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Passengers Cheat Flu Scan With Fever Reducers

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the take-two-aspirin-and-infect-me-in-the-morning dept.

Medicine 299

Nguyen Van Chau, head of Ho Chi Minh City's Health Department, has revealed that many sick passengers who flew to Ho Chi Minh City used fever reducers to fool temperature scanners at the airport. The government has confirmed 26 people infected with H1N1 flu, 23 of whom came by air after traveling in the United States or Australia. State media reports that the discovery of these scanner cheaters led to the detection of several infected cases later.

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Wait... (4, Insightful)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351363)

How can you call a desired outcome of taking asprin (reducing a fever) with cheating?

Re:Wait... (5, Interesting)

MadMatr07 (1278450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351653)

Once swine flu or H1N1 is mentioned all logic and reason goes out the window. Didn't you know that?

Re:Wait... (4, Insightful)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352477)

It's got nothing to do with swine flu. You're running a fever. You're sick with something. Are you going to be the jackass who sits in a small, cramped aluminum tube for the next 5-15 hours, and risks infecting 300 of your closest friends with whatever you happen to have?

How about a more common scenario. One of your co-workers comes in coughing, sneezing, and lathers their arm in snot before leaning over your desk to see what you're looking at. Do you consider that acceptable behavior, or are you going to go to your boss to force them into taking a sick day and going home?

Re:Wait... (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352847)

Oh, that's nice! Force him to take a sick day, possibly unpaid. You gonna pay him? You gonna buy his airline ticket? Sounds like a sick economy that puts people into that box. And people carry germs all the time, even when they show no symptoms. Oh hell! Just quarantine everybody...just to be safe.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352983)

How about a more common scenario. One of your co-workers comes in coughing, sneezing, and lathers their arm in snot before leaning over your desk to see what you're looking at. Do you consider that acceptable behavior, or are you going to go to your boss to force them into taking a sick day and going home?

Unfortunately the sick co-worker who comes in anyway IS my boss. He generally doesn't do anything productive on normal days, so I'm guessing he figures his productivity doesn't take a hit when he's sick... but of course for the next couple of weeks our productivity as a group goes down, since most of us end up catching his bug.

(Hmm... maybe I'd better post this AC)

Re:Wait... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352839)

Well... reducing fever has (AFAIK) no impact on whether it is communicable. And since stopping the spread of the disease is the goal, it would seem to me that the fever check is just to identify the most easily scannable symptom.

That said, it's less clear whether these people even knew that they had H1N1 - if not, it's hardly reasonable to demonize them as "cheaters".

Re:Wait... (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351745)

H1N1 is a bit miffed about it.

Also the statements by the government quoted in TFA makes it sound a little like the passengers did it intentionally because they knew they were sick and would be detained for 7 days.

Sounds to me more like justification for making examples out of people who were feeling unwell. Punishing "cheaters" to send a message goes over much better than punishing "people who took asprin because they didn't feel well, not realizing they had swine flu"

Re:Wait... (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351833)

I mean I'm sure a lot of these people weren't trying to intentionally cheat the scanners. No one is considerate enough to think I am sick I should get checked out to make sure I am not bringing something into the country. It should be expected people are just going to take meds to feel better and try to get home.

Re:Wait... (2, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352043)

Also, are passengers on stimulants causing false positives?

Re:Wait... (4, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352565)

Also, are passengers on stimulants causing false positives?

Absolutely! Though I myself must admit some guilt:

  1. I cheated my allergies by taking Allegra
    I cheated by asthma by taking Singulaire
    I cheated fatigue by visiting Starbucks
    I cheated hunger by grabbing a Cinnabon

And I selfishly did all this just before boarding a plane!! Nothing can stop me! Mwah ha ha haaa!

Re:Wait... (4, Funny)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353155)

Don't forget, you cheated your depression by taking wellbutrin. And you cheated the calories from the Cinnabon by taking 'themogenic fat burners'.

And then you had a seizure on the plane. :)

Re:Wait... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352423)

Well because if you know you are suffering flu like symptoms you are supposed to tell them when you get off the plane.
By taking the "fever reducers" you are knowingly masking the symptoms.
Yea I think it is bit of a non story but I can see how it is cheating as well.
Isn't Vietnam still a China style communist country? I admit that I don't keep up with their level of freedom and human right's laws.

So . . . (2, Interesting)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351367)

If they avoided detection by the offending scanner, then how were they detected to be scanner cheaters?

simple, they were tracked down as sources (3, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351943)

If they avoided detection by the offending scanner, then how were they detected to be scanner cheaters?

Well, given that they infected other people, and eventually epidemiologists tracked them down via the people they infected...

To all those defending those who traveled while sick: I'm sorry, but if there is a travel ban because of a well publicized disease that is killing people, and you don't feel well, sit your selfish ass down in bed where it belongs. My parents raised me to stay home if I was sick, because it's beyond rude to make those around you sick. The regular flu kills kids and the elderly all the time. This one is much nastier.

Let me put it this way: if people had laptops that were infected, were booted off the network because of security software, and then defeated that security software to get online (and infected machines around them, destroying some of them)...what would you say then?

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (2, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352139)

Let me put it this way: if people had laptops that were infected, were booted off the network because of security software, and then defeated that security software to get online (and infected machines around them, destroying some of them)...what would you say then?

Nothing. That's what LARTs are for.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352177)

You could stay home when other people are sick. Not sure where in the constitution it says healthy people have right to travel when sick people don't.

Let me put it this way: if people had laptops that were infected, were booted off the network because of security software, and then defeated that security software to get online (and infected machines around them, destroying some of them)...what would you say then?

I'd say you're trying to compare apples and orangutans.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (4, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353075)

You could stay home when other people are sick. Not sure where in the constitution it says healthy people have right to travel when sick people don't.

No one mentioned the word "rights" here, nor is it even a question. Nor is the U.S. Constitution relevant in even the slightest of ways. I really doubt that the Vietnamese, must less most of the world really care one bit about our constitution, nor should they. Countries have the right to restrict foreign travelers, if you break their entry laws, your breaking laws and are free to accept the consequences. This too is fine. If you don't like their laws, no one is forcing you to go there.

Most Government's, including the U.S. have the right to quarantine people for the good of the public health. This is also fine. If you, exercising your rights to be an inconsiderate asshat, endanger hundreds of people, then your rights to travel can, and should, be temporarily suspended. This makes perfect sense.

Can we please stop with this "the Constitution says I have the right to do whatever the hell I please" meme. It doesn't, and it goes against the legal and philosophical trends that lead to the foundation of the US. Your rights stop the second they infringe on someone else's. You don't have the right to be a dick.

Also can we stop with this "The U.S Constitution is somehow universally relevant to other sovereign nations" bull. No one cares. Hell, we decided the Constitution isn't even valid to large swaths of people in the US, or held against their will on US soil. Why should any country treat us differently?

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (2, Interesting)

anegg (1390659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352185)

H1N1 Type A is "much nastier" than what?

Most of the reports that I have seen in the US are pretty clear that H1N1 Type A is no more virulent than the seasonal flu, and no more likely to cause death in the US cases. This was clear from all public reports in the US very early on. There was some difficulty in analysis because the Mexican cases appeared to indicate a much more virulent disease; I suspect that the post-game analysis will show other factors were at work including nutritional status of patients, other illnesses, etc.

The much over-hyped "pandemic" status merely indicates the scope of infection, not the potential death toll.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (3, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352367)

It's very important to note that the death statistics are misleading.

Because of the enormous attention paid to this flu variant, the level of medical care has been much higher than normal. Furthermore, the season may reduce casualties due to reduced incidence of secondary infections, etc.

Because the casualty level is in line with "normal" flue variants, but mitigating factors mentioned above are present, it's very likely that this strain *is* deadlier than the typical strains.

Furthermore, for countries with lower standards of medical care, or other factors that increase severity (like poor nutrition and sanitary conditions, for example), this strain could have disastrous impact -- especially if it is spreading like wildfire come winter in the northern hemisphere.

In short -- yes, the media has whipped up a frenzy. But, prevention of infection is still a worthy goal, and *some* extra attention is probably a good thing.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352671)

Wait, what about all the people in the designer baby story that said we shouldn't interfere with natural selection? Wouldn't this count as part of evolution / natural selection?

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352971)

Wait, what about all the people in the designer baby story that said we shouldn't interfere with natural selection? Wouldn't this count as part of evolution / natural selection?

Yes. All medicine is interfering with natural selection. But the ability to get the medicine may be due to genetic factors that are being selected against, so maybe it's natural selection after all.

But, at any rate, I suspect you have an ulterior motive, plague3106 (71849). You're just trying to drum up support for not allowing people to treat an epidemic, aren't you? This is a self-interested move on your part to enable your continued existence, isn't it?

Well, I for one do NOT welcome our H1N1 Mexican Swine Flu Plague overlords, and I defy you. I am getting the vaccine when it's available, like it or not.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353211)

Ha you caught me. ;-)

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352267)

Well, given that they infected other people, and eventually epidemiologists tracked them down via the people they infected...

Well, there's the rub, isn't it? You let us all know when you've found a way to reliably and unmistakably trace an infection in one person to another individual when they're both actively out in the general population of Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam is, after all, both internationally recognized for being at the leading edge of epidemiological research and known to have a comprehensive and well-funded and supplied system of universal medicare. Can you even imagine the conditions there? I've been to similar places (Manila, Dhaka); I can.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (3, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352395)

This one is much nastier.

[Citation needed]

On the other hand, it's not nastier at all than other flu cases. Just look up the number of infected vs number of dead. And don't forget, we humans never encountered this strain, and despite that the deaths are most of the time people with previous health issues (like normal flu).

You can sleep quietly today. The Aporkalypse won't happen ... for now.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352493)

To all those defending those who traveled while sick: I'm sorry, but if there is a travel ban because of a well publicized disease that is killing people, and you don't feel well, sit your selfish ass down in bed where it belongs. My parents raised me to stay home if I was sick, because it's beyond rude to make those around you sick. The regular flu kills kids and the elderly all the time. This one is much nastier.

There are several very fundamental problems with your logic:

  • You are forgetting that most major airlines refuse to allow people to change economy flights on account of illness. The result is that people fly when their tickets say they have to fly. Blame the airlines for their ridiculous flight change policies. Until they change those policies, this entire discussion is moot.
  • Even if the airline were willing to change the flight date or the passenger had the money to buy a new ticket, you are still assuming that the passenger would be able to get another flight at a later date. Given how full most flights are, this is not a given.
  • You are assuming that people are deliberately trying to avoid getting caught. People who have fevers take cold medicine to make them feel better, not to evade thermal scans. Most people don't even know that they do such things at some airports.
  • You are assuming that sick people are always flying from their home to somewhere else. If you get sick while on vacation thousands of miles from home, staying home isn't an option. Your choices are: A. fly back or B. spend potentially several thousand dollars for a last-second hotel room so that you can avoid traveling while sick. Even if you choose to book additional nights at a hotel, you are still risking infecting the housekeeping staff who could spread it to other hotel guests, infecting the restaurant staff while getting meals, infecting the cab driver who has to take you to get medical care because you have no car or other means of transportation, etc.
  • You are assuming that the people were sick when they left on the first leg of their flight. This is also not always the case. Illness can come on quite suddenly.

I've been there back in summer of 2005---sick in Italy on the last day of a two week trip---and let me tell you that it isn't fun. I started out the first leg (from Italy to Heathrow) not feeling great but not terrible. It felt like a cold. By the time I left Heathrow, I was feeling miserable. By the time I got to California, it was a good thing my parents were in town visiting and could pick me up where the bus dropped me off. I would not have been able to roll my luggage the three blocks from where the bus dropped me off back to my house. Staying behind, however, was clearly not an option. I was sick for almost two weeks after that, and would have ended up spending upwards of $4,000 to postpone my return that far, not to mention the problem of getting to medical care without anyone there to drive me, the problem of getting food, etc.

While it's a nice idea (in theory) to avoid traveling while sick, in practice, it is a rather naive notion that doesn't take into account the practicality of doing so. One cannot "stay home" if one gets sick while already away from home.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352559)

Given how full most flights are, this is not a given.

I would suggest that you are given to using the word given due to the given fact that you use given as a given.

Given this fact, I would say that the overuse of given may not always be a given, though given as a verbal use may be given the status of any given verbal usage.

It is not a given that even I understood what I was talking about given that we are talking about a given, given that given is coined so much.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353117)

For that matter, if someone exerts themselves on vacation (water skiing, hiking, etc) they may take aspirin for the aches and pains and assume they feel the way they do because they overdid it. They might realize they're sick only when they don't feel better in the next day or two.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353137)

You are assuming that people are deliberately trying to avoid getting caught. People who have fevers take cold medicine to make them feel better, not to evade thermal scans. Most people don't even know that they do such things at some air

This being the topic of TFA, is a given. And by doing so they were violating Vietnamese law. Pretty cut and dry now, eh?

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352541)

You're assuming these people *knew* they were sick, and then deliberately took measures to avoid detection. Maybe they just took some tylenol because they had a headache, or a general malaise, without being aware that they had the flu. And honestly, maybe a few particularly altruistic people would take steps to get a diagnosis in a foreign country that they don't trust, on the chance that they'd have to spend thousands of dollars to extend their trips, rebook their flights, and possibly lose their jobs... but I'd wager that most people wouldn't.

This is just China making a stink about the US. They're touting the US death toll whilst failing to release their own numbers -- if they even know. *We* don't even have accurate numbers; I can only imagine how much worse the testing and reporting would be in China.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

OrigamiMarie (1501451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352589)

Yes, people should stay home when sick. Yes, especially right now.

However, many of us were taught that we should only stay home from school if we really just couldn't learn that day. Otherwise, get out there and go to school or else your grades will slip, or you'll be given a failing grade anyway for lack of attendance (yes schools do this, even if you're doing fabulously, and the limit is very low these days), or the authorities will come down hard on you and/or your parents. It's stupid, but them's the rules because school is about forcing a babysitting service upon the children, not about teaching them to be good and responsible adults.

And many parents simply don't have the resources to do something responsible with their kids when they start to sniffle, sneeze, cough, get fevers, etc. Can't stay home with them (no sick days or you have to work this shift or face wrath of boss / peers), regular daycare is obviously not the answer, gotta send them to school unless they need to go to the ER instead.

Yes, you really shouldn't go on vacation when sick. But people do it all the time. It's the only chance they'll get to go this year, and they won't ruin the whole family vacation just because of an illness that will probably clear in a couple of days.

Yes, you probably shouldn't travel at all if you're sick -- even if you are already away from home. But it's horribly expensive to change plans for return flights. And you likely didn't leave much (any) extra vacation time in case of emergencies at the end of your trip; you have to get back home and get back to work. And even if you do have the contingency worked out right, do you really want to get sicker in a foreign city / country / continent, where your health insurance may not cover you, the doctor who knows you is unavailable, and you are stuck without your usual comfort food (oh yeah, every culture does have its food to feed the sick people, but it won't be your comfort food).

So yes, people should play the game right, but they have so much practice playing it wrong and so many reasons to think of themselves and not the group that . . . there will always be somebody who chooses the "wrong" way. We're animals, and we think even more like simple animals when we're sick.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352629)

The regular flu kills kids and the elderly all the time. This one is much nastier.

No, it's not. Its actually less worse than the regular flu.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352681)

You're parents raised a delicate child that uses weak analogies to make a point and no citations to support general statements.

Keep your dumb ass in bed where it belongs.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352727)

Ohh yeah, stay our sick asses in bed and get FIRED from our jobs for being sick.

LOL The day they FIRE people for coming to work sick is the day I stay home sick. Until then I go to work.

If they avoided detection by the offending scanner, then how were they detected to be scanner cheaters?

Well, given that they infected other people, and eventually epidemiologists tracked them down via the people they infected...

To all those defending those who traveled while sick: I'm sorry, but if there is a travel ban because of a well publicized disease that is killing people, and you don't feel well, sit your selfish ass down in bed where it belongs. My parents raised me to stay home if I was sick, because it's beyond rude to make those around you sick. The regular flu kills kids and the elderly all the time. This one is much nastier.

Let me put it this way: if people had laptops that were infected, were booted off the network because of security software, and then defeated that security software to get online (and infected machines around them, destroying some of them)...what would you say then?

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352945)

Well, if you get your selfish ass society to pay for the sick person's health care, they might be able to afford to keep their "selfish asses" at home.

Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352957)

How many of them do you suppose actually believed they had the dreaded H1N1 vs. those who believed were avoiding 7 days of needless confinement (under god knows what conditions) when they had "a cold". If you want people to comply with confinement, it needs to be under excellent conditions and you need to be credible enough that people will believe the reports on the conditions.

Doubly so considering that according to Alpha [wolframalpha.com] , we're at 36,000 cases worldwide serious enough to have been diagnosed and reported with 163 deaths. That's a 0.4% mortality rate from the "killer" flu. Typically, the total cases will be under-reported while the mortality rate is inflated (since the cases serious enough to end in death are much more likely to be detected). It's hard to take the 'urgent' need to turn oneself in for confinement seriously when the media and government panic is as big as it is while the actual stats are that mild.

Not to mention the likely MANY people who mis-understood and thought the airport had swine flu detectors. They would be pretty sure they just had a cold, so would take an aspirin figuring the magic swine-flu detectors would let them know if there was a problem.

I fully agree, people should stay home when sick. Further, employers shouldn't grumble about it (much better to have one person out sick today than 10 tomorrow). However, when traveling, it's all too possible to leave healthy and then get sick.

Re:So . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351985)

Presumably because their condition later got worse and they went to a hospital / clinic and were diagnosed. At which point public health officials said "hang on a minute, you're a foreigner and you only arrived two days ago. Why weren't you detected by the scanners we spent tons of money on and we promised would protect the country? You must be a cheater!".

Except they probably said it in Vietnamese, obviously.

Re:So . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352053)

Or they invented scanners to scan scanner offenders.

Re:So . . . (1)

notseamus (1295248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352027)

Because the government in Viet Nam doesn't want people to know that the scanners are a useless waste?

Fever doesn't spell influenza (5, Informative)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351381)

Fever can be caused by lots of things. H1N1 isn't the only possible fever-inducing pathogen, and you can even have fever without having an infection. Preventing people with fever from travelling seems kind of an overkill.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351481)

Fever can be caused by lots of things. H1N1 isn't the only possible fever-inducing pathogen, and you can even have fever without having an infection. Preventing people with fever from travelling seems kind of an overkill.

What you said and the mentality that would refer to this as "cheating" rather than "we need to implement a better way to screen for this, preferably one that fully informs the airline passengers of our intentions" reminded me of a joke. TSA = Thugs Standing Around.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (4, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351751)

While you are correct you missed the biggest point. You can carry H1N1 or any virus for days without showing any symptom including fever.

That makes these scanners completely worthless. The goal of these must be to program people to get used to ridiculous measures for their "security."

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351929)

The goal of these must be to program people to get used to ridiculous measures for their "security."

Not necessarily, the goal could also be to have something "concrete" to point to when the mobs fear of H1N1 demands that the government do SOMETHING to protect them.

"See? We tried to screen at the airport to keep it from coming in, but people cheated to get around our screening. THOSE people are who you should be mad at, not US."

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352003)

The goal of these must be to program people to get used to ridiculous measures for their "security."

Or, you know, to prevent a pandemic flu from becoming established inside your borders, thus saving potenitally thousands of lives and countless hours of productivity.

Seriously. The fact that people can be incubating the virus while not presenting symptoms does not mean that identifying those who ARE symptomatic is useless. Identifying people who potentially have the disease, and quarantining them, is one of the most important and effective ways to prevent the spread of communicable disease.

Especially since a vaccine is on the way, the goal right now for any country is to prevent penetration of H1N1 Mexican flu through their borders until the vaccine is widely available.

You may think it's security theater... but then again, we can all be glad you're not the one making the decisions relating to national health concerns on this.

And, FWIW, regarding carrying a virus asymptomatically... almost all viral diseases have predictable incubation times. This is what makes quarantine effective. For example, if you travel to China right now, and someone on your plane has flu-like symptoms, you get quarantined for seven days (several days longer than the incubation time of H1N Mexican flu). So by the end of quarantine, you're either symptomatic, or cleared as not infected.

I'm rambling a bit here, but... the threat of pandemic is real, and fever scanners are a useful tool in helping prevent the spread of the disease. Sure, they're not 100% effective... but for an exponential expansion of victims, a small decrease in vector individuals can drastically reduce the number of people affected before a vaccine is readily available.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352739)

WTF are you talking about. If the system isn't perfect than it is completely useless.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (2, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352801)

The only way to truly stop a pandemic is to stop all travel into your borders unless you have a 100% fullproof system.

It would be a miracle if this sytem caught 1%.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352865)

Or, you know, to prevent a pandemic flu from becoming established inside your borders, thus saving potenitally thousands of lives and countless hours of productivity.

The only way to effectively do that would be to completely close your borders.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

SquirrelsUnite (1179759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352025)

While you are correct you missed the biggest point. You can carry H1N1 or any virus for days without showing any symptom including fever.

That makes these scanners completely worthless. The goal of these must be to program people to get used to ridiculous measures for their "security."

But preventing some infected people from getting into the country is a positive result too. And your last point is unfounded. It's more a response towards people's demand to "do something about it". It's not a complete solution, it might not even be worth the cost, but I don't see the large scale conspiracy to attack our freedoms.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352085)

Correct. There is nothing mystical about H1N1. It's a strain of the extremely common influenza A virus. You know influenza A well, you've probably had at least several times in your life. It's the flu. This is just a new strain. It's not any worse (or better) than any other strain of influenza A. All this hand-waving about H1N1 is stupid and pointless. Anybody with half a brain could tell you that, yes, you can carry the flu for several days without showing any symptoms whatsoever.

There were 45,000 cases of the of the swine flu in the U.S. and I think like 25 people died. That's a fatality rate of what? A half of a tenth of a percent? About the same fatality rate for any other strain of influenza A.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352793)

All this hand-waving about H1N1 is stupid and pointless.

This is not the flu we'relooking for....Move along.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351755)

Well, with the avian flu, a load of countries were complaining about how some places in Asia didn't handle things well enough and allowed the spread of disease to happen more easily. Now many of those countries are saying, "fine, we'll quarantine anybody who's suspected of having swine flu", so people are complaining that they're being too strict with their containment.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351939)

Yeah, John Travolta would be locked forever [imdb.com] .

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352685)

Sounds like he'd just be in for an evening.

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352859)

My mother is cold. Literally cold.

When she has a fever she peaks at 98F

I doubt I'd be able to fool one of these sensors. My fevers usually hit 103-104F. Apparently I once hit 105F, and was totally tripping out, muttering stuff while I slept. Luckily someone cooled me down. ;)

Re:Fever doesn't spell influenza (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353003)

There's no such thing as overkill in security theater. Overacting, maybe...

Did the actually cheat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351399)

When I get a fever I take a Tylenol or Excedrin to reduce my fever.....that does not mean I am cheating.

The article is lacking in detail.

CC

Seems unlikely (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351407)

It seems unlikely that they took the fever reducers strictly as a means of fooling the scanners. Common flu signs include aches and pains, and most of the pain relievers also reduce fevers.

Re:Seems unlikely (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352081)

Anecdotal, of course... but a coworker of mine flew to China last week and took tylenol and cough medicine specifically to reduce the chance that he'd exhibit symptoms that could be mistaken for the flu. His travel agent suggested he do this, since if one person on the plane exhibited flu symptoms, all the passengers would have been quarantined for 7 days.

Asian countries (like South Korea and China) are primed to respond quickly and strongly to pandemic threats, due to their recent experience with the avian flu.

Another coworker of mine was supposed to fly to China to visit family this summer... her friends and family have told her that they won't see her if she goes, since there are confirmed cases of H1N1 Mexican flu in our area. So she's putting off the trip until the vaccine is available.

Re:Seems unlikely (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352205)

Sorry to post two responses, but I forgot another significant issue.

A lot of countries require incoming travelers to answer some questions about their health, to help prevent the spread of disease. Not sure if the country in question is currently doing this, but I suspect they are.

So you won't be allowed to board the plane unless you answer "no" when asked if you've had any symptoms of illness.

So the fact that they took a fever-reducer means they knew they were ill; the fact that they answered no to the question means they knew they weren't supposed to travel while ill; so the the conclusion is that they took the antipyretic partly to avoid detection.

Assuming, of course, that the country in question requires incoming travelers to answer the questions about illness.

This was said before (3, Informative)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351411)

Australian scientists had already pointed that [thestar.co.za] .

Intent? (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351415)

The article doesn't really explain whether this was deliberate cheating. Did any of these folks see a doctor who straight up told them "Yes, you have this dangerous flu virus, please avoid airline travel because we need to contain it?" Otherwise, it's not unusual for people to feel the onset of a cold or flu and take "medicine" (i.e. symptom blockers) so they can feel better and avoid missing work. Is it strange that people might do this to avoid missing a flight (and aren't airplane tickets often non-refundable?) with no intention of cheating anything? I mean, if you stopped random people in the street and asked them, I doubt most of them would even know that airliners have body-temperature scanners.

Re:Intent? (2, Insightful)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352227)

Never mind the fact that if you have a Cold or Flu the doctor will say stop wasting my time and infecting everyone else in the waiting room and take some over the counter pain killers, for instance Ibuprofen or Paracetemol.

Typical. (5, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351433)

Those bastards, trying to keep their proteins from denaturing! Hang them, hang them high!

wow...just wow (-1, Redundant)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351443)

Wow, this is fucked for multiple reasons:
  1. Why was the possibility of people taking OTC fever reducers not taken into account when designing this retarded ass H1N1 "detection" system
  2. So having a fever automatically implies you're infected with H1N1

Re:wow...just wow (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351913)

Why was the possibility of people taking OTC fever reducers not taken into account when designing this retarded ass H1N1 "detection" system

Because in our culture, your security is something that is done to you, not something in which you are actively involved. Being actively involved in your own interests would be a microcosm of self-determination, self-government, personal responsibility, and individualism. You know, those things that this country used to be all about. There is currently something of a war against those things right now, and I believe it's because they are perceived as obstacles by those who would like to see fascism in the USA. To be correctly appreciated, this must be seen not as isolated issues, but in terms of a few basic principles that determine many aspects of life.

To put that another way, you know what would really stop terrorists from hijacking an airplane? Hundreds of well-armed passengers. And no, a bullet hole will not decompress an aircraft.

Re:wow...just wow (1)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352495)

in our culture,

Kind of a stretch to call Ho Chi Minh City "our culture" when you're talking about the USA, no?

Re:wow...just wow (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352931)

in our culture,

Kind of a stretch to call Ho Chi Minh City "our culture" when you're talking about the USA, no?

I didn't do a very good job of explaining how the silliness and security theater that is mostly being pioneered in the USA is now spreading even to distant nations with rather different beliefs such as Vietnam. As I did a poor job of that, I am glad you called me on it. I see all of that as a general process of decline that has no borders, though there are reasons why it happens in some places first and takes time to spread to others. To put that another way, while I can't prove it, I strongly suspect that, had the USA reacted in a completely rational, "real security and not security theater" sort of way to 9/11, others would have followed suit. Instead, we acquired a national willingness to let irrational fear rule the day and some years later we see these folks in Vietnam following our example instead of providing a counter-example. That's a shame because counter-examples that might put the lie to this hysteria are rather badly needed.

That culture I referred to was not specific to any one country (that'd be an improvement). I referred to Western culture in general. The only part I meant to be specific to the USA is that we in particular used to stand for something better than this. In a way, this is a commentary on how many traditionally non-Western nations are undergoing a process which could be called "Westernization", similar to what Japan and China have dealt with and continue to deal with. I don't consider Vietnam to be the world's only isolated island that is completely unaffected and uninfluenced by the cultures with which it interacts, in other words. The article/summary specifically mentioned travelers who had been to the US and Australia, so we are talking about people who are at least familiar with Western culture. And make no mistake; fascism is also without borders, or would like to be. Those who want it to happen to the USA would really love to see that spread throughout the world. That's just as emperors and dictators throughout history have dreamed of ruling the world, and several of them did rule the (known) world.

I hope that makes a bit more sense.

And now... (3, Insightful)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351463)

...can someone lend me that cool (but useless) thermal scanner so I can watch that hot girl that lives next door? That would be definitely useful.

Re:And now... (5, Funny)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351671)

...can someone lend me that cool (but useless) thermal scanner so I can watch that hot girl that lives next door? That would be definitely useful.

Why? So you can look at her delicious kind-of-reddish-coloured breast outlines and those sexy blueish-green thighs?

Re:And now... (3, Funny)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351741)

Why? So you can look at her delicious kind-of-reddish-coloured breast outlines and those sexy blueish-green thighs?

Hey, Kirk seemed to like the green color in Star Trek...

Re:And now... (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352219)

So you can look at her delicious kind-of-reddish-coloured breast outlines and those sexy blueish-green thighs?

It's a shame I'm daltonic :-(

Perfectly normal (0, Troll)

aaandre (526056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351483)

The scanners were installed so that they can screen people who did not give consent for screening. It is only logical that people with cold symptoms who do not want their time wasted or worse, being prevented from entering the country, take measures to protect *their* investment in tickets, vacation time etc.

Re:Perfectly normal (3, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351619)

This comment is just continuing the bullshit that is in the article...

People didn't take fever reducers to fool the scanner. They took an aspirin 'cause they felt like crap.

Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351503)

H1N1 is all about conditioning and compliance testing. That is all. The real shit will go down once they know we will respond the way they want us to.

Anonymous thought criminal (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351827)

Uh-oh. Unauthorized thoughts detected.

I bet running for the plane will get you flagged. (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351547)

This is a misuse of technology and is very much security theatre. You're more likely to prevent the spread of flu by praying to the spaghetti monster. The thing is that people are panicked over this as it has been overhyped by the media. They're willing to put up with any inconvenience as long as they can trade it for a warm (but not too warm or you'll get scanned) safe feeling.

Re:I bet running for the plane will get you flagge (3, Insightful)

brock bitumen (703998) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351915)

i prayed to the spaghetti monster, and i don't have the flu. ergo, it does work

Re:I bet running for the plane will get you flagge (2, Informative)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352105)

While I certainly believe tat the media has over-hyped H1N1, you have to also remember where the Scientific community's concern is.

The way it went with "the flu" that we keep hearing about in the '20s is that.

1) There was suddenly a spring flu that was both out of season and relatively mild (what we have now, and H1N1 appears to also be related to that earlier strain)

2) By the time of the Fall and the "usual" flu season, the strain from early spring had mutated dramatically making it extremely deadly (as these things go, killing 10-20% of those infected vs. the usual 0.1%). An estimated 500K-600K died in the U.S. (just to give an idea of scope).

Now, #2 MIGHT still happen, and its what those in the Infectious Disease community are afraid of, but you're right, the current version of H1N1 is relatively benign and overhyped by the media ... so far.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic [wikipedia.org] )

wow (5, Insightful)

rand200069 (851045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351551)

I thought tylenol, ibuprofen, and the like were pretty commonly used when people get sick. How is this news, besides the fact that they decided to implement a ridiculous screening process that is easily bypassed?

What were they thinking!!! (3, Insightful)

djdbass (1037730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351579)

Those SOB's took asprin when they had a fever! Get 'em!!!

Re:What were they thinking!!! (1)

steeljaw (65872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352741)

LOL, did you notice that one of the tags was "assholes", that seriously made my day :)

Perfect way of detecting people with swine flu (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351599)

Just take them to an interrogatory room!

- So, do you sneeze constantly?

- Er... no.

- I saw you sneeze before.

- I didn't.

- But supose you did. Why would you lie about sneezing?

- Hm, maybe because I wouldn't want you to know that I have the swine flu and lock me up in here.

- So, when did you get the flu then?

- I didn't get the flu.

- Oh, i see. We've got a smart-ass here!

Or, another way of seeing it:

1 - Come to the conclusion that a good swine flu detector would be useful.

2 - ???

3 - Build thousands of swine flu detectors and sell them.

4 - Profit!

Pointless (3, Insightful)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351635)

So this vaunted "flu-scanner" can be fooled simply by taking Tylenol? Are you serious? Shouldn't it be assumed that anyone who is running a fever will most likely be taking fever-reducing medications?

Tell me again what the point of this scanner is?

Re:Pointless (5, Funny)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351959)

its second purpose is to discover when lizard people have infiltrated our society

In other news... (5, Funny)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351661)

In other news it was discovered that vampires are able to raise their body temperature high enough to fool heat cameras meant to detect the undead by drinking a gallon of hot coffee right before they pass the cameras.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352097)

That explains all those pasty guys at the urinals with sun glasses on!

So doing something to my own body is CHEATING? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351789)

So let me get this straight. I take something to change my body temperature and I'm now being called a CHEATER? When did I cede control over my body to the government? I don't recall being convicted of any crime.

Re:So doing something to my own body is CHEATING? (3, Funny)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351831)

So doing something to my own body is CHEATING?

That's what I told her :-(

Re:So doing something to my own body is CHEATING? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351899)

isn't it funny that some women are jealous even of *that*? talk about low self-esteem. self-touchy is my business, hun!

Re:So doing something to my own body is CHEATING? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352295)

You sure her being mad didn't have something to do with you looking at the girl next door with a temperature scanner [slashdot.org] ?

Re:So doing something to my own body is CHEATING? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351949)

When you decided to live in/visit Vietnam.

Re:So doing something to my own body is CHEATING? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352013)

Well... if you put it that way, if you take some "medicines" like steroids to i.e. change your body mass close to an olimpic competition, is called cheating, usually.

Probably the biggest problem wasnt that people took aspirines because they knew they were sick (in a situation where a pandemic is spreading, and you could be carrier, some people could put the criminal negligence label), but what about people that usually takes aspirines because headache or other minor things?

Re:So doing something to my own body is CHEATING? (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352425)

When did I cede control over my body to the government?

Why, at least since the War on (some) Drugs. You don't own your body if the government can tell you what you may or may not put into it. Likewise, you don't own your consciousness if the government can tell you that there are authorized and unauthorized ways of altering it. In both cases, you are more like a tenant of your body and of your mind, not an owner. That's one of the major reasons why you don't use manipulative social engineering to solve perceived problems, because it sets some very nasty precedents like this. Precedents which later generations, having few or no counter-examples, grow up to believe are normal and acceptable.

If the War on Drugs actually did anything to reduce the street availability of the substances it seeks to control (do the research; it hasn't), I might feel differently about it, though I doubt it because my opposition to it is rooted in principle. As it has failed to achieve its primary stated goals, I consider it completely without merit and its ill side-effects to be unjustifiable. Anyway, to answer your question, yes we have ceded control over our bodies to the government and we did it a long time ago. We traded it for a little safety that hasn't kept us any safer but has guaranteed a steady flow of money to various criminal organizations by means of the black market. Like anyone else who trades what is priceless for something that has a price, we got screwed. Not only is some buyer's remorse in order, it's long overdue.

Those people .. (3, Interesting)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351817)

.. who are taking 'fever reducers' are not cheating as they have no way of knowing whether or not they have the H1N1 virus. Furthermore I have the uneasy feeling that at some point, 'fever reducers' will be pulled off the shelves and H1N1 vaccination will be required. JMHO

quarantine doesn't cut it anyways.... (1)

kaplong! (688851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351963)

...and was therefore dropped by e.g. Hongkong as a response to the swine flu 'pandemic'. While we were there in May they changed their policy from quarantine to supervised medication once a day. Would have sucked to get stuck there for a whole week just because of elevated facial temperature - whether it's caused by H1N1, or 'normal' flu, or just because you're lugging heavy bags around after dehydrating for 12 hours in some damn' UA airplane with smelly watertanks.

Nothing but face-saving (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352029)

OK, you people have to figure out how things work under a Communist government. The higher-ups want to protect the country from H1N1, all the other Asian countries are doing it. Heat scanners are installed in all airports, with a masked nurse seated nearby filing her fingernails and ignoring the device. We've secured the country! But wait it seems H1N1 cases got through anyway. The higher-ups are furious, they were assured that heat detectors were deployed. Solution? Those shifty foreigners cheated our indigenously made infrared devices. Therefore, no punishment will be meted out as blame has been shifted. Someone always has to take the fall for mistakes, even if they were otherwise fully qualified as health director, head scientist, etc. History is full of officials who got sent to the gulag because they couldn't dodge the blame for something that didn't turn out perfectly.

better lay off the first class booze... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28352539)

I think it would be funny to see someone healthy booze up during the flight, get a nice alco-blush going and get pushed into an 'isolation' room full of sick people.

Whoa, Momma! (1)

DirkGently (32794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352113)

That chick in the scan? She's *hot*. Just look at the signatures on her!

They didn't CHEAT (1)

maclizard (1029814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352141)

I find it a little bit offensive that this article refers to the patrons as cheaters rather than referring to the organization that implemented this technology as short-sighted. If I have a fever, I take a fever reducer to, well, REDUCE my fever. It's not cheating, its common sense.

Are the procedures any good? (1)

glgraca (105308) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352193)

I wonder if these procedures aren't really helping spread the disease faster.

In Argentina, at EZE, my whole flight was squeezed into a very small (and hot!) space and then they let us out one by one as we passed in front of the scanner and were checked by grumpy old doctors.

alarmist article brought you by temp scan corps (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352457)

We have been trying to sell these dang temperature scanners for months, but now we have a new marketing strategy to move them like hot cakes. We will accuse sick people using medicine of trying fool health officials to diabolically spread pandemic viruses and get the public to panic. Then we will be sitting pretty on all the new orders. Profit!
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