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#244879 - 28/04/2009 00:46 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
ant Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 05/10/2002
Posts: 9063
Loc: Overlooking ACT at 848m
No. Tamiflu is an effective anti-viral, and this flu is a virus, like any other.

getting your hands on the tamiflu, OTOH, will not be that easy. Teh gov't stockpile is for pandemic. supplies available to the public currently are quite limited.

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#244880 - 28/04/2009 01:16 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
-Deano- Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 29/10/2008
Posts: 2931
Loc: Melton VIC
Latest Update:

Quote:
Australia stockpiles antiviral drugs as swine flu alarm grows

Article from: NEWS.com.au

April 27, 2009 09:45pm

FIVE Australians have been isolated with suspected swine influenza as governments around the world race to find and contain pockets of the deadly outbreak.

New South Wales authorities have spoken to 17 people with flu-like symptoms. Five of them will be tested for swine flu but results are not expected until the end of the week. NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the suspected cases were being asked to stay isolated as a precaution.

Swine flu has killed more than 100 people in Mexico and is rapidly spreading. The World Health Organisation says it is a "public health emergency".

There are almost 2000 suspected cases in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia.

Two people suspected of carrying swine flu to Queensland have since been cleared of the disease.

Accurate numbers are difficult to obtain as testing to confirm the disease can take days.

Swine flu symptoms are very similar to seasonal influenza symptoms and can include a high fever, coughing and sneezing, as well as vomiting and diarrhoea.

On social networking site Twitter, Premier Mike Rann wrote: "Anyone returning to Adelaide from Mexico or southwest U.S. with flu-type symtoms should attend Flinders Medical Centre, Royal Adelaide Hospital or Women's and Children's Hospital."

In Mexico, the outbreak's epicentre, soldiers handed out six million face masks to help stop the spread of the novel virus that is suspected in up to 103 deaths.

The Australian Government, which says the outbreak is a "very serious matter", is stepping up its border surveillance.

All flights into Australia from North or South America will have to report any passengers who have flu-like symptoms before they are allowed to disembark.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government was moving to the "next phase of protection". Anyone with symptoms will be assessed by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service and referred for treatment.

Ms Roxon said state and federal health authorities were meeting to determine whether to further strengthen the border protection by introducing screening of everyone entering Australia.

"We will need to continually be able to calibrate our response and we have a very good procedure in place to do that with the co-operation of our state and territory colleagues," she said.

Australia has stockpiled nine million doses of antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, although their effectiveness against swine flu is unknown.

Experts say much is still unknown about the flu, such as whether it will develop into a pandemic. They are confident Australia learned many lessons from bird flu and SARS and is well prepared to deal with an outbreak.

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance clinical research head Robert Booy said a pandemic was possible: "Time will tell and quite possibly we will know very soon.

"However, even if or when a pandemic (or worldwide outbreak) occurs, it will not be like the big killer, the Spanish Flu, that accounted for over 50 million people in 1919/1920.

"We are just so much better prepared this time.

"We have highly effective drug therapy and also the wherewithal to produce a vaccine." Professor Booy said death rates in developed countries like the U.S. were likely to be lower than the rate in Mexico because of better medical care.

Professor Raina MacIntyre, from the Scientific Influenza Advisory Group, said that without a vaccine people should use "all other protective measures that they can", such as masks.

"My research shows masks can protect against respiratory viruses," she said.

"Other measures include hand washing, social distancing (avoiding crowded places), being careful when looking after sick people, using tissues when sneezing or coughing and disposing of the tissues immediately."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not issued a travel warning for Mexico, but says anyone who travels there should see a doctor immediately if they develop flu-like symptoms.

Health authorities say it is safe to eat pork as long as it is cooked properly.

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#244881 - 28/04/2009 01:25 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
-Deano- Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 29/10/2008
Posts: 2931
Loc: Melton VIC
"However, even if or when a pandemic (or worldwide outbreak) occurs, it will not be like the big killer, the Spanish Flu, that accounted for over 50 million people in 1919/1920.

We are just so much better prepared this time."

You can NEVER be 100% prepared for an outbreak, virusses are just so unpredictable. Some can undergo thousands or millions of mutations a day and so it is impossible to be completely prepared.

In my opinion, if a pandemic did occur, it would be worse than the Spanish Flu. Just take a look at one of the figures I mentioned in my assignment I added on the previous page - if a major outbreak of Bird Flu occurred, an estimated 142 million people would have died. A similar scenario could happen with Swine Flu. Not only are there billions more people in the world now for the virus to infect than back in 1920, but back then air travel was a fairly uncommon mode of transport, ship trainsport was the main way to get around. So in the time it took for a ship to get to its destination, if there was an outbreak everyone was dead or recovered by the time they reached the destination. Now you can get around the world in a number of hours, and in this period of time you may have the virus but not even know that you have it because the symptoms may not even be starting to show themselves, therefore making it harder for effective detection and quarantine to occur upon immigration.

These two factors are in my mind what could make this disease FAR deadlier than anything we have ever seen. No need to get worried yet though, that is my opinion for if a pandemic occurs, not for this relatively small outbreak that we currently have on our hands. It could be ages before a pandemic occurs, giving us plenty of time to stockpile drugs and do research on the current strain of the virus. Alternatively, and in my mind more likely, it could do as the Bird Flu and SARS did, and just die back out into obscurity after a little while.

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#244882 - 28/04/2009 04:12 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Seabreeze Offline
Weatherzone Moderator

Registered: 18/09/2005
Posts: 10177
Loc: South West Rocks, NSW
Quote:
Originally posted by -Deano-:
"However, even if or when a pandemic (or worldwide outbreak) occurs, it will not be like the big killer, the Spanish Flu, that accounted for over 50 million people in 1919/1920.

We are just so much better prepared this time."

You can NEVER be 100% prepared for an outbreak,
They aren't claiming we are 100% prepared but are better prepared for a pandemic than back in 1919/1920, when the Spanish Flu outbreak occurred.
If you think about it, over the past 80 years there have been massive changes.

Our knowledge of viruses and how they mutate, spread and other behaviour has improved exponentially. We now have vaccines and medicines for influeneza, including Tamiflu (a common Flu drug), which has showed strong signs of being effective against Swine Flu.

The science of medicine has also improved greatly. What we can achieve during operations and successes against diseases and other viruses has increased so much over the past 80 years.

International relations between the countries of the world has improved greatly since the early 20th Century. This means that, if needed, a united and effective international response to a pandemic is possible.

Community awareness and knowledge of how diseases and viruses spread has become widespread and many people are able to, when needed, protect themselves, delay the onset, and/or reduce the effects of diseases and viruses.

Across the world, there are a far greater number of people who have access to medical resources and services, especially in developed countries, such as Australia.

All these factors combine to show that we are better prepared for a pandemic although in saying that it is worth noting that we are not and never will be 100% prepared. We now have the ability to combat Swine Flu more effectively; hence, it is entirely acceptable that the article states a total fatality rate lower than what occurred during the Spanish Flu 80 years ago.

There's no pandemic yet anyway, so there's no need to get too distressed at this time about possible scenarios concerning Swine Flu. cool
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#244883 - 28/04/2009 07:54 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
lizzie Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 02/09/2006
Posts: 700
Loc: Morpeth, Lower Hunter Valley.....
Quote:
Originally posted by Wobbly Wombat (Buzz):
Triage will boil down to those who have a chance get treated. Those that don't, won'tet any treatment. Our hospitals are over taxed already with normal accidents and emergencies. They would be flooded in the first 24 hours of a pandemic.
I have to agree.
I work in a public hospital, and see everyday the types of presentations in emergency, and so many, especially coming into winter, are from patients saying "i have the 'flu", when in reality, it's just a cold. Any outbreak, or threat of an outbreak, will only massively increase these presentations.
On the other hand, all it takes is one person to actually be infected, and that causes huge problems.
Last winter there was an influenza A outbreak in one of the wards, and it closed down half of that ward, meaning even less beds and staff to treat the sick, and those who were infected were not allowed to go home to their families for weeks. Was a large disruption to their lives.
If this strain of the 'flu were to hit, all it would take is one person, who did not know they were infected, to cause massive problems that would not be easily reigned in.

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#244884 - 28/04/2009 08:15 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
bigwilly Offline
Weatherzone Mod and Photog

Registered: 25/09/2002
Posts: 6543
Loc: Junee - just north of the 'Bid...
We may be better prepared now, but how will our mobility offset those preparations? My knowledge of the Spanish Flu pandemic is almost zilch, but I'm guessing it was preominantly contained to western Europe?

Given the frequent travel movements of so many people, if such a pandemic were to occur, how many would be exposed before we even knew there was a problem?

Take the first week of this swine flu as an example. The first time I heard about it, it had originated in Mexico, but already spread to the rest of the Americas and New Zealand and now Australia. I don't think you would have seen those rates of spread in 1919 wink

:cheers: Will
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#244885 - 28/04/2009 08:41 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
ant Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 05/10/2002
Posts: 9063
Loc: Overlooking ACT at 848m
We are much better prepared than even 10 years ago. We have a national plan which is already swinging into action, so far at the first stage.

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#244886 - 28/04/2009 09:22 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
cyclonecece Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 08/01/2007
Posts: 7823
Loc: Brandon.. QLD..EX Karratha
From Nine news..Ten Queenslanders are being tested for deadly swine flu and one passenger has been detained after returning from Los Angeles displaying symptoms.

Two other people in Queensland were cleared of the virus on Monday after exhibiting symptoms and another two were cleared during the weekend.

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young told ABC Radio that the person detained on Tuesday's flight would be tested.

"[We'll] then work through whether it's likely they meet the case definition, take swabs, if we do think they've potentially got this new swine flu, then we'll give them a face mask and ask them to go home and minimise contact with other people," she said.

Premier Anna Bligh is holding a press conference to discuss the suspected cases.

Quarantine officials boarded Qantas flight QF16 from Los Angeles when it arrived at Brisbane Airport about 6am (AEST).

Queensland Health immediately quarantined a person who was showing symptoms of swine flu and they were transported by ambulance to hospital, a Brisbane Airport Corporation spokesman told AAP.

Queensland's chief health officer Jeanette Young is holding a press conference at 10.45am (AEST

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#244887 - 28/04/2009 12:08 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Long Road Home Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 08/10/2007
Posts: 8323
Loc: Northern Beaches Syd
There needs to be constant news coverage of this event by now for those that are worried (including me) so that we know whats going on.. theres people out there dying from what looks a serious pandemic yet ch 7,9,10 have dumb morning shows with fashion and that teeny bop zack efron :rolleyes: ABC and SBS (as always) are doing the right thing so far keeping us informed, though SBS was broadcasting french news so i didnt understand any of it.

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#244888 - 28/04/2009 12:26 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
cyclonecece Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 08/01/2007
Posts: 7823
Loc: Brandon.. QLD..EX Karratha
From Perthnow news site..NINETEEN people with suspected swine flu are being tested in Australia, as authorities search for 300 others who may have come in contact with the disease.

Five people in NSW suspected of having swine flu have come through the first stage of testing and have been found to have contracted an unidentifiable type A virus, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

The five people, including children, will now need further tests to see if they have swine flu.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the cases were serious enough to be concerned.

"We are focusing on people who have got sick within seven days of travelling to countries affected and have developed flu-like symptoms," she said. "We are obviously acting in a precautionary manner."

Fourteen others were being tested in Queensland , including two women detained on a Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane this morning.

"Both of those people fell ill with flu-like symptoms," Queensland’s chief health officer Jeanette Young said. "They've been ill in the last 24 hours and they've had contact with people in Mexico."

Health authorities were still awaiting the results of the two women after swabs were taken. It is not known how long the results will take to be process.

The 300 others authorities were searching for may have come into contact with the flu after sharing an Air New Zealand flight with a group of Auckland school children suspected as being infected with the disease, health experts said.

Nine students and a teacher aboard the flight have tested positive for influenza A and New Zealand officials say test results later this week are expected to show they're suffering from swine flu.

A further 56 people who've recently returned from America or Mexico with flu-like symptoms are being tested in New Zealand.

Pandemic plans activated

Early this morning the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised its flu pandemic alert level from three to four, signalling a "significant increase in risk of a pandemic."

Acting WHO assistant-general for health, security and the environment Keiji Fukuda said experts agreed the virus is currently too "widespread to make containment a feasible".

As a result, "focusing on mitigation is really an important focus" for countries dealing with the disease, he said.

Mr Fukuda also stressed that experts did not recommend closing borders or restricting travel.

"With the virus being widespread... closing borders or restricting travel really has very little effects in stopping the movement of this virus," he said.

As the number of potential Australian cases grows, Queensland has become the first state to officially activate its pandemic plan alert.

"The Queensland Health pandemic plan has been activated," Premier Anna Bligh said. "We are in the standby phase, making sure we have all the resources available across government if we do have an outbreak."

Airport thermal screening yet to be introduced

Australian airports are now on full alert for any passengers travelling from Mexico, US or Canada who appear sick.

From midnight all pilots flying to Australia from affected countries were ordered to screen passengers and report suspect cases to quarantine officers. With the virus spreading rapidly, governments around the world are frantically activating influenza pandemic controls.

But 30 thermal scanners which could help identify sick passengers are idle. The Federal Health Department bought about 30 thermal scanners in 2006 to combat any bird flu epidemic. Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are employing them to identify potential flu victims crossing their borders.

A Department of Health and Ageing spokeswoman said "the thermal imaging machines are not being deployed at this stage but this is being considered by our medical experts".

The scanners, the size of a small hand-held video camera, can detect a patient with a fever from a metre away. More than $165,000 was spent testing the devices in 2006.

In Mexico, where the disease originated, there have been 149 suspected swine flu deaths.

Four hundred people are in hospital out of a total of 1600 suspected cases.

At least 40 cases have now been confirmed in the U.S, six in Canada, two in Scotland and one in Spain.

Swabs from 10 Auckland high school students, believed to have contracted the virus on a Spanish language trip to Mexico City, are due to arrive in Melbourne today for testing at a World Health Organisation (WHO) accredited laboratory.

A further 56 people who have recently returned from America or Mexico to New Zealand and have flu-like symptoms are being tested.

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In some cases people can experience diarrhoea and vomiting. Pneumonia and respiratory failure have been reported with swine flu infection in people.

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#244889 - 28/04/2009 12:27 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
ant Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 05/10/2002
Posts: 9063
Loc: Overlooking ACT at 848m
The authorities were already on to it, long before the media began to report on it. There's mechanisms for this kind of thing to be communicated to world-wide networks, in this case medical. The response according to the plan was being rolled out way earlier than this.

The media were informed as part of the plan, and will be key in educating the public. It's a shame though that so many people remain quite ignorant about flu, epidemics and pandemics.

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#244890 - 28/04/2009 12:31 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Seabreeze Offline
Weatherzone Moderator

Registered: 18/09/2005
Posts: 10177
Loc: South West Rocks, NSW
Actually 7 & 9 (not sure about 10) have had the Swine Flu story as a major news article during their news segments and on the morning breakfast shows they committed a reasonable amount of time to the Flu. There isn't really that much breaking news for the Swine Flu.
Meanwhile, there have been 143 deaths in Mexico (I think they said this morning), there haven't been any other deaths elsewhere in the world and current anti-viral drugs are proving to be effective against those infected with Swine Flu. Therefore, I do not think there is any real cause for concern.

Until thousands or tens of thousands are killed from Swine Flu across at least a few countries of the world (as horrible as that may sound), I wouldn't see any reason so far to be concerned. It is also nowhere near being a serious pandemic. In the meantime, I don't mind discovering that Zac took his Mum to the premiere of 17 Again in Berlin and seeing what's happening in the ever-changing world of fashion.
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October 2017 Rainfall: 111.2mm (Oct Avg. 90.7mm) // October 2017 Raindays: 17 (Oct Avg. 11.0 raindays)
Year-to-date Rainfall: 1359.4mm (Jan-Oct Avg. 1243.5mm) // Year-to-date Raindays: 123 (Jan-Oct Avg. 112.9 raindays)

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#244891 - 28/04/2009 12:39 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Pacman Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 14/11/2001
Posts: 5206
Loc: Cairns - Upper Bentley Park
Don't pigs have a close genetic makeup similar to humans hence why pig organs are transplanted into humans and blood. If this is the case the swine flu has the potential to be huge.

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#244892 - 28/04/2009 12:44 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Long Road Home Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 08/10/2007
Posts: 8323
Loc: Northern Beaches Syd
I couldnt care less about fashion or zack especially at times like this. 149 are now confirmed.. all of them in Mexico. being out most of this morning and tuning to the TV again about an hour ago, id like at least hourly updates of whats going on.. very poor effort indeed.

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#244893 - 28/04/2009 12:49 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Seabreeze Offline
Weatherzone Moderator

Registered: 18/09/2005
Posts: 10177
Loc: South West Rocks, NSW
Quote:
Originally posted by eternal-rain:
I couldnt care less about fashion or zack especially at times like this. 149 are now confirmed.. all of them in Mexico. being out all morning and only turning the TV on about an hour ago, id like at least hourly updates of whats going on.. very poor effort indeed.
Maybe because pretty much nothing of significance is going on concerning Swine Flu. People need to stop stressing. cool
_________________________
South West Rocks, NSW Mid North Coast:
October 2017 Rainfall: 111.2mm (Oct Avg. 90.7mm) // October 2017 Raindays: 17 (Oct Avg. 11.0 raindays)
Year-to-date Rainfall: 1359.4mm (Jan-Oct Avg. 1243.5mm) // Year-to-date Raindays: 123 (Jan-Oct Avg. 112.9 raindays)

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#244894 - 28/04/2009 13:02 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Long Road Home Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 08/10/2007
Posts: 8323
Loc: Northern Beaches Syd
149 deaths not significant enough for you?

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#244895 - 28/04/2009 13:11 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
Seabreeze Offline
Weatherzone Moderator

Registered: 18/09/2005
Posts: 10177
Loc: South West Rocks, NSW
Quote:
Originally posted by eternal-rain:
149 deaths not significant enough for you?
No, in reality it's not significant in the whole scheme of things at this stage. However, it does largely deserve the amount of coverage it has received so far but to suggest it needs constant and extensive updates on the situation is not needed until it becomes more of a concern. I'll use a cliche but I think people are making mountains out of molehills.
_________________________
South West Rocks, NSW Mid North Coast:
October 2017 Rainfall: 111.2mm (Oct Avg. 90.7mm) // October 2017 Raindays: 17 (Oct Avg. 11.0 raindays)
Year-to-date Rainfall: 1359.4mm (Jan-Oct Avg. 1243.5mm) // Year-to-date Raindays: 123 (Jan-Oct Avg. 112.9 raindays)

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#244896 - 28/04/2009 13:15 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
KevD Offline
Occasional Visitor

Registered: 23/09/2001
Posts: 5053
Loc: Bellingen NSW 2454
Ezz has a good point ER - just had a quick look into flu deaths and annualy in the United States flu in connected with the deaths of 51 000 people...That is every year...So whilst huge for the families concerned 149 is not that statistically significant (though of course the age and health of those who died was different to the norm for flu). It also seems all cases outside Mexico have been mild - not sure why but sure there are a lot of people trying to work that one out!

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#244897 - 28/04/2009 13:21 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
ant Offline
Meteorological Motor Mouth

Registered: 05/10/2002
Posts: 9063
Loc: Overlooking ACT at 848m
We'd lose way more than that to flu over the average flu season. The reason why this is news-worthy is because of the potential of this thing, not the actuality.

Thousands of people die every winter from flu.

This is quite a good overview of flu in general, and avian and swine flus in context:
http://www.nucleusnetwork.com.au/Upload/...nne%20Kelso.pdf

According to this, 250k - 500k people die of "normal" flu every year.

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#244898 - 28/04/2009 17:14 Re: Are we prepared for swine flu?
TranslucidusW Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 18/11/2003
Posts: 2662
Loc: Southern Adelaide
1,500 to 2,000 regular flu deaths in Australia per year - usually old/infirm/very young ie those with compromised immune systems and/or general ill health.

The issue with Swine Flu is that it strikes young healthy adults!

As an aside, I have heard in Israel it's referred to as Mexican Flu.

Sanity check: From WHO yesterday 12 CONFIRMED Deaths in Mexico!
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