new killer flu strain from Mexico

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by outofstep, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    What's interesting re: this (the part that's not terrifying) is that the CFS epidemic could have resulted from a novel virus but the CDC was unwilling to consider it back then...

    Mexico swine flu deaths spur global epidemic fears

    By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer – 29 mins ago
    MEXICO CITY – A unique strain of swine flu is the suspected killer of dozens of people in Mexico, where authorities closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in the capital on Friday to try to contain an outbreak that has spurred concerns of a global flu epidemic.
    The worrisome new virus — which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before — also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths in the U.S.
    "We are very, very concerned," World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human ... It's all hands on deck at the moment."
    The outbreak caused alarm in Mexico, where more than 1,000 people have been sickened. Residents of the capital donned surgical masks and authorities ordered the most sweeping shutdown of public gathering places in a quarter century. President Felipe Calderon met with his Cabinet Friday to coordinate Mexico's response.
    The WHO was convening an expert panel to consider whether to raise the pandemic alert level or issue travel advisories.
    It might already be too late to contain the outbreak, a prominent U.S. pandemic flu expert said late Friday.
    Given how quickly flu can spread around the globe, if these are the first signs of a pandemic, then there are probably cases incubating around the world already, said Dr. Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota.
    In Mexico City, "literally hundreds and thousands of travelers come in and out every day," Osterholm said. "You'd have to believe there's been more unrecognized transmission that's occurred."
    There is no vaccine that specifically protects against swine flu, and it was unclear how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer. A "seed stock" genetically matched to the new swine flu virus has been created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, said Dr. Richard Besser, the agency's acting director. If the government decides vaccine production is necessary, manufacturers would need that stock to get started.
    Authorities in Mexico urged people to avoid hospitals unless they had a medical emergency, since hospitals are centers of infection. They also said Mexicans should refrain from customary greetings such as shaking hands or kissing cheeks. At Mexico City's international airport, passengers were questioned to try to prevent anyone with flu symptoms from boarding airplanes and spreading the disease.
    Epidemiologists are particularly concerned because the only fatalities so far were in young people and adults.
    The eight U.S. victims recovered from symptoms that were like those of the regular flu, mostly fever, cough and sore throat, though some also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.
    U.S. health officials announced an outbreak notice to travelers, urging caution and frequent handwashing, but stopping short of telling Americans to avoid Mexico.
    Mexico's Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordoba said 68 people have died of flu and the new swine flu strain had been confirmed in 20 of those deaths. At least 1,004 people nationwide were sick from the suspected flu, he said.
    The geographical spread of the outbreaks also concerned the WHO — while 13 of the 20 deaths were in Mexico City, the rest were spread across Mexico — four in central San Luis Potosi, two up near the U.S. border in Baja California, and one in southern Oaxaca state.
    Scientists have long been concerned that a new flu virus could launch a worldwide pandemic of a killer disease. A new virus could evolve when different flu viruses infect a pig, a person or a bird, mingling their genetic material. The resulting hybrid could spread quickly because people would have no natural defenses against it.
    Still, flu experts were concerned but not alarmed about the latest outbreak.
    "We've seen swine influenza in humans over the past several years, and in most cases, it's come from direct pig contact. This seems to be different," said Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu expert with the University of Michigan.
    "I think we need to be careful and not apprehensive, but certainly paying attention to new developments as they proceed."
    The CDC says two flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, seem effective against the new strain. Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, said the company is prepared to immediately deploy a stockpile of the drug if requested.
    Both drugs must be taken early, within a few days of the onset of symptoms, to be most effective.
    Cordoba said Mexico has enough Tamiflu to treat 1 million people, but the medicine will be strictly controlled and handed out only by doctors.
    Mexico's government had maintained until late Thursday that there was nothing unusual about the flu cases, although this year's flu season had been worse and longer than past years.
    The sudden turnaround by public health officials angered many Mexicans.
    "They could have stopped it in time," said Araceli Cruz, 24, a university student who emerged from the subway wearing a surgical mask. "Now they've let it spread to other people."
    The city was handing out free surgical masks to passengers on buses and the subway system, which carries 5 million people each day. Government workers were ordered to wear the masks, and authorities urged residents to stay home from work if they felt ill.
    Closing schools across Mexico's capital of 20 million kept 6.1 million students home, as well as thousands of university students. All state and city-run cultural activities were suspended, including libraries, state-run theaters, and at least 14 museums. Private athletic clubs closed down and soccer leagues were considering canceling weekend games.
    The closures were the first citywide shutdown of public gathering places since thousands died in the devastating 1985 earthquake.
    Mexico's response brought to mind other major outbreaks, such as when SARS hit Asia. At its peak in 2003, Beijing shuttered schools, cinemas and restaurants, and thousands of people were quarantined at home.
    In March 2008, Hong Kong ordered more than a half-million students to stay home for two weeks because of a flu outbreak. It was the first such closure in Hong Kong since the outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.
    "It's great they are taking precautions," said Lillian Molina, a teacher at the Montessori's World preschool in Mexico City, who scrubbed down empty classrooms with Clorox, soap and Lysol between fielding calls from worried parents.
    U.S. health officials said the outbreak is not yet a reason for alarm in the United States. The five people sickened in California and three in Texas have all recovered.
    It's unclear how the eight, who became ill between late March and mid-April, contracted the virus because none were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other.
    CDC officials described the virus as having a unique combination of gene segments not seen before in people or pigs. The bug contains human virus, avian virus from North America and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia. It may be completely new, or it may have been around for a while and was only detected now through improved testing and surveillance, CDC officials said.
    The most notorious flu pandemic is thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19. Two other, less deadly flu pandemics struck in 1957 and 1968.
    Associated Press Writers Maria Cheng in London; Traci Carl in Mexico City; Mike Stobbe in Atlanta, Georgia; and Malcolm Ritter in New York contributed to this report.
  2. spacee

    spacee Member

    My neighbor's family lives in Mexico City. His mother and sister are on a cruise this week and it stopped in Miami and he went down to see them. See how quickly something can spread. Now, I am not saying anyone in his family is sick. Thank goodness.

    Thanks again for posting,

  3. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    You're welcome-we live in a really small world these days!

    btw-your name is great-that's how I feel most of the time
  4. justdifferent

    justdifferent New Member

    HIV is novel. Ebola is novel. Influenza is not novel - there are new strains evolving all the time. What gets press though are infectious diseases that kill - especially if they kill quickly.
  5. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    Influenza A can become a novel virus if it acquires a new hemagglutinin or a hemagglutinin plus neuraminidase (which are surface proteins).
  6. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    I think it's only a matter of time before we get a real nasty pandemic that does alot of damage. The only reason it's getting press is because it kills quickly. If this was an epidemic of our illness, I doubt we would hear about it.

    Time seems to move in cycles. There have always been epidemics in the world every so many years. None of it is really new. Just the diseases themselves might be a bit different. Just seems to be the way things are in the world. And we are kind of due for a huge one again. However, this particular one does sound almost man made. Sounds a bit spliced together in my opinion.
  7. spacee

    spacee Member

    I you want to trade names, I am willing. I feel more like your name...snicker.
  8. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    I feel both so maybe we can hyphenate :)

    Your name always makes me think of (and I know this is very random) of Rhys Ifans' character in Notting Hill when he's wearing the wetsuit and the way that he says "spacy"-makes me smile.
  9. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    aren't there many kinds of influenza (PIV3, PIV5, etc)?
  10. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    Those are parainfluenza viruses-similar to influenza but not the same-influenza has 3 types, a, b & c
  11. skeptik2

    skeptik2 Member

    Did any see a "scroll" on one of the national cable channels about there being 3 vials of a virus missing from a lab in the East?

    As soon as I heard of the swine flu, that came to mind. There were no real stories about it, just the "scroll", and it disappeared quickly.

    Do not trust the CDC; listen to the World Health Organization (who conirm and list our illness as M.E.).

    Do not panic, that's not what I'm saying; just take precautions (frequent hand washing and if you're out and about, wear a face mask). Avoid crowds as much as possible. Watch for nausea, dizziness, high fever, a severe cough, body aches beyond normal (how would WE know what's beyond normal LOL)."high fever" is 101 and above, according to the CDC, on TV today.

    BTW: There was an outbreak in Cibolo, TX announced today; 9 students sick but recovering. Also an outbreak in Kansas.

    Let's be careful, everyone...for heaven's sake, we're sick enough, right?!


  12. spacee

    spacee Member

    Yes, I know that funny. It is very hard for me to imagine him "normal" since I have only seen him as that character. How the world sees us? "Only as the characters we play".

    Ok, the Flu. Saw more on the news tonight. Hmmm. More worries. Have a sis in law (age 47) who had MRSA of the lung after last years flu. She seems well but her lungs are scarred. They had their children later so...they are still 12 and under.

    Tonite's news was about New York's cases. They have enough tamiflu...1,500 doses. And DON"T GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOU ARE SICK.

    God help us all.

  13. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    I'm HHV6. All I know is when I got sick, they found high viral titers to HHV6 in me. But the first doc I saw ignored it. The second doc looked at the test results and said he didn't know how I was walking around with levels that high. He said I was definitely very sick. But no one knew what to do about it at that time. And since then, the docs seem to ignore it.
  14. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    Swine flu confirmed in NYC high school students

    By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer – 30 mins ago
    NEW YORK – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that students at a city high school were infected with swine flu.
    New York officials previously had said they were eight "probable" cases, but tests later confirmed that it was indeed swine flu. Bloomberg stressed that the cases were mild and many are recovering.
    The city is awaiting the tests of additional samples to see if more St. Francis Preparatory School students were infected.
    About 100 students complained of flu-like symptoms at the school. Some students went to Cancun on a spring break trip two weeks ago.
  15. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    Sounds like it's spreading fast. But it is odd that the US doesn't seem to have the casualties, just Mexico so far?
  16. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    I know what you mean re: the actor-I've seen him in other things and always expect him to be That Guy.

    This flu thing is scary-but at the same time I know several people who were hospitalized last month (normal, healthy people) with some bizarre stomach/viral thing so wonder if this has been going around in the US since at least March and no one noticed it?

    Whatever it is, it sounds like it's much more brutal in Mexico and is affecting 20-40 y.o.s the most, but here it's milder and affecting a broader age range. Let's hope we don't get it-we have enough problems!

  17. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    Yeah, it's totally weird. I've read that one theory is that tons of people were actually infected in Mexico but only some of them got really sick.

    I know what you mean re: waiting for this to happen-it seems inevitable. I was wondering if we are at high risk for this sort of thing though since the people who are healthy seem to get hit the worst?

    It does sound a little manufactured on the one hand because so many viruses are involved-on the other, if people live in close contact with their pigs then this can happen with swine flu. The big thing w/ avian flu was that people needed to get their regular flu shots b/c if it was going to mutate it would do so in someone who is sick. I wouldn't be surprised if something like that happened here-someone, or enough people were sickly and incubated some terrible mega-virus.

    I have HHV-6 too but didn't even know it until about 5 years ago-was always just diagnosed w/ EBV. I wonder how many people had the exact same thing at the same time but didn't even know it b/c the CDC was so adamant that nothing was going on. I do think that if "our" disease struck now it would be treated differently, b/c the dumdums have finally realized that they haven't conquered infectious diseases after all-plus b/c of the internet it would get more press and people who got it would know where to get tested, could organize better, etc. It really sucks that we are stuck with the stigma from 20-odd years ago.
  18. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    Yeah it's pretty amazing how a bunch of independent researchers found weird viruses in CFS but the CDC was never able to replicate their findings-either because they didn't follow the protocol or didn't want to find them or whatever. But YAY they did crack the flu :p

    I think that we've been reading the same stuff so agree with you, although I think that with CFS it started out as ineptitude/politics (and the mindset at the time that all infectious disease had been eradicated) and then snowballed into a coverup because they didn't want to admit that they majorly screwed up w/ Incline Village. I do agree that the whole HHV-6a issue was hushed up b/c of politics in AIDS research and drug co. investment-it's the obvious thing to look at when it's present in only a few diseases, including CFS.

    I think that Reeves either took advantage of the ambiguous CFS situation or this was planned all along, and he was rewarded with his professorship and God knows what else. He's now contradicting his own research and is certainly not acting like a virologist. And I agree w/ you that at least the psych. pharm. people are involved-if Reeves can spin this as a psych. disorder then they'll definitely owe him.

    I don't see that we have any other choice though than to call the CDC on this. What they are doing w/CFS is so complicated and insidious it's hard to believe, especially b/c they've kept it up for so long-but we can't let them get away with it. From what I understand, the NIH doesn't support the Reeves definition, so there's a good chance that we can have some impact if enough of us complain. Plus, the WP research supports the presence of viruses-and they are looking at blood from the epidemic-the epidemic that was so brand new that the CDC had to give it the name CFS. Meanwhile the CDC's CFS research is calling people in GA 20+ years later and asking them if they are tired.
    I don't think that it will be easy but we have to try-definitely a David and Goliath-type situation.
  19. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    Thanks for the update-hopefully it won't come to that since we've got Tamiflu etc. and it sounds like the CDC is working on a vaccine (although I will be stocking up on the Tamiflu if you know what I mean).
  20. outofstep

    outofstep Member

    US declares public health emergency for swine flu

    24 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – The U.S. declared a public health emergency Sunday to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.
    Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild — and U.S. health authorities can't yet explain why.
    "As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," predicted Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We're going to see more severe disease in this country."
    At a White House news conference, Besser and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to assure Americans that health officials are taking all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the outbreak.
    Top among those is declaring the public health emergency. As part of that, Napolitano said roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu will be moved from a federal stockpile to places where states can quickly get their share if they decide they need it. Priority will be given to the five states with known cases so far: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas.
    Napolitano called the emergency declaration standard operating procedure — one was declared recently for the inauguration and for flooding. She urged people to think of it as a "declaration of emergency preparedness."
    "Really that's what we're doing right now. We're preparing in an environment where we really don't know ultimately what the size of seriousness of this outbreak is going to be."