[LINK] Using the web to disseminate - Swine flu information

Scott Howard scott at doc.net.au
Mon Apr 27 17:05:26 AEST 2009

On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 6:01 PM, Tom Koltai <tomk at unwired.com.au> wrote:

> Actually, Im not convinced about the swine flu thingy.
> We had a dry run at this a couple of years ago - it was called the Bird
> Flu.

Exactly - that was a dry run - now it's time for the real thing.

The fear with Bird Flu (specifically Influenza A H5N1) was not the virus
itself, but the possibility that it could commence human-to-human infection
rather than just animal-to-human which obviously limits the infections to
those in direct contact with the specific type of animal (ie, infected
Birds).  To date there has been extremely limited, if any, documented cases
of human-to-human infection for Bird Flu.

The current situation with swine flu (A/H1N1) is very different in that
there is almost certainly active human-to-human infection occurring.  Whilst
generally not as deadly to humans as bird flu, swine flu clearly has the
ability to cause significant impact and death if infections occur in high
enough numbers.

Current numbers from Mexico put the number of infections at over 1000
(possibly over 2000) and number of deaths at over 100, with confirmed or
suspected infections in at least 6 other countries (including NZ).  From
memory the last outbreak similar to this was SARS in 2003, and as someone
who spent much of the timeframe of that outbreak in Singapore I can
personally attest to the impact something like this can have even if it is
well controlled. (SARS ended up with around 8000 confirmed infections, and
around 800 dead).


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