The Latest News On the Coming Pandemic

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will Obama to Handle the Swine Flu Pandemic With Action?

The H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic moves on, every day killing more households and infecting 1000's and it has kept on found in NYC, Los Angeles, Houston and San Antonio, it is time to do something about it. Even if this virus runs its course and burns out and we all figure out somewhat based on what i read in it, we need the practice in struggling with this kind of threat to humanity. Obviously, we have not learned enough yet about the serious nature of pandemics.

In fact, the CDC seems to be very slow to act on calling for a broad lock-down of our borders between the US and Mexico, not one official from who agency has yet to suggest it. President Barack Obama is a leader who is bathed in "political correctness" to appease his followers, so, it is unlikely too he is planning to act decisively and do the right thing, or will he and his team making an attempt on the issue have endless committee meetings while precious time ticks by?

If the human race is to survive long-term and survive its own technological advancements in bio science and bio-weapons, then we should get serious. We must act, and it is the leadership's responsibility to do that, not out of over reaction, but out of insured action. Closing the borders for a few days will not lower anyone, and it serves as a warning that we can, which keeps drug cartels on notice, as well as lets leaders of !no! nations figure twice about their political grandstanding on trade issues. Please consider this.

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Will face masks protect you from the flu?

In the aftermath of the SARS outbreak in 2003, the Public Health Agency of Canada asked a panel of medical experts for guidance on how flu is transmitted and how best to protect against infection.

An employee of Pearson International Airport adjusts his N95 mask in Toronto. An employee of Pearson International Airport adjusts his N95 mask in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)Their report concluded that the scientific evidence remains unclear about how precisely flu is spread and what role exposure to bigger or smaller virus particles plays in transmission. It found that flu viruses are mainly transmitted over short distances and that more people become infected by inhaling viruses than by touching contaminated surfaces.

The report was produced by the Council of Canadian Academies, chaired by Dr. Donald Low, microbiologist in chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

One of the questions the panel considered was whether face masks would offer protection in the event of a pandemic.

The verdict: yes, to an extent.

The report says a face mask — or personal protective respiratory equipment — is the final layer of protection when exposure to an infected person is required, or unavoidable. The primary elements of protection are "engineering and administrative controls."

Engineering controls include physical controls such as ventilation requirements in buildings, and relative humidity and temperature controls. Administrative controls are measures that individuals handle, such as handwashing, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough or seeking medical care when you're sick.

A protective mask, the report says, can offer protection, but there's no evidence inexpensive surgical masks can protect against flu virus particles small enough to be inhaled into the lower respiratory tract or the lungs. The report also finds that it's unclear how effective surgical masks are in blocking flu virus particles that are bigger and therefore likely to settle in the nose and throat of an exposed person.

Not all masks are created equally, either. Surgical masks — the kind your dental hygienist might use while inflicting a cleaning on you — offer some help, but they won't filter out smaller particles and don't provide a good seal.

If you're in the market for a mask, don't go to the hardware store and pick up one that you'd use while sanding drywall. Covering your mouth and nose with a bandana won't do you much good either.

The best bet for protective masks are what are referred to as "N95 respirators," a commonly used term in Canada that refers to NIOSH-certified, disposable, particulate-filtering, half-facepiece respirators.

Not all high-quality masks are labeled N95. Health Canada said masks should offer protection equivalent to N95 to be considered effective. Such masks should:

* Filter particles one micron in size or smaller.
* Have a 95 per cent filter efficiency.
* Provide a tight facial seal (less than 10% leak).

CBC News Marketplace tested three types of N95 masks in the wake of the SARS outbreak in 2003. Each filtered out between 97 per cent and 99.7 per cent of all the virus-like particles.

The report prepared for the Public Health Agency of Canada further concluded that:

* N95 respirators protect against the inhalation of nasopharyngeal, tracheobronchial and alveolar sized particles.
* Surgical masks worn by an infected person may play a role in the prevention of influenza transmission by reducing the amount of infectious material that is expelled into the environment.
* Both surgical masks and N95 respirators offer a physical barrier to contact with contaminated hands and ballistic trajectory particles, such as particles expelled by a sneeze or a cough.
* The efficiency of the filters of surgical masks to block penetration of alveolar and tracheobronchial sized particles is highly variable. When combined with the inability to ensure a sealed fit, these factors suggest that surgical masks offer no significant protection against the inhalation of alveolar and tracheobronchial sized particles.

Health officials say masks can help, but unless the person wearing the mask can ensure a sealed fit, the mask will offer no significant protection. This can be more of a problem for children or men with beards.

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First swine flu death reported in U.S.

The first death in the United States from swine flu was reported on Wednesday, as the number of confirmed and suspected human cases worldwide continues to rise following an outbreak in Mexico.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said on Wednesday that swine flu caused the death of a 23-month-old child in Texas. It is believed to be the first death outside Mexico.

Dr. Richard Besser, the CDC's acting director, confirmed the death during an interview with CNN on Wednesday. No further details about the child or the circumstances of the death were provided.

"As a pediatrician and a parent, my heart goes out to the family," Besser said.

Besser said the CDC expected the U.S. would see more infections and deaths based on the spread of the virus in Mexico.

American officials said Tuesday that 64 human cases had been confirmed in the United States.

It's too soon to say if the death suggests the virus is spreading more aggressively in the U.S., he said.

Meanwhile, three cases have been confirmed in Germany, the country's disease control centre said Wednesday.

The German cases include two women, ages 22 and 37, and a man in his 30s, said officials with the Robert Koch Institute said Wednesday. Two of the patients are from towns in Bavaria. The third is from Hamburg.

Officials said all three patients recently returned from trips to Mexico, where the disease was first detected and has now been found in several other countries, including Canada, where the total number of human cases increased to 13 on Tuesday.
More confirmed cases in Europe

Britain and Spain are the other European countries that have confirmed human cases.

There are five other suspected cases in Germany, and they're believed to be in Bavaria and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, according to officials.

Polish health officials reported Wednesday that they are also awaiting test results for two suspected cases.

New Zealand confirmed more cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 14. Officials said all patients were responding well to treatment with antiviral drugs and were in voluntary quarantine at home.

There are 44 other possible cases in New Zealand, said Dr. Julia Peters, a senior regional health official, and testing is underway.

In Australia, more than 100 people with flu symptoms are being tested for possible swine flu, according to officials.
Asia escapes illness so far

On Tuesday in Canada, where 13 Canadians have been confirmed with mild cases of the illness, new cases were reported in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.

There have not yet been any confirmed cases in Asia, where governments have taken strict precautions at airports.

Late Tuesday, authorities in Mexico said the number of suspected swine flu cases had risen to 2,498, with 159 suspected deaths and 26 confirmed deaths since mid-April.

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that laboratory tests have confirmed 112 cases in seven countries. The figures do not yet include the cases announced in Germany.
WHO not calling for travel restrictions

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director general, said Tuesday that agency officials have been struggling to keep up with media reports on new confirmed cases.

Fukuda said the WHO still cannot offer any explanation why cases of the infection in Mexico are more severe than in other countries. He also advised countries to "take the opportunity to prepare for a pandemic."

The UN health body is holding an emergency scientific review of the flu outbreak in Geneva on Wednesday to collect information about how the disease spreads and how it can be treated.

The WHO has raised its alert level to 4 — out of a possible 6 — but has not called for travel restrictions or border closures. However, several cruise lines, tours and flights destined for Mexico have been cancelled, including several operated by Air Canada, WestJet and Transat.

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