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WHO Raises Swine Flu Threat Level

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the everybody-panic dept.

Medicine 557

Solarch writes "Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, the WHO raised the pandemic threat level for H1N1 "swine flu" to 5. Global media outlets(such as CNN, Fox News, and the BBC) preempted normal broadcast coverage and immediately published stories on their websites. To clarify, the WHO's elevation is mainly a sign to governments that the virus is spreading quickly and that steps should be taken on a governmental level to stage supplies and medicines to combat a possible pandemic. Unfortunately, broadcast coverage focused on phrases like 'pandemic imminent' (CNN marquee). In other news, patient zero, the medical term for the initial human vector of a disease, has been tentatively identified in Mexico."

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WHO Raises Swine Flu Threat Level? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765777)

Is this an effort by /. editors to make us actually RTFA? Well, the game is afoot. I'll take anal bum cover for $7,000.

I dunno? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765785)

Who does raise the swine flu threat level?

Re:I dunno? (4, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765875)

WHO's on first.

Re:I dunno? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766333)

What's on first?

Re:I dunno? (5, Funny)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766369)

Who's on first. What's on second.

Re:I dunno? (5, Funny)

nxtr (813179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765975)

It is not the pronoun, but rather a global public health agency with the unlikely name of WHO that raised the pandemic threat level.

Clearly, you are one confused man.

Re:I dunno? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766105)

WHOosh.

Re:I dunno? (5, Funny)

Bertie (87778) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766193)

Thanks for that. We Won't Get Fooled Again.

Re:I dunno? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766309)

Your mom

I raise the Swine Flu Threat Level (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765795)

I did it, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

Please let it be!! (5, Insightful)

happy_place (632005) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765813)

I get the feeling that Media outlets are DESPERATELY Hoping that this will be a Pandemic... as if they're bored or really really really like human suffering... oh wait, what's that saying about if it bleeds it's frontpage news? Sigh. --Ray PS> Would hate to die of Swine Flu, just because of what it's called... and all that it would imply if I caught it...

Re:Please let it be!! (5, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765857)

> Would hate to die of Swine Flu, just because of what it's called... and all that it
> would imply if I caught it...

Then call it Mexican flu.

Re:Please let it be!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765915)

Then call it Mexican flu.

is that really any better?

Re:Please let it be!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766071)

Now that's just insulting.

Doesn't scare me at all (5, Funny)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765877)

The media can do what they will with this non-story.

I'm safe - I don't believe in that e-vo-lution crap, so this new disease could not have evolved from swine! It's all just pig nonsense.

I'm going back to prepare a round of raw bacon sushi!

Re:Doesn't scare me at all (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766331)

Mmmmmh. Trichinosis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichinosis [wikipedia.org]

(Actually not that likely and not that deadly, but still not that awesome)

Re:Please let it be!! (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765913)

Of course they are, nobody cares about good news, only bad news.

Re:Please let it be!! (4, Insightful)

rasper99 (247555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765949)

The saying is "If it bleeds, it leads" as in leading story.

Re:Please let it be!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765999)

Would hate to die of Swine Flu, just because of what it's called... and all that it would imply if I caught it...

You're thinking of Swine Syphillis.

Re:Please let it be!! (5, Interesting)

V50 (248015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766035)

Yeah, there's certainly a section of the media that wants terrible news to happen. I don't think they consciously or overtly want stuff to happen, but deep inside, I do think that part of them does.

I think it's partially human nature though. I've found myself sort of bugged at times by part of me that wants a war to break out, or a pandemic to happen, or the stock market to tank, etc. I think it comes from oftentimes looking at news as fiction that happens far away. And for the most part it's true. If a war breaks out in Africa, for instance, for the majority of North Americans or whatnot, it may as well be fiction for how little it actually affects them.

tldr; When it doesn't directly harm them, IMO, people often look at news as fiction, and want a more exciting outcome.

Re:Please let it be!! (5, Funny)

ring-eldest (866342) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766115)

Would hate to die of Swine Flu, just because of what it's called... and all that it would imply if I caught it...

Don't kid yourself, slashdot-netizen, chances are you don't get enough human interaction or even sunlight to risk infection. You're as good as immune.

Re:Please let it be!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766343)

I get the feeling that Media outlets are DESPERATELY Hoping that this will be a Pandemic

That's what happened with Iraq war. The press was all about covering the war. They all got huge ratings boosts from it. Once they realized that reporters could and were being killed, because gasp, its not a video game, they turned anti-war and anti-Bush; despite helping to fuel the war up front.

Most US press these days isn't worth using to wipe your ass.

Semi-Pandemic (2, Informative)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765815)

The sad thing is that it will affect the poor and the Third World most of all. Only the extremely ill, old, young, and those with compromised immune systems will have a problem in more developed countries where antiviral medicine is available.

$50 for some medicine is pretty much nothing in the U.S., for instance. If you're in India or China, well... life's going to get rough for a lot of people there.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765887)

Actually, the virus strikes people with healthy immune systems, and the causes of death are an immune system overreaction. Translated: People with excellent immune systems are more likely to die than those with weaker ones.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine_storm

Re:Semi-Pandemic (-1, Flamebait)

rezalas (1227518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766237)

Bullshit. If this were true, the adults with healthy immune systems would be dying and not a 2 year old mexican child who would be more likely to die from normal flu just as much as a swine flu.

This flu isn't any worse than any other flu out there. In fact, if you look at historical statistics on this (from the CDC no less) there are far less people that have died from this in the past 30 years than any common flu in the past five. You aren't helping people by spouting "healthy people are more likely to die!" at all, you are just inciting panic.

Ignore the doomsayers, there is nothing to see here.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (1, Redundant)

capandbells (1479247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765889)

Actually, the major issue with this flu is that it is most dangerous to those with strong immune systems because of the potential for cytokine storms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine_storm). But yeah, anti-virals will help a lot.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (4, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766021)


It it is most dangerous to those with strong immune systems because of the potential for cytokine storms

Which is pure speculation at this point. The truth is nobody knows why it's mostly killed young people so far. Pointing to a cytokine storm as the cause is possible, but very misleading.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (3, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766179)

Very true.

At this point we're just using hypotheses and another one that I just dreamed up is that ths strain needs a certain industrial polutants to be between certain points (sweet spot) for it to be lethal.

Since more people have caught it, and more people have died from it in Mexico, this is also plausible, since the polution levels are easily higher there than in the US and Europe.

I say plausible, but very unlikely, as I just came up with this halfassed idea. But if it ends up being true, I want credit!

Re:Semi-Pandemic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766129)

This is untrue based on the current evidence. It has infected people with strong immune systems, but that does NOT mean that it is more dangerous for those people. You are assuming too much.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765891)

Actually, everything I've read has given me the opinion that it is the most healthy who are at risk for actually dying from this flu.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine_storm

Re:Semi-Pandemic (0, Redundant)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765929)

Actually, It is believed that Swine Flu (like the Spanish Flu) kills mainly people with healthy immune systems. They believe it is because it triggers a positive feedback loop in your immune system called a 'cytokine storm'. 99% of all spanish flu deaths were in people under 65, with more than half being healthy people between 20-40.

I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765987)

"Citation needed."

Seriously, I see Internet doomsdayers saying this, but I don't see the CDC saying this. So, can you provide a link to a reputable source for this? I'm genuinely interested in reading one. If not, then perhaps you should stop spreading it.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (4, Interesting)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766143)

Mod parent up. "Cytokine storm" is the new Internet meme lately.

With the grand WHO total of deaths being caused by H1N12009 being EIGHT, and the most well documented death so far being a 23 year old, the whole idea that this is killing otherwise healthy (a BIG assumption, this is Mexico, not the US, the health care system and environmental conditions in Mexico City is not very good in the former and absolutely terrible in the latter case) adults is isn't founded at all.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766319)

Actually I've got 20 confirmed deaths although my statistics [aushealthcare.com.au] are about 22 hours old.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (5, Insightful)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766357)

With the grand WHO total of deaths being caused by H1N12009 being EIGHT, and the most well documented death so far being a 23 year old, the whole idea that this is killing otherwise healthy (a BIG assumption, this is Mexico, not the US, the health care system and environmental conditions in Mexico City is not very good in the former and absolutely terrible in the latter case) adults is isn't founded at all.

The WHO grand total of confirmed deaths is low because confirmation of which strain was involved in each specific case is slow. The actual number of deaths so far by the strain is almost certainly significantly higher. To put it more precisely, a large proportion of the cases that have been labeled as suspected swine flu deaths will turn out to be so.

Also, I don't think your Mexican health care and environment objection holds. Given no other data, you would expect that to increase the number of deaths, but not the distribution of deaths across age groups. You need a stronger hypothesis: that the poor health care in Mexico increases the risk of death from H1N1 disproportionately among young adults and middle-aged adults will die from H1N1, compared to children and the elderly.

The one thing that's sure at this point is that our information is quite likely to have very serious holes yet, however.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (2, Insightful)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766145)

Seriously, I see Internet doomsdayers saying this, but I don't see the CDC saying this. So, can you provide a link to a reputable source for this? I'm genuinely interested in reading one. If not, then perhaps you should stop spreading it.

The cytokine storm stuff (i.e., the claim that the virus hits healthy people harder than those with compromised immune systems) is really just an early leading hypothesis that's based on the mortality data from Mexico; the virus there is reported to have primarily killed adults 20-50. I really don't think there's any other evidence for it so far.

There's a big puzzle going on right now in that the virus in the USA hasn't been nearly as deadly as in Mexico. From all I've read, this is being actively debated, with hypotheses ranging from flawed data about what's going on in Mexico (i.e., we only know about the most lethal Mexican cases of a much larger outbreak), to the possibility that the USA may have a milder version of the same strain so far.

The thing to stress, however, is that the knowledge about this is still very incomplete, and evolving rapidly.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766165)

No I'm not asking what it is (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766187)

I know that, I'm asking for a source that swine flu is killing via it. Not a blog post, or a speculative news media story, a source from someone like the CDC. Doesn't have to be the CDC, but a group that would know what the hell they are talking about.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766191)

GP likely meant a reputable source stating that this outbreak was killing by way of a cytokine storm.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766183)

How about the WH fucking O mentioned in the summary.

The ages of the victims in Mexico concern health officials. Unlike typical flu seasons, when infants and the aged are usually the most vulnerable, none of the initial deaths in Mexico were in people older than 60 or younger than 3 years old, a spokeswoman with the World Health Organization said. Pandemic flus -- like the 1918 flu and outbreaks in 1957 and 1968 -- often strike young, healthy people the hardest.

Source: The NY Times [nytimes.com]

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766353)

That doesn't say cytokine storm, which is the interesting part of the question.

Re:I'll repeat what I heard elsewhere (0, Troll)

rezalas (1227518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766345)

Cytokine storms are "theorized" as the cause of death from the flu.. any flu... not just "this" flu. We aren't even talking about a fact, we are talking about Doctors saying "We have no evidence but this is our best guess."

fucking doomsaying bullshit is all this is. For fucks sake you people are quoting Wikipedia instead of the CDC; you can't even quote wiki for a damn highschool essay but you'll trust your life to that shit? I wonder if its really spreading in mexico because they DONT have as good an immune system as we do, they don't go to the doctor as often as we do, and they don't take medicine for every sniffle like we do. No, no that doesn't make any sense at all...

Sycraft, get a shovel, we can bury these people in vaults if we can just get wiki to tell them its healthy for them...

Re:Semi-Pandemic (1)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765943)

Only the extremely ill, old, young, and those with compromised immune systems will have a problem in more developed countries where antiviral medicine is available.

Your main point is still valid, but I should point out that swine flu currently kills by turning the immune system against the host, by way of a cytokine storm. Therefore, the people with the strongest immune system are more likely to die than the ill, old or young. This was also the case with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765947)


Only the extremely ill, old, young, and those with compromised immune systems will have a problem in more developed countries where antiviral medicine is available.

Wow. You have just far too much faith in the governments of the world, and medicine. First of all there's not enough antiviral flu medication for everyone if the virus spreads to a large percentage of the population (not to mention infra-structure to distribute all of it, care for everyone, etc). Secondly, the flu mutates like crazy. The virus can easily evolve into a strain that's resistant to the 4 drugs used against influenza. At that point being rich isn't going to save you.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766081)

That potential for a terrible pandemic is really no different than we've faced every flu season for the last few centuries. Also, rich people tend to be clean; that may just save them after all.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (3, Insightful)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766121)

Wow. You have just far too much faith in the governments of the world, and medicine
****
We've had one death so far in the U.S., and it was a baby. Two of the drugs that we do have available are effective, and I heard that there are roughly enough of those two to treat 30-50 million people in the U.S.

My comment wasn't about the people in the richer nations being so much better off so much as it being a commentary on the sad state of affairs where the poor get hit the hardest, like they do pretty much any time a disaster happens.

I don't have much faith in governments, but those populations without ANY modern medicine at all are going to suffer a large number of deaths. Be it from overactive immune systems or compromised ones - both extremes seem to be a problem in these sorts of situations.

In India, you have millions of people who are so poor that they burn garbage to keep warm. When droves of them start dying, secondary diseases and epidemics become a real worry as well. No, not everyone in India is like that, obviously, but with nearly a billion people all living in a pretty close proximity to each other, it's not likely that things will be good, either.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765951)

The sad thing is, you're an idiot talking out your ass.

Maybe try actually learning what this virus does before spouting off like a nob head.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765977)

One of the things about this disease is that, for a weaker person, getting this flu is similar to getting any other flu. Obviously not good, but then you could catch a different bug at any time.

This flu causes a reaction such that the body fills itself with mucus, causing pneumonia-like problems. The immune systems of people who are 18-35 are usually very strong; however, it is the body's (over)reaction to this flu that puts our healthy demographic's lives in danger.

If you have a bad immune system you'll overreact less.

Re:Semi-Pandemic (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766163)

Is it funny or ironic that the very way this flu works on the internal immune system is what we're afraid of doing in our social environment?

The government can very possibly overreact and kill people off like it did last time bird flu came about.

Um, no. (4, Informative)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766037)

One of the remarkable facts about this outbreak is that the deaths in Mexico are primarily among healthy adults between 20 and 50--similar to the profile of the Spanish flu of 1918. However, one of the yet unresolved puzzles about the virus is why the mortality figures in Mexico are proportionally so much larger than in the USA, so yeah, we just don't know what's going on yet...

Re:Semi-Pandemic (3, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766061)

The sad thing is that it will affect the poor and the Third World most of all. Only the extremely ill, old, young, and those with compromised immune systems will have a problem in more developed countries where antiviral medicine is available.

Not necessarily. The reason the 1918 version of H1N1 was so bad was that those with healthy immune systems were more likely to die because the immune system overreacted. You have a point about the antiviral medicine, but the other factors *favor* those in third-world countries.

Brett

Re:Semi-Pandemic (3, Informative)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766211)

The sad thing is that it will affect the poor and the Third World most of all. Only the extremely ill, old, young, and those with compromised immune systems will have a problem in more developed countries where antiviral medicine is available.

This is likely somewhat inaccurate. The efficacy of SARS and the previous avian flus-- and of pandemic flus in general-- is that they cause the strongest human immune systems (18-30 yrs) to overreact and fill the lungs with fluid, slowly drowning the victims. (Antivirals are also not all that effective, versus respirators and manual techniques to clear the lungs).

We also don't quite know what we're up against, get.

That said, if the developing world looses its young and strong, that is in some ways worse. But don't think the developed world is out of the way: avian flu killed one in three victims in Hong Kong, right?

The who (5, Funny)

thedogcow (694111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765835)

""Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, the WHO raised the pandemic threat level for H1N1 "swine flu" to 5."

Wow. I knew they had good music but I did not know Peter Townshend was in charge of changing pandemic threat levels.

Re:The who (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766013)

Evolution of my poor reading compression:
first glance "Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, WHO raised the pandemic threat level from H1N1 "swine flu" to 5?"
my thought "What scale goes from H1N1 to 5? let me re read that"

second glance "The WHO raised the pandemic threat level for H1N1 "swine flu" to 5."
My thought "The WHO did this as some publicity stunt? Are they even together/alive any more? What's Slashdot think, "

"heh he had a similar thought I should reply to that"

"ok now I'm going to far"

"I should spell/grammar check this. Ehh never mind."

Re:The who (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766055)

If Spinal Tap was in charge the pandemic threat level would go to 11.

Re:The who (1)

flydude18 (839328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766137)

It wasn't the band who raised the pandemic threat level, it was the guy who's on first.

Patient zero? Yeah, right. (0, Flamebait)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765845)

his is getting absurd. Mexico's response has been so disorganized they have no CLUE who "patient zero" is. But it sure is a good opportunity to rail on "factory farms". US-owned, no less! I suppose US owned factory farms also caused the other flu pandemics since the 1500s...

Re:Patient zero? Yeah, right. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765933)

I suppose US owned factory farms also caused the other flu pandemics since the 1500s...

I admire your willingness to take this opportunity to jab at a strawman or two in order defend animal factory farming, which has never ever, ever produced any kind of disease outbreaks and is renown for the humane treatment it provides to the livestock as well as the scrupulously clean facilities for both raising and slaughtering animals.

You're fucking jackass, Dave.

Re:Patient zero? Yeah, right. (1)

Kligat (1244968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766039)

Maybe you're both jackasses; the mother of the child is a jackass of the sort that has adamant beliefs about things for no good reason other than she needs something to believe to explain it, like parents that believe mercury in vaccines gave their child autism, seeing as how the tests for that farm came back negative; and I'm a jackass for joining in.

Re:Patient zero? Yeah, right. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766057)

No five pages?

not easy to know how to respond (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765859)

I read an article a couple days ago, apparently there was a swine flu outbreak in 1976, and the US was quite proactive in stopping it, encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. The problem came when more people died from the vaccine than from the flu. So the correct path of action is not always clear, how far should you go to try to prevent this? Wall Street Journal has an interesting article dealing with these issues.

As for me, being young and healthy, looks like I'm about to roll one of my d20 [slashdot.org] . Whatever happens happens, I'll enjoy it to the end.

Re:not easy to know how to respond (1, Troll)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766005)

I read an article a couple days ago, apparently there was a swine flu outbreak in 1976, and the US was quite proactive in stopping it

The U.S. didn't stop it, it just never materialized. Like the bird flu scare they were trying to sell just recently. ISTR the CDC says 36,000 people die in the U.S. yearly from ordinary flu, and so far one person in the U.S. has died from this "swine flu" -- and that was a two year old Mexican national in Texas. But surely this scare is working out well for the health care industry...

Re:not easy to know how to respond (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766017)

I read an article a couple days ago, apparently there was a swine flu outbreak in 1976, and the US was quite proactive in stopping it, encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. The problem came when more people died from the vaccine than from the flu.

That's not really the right comparison to judge a "problem" with the course of action. It would clearly be, in retrospect, the wrong decision if more people died of the vaccine than would have been expected to have died from the flu had the vaccination not been carried out, but the fact that more people died of the vaccine than died of the flu when the vaccination was carried out does not appear to be a valid basis, on its own, for criticism.

Otherwise, a vaccination program that prevented all deaths from a disease (even if, unchecked, it would have been expected to kill billions) would be the wrong decision if even one person died from the vaccine, a result that is clearly ludicrous.

Re:not easy to know how to respond (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766147)

It's like the people that believe we wasted time and money on the Y2K problem, because there was huge disaster. They just don't get that the time and money was what prevented the disaster from happening.

Re:not easy to know how to respond (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766313)

From a public relations standpoint it is impossible to say how many people would have died if there were no vaccinations. There is the sole fact that people died as a result of the vaccinations.

Without that tidbit of information, nobody knows if vaccinations helped or hurt. But you can bet the media and goverment critics were out in force saying how many people died as a result of the government-supported vaccination program. Thus, President Ford killed people. Simple, really.

This is identical to the situation where if it snows and you shovel your walkway anyone falling can sue you because you modified the snow. If you just left the snow there and someone falls it is an act of God and there is nobody to sue. So for a very long time in Chicago few businesses and almost no residences in many areas shoveled snow because it could get them sued.

You can safely assume there will be no government-supported vaccination program, regardless of how badly it seems to be needed. All Mr. Obama needs to do is look at the history and decide if he wants to be known as a murderer, like Gerald Ford was known. I doubt it, heavily. Therefore there will not be any overt government action towards treatement.

And we can't behave in a discriminatory manner, so no closing of borders or stopping flights from Mexico. In Phoenix this is a big deal with something like 19 flights a day coming in. That is like 1900 people a day landing in Phoenix that have a high probability of being exposed.

Re:not easy to know how to respond (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766031)

Given the relatively tight control and small numbers of infected, quarantine is the obvious answer. Of course we would have to send military into Mexico since their communications networks do not reach everyone and their general educational levels are pretty abysmal in order to secure an effective quarantine, but at least in the U.S., it can potentially be controlled quite well and I'll bet that most other places will be fine as well.

Here's what I don't get. Just as in the case of threats of terrorism and the like, they are perfectly willing to get people all panicked, but they aren't willing to do simple things like closing borders and quarantining people. It just makes me think they aren't actually serious.

Re:not easy to know how to respond (0, Troll)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766199)

You can't deny entry to people or quarntine them - that would be DISCRIMINATION. Somehow, the idea of discrmination has crept into the public conciousness such that it is no longer proper to pass judgement in any form. To discrminate therefore is wrong - such as to "discriminate" against people that are sick and will infect others.

So to avoid all this discrmination, we suspect all judgement and wave everyone on through.

Of course it is a suicide pact. How could it be anything else?

Re:not easy to know how to respond (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766065)

I read an article a couple days ago, apparently there was a swine flu outbreak in 1976, and the US was quite proactive in stopping it, encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. The problem came when more people died from the vaccine than from the flu.

Indeed. Between putting his full weight behind the immunization effort and pardoning Richard Nixon, Gerry Ford lost any chance of getting elected to a full term as President. And of course, if he hadn't pushed the immunization effort and people had died from the flu...

I do wish there were some way to eliminate all the drama. It's causing all kinds of overreaction. Today, the cafeteria where I work pulled a roast pork entree from the menu. Never mind that you can't get the flu from eating pork. Nor from the other animals that carry the virus, names birds and people. That last one is not recommended for totally unrelated reasons.

I do wish we could get rid of all these stupid "threat levels" bugs, terrorists, and other such stuff. It might seem very kewl to go all Hollywood with your communications, but it does a lot to aggravate the overreaction. If you want to tell people they need to get their pandemic safeguards in place, why can't you just say that? This THREAT LEVEL 5 nonsense is stupid.

Re:not easy to know how to respond (0, Offtopic)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766271)

For organizations like the CDC and WHO, having well thought out, staged plans makes quite a bit of sense (and simplifies communication).

If they have those stages, they are going to leak to the media and be reported, so they might as well just announce them and try to put out some information about what they mean.

Re:not easy to know how to respond (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766267)

The problem came when more people died from the vaccine than from the flu.

You see that as a problem? Consider the sum value for "total deaths" 'under the curve in the graph of the opposite scenario(s).

The WHO just raised it again (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765867)

Nigel Tufnel: You see, most organizations, you know, will be warning at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your warning. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One warninger.

Salshdot is in trouble (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765871)

Everyone knows nerds are pigs.

Re:Salshdot is in trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766279)

Good thing this isn't Salshdot, I suppose.

Just a distraction (4, Funny)

V50 (248015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765931)

Bah, we all should know this "swine flu" is actually a well orchestrated distraction from our real threat.

ZOMBIES!

Fear not the Swine Flu pandemic. Fear instead the imminent Zombie pandemic.

Unless of course this is just phase 1...

Re:Just a distraction - it ended Tea Parties and (1)

PB8 (84009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766265)

the secessionist talk in Texas--the proud Texan has switched from public talk of making 5 states out of Texas to seeking federal assistance and stocks of Tamiflu to help keep the swine flu pandemic from overrunning the Texas border. Now we are talking about the sane goodness of having sound public health policies along with preparedness planning and funding. What next? Public vaccination programs coming into favor again?

Re:Just a distraction (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766335)

Unless of course this is just phase 1...

Yeah, I'm afraid you have - Pink Eye. I'd give you topical medicine, but I don't wanna touch ya.

Re:Just a distraction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766371)

Bah, we all should know this "swine flu" is actually a well orchestrated distraction from our real threat.

ZOMBIES!

Fear not the Swine Flu pandemic. Fear instead the imminent Zombie pandemic.

Unless of course this is just phase 1...

Are you an idiot, or do you just play one on these forums?

You have no idea why individuals are keeping such close track of this virus.

If the H1N1 variant undergoes sufficient point mutation, our current class of Neuraminidase Inhibitors like Tamiflu will be completely useless.

Will the H1N1 variant be the next 1918 killer? Probably not, but it did take us by surprise, and is a sobering reminder that constant vigilance on this front is always paramount.

sensationalistic fodder for the media (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27765963)

and for big drug companies to capitalize on, is what 99% of this is...
Only 7 swine flu Deaths, not 152...

Re:sensationalistic fodder for the media (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766167)

So it's the big pharmaceuticals, not the media, that is blowing this out of proportion, doing their best to create a panic, and failing to put information in any sort of reasonable context? I'm curious how they are managing to do that, since they don't own any tv networks, newspapers, or radio stations.

Maybe they've had an R&D breakthrough on Viral Marketing.

Sensationalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765967)

There's nothing newsworthy about the flu. Not even remotely.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27765991)

WHO the hell was the idiot who made that decision?

Global news outlets (0, Troll)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766023)

Fox News counts as global?

I thought only the redneck subset of America watched it.

Just what is a pandemic? (4, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766063)

in the US alone there are An estimated 100,000 hospitalizations and about 20,000 deaths occur each year from the plain old flu or its complications... so what is the big deal?

Re:Just what is a pandemic? (4, Insightful)

et764 (837202) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766289)

From what I've read the fears over this one are that so far it is killing a lot higher percentage than the flu normally kills. This flu also seems to kill a disproportionate number of people in the 20-50 age rage. Normally flu deaths are mostly confined to infants and the elderly.

From a pure numbers standpoint it's not so bad. What's scary is the similarity to earlier flu pandemics. No one's really sure how bad this may get, so people are taking extra precautions.

Re:Just what is a pandemic? (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766325)

Precautions, I understand, panic, I do not...
Unless it's "Never let a good crisis go to waste"

And some just don't understand. (5, Interesting)

Nethead (1563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766077)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/egypt-orders-slaughter-of-all-pigs-over-swine-flu-1676090.html [independent.co.uk]

Egypt began slaughtering the roughly 300,000 pigs in the country Wednesday as a precautionary measure against the spread of swine flu... Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza told reporters that farmers would be allowed to sell the pork meat so there would be no need for compensation.

Yeah, what's the price of pork in a vastly flooded market. Other stories on the subject report riots by the pig farmers and also note that the WHO says that you can't catch it from eating pork. This is more a case of the non-pork eating religious majority using this as an excuse to crap on the pork eating religious minority (and 'unclean' pig farmers.)

Who? (3, Funny)

Yeef (978352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766083)

The Stonecutters! [youtube.com]

From a Hot Zone (5, Interesting)

mathx314 (1365325) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766113)

Allow me to explain my bias before embarking on this rant: I currently attend University of Delaware. At present there are 10 unconfirmed cases among the student body. Not a big number (total student number is ~13,000), but diseases do have a tendency to spread quickly among student populations.

What bothers me about this isn't that people are overreacting, which they are to a large extent. I don't feel the need to wander around with a surgical mask and I'm right in the middle of a hot zone. Rather, what bothers me is that people are underreacting. There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction that says that swine flu won't cause any sort of devastation; that it's not something to worry about.

The fact of the matter is that while they're probably right, there's no reason not to take simple precautions. So long as this is going on, I'll make sure to was my hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, to try to avoid sick people, and to go to health services if I start showing flu-like symptoms. On the other hand, I hear plenty of people at school saying that they don't care, that if they get it it's "just the flu." I see a lot of people here on /. saying that this is just a media circus and just for drug companies to capitalize on. Maybe you guys are right, but what if you aren't?

As I said, I'm biased since I'm in a hot zone, but I'd rather be safe about this than contract it.

Re:From a Hot Zone (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766273)

Assuming that you are correct, you want to get the flu as soon as possible, so that you either die quickly (you won't, by all evidence) or acquire immunity before the rest of the population (and it has a change to potentially mutate into something worse).

Swine Flu (4, Funny)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766125)

It's the Aporkalypse!

Response From President Of Madagascar (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766127)

SHUT! DOWN! EVERYTHING!

Governments are already taking huge action (5, Funny)

scourfish (573542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766133)

For example, Madagascar has just closed its seaport. And here I was, so close, to winning :(

Re:Governments are already taking huge action (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766349)

I'm not clear on your reference. Is it a totally epic game of Mornington Crescent?

There you go again (2, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766135)

Damn Congress, we told them to cut the pork, and the jerks bring the plague on the House instead.

Still Unknown Case Fatality Rate (4, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766157)

There are basically 3 regimes of Case Fatality Rate separated by about a factor of 10 each:

1) more than 1%
2) .1% to 1%
3) less than .1%

We still don't know which range we're dealing with and, uh, like, it matters.

All it would take is to focus on a standard sample like Mexico City hospital interns, process their swabs STAT and count the deaths so far.

Seriously, folks, where are the adults?

patient zero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766175)

Patient Zero? [memeparty.com]

Precautionary measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27766201)

Shouldn't we kill patient zero, just in case that cures everyone else? It's a long shot, I know, but if we did that for every major disease and it worked just once, it'd be worth it.

No evidence for "Cytokine Storm" (1, Informative)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766243)

People, stop spreading this stupid, unfounded meme. The folks who have been verified to have died from H1N1 2009 have been from a country with a poor health care system and a city that is horrible in terms of air pollution and other environmental conditions. No one except the Internet whargarbl squad is stating that the EIGHT people that the WHO has verified have died from this virus(the most well documented death being of a 23 month old, the very definition of those at-risk for dying from influenza) are adult, healthy people by first world standards. Even the guy who "died from the swine flu" and gave Obama that tour, turns out to not have had "swine flu" at all.

Yes, it is alarming in the sense that it is spreading so quickly off-season and it certainly is getting a lot of media attention, but I've seen people using the phrase "cytokine storm" who couldn't tell you what a deviated septum was last week. Knock it off already.

Patient zero (2, Interesting)

projector (676992) | more than 5 years ago | (#27766305)

There's something vaguely comforting and familiar about medical professionals also starting their indexes at 0.
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