Swine Flu

Thought we would reach out to our Epidemiologist contact. Reaction to Swine Flu right from the horse’s mouth:

“It could be dangerous. Right now, nobody knows how pathogenic this strain is. In other words, no one knows how serious the illness is, on average, among people who become infected.

In terms of the whole pandemic flu idea, there are a few things that are alarming to me, way more than avian flu:

1.) Those who died in Mexico were otherwise healthy adults. Normally, influenza does kill a number of people in any given year. However, it usually kills those with compromised immune systems or those whose immune systems are not fully developed (under age 3) and those whose immune function has declined (over age 60). So, the fact that not a single death thus far has been among anyone under 3 or over 60 is a red flag.

2.) There appears to be human-to-human spread.

3.) The strain has never before been documented, which suggests that the entire world population has no pre-existing immunity.

4.) Spain confirmed a case today, and there are confirmed cases in multiple US States and 2 Canadian provinces. It’s going to continue to spread.

I don’t think that panic is necessary at the moment, although health officials need to operate at that level to prepare for the worst case scenario. Declaring a public health emergency is an ok step since it gives health officials the necessary powers to bolster the health system in case the worst does happen (i.e., with flu, you have to worry about over burdening your hospitals and protecting health care workers so that they can continue to do their jobs in the midst of a large epidemic)”

Sounds as if there is still A LOT of uncertainty surrounding this. I would tread with caution and wait this out a bit. Buying into weakness today could prove disastrous, especially given the already weakened state of the world economy.

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