Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu: Don't Panic But Stay Alert

If you had been watching CNN, you'd have caught the news of the Swine Flu outbreak last week.

No, I didn't blog about it because I was pretty busy and was not able to post anything. No excuses.

I did talk about it to someone, though, remarking that the Swine Flu seemed eerily to remind me of our very own Nipah Virus which caused an outbreak in pig farms in this country in 1999, causing deaths.

Last week, the cases of Swine Flu were confined in Mexico. US authorities were then just issuing warnings and precautionary measures.
Now, several cases have been detected in Texas, California, Kansas and Ohio and as far as Canada and Israel.

The Health Ministry has advised Malaysians against travelling to Canada, Mexico and selected US states where there have been reports of swine flu infection.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has urged the public not to panic.

He said the Health Ministry has in place protocol to prevent the disease from spreading to Malaysia.

The protocol include tightening surveillance at all entry points into Malaysia via airports and ports, and also at border crossings.

Click HERE.

So, okay. Let's not panic. I don't know about you, but, I do get worried when there's an outbreak of any kind of DEADLY flu.
These days, outbreaks "travel" fast. There, today, here, tomorrow.

Let's hope the health and medical authorities the world over, including our own, will be able to act fast to prevent further spread.
And we need to play our part too.


Gadfly said...

Don't panic - the Nipah virus in 1999 killed only 105 out of 26 million.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

I like that statement - tightening measures at entry points, surveillance etc. Next time I return home will make sure to try catch the attention of the Customs and Quarantine staff at KLIA! So far, they have been ignoring me! Who knows, I could be carrying virus, drugs or more dangerous stuff....



oooh.....a lot, babe, that's a lot of deaths!

thank you



haha.... i know what you mean.\next time, you should consider purring and meowing...that would catch their attention. :-)

Gadfly said...

I have not made myself clear. What I wrote is meant to be skeptical of all those statements with the hindsight of the Nipah virus epidemic resulting in the totally unnecessary waste of life and immense suffering.

Agreed, one is too many,not to say 105.

selampit said...

Oh no! Now, it's swine flu pulak dah!

It seems that the culprit pathogen has been identified as a new strain of the A type Influenza virus subtype H1N1.

Any microbiologist will tell you that the 'infamous'A type subtype HxNx family of the influenza virus IS BAD NEWS. BAD. BAD. BAD.

In 1918, an influenza pandemic known as the 'Spanish Flu' spread accross the planet and lasted for nearly 2 years, killing more than 50 million people (for a comparison, World War two lasted 8years and killed 55 millions). The culprit? The bloody A type Influenza virus subtype H1N1.

I'm shitting in my pants already.

Despite the names 'swine flu' or 'avian flu', I would like to stress here that both animals are hardly our concern. True, they both are carriers of the virus. However, if the event of an epidemic, they could be easily contained, quarantined or culled if necessary. Even migratory birds could be effectively tagged and tracked down for further action.

You see, the most DANGEROUS of all disease vectors are HUMANS. They're elusive, creative, and blessed with superior intellect. Can you imagine a bunch of pigs travelling from Mexico City to Chow kit on their own? Unfortunately any senor and senorita could easily accomplish that, even with all borders tightly contrilled, they could hide in spare-tyre spaces and such.

Trust me, until the day would come when we have biohazard sensors/equipments that could detect dangerous pathogens within minutes - and conveniently placed at ALL KNOWN entry points; it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE for us to shield our nation 100% from global pandemics. I don't even want to ponder about UNKNOWN entry points.

But do not give up hope my friends.

1. The more deadly a virus strain is, the less infection rate it has. Why? Because the strain WOULD USUALLY KILL the vector before it could spread the virus.This explains why even in remote parts of Africa, the Ebola virus was responsible for small numbers of deaths.

HIV on the other hand, has a higer infection rate because the virus would lie dormant in human bodies for years before the victims would go full-blown. So an infected person who is a drug addict or sex-machine could potentially infect many victims before succumbing to AIDS.

2. When the Spanish Flu hit the world in 1918, the large mortality rate was not due the DEADLY NATURE of the virus per se, but because the people back then DIDN'T HAVE what we now have. No antibiotics, no antiviral regimens, no antipyreptics, no defibrillators, no modern pathology labs and so on. Nowadays, even with no available cure for the swine flu; hospitals could proceed to treat symptoms and can still save lives.

A hundred years ago, thypoid is considered highly lethal and was capable of wiping out cities, due to excessive diarrhoea. Today the remedy of diarrhoea is simply a concoction called Oral Rehydration Salt, and can be bought in any pharmacy.

The problem is, as we humans evolve in terms of knowledge and technology, the bloody HxNx and their sistes and cousins too evolves into tougher strains.



after reading again your comment, i could detect the cynicism in your words. I agree.