Stories tagged H1N1

Yet... this images suggests that swine and gel can live in harmony.
Yet... this images suggests that swine and gel can live in harmony.Courtesy Ollie Crafoord
Duh, right? I mean, of course swine conquers gel. We've all known that since we were kids; rock breaks scissors, scissors cuts paper, paper wraps swine, swine beats gel, gel covers rock. We all know the rules of the game.

But now there's additional research to prove that swine beats gel.

A recent study found that disinfectant hand gels, with "enhanced antiviral activity" (say what?), didn't significantly reduce infection rates of rhinovirus (the cold) or A/H1N1 (swine flu) in the test group over a period of two and a half months.

Infection rates were reduced somewhat, but not to the expected extent. (Out of 100 person groups of regular hand sanitizers and non-hand sanitizers, 42 sanitizers got the cold and 12 got swine flu, compared to 52 and 15, respectively, infected in the control group.)

However, it's not necessarily the case that viruses are simply body-slamming antimicrobials in the octagon cage of your hands. The results suggest that aerosol transmission of the viruses might be more significant than hand-to-hand transmission—those sneaky swine flu viruses might be bypassing the gel altogether by, that's right, flying.

Perhaps we have to take anti-infection measures to the next level.


Almost every day for the past 4 weeks or so, I am asking myself, “What is the future of H1N1 going to be like?” Mostly everyone that I know may seem to be somewhat concerned. But most people don’t panic about this kind of situation. In fact, I have observed that certain people are outraged when it is suggested that this virus should be taken seriously. In recent weeks, an U.S outbreak of the H1N1 flu has occurred; it is caused by a new strain of influenza virus that contains a combination of swine, avian, and human influenza virus genes.
The H1N1 has spread in 43 states and some researchers say that the H1N1 can spread as much as the regular seasonal flu. Nationally, visits to doctors for influenza-like-illness declined from last week, but it’s still higher than expected for this time of year. Flu-related hospitalizations and deaths have declined slightly, but are still very high nation-wide compared to what is expected for this time of year. If the H1N1 virus has become a pandemic as many scientists expected it would. It will kill millions of people, but it will also have an enormous economic impact and potentially cause social and political changes that are impossible to guess.
Last week when I was reading from an article my teacher gave me, it said that the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the influenza pandemic alert to phase six (wide spread human infection), indicating the world is now at the beginning of the 2009 influenza pandemic. Although the WHO considers the overall severity of the pandemic to be moderate, the organization is concerned about the pattern of serious cases and deaths, particularly among young, healthy adults. Additionally health experts are closely watching the southern hemisphere to see how the strain affects the traditional flu season. Many scientists suggested that the combination of the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus could create a more severe combination of the flu. Meaning the H1N1 may be getting worst and that this may not be the end of the H1N1 virus.
I would hope that the Center for Disease Control and WHO are equally engaged with countries across the globe to accomplish the same thing, to help cure the H1N1 quickly and safely, because for whatever the future of H1N1 virus has in store, one thing is certain: We will be judged not just by how well we were prepared but also by what we did to prepare the H1N1.
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Officials in Cardiff confirmed today the world's first cases of human-to-human transmission of Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 influenza. It's not unexpected, but it is worrisome. Even though flu cases are down here in Minnesota and across the US, keep washing your hands!

From the helpful folks at the Star Tribune.


FluMist inhaler for H1N1 flu
FluMist inhaler for H1N1 fluCourtesy garrisonpao

Vaccine for swine flu is ahead of expectations

October is almost here, and so are more than 3 million doses of H1N1 flu vaccine. The vaccine is a the FluMist nasal spray type which is inhaled rather than injected. The nasal spray contains a weakened live virus, while injections contain killed and fragmented virus. The inhalation method gives a stronger immune reaction and is not recommended for pregnant women, people over 50 or those with asthma, heart disease or several other problems. The earlier than expected delivery will be be great for people in other high-risk groups though (health care workers, people caring for infants, and healthy young people).

Any type of flu can be deadly

In the United States a typical flu season is believed to kill about 36,000. The Asian flu of 1957 was blamed for the deaths of about 70,000 Americans. The pandemic H1N1 or 2009 H1N1 flu (we are not supposed to call it the swine flu) so far has not been bad. Flu activity is now “widespread” in 21 states, up from 11 a week ago. (Read more here - New York Times)

2009 H1N1 flu vaccine approved

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Sept. 15 that it has approved four vaccines against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. The vaccines will be distributed nationally after the initial lots become available, which is expected within the next four weeks.
As with any medical product, unexpected or rare serious adverse events may occur. The FDA is working closely with governmental and nongovernmental organizations to enhance the capacity for adverse event monitoring, information sharing and analysis during and after the 2009 H1N1 vaccination program." FDA News Release


Flu sends 4-H'ers home early

State Fair 4H campers plagued by H1N1 flu
State Fair 4H campers plagued by H1N1 fluCourtesy the_dharma_bum
I have fond memories of staying overnight at the State Fair. I can imagine the disappointment of being told to go home early after looking forward to performing at the State Fair for months.

Four confirmed cases of H1N1 flu

Earlier this week sick kids were being sent home but after it was confirmed that four students had been diagnosed with the swine flu, officials sent more than 100 4-Hers home.

"When we met the girls this morning, they were in tears," said BayBridge, who lives across the border in Big Stone City, S.D., and whose kids participate in the 4-H club in Ortonville, Minn. "They look forward to this all year long. But in a case like this, you have to do what you need to do."

Incoming 4-H students allowed in

About 400 new 4-H students were expected to move into the dorm Thursday after workers sanitized surfaces. Jerry Hammer, the fair's general manager, said he considers the fair to still be "perfectly safe."

"It's as safe as going to any store or the Mall of America or even your neighborhood park," he said. "Follow the advice of the experts: wash your hands well, cover your coughs, use common sense. If you don't feel good, stay home."

Human type H1N1 influenza infects turkeys without mutating

"My understanding is that with the ones that were sick, it was a very mild disease," Lubroth said. "It's significant in that we don't need to recommend any drastic measures, as far as culling the population of turkeys. Let them go through their illness and recover — seven to 10 days — and if they are sound and healthy, they could enter the food chain."

Source: Associated Press via Yahoo News

Last night on the CBC, I heard a story about a new computer game developed to simulate a global outbreak of a flu virus... much like our current H1N1 situation.

Naturally I checked it out at work today. It's kind of fun. So far nothing has exploded, which is a big minus for me with videogames, but, on the other hand, tons of people can die, which is generally a big selling point for games. And there's spooky windy/bubbly/throat-singing sounds always playing in the background, which adds a creepy atmosphere of immediacy. (I'm assuming that flu viruses make spooky windy/bubbly/throat-singing sounds.) CBC, you haven't let me down yet.

Basically, you just scroll around a slick map of the world, spending your limited amount of money on things like research, drugs, and prevention programs. I've already stopped a level one virus, but I'm currently watching the world become overrun with a level 3 virus. And I'm out of money, so hopefully everyone is feeling lucky.

You can find The Great Flu game here.

This angsty dude, Alex Jones, points out that the game is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, a giant pharmaceutical company, and it's just a gross piece of propaganda to get kids into anti-viral drugs and stuff. And, I suppose, that's technically true, depending on your definition of propaganda. But whatevs. Flu pandemics are real, and anti-virals and vaccines probably do save a lot of lives. And this is an interesting way to learn about the non-pharmaceutical in combating viral outbreaks.

Check it out. But wear your propaganda glasses, or whatever.

"Riots in Canada"? I'm sorry, Canada, you haven't even had any infections in my game. What are you rioting over? Stop rioting.

We have other things to worry about now, obviously (MJ, anyone?), but, um, the H1N1 swine flu virus is still out there, and some scientists are still pretty concerned about it.

A new study seems to show that the 2009 A/H1N1 virus might be significantly more dangerous than we had previously thought. While regular ol' seasonal flu generally just infects cells in your upper respiratory tract, scientists have found that H1N1 can thrive deep in your lungs. That means that it's more likely to cause pneumonia. Similar characteristics in the infamous 1918 swine flu exacerbated the danger of that outbreak. So, you know, don't start sticking your fingers in other peoples' mouths and then rubbing them on your eyes again just yet.

Vaccine production
Vaccine productionCourtesy AJC1

Another billion bucks

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she will announce Monday that Washington has approved another billion dollars to buy components of the vaccine. Sebelius said on Sunday that research is under way to provide a safe and effective vaccine to fight a flu strain that could be a pandemic." Associated Press via Yahoo News