this the coming pandemic the local, state and federal public health
agencies have been planning, preparing and drilling for, or is it a case
of Chicken Little crying "the sky is falling?" Too early to
tell, but by the time this is seen in print we will know much more than
we do at the time I am writing this.
facts about swine flu are as follows: Swine flu viruses can be passed
between pigs and humans and often are. The danger arises when the virus
mutates and results in easily passing from human to human. The lethality of this apparent mutant
virus is still unknown, but is critical to know to determine if this is
truly a public health emergency or not
outbreak occurred among soldiers in Fort Dix in 1976 and caused what was
maybe the last big scare about a pandemic event. That scare led to rapid
development of a vaccine we hoped would protect us, but may have caused
more serious illnesses than the virus actually did. We need to have
learned from that.
had endemics on more than one occasion since the great flu pandemic of
1918-19, but we have never had the 24/7 news coverage announcing each and
every new case as we saw on Monday.
different today from 1918 is:
We have flu
vaccines that might help fight off this virus.
We have recognized
We have new
antivirals that appear to be effective in fighting this virus.
We also have the
national stockpile of pharmaceuticals and other medical provisions ready
And we are much
better prepared to respond to an infectious disease agent as a result of
the federal government's funding of state and local public health
entities in response to 9/11 and the following Anthrax attacks through
the US postal service.
compared to the avian flu, this virus at first blush appears to be more
easily transmitted human-to human, but is much less virulent.
until we learn more about the real threat, cover your mouth when you
cough and wash your hands frequently. And get a flu shot every fall
regardless of the threat.