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Thread: Flu thread from GA forum HST thread

  1. #1
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    Flu thread from GA forum HST thread

    This needed moving so as not to hijack the HST thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    Quote Originally Posted by John Kierein
    I'm sorry if this rambled and made no sense. I'm starting recovery stage of the worst flu I have ever had. I actually called the doctor because I seriously thought I was going to die Monday because of the way I felt and the "105.1" on my digital thermometer. It's down to 99.8 now, but I'm a still incoherent and also depressed about what I have to make up at work next week. Stay away from this flu, people. I'm a healthy, in-shape 39 year old, and it flattened me like a semi-truck. Bloody nasty thing! I beagn to wonder if it was West Nile or freaking SARS.
    My theory is that they give flu shots to the wrong people. They should be given to the young and healthy; not the old. My grandmother died in the 1919 flu epidemic in her late 20s. Most of the millions who died were of a similar age. The old folks survived. My grandmother was well one day, sick the next, dead the third. Left 3 small children. The old folks have had so many flu shots they are already immune to the worst symptoms.
    But that's one of the things they say is notable about the 1918/19 epidemic: that it hit young people disproportionately. That's not the way flu usually works.

    What I can't understand is why one of my friends who is a firefighter/EMT is not supposed to get a flu shot even though she's frequently exposed to sick people and could easily become a carrier.
    Last comment first. The fire fighter should have been eligible for a flu shot this year as having direct patient contact. It may have been the provider who that department used did not have vaccine or someone misjudged what EMTs do.

    I gave about 700 doses to firefighters this year. Several departments' usual providers did not have vaccine, though, so they did not all get doses.

    However, the decision to vaccinate health care workers had nothing to do with being exposed. If it did we would have vaccinated school teachers and grocery clerks. The reason to vaccinate health care workers is because evidence shows they spread flu infection to their patients.

    I'm not surprised the person John answered was that sick. (I have to go back to see who wrote that quote.) And, there is no reason to think it was SARS. The flu can cause very severe including fatal disease among even the healthiest people. Flu is one of the those hazards highly underestimated by the general public.

    Toseek's and TGT's following post answered why we vaccinated high risk individuals and not healthy ones this year.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGalaxyTrio
    Quote Originally Posted by John Kierein
    The old folks have had so many flu shots they are already immune to the worst symptoms.
    It doesn't work that way. The elderly are the hardest hit by influenza. Besides, it's normally not a problem because we normally have adequate shots for all.

    As for the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, it was extremely virulent, so all age factor bets were off. It hit the 20 to 40 age group hard, but that is an aberration for influenza, and you don't make policy based on higher sigma cases. It's a W shaped curve when plotted. There's the usual peaks for the babies and elderly, but also the 20-40 peak. It's so dramatic that there almost HAS to have been some external factor at play.

    Other factors such as WW1. Many people in that age group were in conditions ideal for the virus to spread. It was a hardy virus- it managed to reach Eskimo villages. By the end 25% of the USA had caught it with a mortality rate of 2.5%, which is spectacular for a flu.

    Ah. Found a graph! With a dotted line comparison as a bonus!

    I'm not sure where the estimate of 2.5% mortality came from. I see it quoted over and over. It seems low so I'll try to do some checking and see what I find.

    The estimates are between 20 and 40 million people in the world died in the first wave which lasted a mere 4 months. The second wave the following year killed about a quarter as many.

    The current highly pathogenic avian flu H5N1 which is circulating in Asia has a 70% fatality rate among known human cases. It was first seen in 1997 in Hong Kong and at that time killed 33% of infected humans. (We are only talking about less than 100 infections so far which is why it isn't on the front page yet.)

    It has yet to mutate into a contagious human disease and has infected only persons who have had direct contact with infected chickens, ducks and maybe other animals. The infectious disease community is extremely worried this flu strain is about to become the next major pandemic. It is only a matter of time.

    Some of the more ominous signs the virus outbreak may be getting worse are the fact it has probably now become endemic to birds in Asia, control measures have so far failed, it has turned up in migrating birds including some with no symptoms, it has turned up in more and more species indicating it may be widening its infectious range, antibodies have turned up in pigs which may be the step between avian and human strains, it has turned up in Hanoi which has a lot of individuals with small chicken and duck flocks, and the New Year is about to be celebrated there which is typically when a lot of chicken is transported for holiday meals, and finally, flu season is about to start in Asia which may allow human flu strains and avian flu strains to co-mingle their genes.

    Not to be a TEOTWAWKI doomsayer but I do suggest everyone educate themselves about this disease before the deluge.

  2. #2
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    Sept. 28, 2004
    "First human-to-human bird flu case in Thailand...The Thai government sought to play down fears of human-to-human transmission, saying it appeared to be a one-off case..."
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6121998/

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    Re: Flu thread from GA forum HST thread

    Quote Originally Posted by beskeptical
    Flu is one of the those hazards highly underestimated by the general public.
    Many people call a flu what is a simple cold they caught. So, most "flu" cases they know are actually colds, which are pretty harmless. Maybe the flu should be given a new name which sounds more serious.

  4. #4
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    Re: Flu thread from GA forum HST thread

    Quote Originally Posted by kucharek
    Quote Originally Posted by beskeptical
    Flu is one of the those hazards highly underestimated by the general public.
    Many people call a flu what is a simple cold they caught. So, most "flu" cases they know are actually colds, which are pretty harmless. Maybe the flu should be given a new name which sounds more serious.
    Any suggestions?

    How about ifldwo?

  5. #5
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    If you have a cold and see a 20.00 note blowing outside your window you go to pick it up, if you have flu you just leave it!

  6. #6
    As far as I know, usually the elderly are the group most likely to die of Influenza. That`s why we inoculate them. However I have read (speculation?) that Pandemic varieties of the Influenza virus actually are deadlier to younger, fitter people i.e. the 20-60 age group. Though this may have been a result of the 1918 pandemic where so many young men were affected because of the crowded conditions of military camps.

    John

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by zebo-the-fat
    If you have a cold and see a 20.00 note blowing outside your window you go to pick it up, if you have flu you just leave it!
    I have had the flu once. You don`t even notice the money.
    Since my brush with it I just ignore a cold.
    I was at work on Boxing day 1994, after about 3 hours I was standing outside, in 2 inches of snow, air temp around -1, in shirtsleeves, drinking iced water and my body temp was 41C. I went home and the next week is a blank.

    John

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnb
    As far as I know, usually the elderly are the group most likely to die of Influenza. That`s why we inoculate them. However I have read (speculation?) that Pandemic varieties of the Influenza virus actually are deadlier to younger, fitter people i.e. the 20-60 age group. Though this may have been a result of the 1918 pandemic where so many young men were affected because of the crowded conditions of military camps.

    John
    Good point. We really don't know why that age group was more seriously affected though there is lots of speculation. We don't have enough sample pandemics to say if it will be true with the next one. It isn't clear from the historical record if past pandemics were flu or other diseases. And the records are not precise enough to evaluate the demographics of the dead.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarongsong
    Sept. 28, 2004
    "First human-to-human bird flu case in Thailand...The Thai government sought to play down fears of human-to-human transmission, saying it appeared to be a one-off case..."
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6121998/
    There was a family of four they thought might have been human to human, but it also turned out they ate a meal that included raw duck blood, which could have been the source.

    There is also a brother with flu who cared for another brother who has now been confirmed to have died from flu. But there also is some evidence they may have been infected by eating infected poultry or duck.

    When human to human transmission does occur, or if it has already, it won't mean instant pandemic. But it will mean we are one step closer.

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