How afraid are you of the Avian/'bird flu'? The news stories are getting scarier by the minute. Media hype/or a valid concern?
How afraid are you of the Avian/'bird flu'? The news stories are getting scarier by the minute. Media hype/or a valid concern?
not at all, actually i havent even heard of it... then again, i dont watch news. I was about to say, maybe it wasn't around my area, but then I see you live in the same city!
I'm mostly worried about dying of cancer then anything else.
you live in Halifax??? cool lovely day eh?
I'm concerned enough to keep tabs on it, but not worried enough to put on my Bio/Chemical warfare suit. As a prudent analyst, I'm watching it, and reading up on what the professionals (Beskeptical, the CDC, et al) are saying/doing about it.
When it comes to things like this, I look at it like the Y2k prep: I'm a Computer Engineer, and was in college in the run-up to Y2k. All sorts of people were worried and fear-mongering (including the Media and certain members of my extended family). I looked around my industry, and saw no real worry or concern. Yes, we expected some problems. No, it wasn't going to be the end of the world - not even close. It wasn't.
I look at the CDC and medical community. If they're worried, it's time to be worried. Otherwise, it's overblown.
For myself not concerned at all but it could be a problem for me dear old mum who's in her eighties. Avian flu is at the moment only a threat, it's far from a pandemic and IIRC there have been 45 deaths (I won't say only 'cos that's a bit insulting) worldwide so far and the situation is being closely monitored.
We're overdue for a 1918-scale flu outbreak. You've got to think we can't hold it off forever.
Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.
I don't think statsitics and averages quite works that way. 8-[Originally Posted by ToSeek
Personally, I wouldn't rate a death toll in 1918 terms a pandemic in the modern world. The overall toll will be drastic if there's another outbreak, but we're talking about a world with over 6 billion people on it to 1918's maybe a billion? (Keep in mind, the world's population was 2 billion when Neil left his footprints on the moon.)
I thought the population was about 3 billion by the 60s. Anyway, more people in the world means more people to infect, especially if the disease starts in Asia, where population density is extremely high. So if the 1918 flu were released again today, I'd expect it to kill far more people than it did the first time.Originally Posted by Doodler
The media is not blowing it out of proportion, for once. But people tend to interpret what the media reports in different ways.
Avian flu is a very big hazard looming on the horizon. But so is the Cascadia subduction quake hazard, global warming climate based disasters, and many others.
But don't think it isn't a big deal because the 1918 flu pandemic certainly was. Modern medicine may not be advanced enough yet to handle a repeat.
Yes they do.Originally Posted by CTM VT 2K
You are saying if we know the average and the range of years between flu pandemics we can't say one is overdue? Why not?
What we have is what looks like the beginning of a new pandemic but we don't know what the beginning looks like for sure. AND we have the historical average time between pandemics. Just one more piece of evidence to consider.
It depends on the situation. If there is some kind of cyclical mechanism that causes A to happen every x units of time on average, then the probability of A happening actually increases as you reach x time since the last occurrence. But if there is no cyclical mechanism, and the average timespan between occurrences is merely a function of the probability of A occurring at any one time, then that probability is always the same no matter when A last happened.Originally Posted by beskeptical
But there is a reason for the cycle.Originally Posted by W.F. Tomba
When an infectious disease works its way through a population some immunity is conferred. As the population is replaced by new and therefore not previously infected members, the potential for a new epidemic increases each year. With some diseases such as measles, (before vaccines), which does not mutate as readily as flu virus, local epidemics used to occur every 3-5 years. That's how long it took to add enough susceptible members to allow sustained transmission of virus.
With other diseases, these patterns are complicated by the organisms own cycle. As flu virus mutates, there is a potential for deadly combinations of its genetic components. Just as with a coin toss, it may not be predictable which side will face up with each toss, but it is predictable over time you will eventually get the other side.
So the mechanisms of pandemic flu are cyclic for biologic reasons and we are over due. As I said, you take range and average into account. What the longest period between pandemics is is unknown. The fact there is a limit is known. It is not if but when.
I accept what you say about the cyclical behavior of epidemics, but do we know of a cyclical process for virus mutations? Or do we have evidence that there is one? Even if we don't, it's prudent to consider that there might be one, since cyclical processes are so common in biology. I'm just saying that it's not a given.Originally Posted by beskeptical
As for the coin toss, what you say is true, but note that the number of tosses that have elapsed since you last got heads has no bearing on your chances of getting heads over any future series of tosses. Because there is no cyclical mechanism behind coin tosses, you can never be overdue for heads. (Gambler's Fallacy)
Edited for clarity.
As someone who works part time at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport and who comes into personal contact with literally hundreds of people every day from infected areas (a huge percentage of our incoming passengers fly in from Asia) it does concern me. Mind you, we've been aware and on guard against avian flu for over a year now, so it's nothging new to us.
I have trouble understanding how anyone could say that the media are blowing this out of proportion. From what I've seen of the national media recently, I've been surprised (and a little worried) at how little coverage there has been. Is there more of it on television or something? (I don't watch TV.)
I have never believed in getting my science from the news media. They are notorious for making mistakes and jumping to the wrong conclusions because sensational stories sell. As a senior systems developer I never believed in y2k and, I agree with some of the others here, I will be worried when the CDC and the medical community are.Originally Posted by W.F. Tomba
What would you define as "worried"? Right now, they seem to be saying it's a major threat. They're never going to panic and run screaming through the streets, because they are professionals.Originally Posted by Lurker
If you tossed that coin for a sufficient amount of time, you could collect reasonable data of the average time between getting the opposite side and the longest time one has ever gone only getting one side. For gambling and pure random coin tossing, each coin toss has a new 50:50 chance of landing on one side. But for biological systems the range and averages do rely on more than chance. You can often find the patterns before understanding the underlying mechanisms.Originally Posted by W.F. Tomba
Some suggested mechanisms would be the life cycle of flu virus pandemics is such that it not only includes time for the susceptible population of humans to regenerate, but that there is also a pattern in wild birds and domestic poultry interacting with the human outbreaks. These cyclic avian outbreaks occur when they cross the species barrier. So the new viruses have to emerge first in the poultry, spread to ducks, then to pigs then to humans. Each new cycle takes x number of years on average with a range of y years. Once the virus emerges it is more pathogenic until milder versions are naturally selected. (Kills too fast, dies out, host survives, virus passed on.) The range of lethality could be from mild to severe. Any single new pandemic could cause mild or severe disease but the regularity of the pandemics could be very predictable.
What we have now is a pandemic overdue. The lethality might be unknown with each new pandemic but all signs are a doozy is forming.
I voted "somewhat concerned." IMO this avian flu thing has the potential to be nasty - I'm talking globally, it's already nasty to those in the Southeast Asian countries that are affected by this. The present mortality rates are not good at all.
Besides reading about it on the BBC world news site where cases have been reported for some time now, I haven't seen extensive media coverage about it here in the States besides the recent news items about the WHO and CDC concerns.
Why are you guys arguing when you're in agreement? #-o
I am mildly concerned at the lack of information in the states. When I turned on the 10pm news I saw a large banner that said "flu outbreak", but it turned out to be a status report on the current flu season. I found that odd since they made it out to be a big story, but all they said was that it was status quo for a normal season, but I don't recall them ever running a story on it before. Maybe it's just sweeps week.
The problem with these infectious diseases is that they move through suceptible populations like a fire will burn through a dry field. Isolated populations don't create a pandemic, but right now the population is like bunches of kindling lined up and ready for a big burn. Never doubt Malthus.
However, the regular flu seems to be acting odd this year. Everyone I know seems to have gotten it twice, as if they suffered a relapse about 4 weeks after the initial infection. I caught it on someone's 4 week relapse then got sick again 4 weeks after that. Anyone have the same experience?
That's sort of what I was getting at above. It's not that I want the coverage to be alarmist and sensational. I was saying that with all these people choosing the "media blowing it out of proportion" option, they must be seeing very different media than I, since from what I've seen the media are hardly covering it at all!Originally Posted by Jpax2003
But I just realized that that's probably a bad interpretation, since there's no other option for "not afraid at all" in the poll, and no one has actually complained about excessive coverage in the thread.
How do you know it was flu?Originally Posted by Jpax2003
There are 200+ known organisms that cause upper respiratory infections. During flu outbreaks, you probably have flu if it:
Most of the usual sore throats and runny nose, cough are not caused by flu viruses.
- Starts rather suddenly.
First with fever >101F.
Then within a day or so, muscle aches, general malaise, anorexia, head ache.
And a day or so after that, cough and respiratory congestion.
We had a very late flu season this year that is peaking in terms of numbers of cases right now in the USA.
This article on yahoo news today is written so you can choose to believe whatever suits you about the risk of flu. If you think the risk is overblown, you'll think the article agrees. If you think the risk is high, the article also agrees. #-o"No real idea"? I don't think so. This makes it sound like we have no science rather than good science without certainty in the predictions...but experts admit they have no real idea of the potential impact of the disease.
For those of you waiting for the experts to weigh in:"We at WHO believe that the world is now in the gravest possible danger of a pandemic," the director of World Health Organisation's Western Pacific office, Shigeru Omi, told the conference.I would have compared it to trying to mobilise resources for a tsunami warning system before the tsunami.To mobilise media attention on the tsunami is possible," said FAO animal health director Joseph Domenech, referring to the huge sums pledged in the wake of the giant waves that ravaged coastlines around the Indian Ocean in December.
"But to mobilise long term assistance over animal health is more difficult," he said.
I don't know really, I thought I figured out where I got it and what their doctor told them. However, after doing some research last night I wonder if it may not have been a mycoplasma/walking pneumonia. That seems to fit the symptoms better. I'd go see a doc, 'cept my company screwed up my insurance and I'm still waiting for them to reinstate it... and I'm feeling mostly better now. I know doctors like to track infections, but where I grew up, if you weren't bleeding, or if it wasn't broken, or if you weren't on the verge of death, you didn't need to see a doctor.Originally Posted by beskeptical
Be careful about deciding your symptoms match something you read. You don't know how many other diseases also have those symptoms. You don't know if your understanding of a symptom is the same as the medical description. You don't have access to tests which can help determine additional key signs to make a diagnosis.Originally Posted by Jpax2003
There are only a few diseases with what are called pathoneumonic symptoms. That means a certain symptom is always that disease. A chicken pox rash for example is pathoneumonic. You cannot diagnose very much from the medical history alone.
I know, unfortunately most doctors I've met tend to act the same way. Several years ago I went in with symptoms of the flu and he didn't do any tests, just performed a cursory examination and wrote a prescription for antibiotics. I asked him why he was giving me antibiotics for a virus, but he just looked at me and said "do you want something or not?" I think I ended up taking them, as a defense against an opportunistic secondary infection, but he never said anything about that.Originally Posted by beskeptical
You are correct, I can't confirm anything, but I can rule many things out. Best I can do is an educated guess, which is the best I seem to be able to afford anyways. Besides, my guesses are usually right. Docs are always surprised when I tell them what I have and the tests prove me out. They tell me I should have been a doc, and they're right. I should have been (or maybe a pharmacist). BTW, Beskeptical, are you a medical professional? (Not that I doubt your advice, I'm just wondering.)
Yes. I am an ARNP, and I specialize in occupational infectious disease hazards.Originally Posted by Jpax2003
Pneumonia is almost always accompanied by fever, worse at night, night sweats, and extreme tiredness or shortness of breath. You cannot tell if pneumonia is present without listening to lung sounds and preferably an X-ray to confirm what you think you hear. You cannot 'guess' by your symptoms.
As to the doctor's quick Rx, well, there are a lot of crummy docs out there.
hmmm, I looked up to see if I had the cold or the flu and I had symptoms of both. Mild fever, fatigue, swollen nodes, night sweats, chest tightness, throat irritation and hoarseness, unproductive cough turning productive, then stuffy head and headache the whole time. It went away for a few weeks then came back. I still have an occasional non-productive cough and chest tightness... I can breath deep but it feels like the upper bronchial area is tight with what sounds like a bit of wheezing. Did I catch both a cold and a flu at the same time?Originally Posted by beskeptical
Fever 101F (flu) is not considered mild. Onset matters not just total symptoms. It matters what is prevalent in the community at the time. How do you know the same thing recurred as opposed to a new infection? And finally, you can't say what you have without cultures, other labs, x-rays, and a physical exam. I have said this but you still seem to think you can guess what you have with only half of the pieces.Originally Posted by Jpax2003
When a patient comes in with certain symptom clusters one can make an educated guess. Low grade temp, negative strep throat screen and I'd send you home with no antibiotics. I would not recommend you spend a few thousand dollars to identify exactly which virus you had. If your lung sounds indicated, with a stethoscope not with wheezing you hear, I'd get a chest x-ray. If you had pneumonia I'd give that antibiotic even if it was possibly a viral cause because the consequences of not treating would be too risky. Yadda yadda yadda, lots of other scenarios and decision trees yadda yadda yadda. That's what I do based on years of experience and education.
Go to the doctor if your symptoms worry you otherwise don't bother trying to name your infectious agent. You can't do it accurately without labs.