word here around April 5, from Canada, the blood samples sent there tested positive for Swine Influenza A/H1N1. The finding of elements, three animal strains and one human strain suggests that it developed by genetic re-assortment rather than a direct mutation.
    Its migrant worker season, I would advise us all to maintain the same standards{wash hands often, ect.} as we do during the hight of flu season. I'm not sure its in the news yet, but cases have now seen in New York, Kansas, and Missouri. So far all USA cases have been mild, and are responding well to normal flu medications.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  7. Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    How is this new virus transmitted?
     
  8. Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    From respiratory droplets, which are expelled from the respiratory tract during coughing or sneezing. So standing with in 2 feet of a person with the virus, who is coughing/sneezing with out covering the mouth/nose, is a good way to get it.They{the droplets} don't remain suspended in the air, so most people contact them from a surface with their hands, followed by touching the nose or mouth.
     
  9. Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    Many posts by public health experts at Effect Measure (part of the Scienceblogs network organized by Seed magazine):

    http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/swine_flu/

    Dedicated CDC page:

    http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

    Recent news:

    Mexico Takes Powers to Isolate Cases of Swine Flu
    Students Fall Ill in New York, and Swine Flu Is Likely Cause

    I invite the moderators to edit this post at will, to put anything they see as relevant here in this first post of the thread.
     
  10. Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    You know, someone once told me that the developed world will never have a pandemic, not until pigs will fly. Well, swine flu.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  11. Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aEsNownABJ6Q&refer=home

    :eek:
     
  12. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,537
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    Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    Who remembers the 1975 outbreak? Back when that hit and everyone was talking about a possible pandemic, I read about the 1918 outbreak.

    Just a bit of perspective.
     
  13. Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    Are you an infant, over the age or 65? Do you have chronic pulmonary disorder?

    Didn't think so.
     
  14. Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    Does mexico have universal flu vaccine? Does it help with this strain?
     
  15. Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    Its apparently gotten here to California. Last I heard doctors weren't too terribly worried buy advised caution and a visit to the doctor if you have flu symptoms.
     
  16. Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    I hope this doesn't turn out to be THE bug we've all been told is due to hit the human race.
     
  17. Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    NZ Quarantines 25 People Amid Swine Flu Alert
     
  18. Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    According to the CDC, there is no vaccine effective against this strain. However, antivirals may be effective:

    http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/key_facts.htm

    http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm

    Waiting for an expert to expand on this answer.
     
  19. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,537
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    Re: Novel strain of influenza causing epidemic

    I think the fact that we've already seen mild cases pretty much kills that concern.
     
  20. Re: Is the swine flu a threat to all humanity?

    In the 1918 pandemic, a lot of those who died where healthy adults, because it is thought that in previous decade or so, similar, but less severe, influenza strains provided partial protection against the 1918 pandemic.

    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/323/
    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/60816/laurie-garrett/the-next-pandemic

    Normally, of course, people with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to these kinds of influenza.

    Is influenza a potential threat to all of humanity? Of course. The estimated deathtoll from the 1918 pandemic is anywhere from 20-100 million, mostly due to the very sparse record from the Soviet Union (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2021692)

    The question is not so much whether there will be another pandemic, but when.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8153259847548931048 (educational video from Spokane Regional Health District)
     
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