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  1. #1
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    Swine Influenza Outbreak in Mexico - Please Follow Closely!
    As many of you are aware, there is a public health emergency in Mexico concerning infection by swine influenza virus. The infection has now spread to the U.S. and possibly New Zealand.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/0...flu/index.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8019100.stm

    The WHO is concerned that this new strain has the potential to turn into a pandemic. Indeed situation is changing so rapidly by the hour. This is potentially very serious and I urge everybody to follow developments in the news very closely, with particular regard to the situation in your own country.

    I was a medical virologist in Hong Kong before I took up IM full-time. I worked in the laboratory that detected the first ever human avian influenza in 1997 and also played a central role in the SARS crisis in 2003. Dr. Margaret Chan, the current Director General of the WHO was my overall boss.

    Conventional scientific wisdom is that a pandemic cannot occur unless there is a new haemagglutinin (H) influenza A strain. In this moment, we do have human H1N1 strains in circulation.. The swine H1N1 strain seems to be very different from the currently circulating H1N1 strains and therefore all bets are off at this stage. It is uncertain whether current influenza protects against this virus, but some anti-viral drugs appear to be effective.

    Here are some useful websites you can look at

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

    http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html

    http://www.chp.gov.hk/content.asp?la...95&id=24&pid=9

    The following precautions are recommended for preventive purposes.

    - Keep hands clean and wash hands properly. Alcohol-based handrub is also effective when hands are not visibly soiled.
    -Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way
    - Wash hands with liquid soap promptly if they are contaminated by respiratory tract secretions, e.g. after sneezing or coughing.
    - Cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
    - No spitting. Always wrap nasal and mouth discharges with tissue paper, and dispose of the tissue paper properly in a lidded rubbish bin.
    - Wear mask when symptoms of respiratory tract infection or fever develop. Seek medical advice promptly.
    - Refrain from work or school if develop symptoms of influenza

    As this is very early days, much more data is needed before we have a firm idea of the size of the risk. From what I have gleamed so far, it appears to be much more serious than the SARS crisis of 2003. Needless to say, the economic impact could be enormous. I will try and see whether I could get some hard scientific data from my past colleagues and will keep you up to date on the current situation. Again, I urge everybody to follow the news on this closely and take care.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Bio-Engineered Weaponized Flu
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

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  4. #4
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Doctors on Fox News said that if you start taking the Tamiflu medicine within 48 hours of when you start showing the swine flu symptions it will stop it and get rid of it.

    They said it is a mild flu and not as bad as the flu that we get in the US every year.

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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Exclamation
    Quote Originally Posted by Magi
    Bio-Engineered Weaponized Flu
    Let me add to that statement ..

    Reason why I say its BIO-Engineered is due to it being

    "HUMAN' + "AVIAN" + "SWINE" all together ... you dont get this combo just by some extremely rare by chance ...

    ~~~

    “SMOKING GUN: NEW DEADLY VIRUS HAS GENE SEQUENCES NEVER SEEN BEFORE GENES DO NOT “POP UP” OUT OF NOWHERE. WE BELIEVE THIS IS A BIOENGINEERED WEAPON.”
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  6. #6
    Chief Betty Victor Hanna's Avatar
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    N95 Rated Particulate Masks
    I just put up a posting on BettyMills forum for 95 Rated particulate masks. We supplied large quantities of the masks during the SARS outbreak.
    Victor Hanna, The BettyMills Company
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  7. #7
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    It isn't an emergency YET. Most cases are here in Mexico City, but statistically speaking very few people have it.
    We're concerned and Gerardo bought some masks for going on the Metro (subway). The government closed all the schools on Friday. I'm just staying at home as much as possible until this passes.

  8. #8
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I believe that President Obama just declared a Public Health Emergeny today.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Network Rep John@AffiliateFuture.com's Avatar
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    no masks or cdc signs visible around NYC this morning. at the very least i expected to see something in penn station but its still under the radar. i am keeping a very close eye on this as I have infants at home and would imagine that even though it is still relatively mild, it would be rough on small children.

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    And to think we were plannning a cruise to mexico this month. Seing people with masks in NY and elsewhere in US is going to make a few panic pretty fast.

  11. #11
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    Europe has just slapped on a travel advisory warning against the U.S. and Mexico

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/health/28flu.html?em

    Here in Hong Kong, we have taken things even further. They have ordered the immediate detention at a hospital of anyone who arrived with a fever and symptoms of a respiratory illness after traveling in the previous seven days through a city with a laboratory-confirmed outbreak."

    What this means is that for example, if you have just arrived from New York and have been found to have a fever. You will be detained immediately and taken to a hospital for observation. You will be kept there until you have been proved not to be infected by the virus.

    No prizes for guessing what will happen to the airline and travel industry. If you live in the US and Mexico, don't be surprised if you do not get a warm welcome when you visit abroad. In fact, airline and hotel stocks have dropped dramatically today in Asia and Europe. There are now real fears that this will deal a nasty blow to the world economy which is already very weak.

    I have spoken to my ex-colleagues and it seems that there is very little hard scientific information available. The website they recommend for updated news is

    http://pandemicinformationnews.blogspot.com/

    I have managed to get some information on the composition of the virus from the above site.

    It contains "some North American swine, some North American avian, one human influenza, and two Eurasian swine."

    “It’s a real mutt,” Walter Dowdle, who in worked in the CDC’s virology unit during a major swine flu outbreak in 1976, told the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy’s daily newsletter yesterday. “When you have an evolving RNA mechanism, it’s hard to be surprised by anything,” said Dowdle, who now works with the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, based in Atlanta.

    'The unusual strain this year was noticed, Dr. Schuchat said, only because the agency was trying out a new diagnostic test at a Navy laboratory and doing more testing than usual through a new Border Infectious Disease Surveillance Project along the Mexican border."

    I am not convinced that it is a man-made biological terror agents or weapon. Although I must say that the strain is pretty strange. I still hope that as summer approches, the number of cases will start declining within a few weeks.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magi
    Let me add to that statement ..

    Reason why I say its BIO-Engineered is due to it being

    "HUMAN' + "AVIAN" + "SWINE" all together ... you dont get this combo just by some extremely rare by chance ...
    Being a programmer, my experience as an epidemiologist is very limited. Can you share any details about this flu's gene sequence or other physical evidence which suggests it is bio-engineered, unlike the millions of other naturally-mutating viruses that comprise the rest of the influenza family?
    Richard Gaskin
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourthWorld
    Being a programmer, my experience as an epidemiologist is very limited. Can you share any details about this flu's gene sequence or other physical evidence which suggests it is bio-engineered, unlike the millions of other naturally-mutating viruses that comprise the rest of the influenza family?
    "The CDC has promptly released the HA (EPI176470), NA(EPI176472), and M(EPI176471) gene sequences of A/California/04/2009 from 10M (at GISAID). These sequences confirm that the NA and M gene have a Eurasian swine origin, while the HA sequences is North American swine. The presence of S31N in the M gene, which is common in European swine, confers resistance to amantadine and rimantadine. Release of the sequences from the other isolate would be useful to determine how long these viruses have been in human populations."


    Richard, I have posted more publicly known data on the genetic makeup of this virus from the CDC. It can be found in a post made on Apr 23rd at the pandemic information center blog. Influenza A has 8 gene fragments and it seems different fragments are coming from different parents. In this case, you have 4 parent viruses: N American pig, Eurasian pig, N. American bird and a human virus.

    I am taking the line of the WHO at the moment that there is no evidence that it is manufactured. But I must admit that this virus is very strange and it would be quite easy to make one in a low tech laboratory provided the materials are available.

    The pig is well known as a "mixing vessel" for idifferent nfluenza viruses. It is thought that in 1957 and 1968, the new H2N2 and H3N2 viruses arose through the combination of bird and human viruses in pigs. The 1918 strain was different, there is evidence that it slowly mutated from a bird strain.

    The reason why I think it would be a very poor biological weapon is that it is far too indiscriminate. It is liketly to kill you as much as the enemy. However of course, everything is possible. Scientists are known to do totally silly and unethical experiments.

    Indeed in 1977, human H1N1 suddenly reappeared in Russia. This strain was completely identical to one that was prevalent before H2N2 appeared in 1957. Therefore, there is a lot of suspicion that it was accidentally released from a laboratory.

  14. #14
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    On television news on Friday they mentioned that the military is at our airport and anyone with flu symptoms won't be allowed on a flight leaving. It wasn't clear if that was just international flights or both national and international.
    I am guessing that is just for the Mexico City airport, if so it wouldn't be hard to take a flight from Toluca.
    Quote Originally Posted by pdaden
    No prizes for guessing what will happen to the airline and travel industry. If you live in the US and Mexico, don't be surprised if you do not get a warm welcome when you visit abroad. In fact, airline and hotel stocks have dropped dramatically today in Asia and Europe. There are now real fears that this will deal a nasty blow to the world economy which is already very weak.

  15. #15
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    It seems we have the same opinion: as a weapon this would seem a particularly weak choice, as there are so many alternatives which would be simpler to deploy for more terrifying effect (we needn't list them here).

    I arrived at this opinion in part from the article you cited, which includes:
    The unnamed man returned to Spain on April 22 and was put under observation on April 25 with chest problems, Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said.

    Around 20 other patients are under observation, officials added.

    "They are all stable, none of the cases is grave, not even that of the case confirmed (as swine flu)," Ms Jimenez said.
    There's also this from this morning's news:
    Health officials in Washington were quick to point out Sunday that none of the 20 cases identified in the U.S. so far has been fatal; all but one of the victims has recovered without needing to be hospitalized.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/2009042...WvdvkjOKIDW7oF

    Those of us old enough to remember the last swine flu "epidemic" of the 1970s are remaining cautious but not panicked as more details of this incident become known. At this time it would not be prudent to be cavalier, but neither does this appear to be the end of the world.
    Richard Gaskin
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    On television news on Friday they mentioned that the military is at our airport and anyone with flu symptoms won't be allowed on a flight leaving. It wasn't clear if that was just international flights or both national and international.
    I am guessing that is just for the Mexico City airport, if so it wouldn't be hard to take a flight from Toluca.
    During the SARS crisis of 2003, when Hong Kong was epicenter. Tour groups from Hong Kong were forcibly cancelled.. For example, my mother was due to join a tour in Russia and that tour was cancelled at the request of the Russian authorities.

  17. #17
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  18. #18
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Baseball (Michelle's daughter) used to go to St Francis Prep (now she's in GA). Brother Leonard wouldn't close the school if there is a foot of snow on the roads and another foot predicted, that tells me the severity of it all.
    Continued Success,

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  19. #19
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    Doctors on Fox News said that if you start taking the Tamiflu medicine within 48 hours of when you start showing the swine flu symptions it will stop it and get rid of it.
    How convenient for the makers of Tamiflu! That's a load of crap - look up Tamiflu and see who owns the company that produces it.
    Peace,

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  20. #20
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magi
    Bio-Engineered Weaponized Flu
    Yep. Tried to find the article about how this one "accidentally" got included in a batch of vaccines sent outside the U.S. - can't dig it up but it was called a few months ago. Pharma company admitted to "mistake."

    Nasty business. :-(
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  21. #21
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    Yep. Tried to find the article about how this one "accidentally" got included in a batch of vaccines sent outside the U.S. - can't dig it up but it was called a few months ago. Pharma company admitted to "mistake."

    Nasty business. :-(
    Found the article: http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=742
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    Baseball (Michelle's daughter) used to go to St Francis Prep (now she's in GA). Brother Leonard wouldn't close the school if there is a foot of snow on the roads and another foot predicted, that tells me the severity of it all.
    I thought of that and hoped you lived far enough away from the school that you wouldn't be affected if you took a bike ride around the neighborhood.
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  23. #23
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    Ooops- sorry - this is the current one about Swine flue: http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=2515
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  24. #24
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    And more to understand what's going on:
    http://www.goodlifefoundation.com/
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  25. #25
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    We should all panic and run around with our heads cut-off! After all if the cable news shows are filling hours of programming with it- it must be at least as important as Jessica Simpson getting a divorce.

    Got back from Mexico a few weeks ago, heading to NYC next week. The only thing I am worried about is tax dollars were spent making this CDC poster.
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/p...shing-soap.pdf

    Chet

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