May 3, 2009

Eject, Porkins!

Guess which city "introduced a broad series of public health measures to contain the flu within two days of the first reported cases"? More here.

From the swine flu H1N1/2009 front, here are several links that may prove of interest. The first is Swine flu: the overreaction overreaction, from the most excellent public health blog Effect Measure. Excerpt:
The irony is that the overreaction backlash will be more severe the more successful the public health measures are. If, for example, the virus peters out this spring because transmission was interrupted long enough for environmental conditions (whatever they are) to tip the balance against viral spread, CDC and local health officials will be accused of over reacting. It's another example of the adage, "When public health works, nothing happens." On the other hand, if local officials do nothing and things get worse, they will be accused of being slow.

It's not just the current reputation of local officials that concern me, however. If this virus does wane with the summer months (something we expect to happen), it's current mildness and its disappearance may lead citizens and decision makers back into the kind of reckless disregard of public health facts that has produced our current weak and brittle health infrastructure. But flu season will come again next fall, and it would be no scientific surprise if this strain is part of flu's repertoire.
And from the Orange Satan comes H1N1: Why Do Schools Close, And When Do They Open? Money quote:
[I]mplementation likely needs to be early enough to preclude the initial steep upslope in case numbers. That's the answer to "but there's only one case! Why are we doing this?" If you wait for "the steep upslope", it's too late to matter.
Meanwhile, to the north, come reports of the first pig cases:
There is much concern that pigs infected with this H1N1 might become infected with a dangerous influenza virus from fowl, like the H5N1 that causes avian influenza, leading to a dangerous superbug. But [Christopher] Olsen [a swine influenza researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison] says this is unlikely on large hog farms. "Most modern swine production facilities are single species. The days of a small farmer having pigs and fowl and other animals all mixing together is really unusual in terms of modern commercial swine. My opinion is modern swine facilities have better biosecurity than old-time farms."
I'd add some thoughts of my own, but I've been sick all weekend and am currently coughing up a lung, so maybe tomorrow or whenever. I'm not sick enough for it to be H1N1. I'm not sick enough for it to be H1N1. I'm not sick enough...

H5N1 - News and Resources about Avian and Swine Flu [H/T: Effect Measure]
The Swine. Influenza in Mexico City [H/T: H5N1]
Intersections [Daniel Hernandez in el D.F.]
Smithfield, you’re forked now: Photos of Granjas Carroll de Mexico pork factory are sickening, even with no flu connection [The Ethicurean]


Bill Fosher said...

You're not sick enough for public health officials to test you for H1N1, but most cases in the US have been mild. If you go to your doctor (as you should) you should be given a screening test that will determine if you have influenza A, B, or not at all. If it's influenza A and you have enough symptoms or severe enough symptoms, you'll be considered a possible or probably case.

If you go to work sick (and I'm remembering that you're a school marm, if that's incorrect, I apologize) your whole school district could end up being shut down. For two weeks. Can you say "school of the Fourth of July?"

Luisa said...

Bill writes: "If you go to work sick [...] your whole school district could end up being shut down. For two weeks."

Shhh, dude...! You'll ruin everything! [Latest word: "...the requirement [to meet the required number of school days] may be waived similar to past emergency situations."]

Actually, one middle school [not mine] in our district has already been closed. My fever never got high enough to be a concern, though, and aside from cough/sore throat and totally losing my voice, there were no other yuckky symptoms. Nurse said I was better off at home than at the doc's with all those other people's germs, eeew.

So I'm taking Mon/Tues off and will head back to school on Wed or Thurs, fate and the doctors [and my voice] willing.

Luisa said...

Flupdate: "Dashing the hopes of children everywhere, federal health officials are no longer recommending that schools with confirmed cases of H1N1 be closed."

Bill Fosher said...

Feeling better?

Luisa said...

Yes, thanks. Lingering [not malingering, mind you] sore throat, but the weekend's just around the corner. Taking lots of hot tea to work.