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Swine Flu


Last Edited: November 6, 2005, 9:45 am

Morning blogsters:

Having some difficulties getting the juices flowing this morning.  When I don't get up at 5 am, when I allow myself to lie there and savor how good it is inside that cacoon of blankets, screws up my entire day.

I was down in Rio Rancho at the food store the other day, saw a long line of people waiting to get flu shots.  Seems there's a new strain out there to be scared silly about gonna kill us all if we don't get shots.

Maybe.  I suppose it might happen someday, probably will. 

1918 made a big impression on the world how fast and unexpected a virus can move to bunch up the time-span of folks for folks dying all close together, instead of spreading it out and letting them die scattered across the calendar.

People remember 1918... the graveyards remind them.  That line of graves out there with so many 1918, 19, dates surrounded by other times just sort of shotgunned in.

But what people  don't remember is the Swine Flu scare of 1976. 

Good year, that one.  It was the year we all didn't die of swine flu whether we had innoculations, or didn't.  It was a year a lot like this one, but my first year in public health.  Lines a mile long for shots, no amount of money and human energy too great to expend saving us all from dying of the Y2K of the viral set.

The fact they're talking aloud of such things at the Center for Disease Control says a lot about who's left over there at CDC.  The ones who remember the black eye public health took from the Swine Flu scare would never have allowed it.  I have to conclude they've all retired and there a lot of young lions now watching for micro-organisms to be afraid of and make announcements about for possible budget increases. 

Looking for a hole in the pandemic of panic-hunger they can slip an announcement into and see it grow and blossom.

Which is fine if someone who didn't get shots dies. 

And it's Y2K, if it doesn't. 

When the real, bullgoose bug comes storming out of Africa or Asia nobody's going to listen.  But 1918, reaches out here into 2005 and testifies on oath that it can happen and probably will.

I'm guessing this ain't it.  The bug has killed maybe 60-70 people and has been around long enough already to get people scared. 

Mr. Bad News ain't gonna come down the pike thataway.  He's going to come balling down the freeway leaving a trail of hair, teeth and eyeballs behind him in his wake and nothing but clear open highway ahead, except people scurrying around ducking and dodging trying to get out of the way.

Likely he'll be transmitted airborne, long enough incubation time so's a person throws him off a long while before the victims even know they're sick.  So you get everyone infected well before the first ones begin to get the blind staggers.

Second cup of coffe here and I still don't have my mind out of the cage... still can't feel any enthusiasm for dragging up those spreadsheets and trying to figure out where those numbers came from last night, for trying to reconstruct their route and itenerary.

Ah well.




Entry #409


Comment by shalini - November 7, 2005, 1:52 am
Talking of flus jack, I belive the Bush admin is also planning to spend a ginormous amount on containing the avian viral outbreak....we are still figuring out what to do here...every time a doctor cannot diagnose something its termed a viral...could be bird flu and no one would know any better!! Infact, mad cow was a term I used for my not so favourite sister in law till it became a commonly used medical term!
Comment by Rip Snorter - November 7, 2005, 11:12 am
Thanks for the comment shalini.

I've also heard a bit about the avian viral scare.

I haven't looked at much about the avian strain stuff, but the fact it's been around a while and isn't everywhere already argues against it being the one we need to be too concerned about.

All depends on the ease of transmission and the incubation time, as to whether it's a bull roarer, though if it happens to be a critter that is dynamic, evolves rapidly, it might assume those characteristics if it doesn't have them now.   If so, immunizing the world with the last-week version isn't going to help.

An example is the rabies virus. Relatively stable, pervasive epizootic. But it's been around so long it's evolved into several strains in the US... bat, skunk, raccoon, etc, though each can infect any mammal host. However, you can immunize a pet against one strain and give him no protection against the others.

Some infectuous agents seem so stable as to seem unable to evolve at all, while others change so rapidly as to be here a season and be gone.

The Mad Cow stuff's an entirely different mind boggler.


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