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Did you notice how there was a lull in what was reported in mainstream media about the H1N1 or Swine Flu in recent weeks? In the past few days, however, there has been a flurry of news articles related to the flu, approximations about possible scenarios with the flu in the United States and more information about the flu as it strikes around the world. There has been particular attention to the countries which are facing winter or just coming out of winter at this time of the year.
Perhaps I have been married to a paranoid man for too many years and it is beginning to rub off but I have to say that the recent news is rather scary. Projections from the US government are anticipating that approximately half of the population will contract the flu and 90,000 will die from it. Okay, that might seem horrific to some and not so bad to others. Perspective. What scares me is the information released today from the WHO which is touting that the flu is hitting those who are young or otherwise healthy and going directly into the lungs. This is counter to the demographic that traditional flu strikes. This scares me since I have a husband and a son who both suffer from asthma so they already have respiratory problems and a virus that is pretty much bee-lining for the lungs scares the crap out of me. The statistics released that most of those individuals are requiring intensive care unit attention in the hospitals in these countries is even scarier. ICU is reserved for the sickest of the sick. The ones that need the one-on-one monitoring that goes with the unit. This is very frightening to hear.
“Data continue to show that certain respiratory disease, notably asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and immunosuppression,” WHO said.increase the risk of severe and fatal illness. These include
The figure of 90,000 US deaths is rather startling since it is more than double the national figures for deaths from regular seasonal flu. While certainly not the Black Death, the swine flu seems to be of concern, more than not. The CDC was quick to maintain that the quote of 90,000 deaths was a worse case scenario projection…blah, blah, blah, but one has to wonder if the government was doing some backpaddling there to avoid hysteria. Feedback?
It is a little disconcerting to read about the 5th confirmed death and the 6th case of human bird flu in China. The geographic areas that these people were from are far removed from each other. Hard to imagine that there won’t be more, particularly in light of the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Even more disturbing is the fact that the WHO Global Pandemic Preparedness Plan is at a Stage 3 alert – which is Pandemic Alert. The scale only goes to 6 people, which means according to the WHO we are halfway to hell. The US pandemic alert is still at zero meaning that there are confirmed cases of infected birds/animals outside this country. If you look closely at the US alert scale, while we are at zero we have still crossed the line into the Pandemic Alert Period and our scale only goes to 6 as well.
I think that it is time to take stock of our stockpiles and re-assess our situation once again. I think Tom’s paranoia is rubbing off but honestly if the CDC and WHO are so convinced that we are OVERDUE for a pandemic of some type, I think caution is warranted.
This article appeared in our local paper, The Rutland Herald and was in fact, quite disturbing.
|State urges Vermonters to be prepared for pandemic
October 20, 2008
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
|COLCHESTER — The Vermont Department of Health is urging residents to prepare for what officials believe will be a worldwide flu pandemic by stocking their pantries.
Public health officials say that during a flu pandemic families won’t be able to go to work, school or the store.
Health Commissioner Wendy Davis says people should buy things like dried foods that have a long shelf life.
In 1918, a worldwide flu pandemic killed millions of people.
Davis says it’s only a matter of time before another pandemic spreads across the world.
Burlington is one of nine communities around the country taking part in a pilot project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get ready for a pandemic.
This, coupled with a comment from a neighbor about a possible resurgence of the Spanish Flu from something she read from the CDC, put my fingers to the keyboard to find out more. And find out, I did. Several things, some of which were quite disconcerting. In New Jersey, a law was just passed mandating flu vaccines for children under 5 attending preschool or daycare. Mandating. That is a strong word as it relates to the flu vaccine. Makes me glad that I don’t live in NJ anymore. The CDC has in fact recommended flu vaccines for all children between 6 months and 18 years of age. Normal, healthy kids, not just children who are considered “high risk”, although I do have one of those. My youngest son, Tim has asthma and has gotten a flu shot for years. My other two boys, neither of whom suffer from any “high risk” conditions, have never gotten a flu shot.
Why? Why all of a sudden is this of utmost importance? The news is replete with articles from all over the country urging parents to get their perfectly healthy children vaccinated this year. While I am not the conspiracy type, I do have to admit that living with my adorable Mr. Paranoia for all these years does rub off on me. We went through childhood without a flu shot, my other non-high risk children for their 12 and 13 years have survived without a flu shot, so now why this sudden urge to vaccinate healthy children, coupled with this article? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
It certainly makes me wonder and give the whole thing a second thought, particularly in light of the fact that thermisol is found as a preservative in most flu vaccines. Okay, I admit that this makes me nervous. While years ago, call me stupid, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to the vaccines administered to my infants; age and experience have made me more cautious and much more protective. I am no longer willing to “turn my kids over” to the pediatrician’s wishes, especially in light of the fact that Tom and I have a nephew who is autistic. While I know the controversy surrounding thermisol in vaccines is inconclusive from a scientific point at best, I also know that I have a sister who believes in her heart of hearts that little Damian “was different” after he was given his MMR vaccine. A mother’s instinct is nothing to be messed with and that is enough to give me second thoughts.