Oct

24

President Obama has just declared the H1N1 virus a National Emergency [in the United States]. Dr. Janice Dorn

I must say, during the Australian winter, there was a huge fuss about swine flu…the popular media were all over it and screaming alarm due to its rapid spread. Now I'm in the northern hemisphere and watching the pop media up here do the same thing.

In Sydney at least, the reality was that so many people ended up getting it without consequence that it just faded off everyone's radar. In fact, at one point, many of the health services said, "If you have flu symptoms, you probably do have swine flu and just treat as usual". Some schools were shut down for a short period but, to my recollection, there were no serious, adverse consequences of this virus in the general public. However, having said that, pregnant women definitely seemed to be more adversely affected and there were some deaths amongst the aged (but whether they might have died even if they'd caught garden-variety flu is up for speculation).

People in my office had swine flu, friends had swine flu, a couple of extended family members had it - but no one of average health and constitution was more sick than if they'd had regular flu.

I'm not a doctor, nor do I wish to be flip about all this so, of course, I defer to those with the expertise and have seen / done the appropriate research. I mention this just to give some anecdotal "evidence" / hope that we're not all doomed. Furthermore, I've seen this virus do its thing through a major population centre and people weren't dropping like flies.

Additional Reading

I was very interested to read the Surveillance Report [20 page pdf] from the Australian Gov't health service regarding the national experience of swine flu to the present day…

I found there to be numerous helpful observations within. I highly commend reading of the full report and draw particular attention to the statistical tables and charts beginning p. 10 et seq.

My thanks to Dr. Dorn for keeping us abreast of developments as they occur. I would also be interested to hear of how the Australian figures compare to US observations (esp. re susceptibility of indigenous population) as things progress.

Also, worth reading is the Q&A about H1N1 Flu at the CDC based on  NEJM data.


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