Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: There is History

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  • Russell Brown,

    ohh, now that's not going to cause a mild panic, is it?

    McCauley was guilty of some extremely dramatic forecasts if bird flu caught on, too:

    "There's no reason to say the virus will not continue to evolve so that it can transmit directly from one person to another. There's a realistic chance that could happen.

    "If it does - if the virus becomes adapted to man and can transmit efficiently - there'll be no point in selling a vaccine. You might as well give it away at that stage, because money would be meaningless. The world order would change."

    Woah. Dude ...

    But that doesn't invalidate the central point that risk escalates dramatically when novel viruses jump species. Your best bet is to contain the virus as quickly as possible, because the alternative is losing control and hoping things don't go too badly. So I'll actually wear a little media drama if it amplifies public health information.

    Meanwhile: Canadian guy infects pigs after returning from Mexico. That's a little unnerving.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18646 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Meanwhile: Canadian guy infects pigs after returning from Mexico. That's a little unnerving.

    You had just been informed a smidgen upthread that you don't need to worry about that. Apparently. Focus, Brown!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7337 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    According to this Center for Disease Control and Prevention factsheet swine flu is quite common in the US and human-to-pig and pig-to-human flu direct transference also common. It's the human-to-human Influenza A(H1N1) version that is more rare.

    In NZ one of the Hawke's Bay possibles (school trip that returned from North America last Tuesday) has been confirmed as North American influenza so caution still required.

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You had just been informed a smidgen upthread that you don't need to worry about that. Apparently. Focus, Brown!

    I told you I was sick.

    And, you know, I hovered over that one: it was a science story in The Independent after all (and by their science editor as well, which has traditionally been a warning sign) I should have known better. Nothing in the story explicitly validates the claim about mutation. It's just "scientists say". Bah.

    But another thought: I don't buy McCauley's Survivors style scenario as anything other than a remote possibility, but if a couple of novel viruses did get away, I could see big social changes; certain obligations incumbent on being in public places, lots more handwashing and facemasks, etc.

    One thing to remember is that the 1918 virus appeared as a mild flu, then swept back as a terribly virulent one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18646 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And, you know, I hovered over that one: it was a science story in The Independent after all (and by their science editor as well, which has traditionally been a warning sign) I should have known better. Nothing in the story explicitly validates the claim about mutation. It's just "scientists say". Bah.

    From what I recall from The Scientist's coverage, jumping species is what creates the conditions for the virus to mutate.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7337 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    From what I recall from The Scientist's coverage, jumping species is what creates the conditions for the virus to mutate.

    Sure but eminent people seem to be rather unconcerned.

    The pigs in Alberta were thought to be infected by a farm worker who returned from Mexico on April 12 and began working on the farm two days later. Officials noticed the pigs had flu-like symptoms April 24, Evans said.

    Approximately 10% of the 2,200 pigs on the farm have been infected, Evans said.

    Officials said the pigs were likely infected in the same manner as humans worldwide, and that the virus is acting no differently in the pigs than other swine flu viruses.

    "Whatever virus these pigs were exposed to is behaving in that exact manner as those we regularly see circulating in North America and in swine herds in virtually every nation around the world," Evans said.

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies have shown that swine flu is common throughout pig populations worldwide, with 25% of animals showing antibody evidence of infection.

    The new virus has shown no signs of mutation when passing from human to pig, Evans said.

    Maybe we need some differing eminent opinions to that we can ramp up the panic again

    Sorry that was a bit snarky but I think there are going to be some questions asked in coming weeks of WHO's response and perhaps a revaluation of if and when the word pandemic, which, despite it's definition, carries rather stronger connotations to a jumpy public and a circulation hungry media, especially when one considers the way WHO and other supposedly eminent people have misused it in recent years

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Whooo..that was a bit to bitchy..sorry Gio...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    to ------> too

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Whooo..that was a bit to bitchy..sorry Gio...

    No, it was fine. Of course we know about the prevalence of swine flu among pigs, in fact the company that runs the mega farm in Mexico that some blame for the original outbreak claims to run regular vaccination programs and check among the animals. But the mechanism of ricochet among the species and mutation of the virus are far from predictable or containable. Here's The New Scientist a few days ago. With history. And, yes, concern.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7337 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Another example of how pathetic our media is. The article starts with :

    New Zealand now has six confirmed cases of swine flu with a further 11 "probable" cases, health officials say.

    but then later on quotes verbatim some other story which says :

    The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - ... New Zealand (4), ...

    Pathetic ! Don't they actually read what they write.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Great, we're really screwed now.

    Better hope these ones can't run.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2343 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    That is a sensational spoof site - everything left intact but the main article. Brilliant work, thanks Rich.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7337 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Ha, excellent Rich.

    Symptoms - what to do:
    "If you feel yourself passing away, then notice your strength and vigor returning at an alarming rate, please attempt to restrain yourself to prevent infection and harm to others."

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    everything left intact but the main article.

    Yep, I'll admit to a 1/2 seconds worth of 'what the fu....?' while reading that.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2343 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Zombies have more bite than expected

    I tweeted it and got a bunch of RTs who'd been (briefly) taken in

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I tweeted it and got a bunch of RTs who'd been (briefly) taken in

    There are still folks who trust the BBC, then. How sweet.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3352 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Someone died of this so your body can't handle it. We will focus our initial reports on casualties, alert levels and warnings providing little or no detail about the lifestyles of the victims for your understanding.

    ATLANTA (AP) — America's two swine flu deaths — a toddler and a pregnant woman — each suffered from several other illnesses when they were infected with the virus, according to a study released Thursday.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gD1ZJvhHO6wfvF42FQf6V4E9eISgD981MJA02

    We will do our best to deny you exposure to this illness, blocking the greater mass's ability to develop natural immunity despite the low mortality rate. As we isolate the virus, we increase our market value, we encourage further mutation, and we enhance your susceptibility towards future versions.

    but our medicine works.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Sadly, I suspect there's a germ of truth in that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16414 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    the punster! l33t

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

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