Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | April 26, 2009

Swine Flu

(Updated Below)

So I have been following the swine flu and noting the predictable political nonsense which people, both in real life and on comment pages, spit forth. Some say it was released by Republicans to kill Mexicans and embarrass Obama. Others claim that it was released so Obama could quarantine political opponents and turn the world over to the UN (I find the UN as nauseating as anyone but the day they are able to take over a garden shed successfully is the day I prostrate myself before Obama). I heard (or read) someone whining that the Republicans would not confirm some health bureaucrat and how dangerous that was in the face of a pandemic. Sigh. Oh, and the anti-vaccinationist league is out in full force before there even is a vaccine. They’re not really a league these days; just people who never lived with polio and small pox in their communities or watched kids die from preventable illnesses.

Now this is a concerning virus but one thing some have noticed about this flu is that while it seems very lethal in Mexico, most of the cases outside of Mexico seem to be people who have been there (though it is spreading outside Mexico now) and they don’t seem to be dieing at nearly the same rate. Now there are several possible reasons for this but one hypothesis is that there are a lot more unreported cases in Mexico. When they compare the known cases with the number of deaths it makes it look like the death rate is up around 6 or 7 percent which would be much worse than the 1918 flu if it were real but the real fatality rate could be down closer to a normal flu. It could also mean that it is not as easily transmissible as it seems since those people who had been to Mexico would have come in contact with many more infected people (with few symptoms) than thought.

More information will be useful.

Update: When I said that they don’t seem to be dieing at nearly the same rate outside of Mexico I was making somewhat of an understatement. While the suspected fatalities in Mexico has risen to 149, I have seen no fatalities outside that country in the news yet. It is also worth noting that symptoms seem to come on quickly (not condusive to a massive pandemic if this is true for most cases as it limits the time an infected person is walking around with the disease) and almost all cases in the news have been people who actually went to Mexico except for one spouse of a recent visitor and one clasmate of a visitor. But then, the 1918 flu had a milder wave in the spring and a more fatal wave in the fall. I just mention that to keep people nervous. Now go watch that “12 Monkeys” movie.

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