Flu turns dangerous

Flu turns dangerous

Summary: Now is the time to prepare for what is to come with this flu. Your ability to prepare for any eventuality could well be the difference between life and death.

TOPICS: Health, Security

It is becoming possible that the main difference between the A1Ni flu and the 1918 Pandemic flu is knowledge of how it spreads and how to fight it.

(The picture comes from CBS, our corporate parent. But ironically it is of my own personal pharmacist, Ira Katz of Little Five Points Pharmacy in Atlanta.)

This strain is not dying back with the summer. When school starts it will be a real danger. The headlines at Flu.Gov are scary. Social disruption may be widespread. Work may be difficult or impossible. Schools may be closed. Transportation may be disrupted.

Pandemic Home Care is offering advice on setting up a sick room, infection control guidelines, and the stockpiling of food and medicine.

Not only won't a stockpile of vaccine be available this fall, but this flu strain is shown to be hardest on children and young adults, the same populations hit by the 1918 pandemic.

So quality home care, aimed not just at caring for the sick but limiting transmission to others, is going to be key.

In Friday's conference call on the flu Argentina was a major topic, because it's winter there and those conditions will be here soon. The news there is not good. So the warnings were stark:

The speed of the pandemic, of course today is very different from 1918 or even 1968. We have seen this virus reach nearly every country in a matters of weeks and months rather than years. So I think the issue of how quickly it?s spreading is a relative term, we also know that we have a lot more tools at our disposable today than they had in 1918.

Now is the time to prepare for what is to come with this flu. Your ability to prepare for any eventuality could well be the difference between life and death.

Topics: Health, Security

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  • Effect Measure

    Preparation for this has been a topic of expert discussion over at http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure for several years.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • That's good

      What is important now is to disseminate this stuff
      to everyone and get action from everyone.

      If this bug is as bad as the one in 1918, that
      preparedness will make all the difference.
      • The only way it could get worse

        Than the now-mild variety, is to change to a virus that is much more contagious [b]and[/b] more virulent as well, before it has become a part of most people's immunities. This would be difficult if the current strain spreads as easily as it seems to.

        I don't see any point to try forcing this mild virus to develop new tricks by heroic quarantine measures until ideal conditions for flu in the winter months make the efforts useless.
        Fuzzy Bunnyhop
        • Ah, but the main reason that this thing WON'T turn more virulent

          Is simple facts:

          1. Any disease that kills it's victims QUICKLY
          will die itself from lack of people to transmit
          said disease.
          2. It's been out for nearly 10 YEARS now,
          according to new reports.... that more than
          enough time for it to 'go deadly' if it was
          really going to.

          This is all a big 'shell game' by the
          politicians, WHO, and others in the
          pharmaceutical industry to fear us into looking
          at this flu to the detriment of looking at
          other, more important things..... like why with
          an AIDS virus that has less than 10 strains at
          last count (straight off Wikipedia), we don't
          have a vaccine for AIDS yet.
          • AIDS vaccine

            An AIDS vaccine would greatly reduce the current profits that the drug
            companies enjoy chronically treating AIDS. I would not expect to see an
            AIDS vaccine.
          • I don't believe in conspiracy theories

            Your conspiracy is too large to be true.

            The AIDS virus is very large. Much larger than the flu virus. This makes creating a vaccine for it much, much more difficult.

            Oh, and by now you need 10 vaccines, according to Wikipedia.

            Flus are very simple viruses. This makes it possible to create simple vaccines that hit specific flu strains. We are getting better at this, and the A1N5 strains (seasonal flu) may, if you read this blog regularly, have a total vaccine coming.

            I can't speak to what it will take to create an AIDS vaccine, but I am certain there are many people working on the problem, and their work is not being hushed-up.
          • Wrong on first count

            Your first point is only true if there are too few people for an infectious person to contact before they seccumb. During the 1918 pandemic people were being infected and dying in as little as 6-12 hours due to the highly pathogenic and infectious nature of the virus. This virus is just as infectious but seems to be no where near as pathogenic and in Australia seems to be most obvious in younger people (as was the Spanish flu of 1918) but only causing death of those with preexisting medical conditions. In southern Australia we are now in the middle of winter and swine flu seems almost to have disappeared off the radar.
        • Try the links

          This flu is already worse than seasonal flu. It is hitting young people hard. It's killing kids. And it's spreading through the summer months.
  • This flu is NOT turning dangeorus

    We still have only had a HANDFUL of people die from this
    virus or get seriously sick. Stop with the 'doom and
    gloom' fear postings, PLEASE.... you are embarrassing
    yourself by comparing this in any fashion to the 1918 flu
    • The 1918 flu

      If you look at the book I linked to via Amazon, the Gina Kolkata book (which I read a few years ago and heartily recommend) most people who died in the 1918 outbreak died of bacterial infections that came in after the flu hit.

      These were infections no one had any treatments for at the time. We have treatments today.

      So it is possible that this flu could be like the one of 1918. It's just that we are better at treating infections.

      Although given MRSA and drug-resistant antibiotics, I could be wrong there, too.

      Thanks for writing.
  • Not turning dangerous.

    Okay, let's see what we've got:

    -A "swine flu" that turns out to be no more worse than any other sort of flu, other than the fact that Mexico gave us the wrong numbers and had a poor health system.

    -A "bird flu" that is supposed to be more dangerous, but has to mutate the "right way" to infect humans. What hat right way is exactly is anybody's guess. We're supposed to believe scientists because they say so, not because any research proves that it can mutate in that way.

    I think I'll pass on the scare tactics.
  • RE: Flu turns dangerous

    Yes indeed ignorance goes a long way
    to make people fear...This flu has a
    much lower death toll than any
    seasonal flu. There is a vaccine on the
    way for us up here and I presume in
    the south also. Anti viral drugs work
    on it. It is easier to spread but hand
    washing is the key. So? It is not the
    1918 pandemic so hold onto your
    socks and stop spreading undue
    anxiety, sir.
    Neil Fiertel, Alberta, Canada.
  • Over Hyping is also dangerous

    When this flu was first reported, a few months agao, it seemed like it had a high lethality to it. As someone else pointed out, more people died from the current flu this year than died from the new swine flu.

    I think the hype over the new variety gets people scared and more likely to go overboard to protect themselves. It is still a serious disease but it does not seem to rise to the level of the 1918 flu.

    Infectious diseases are able to spread quickly because people travel far and frequently compared to people in 1918.
    • Monday Morning Quaterbacks

      I'm one of those people responsible for the "over-hype". When this virus showed up, we knew nothing about it. Nothing. It's all new. It's not the '76 virus, or the '18-'19 virus. It's all new. Sure, it has bits an pieces of other virus, but they're arranged in such a way that most of us are not immune. So please forgive me for pulling the trigger on our pandemic plans. I'd rather have people on the outside saying that I overreacted than my colleagues saying I did not. I'd rather say "I told you so" than "sorry I didn't tell you". And I will gladly do it over and over and over again.
      • Wolf!

        It sounds like a justification for not really getting the facts before scaring people. A case in point is the outbreak of Legionare's disease in the 70's. That was so over hyped that when passengers on an airplane found out one of the passengers was present at that legionaires conference they all moved to the opposite side and nearly crashed the plane by unbalancing it so quickly.

        This is not Monday morning quarterbacking, this is an observation of facts. Sure the flu looked to have a high lethality; but the lethality is not as high as reported by the MEDIA.

        The problem with over hyping and over reacting is that if too many warnings are given then people will tend to ignore more warnings. So, feel free to warn us but have enough information on hand to back up the warning. In this case, prompt medical attention seems to keep the virus from being lethal.
  • From Chile.... with the flu

    The dead rate in my country, because of the flu, is 0.2% of the contagious. That's pretty low. More people die in my country because of the car accidents.

    The control of the pandemic flu in Argentina has been awful, as many things they do in that country (just to give you an idea... 10% of the contagious from Argentina are WORKERS IN THE HEALTH SYSTEM! that's stupid).

    So, it's a mistake to take their experience as reference... unless you have stupid people in the government, like the Argentina.

    This flu is NOT WORSE than the flu you can get every year. I had it, four of my nieces and nephew had it and one of my cousins had it too.... the point is that 3 or 4 days later, they were all playing in the street or working (and remember, here is winter too).

    Most people doesn't have severe conditions with this flu. If you have fever higher than 38.3C (100.9F) they will give you the antiviral medicine (Tamiflu). If your temperature is lower, your immune system will deal with the virus by itself.

    Another mistakes from Argentina, was the psychosis created by the media... the kind of article you just read. In my country, the media and the government tried to INFORM AND EDUCATE the people about the flu. Presenting it as something you can deal with.

    What you have to do to avoid the infection?

    Wash your hands as frequently as you can. Don't touch your eyes, mouth or nose without washing your hands first. Try you wash you hands with soap for 20 seconds each time and ask people to cover their mouth when they are sneezing. That's all... which BTW are things you should always do.

    If somebody gets the flu, it doesn't mean that all people around is at risk. Even if the contagious is a kid, other kids in the same house not necessarily will get the flu, too.

    True, it is a highly contagious virus, but is not the Black Plague.... don't let the media scare you about it. They sell advertisement, so, is a good business for them to make you scare and look for more information and news.

    Don't forget that.
  • Hummm...now let's not be to hasty now...

    A good rock'em sock'em plague might be what we need to fix some of the other problems we have.

    Air pollution
    Water pollution
    Dwindling resources
    Clean air
    Not enough energy
    Petroleum to name a few
    Environmental degradation
    Cleaner oceans
    Less erosion
    Extinction of species
    Over farming that hurts the land

    Let's face it, less people, less problems fewer resources needed.

    Unlike war that breaks things, and famine that is excruciatingly painful, a swift plague seems like a softer gentler solution.

    Since people can't seem to keep their pants up or their dresses down and they hated the Chinese government for it's one child per family policy maybe a good plague is the egalitarian solution?
    • Hummm...now let's not be to hasty now

      Unless, of course, death comes knocking at YOUR door...right? It's ok
      if it happens to other people and not you? Or, are you ready to be the
      first "sacrifice yourself" for the common good?

      Let's face it: dwindling population, equals less people in the
      workforce to replace the aging/dying population, equals heavy
      economic burden on following generations, equals world economic
      collapse for generations after that. I believe some European countries
      are already seeing the results of lower birth rates in the last couple of
      decades and foresee the economic disaster on the horizon.

      Sad that you hate your fellow humans so much and think that killing
      us all is the solution to the world's problems.

      But, I digress....
  • Flu is always dangerous

    Thousands die every year from flu - of the millions who get it. A new strain, which people have no immunity to, means more cases, and therefore more deaths.

    Fortunately, this particular strain doesn't seem to be particularly severe, so it probably won't be a huge number of deaths. So just calm down - and remember to wash your hands.