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Swine flu
Posted: 30 April 2009 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The pork industry isn’t the only interest interested in renaming “swine flu!”  Here’s an Israeli complaint about the name, plus a Middle Eastern news excerpt about the"Islamic street” (popular, pan-Arabic) response to the pandemic news.—Josh

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Jews raise stink over swine

By Associated Press
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/international/middle_east/view/2009_04_27_Jews_raise_stink_over_swine/srvc=home&position=recent

JERUSALEM - The swine flu outbreak should be renamed “Mexican” influenza in deference to religious sensitivities over pork, an Israeli health official yesterday.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both Judaism and Islam and “we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu.” . . .

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Muslims immuned from swine flu symptoms
     
Posted: 29-04-2009 , 04:46 GMT
http://www.albawaba.com/en/news/244676

While the Arab world is on high alert in fear of the swine flu outbreak, many Muslims in the Middle East are certain they are safe and immune from the new strain.
Generally speaking, Islam prohibits the consumption of pork because it considers the pig to be “unclean”. Many Muslim doctors and specialists have been claiming long before the present plight that pork is a harmful diet. In addition, according to the Islamic belief, consumption of swine-flesh leads to lowliness in soul and demolishes spiritual and moral faculties in any person. . . .

As always, when such big news spread all over the world, the rumor mills in the Arab world start to work around the clock. The most popular rumor in this regard is that the Muslims themselves created this swine flu virus with the aim reducing the world’s Christian population. . . .

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Posted: 30 April 2009 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Why would the name swine flu be offensive to Jews and Muslims if they don’t like pigs? I don’t understand…

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Posted: 30 April 2009 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have another question regarding the swine flu. (It doesn’t belong in this tread, so move it elsewhere if you must.) Why don’t all the people who get the flu die from it? If we don’t have immunity against it, how does the body fight it?

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Posted: 30 April 2009 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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George, the minute an infection gets started the immune system starts to build antibodies. At that point it’s a race between the immune system’s speed of building antibodies and the infection’s speed at multiplying. The winner of this race determines the life or death of the victim.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I started this in General Discussion in hope that anything related to this piggy bug could be discussed, actually.

I’m guessing that anti-pig religious people would object to being labeled with a “pig” virus when they’re diagnosed with it.  Though my first thought was that they were trying to protect the reputation of the delicious pig.  It’s OK to crap on Mexico, though, instead of calling this, say, the globalization-agribusiness flu (since this new, human-to-human-transmissible H1N1 strain also has human and avian elements).

Swine flu mortality rates vary by region and age of victim so far.  And we do have some immunity from it, just not very good immunity.  Potentially, we have very poor immunity if the virus changes to be (1) more contagious among humans and (2) more severe in its symptoms.  Yet circumstances must balance.  The Ebola virus has had up to 90 percent mortality,  but its symptoms are so fast and so extreme that its victims have been isolated before its epidemics spread more quickly.  I’d like to know more about the epidemiology of 1918’s Spanish flu.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Swine Flu is a misleading name. This strain, H1N1, was it? Has components of swine, avian, and human strains. The CDC was considering stopping the use of Swine Flu as the name, as it was/is leading to hysteria about eating pork products.

In addition to hysteria about pork products, I have noticed a hysteria of another kind. One that calls for the rounding up and deporting all Mexicans, and claims that “illegals” are at fault for the infection of the U.S. citizens. There are people crying to set up martial law along the border. I am not joking. It is so sad and so ignorant. Not just some punks commenting on the newspaper online message boards, but I’ve overheard crap like this even at the office and from neighbors. People terrified that “waves” of infected illegal aliens will flee from Mexico in an effort to not catch the illness, bringing it here. They don’t understand - or don’t WANT to understand - it’s already here. And the first couple of U.S. cases were business travelers and vacationers, not illegal aliens.

Regarding the young healthy people dying, it’s the body’s reaction to the flu that kills some people, from what I understand. The body goes into “overkill mode” and along with wiping out the flu, wipes itself out sometimes. But I am guessing that different people have different reactions based on their body, and some have more severe infections than others. Also, I would assume that prompt medical care (e.g. anti-virals in first 48 hours and supportive symptomatic care) make a critical difference in survival in most cases. (Doctors and nurses, feel free to correct me on this - I’m winging it!)

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Posted: 30 April 2009 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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josh_karpf - 30 April 2009 07:43 AM

And we do have some immunity from it, just not very good immunity.

That’s what I thought too. There must be a reason why Mexicans are dying and Americans are not.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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George, the most likely explanations for the differential mortality rates arise from things like nutrition, hygiene, previous vaccinations, previous exposures to various strains of flu, and so forth.

Jules, here’s an interesting theoretical point about immune systems: the ideal immune system should have a perfect 50-50 balance between directly killing the body (through over-reaction) and indirectly permitting the infection to kill the body (through under-reaction). The only way to establish the proper balance between over-reaction and under-reaction is to get a 50-50 statistical average. Unfortunately, that statistical average applies to the population as a whole, not to any individual.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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George - 30 April 2009 08:32 AM
josh_karpf - 30 April 2009 07:43 AM

And we do have some immunity from it, just not very good immunity.

That’s what I thought too. There must be a reason why Mexicans are dying and Americans are not.

Also to be considered is that some Mexican healthcare facilities had few or no anti-viral meds like we are stockpiled with in the U.S. In addition, perhaps at the beginning of the outbreak people were not seeking medical attention right away, thinking it was a “regular flu” they could ride out at home?

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Posted: 30 April 2009 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Jules - 30 April 2009 08:46 AM

Also to be considered is that some Mexican healthcare facilities had few or no anti-viral meds like we are stockpiled with in the U.S. In addition, perhaps at the beginning of the outbreak people were not seeking medical attention right away, thinking it was a “regular flu” they could ride out at home?

Maybe.

If the reason were genetic—if the Americans had better immunity against the virus than the Mexicans—then the mortality within the U.S. would be higher for the Mexican population. I guess we’ll have to wait to see.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Chris Crawford - 30 April 2009 08:44 AM

George, the most likely explanations for the differential mortality rates arise from things like nutrition, hygiene, previous vaccinations, previous exposures to various strains of flu, and so forth.

I know this has little to do with the mortality rate but I wonder if the public in Mexico was told to hold off on the handshakes and the kissing on the cheek for while.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Mexico City is not a cow town.  Does it actually have health-care facilities worse than those of a big American city that also has poor people and industrial pollution?  Say, Detriot?  I don’t know either way.

Incidentally, for a vision of plague in a futuristically advanced Mexico City after a U.S. decline, read Barth Anderson’s “Patron Saint of Plagues” ( http://www.amazon.com/Patron-Saint-Plagues-Barth-Anderson/dp/0553383582 ), a pulpish sf novel about Mexico prospering thanks to jealously guarded direct-to-brain network tech (and a theocratic dictatorship).  The author’s agent has probably been working overtime to cash in on this crisis.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Josh, I am unsure about the healthcare facilities in Mexico City. I would imagine they have modern equipment and competent staff. However, I did read a quote from a CDC spokeperson saying that the medical facilities/hospitals in affected areas of Mexico had a shortage of anti-viral meds.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I thnk most of this is because the news media are desperate to find drama to keep people reading and watching.  First, we have hundreds of thousands of “normal” flu (mostly not the varieties against which we are vaccinated each fall) annually in the U.S. and about 36,000 deaths annually.  We’ve only had a hundred cases identified here so far, and only one death, a boy under two years old who was brought to a Texas hospital for treatment from Mexico by his parents, and he already had other health problems. 

Initial analysis of this flu genome indicates that it doesn’t have the destructive gene sequences of the early 20th century flu.  I predict that the whole issue will fade away in a few weeks. 

The business about washing one’s hands frequently is always a good idea, however, the main reason the virus can be contracted from one’s hands is from picking one’s nose.  So, yes, wash your hands often, but also keep your fingers out of your nose, and away from your eyes.  And that’s not just for this flu, but for all sorts of infections.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Idiots.

It’s influenza, no matter how incubated (birds, pigs, giraffes, crocodiles) and it mutates and gets into people.  Just call it the New Flu if a moniker is necessary!  Of course, one pharmaceutical company decided to “upgrade” its vaccine by mixing LIVE avian flu with this new strain - no wonder people don’t get flu shots!

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=125x244751

Now, THAT is scary!

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Posted: 30 April 2009 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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My hospital is going into overdrive on this..I think it’s overkill. Caution is warranted, and as usual, common sense should be followed. I’m not impressed with the media coverage. Too much fear mongering!

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