Monday, November 23, 2009

Bet Some Don't Like this Medical Article out of Manila, says H1N1 Benign Virus11/23/09 1:55pm

Q. Please give us an update on the A (H1N1) flu that had the country in near panic a few months ago. Why has US President Obama recently declared the A (H1N1) a national emergency?

--Synia K., Makati City

A. It is now evident that the strain of the influenza A (H1N1) virus that first surfaced in Mexico in April is not as virulent as initially feared. Although the virus has managed to spread to practically the whole world in a matter of months, the figures are not that alarming. As of October 17, 2009, World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that only more than 414,000 laboratory confirmed cases of the A (H1N1) flu have been reported. In the Philippines, where the first case of the disease was diagnosed last May 22, only 5,212 cases have been reported by the Department of Health (DOH) as of October 18.

Many countries have stopped counting individual cases of the A (H1N1) flu, particularly of milder illness, thus, the actual number of people affected is significantly much higher than what WHO statistics show. Despite this however, the virus is obviously not that highly communicable, because a really highly communicable virus, according to many experts, cannot really be contained and its spread is explosive.

It is now also apparent that the influenza A (H1N1) virus is benign. Most people who have become ill with the virus simply experienced typical flu symptoms and recovered without requiring medical treatment. To date, nearly 5,000 people have died from the disease, which makes the fatality rate from the A (H1N1) flu a mere 1.2% of reported cases. In the Philippines, the fatality rate is even much lower, only 30 deaths have been reported so far and many of those who died have other existing medical conditions.

In retrospect, the initial overreaction of governments to the A (H1N1) flu pandemic is understandable. After all, this current A (H1N1) flu virus has many similarities to the Spanish flu, which killed millions of people worldwide in 1918: it originated from animals (the Spanish flu from birds and the present one from pigs); it has acquired the capability for sustained human to human transmission; and, since it is a novel virus, there is no vaccine against it and most people have little or no immunity to it. But the behavior of the flu A (H1N1) virus has since revealed its benign nature.

All things considered, getting infected with the influenza A (H1N1) is no more dreadful than getting infected with the other seasonal flu viruses that are ever present worldwide. But if this is so, why has US President Barrack Obama declared the A(H1N1) flu a national emergency?

Essentially, the declaration is a preemptive move for easier decision making and mobilization of resources. For example, the declaration will accelerate the immunization of target groups (i.e., high-risk groups including health care workers) with the flu A (H1N1) vaccine that has recently become available. The vaccines have to be administered before the advent of the flu season, which in the US coincides with the start of winter. This will prevent the spread of the flu A (H1N1) virus and more importantly, will minimize the chance of the flu A (H1N1) virus and any of the seasonal flu viruses from infecting the same person at the same time, which will make it possible for the flu A (H1N1) virus to recombine its genetic material with the other flu virus and allow for the development of a newer potentially more virulent strain.

On the whole, and partly because of what the US is doing about the pandemic, Filipinos need not worry about this disease more than they do now. In fact, our Department of Health (DOH) is not about to implement measures outside those already in place.

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  1. I don't get it :(

    On one hand the virus is bad and it's spreading (ukraine, iowa, poland, etc)

    On the other hand h1n1 is like the seasonal flu no worries about it

    which one is it? =(

  2. Easy, H1N1 no big deal - using it to try and get people vaccinated - whereas what has been created since - is a big deal!

    So it is BOTH!

  3. OH! Okay lol thanks :D

    So it's like getting you vaccinated for the fake one while at the same time making you weaker against the big one?

    Sounds like a plan...

    This world sucks indeed

  4. Ummm...if I recall correctly, wasn't the vaccine supposed to be given in 2 separate doses? Whatever happened to that? I haven't seen the media yelling about "Hey, time for your next dose...don't forget your second dose!"

    The corruption in Big Pharm just makes me want to puke. I remember telling my husband when this all started, that I thought all this vaccine garbage was payback from the O Admin for Big Pharm coming to the table on ObamaCare, and taking a hit in the wallet...this was for them to start getting their money back.

    Of course, now, the whole thing seems to be a bit more ominous...other players involved for different reasons.