September 18, 2009 |
As health officials brace for a new onslaught of illness from the novel H1N1 virus, they remain perplexed by one of the most unusual and unsettling patterns to emerge from this pandemic -- the tendency of the so-called swine flu to strike younger, healthier people. The initial explanation was that the elderly, who are usually most vulnerable to the flu, have built-in immunity as a result of their exposure more than 50 years ago to ancestors of today's pandemic strain. But the limits of the theory are becoming more clear.
November 26, 2013 |
The 2009 H1N1 "swine flu" epidemic killed up to 203,000 people across the globe -- a death toll 10 times greater than initially estimated by the World Health Organization, researchers say. In a study published Tuesday in the journal Plos Medicine, epidemiologists used data on respiratory deaths in 20 nations to calculate a global mortality rate for the pandemic. Prior to this research, the WHO counted just 18,631 lab-confirmed cases of H1N1, a viral infection of the airways.
March 20, 2008 |
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that climate change and pandemic disease threatened international security as much as terrorism and that Britain must radically improve its defenses. Brown listed the greatest threats to Britain's peace as "war, terrorism and now climate change, disease and poverty -- threats which redefine national security." Officials estimate that a flu-type pandemic in Britain could cost as many as 750,000 lives, according to a report commissioned by Brown. It also says major coastal floods probably would result in a military evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.
January 15, 2012 |
In recent weeks I've had occasion to wonder whether Talmudic scholars of yore ever debated the question of what to do when a nice Jewish boy came down with swine flu. Less shameful than a diagnosis of trichinosis, perhaps, in which the subject would surely be harshly judged for his complicity in having partaken of undercooked pork. Yet hasn't a swine flu victim also ingested (or at least inhaled) the virus one way or another? Admittedly, this was not foremost on my mind when, in 2006, my wife and I purchased a drug called Tamiflu.
October 6, 2005
On Tuesday, President Bush tried to reassure us by saying he will use the military to enforce a quarantine to prevent the spread of an avian influenza pandemic. I would much rather hear from our president that the federal government will give all the necessary economic support to produce as rapidly as possible a vaccine for the H5N1 (avian) influenza virus. This is the only effective way to prevent a pandemic: a mass vaccination as was done against polio. A Centers for Disease Control director recently said that a vaccine against the avian influenza virus is going to be available but there are not sufficient funds to mass-produce it soon enough.
December 18, 2009 |
Available doses of the vaccine against pandemic H1N1 influenza will top 100 million in the United States by today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday. The vaccine has become sufficiently plentiful, prompting at least 24 states and some other communities to lift restrictions and open distribution to everyone. And some pharmacies are starting to get the vaccine for general distribution. Earlier, supplies had been targeted at those most at risk, including children and pregnant women.
November 30, 2010 |
That H1N1 pandemic....no, it didn't lead to bodies piled high in the streets. But the point is, it could have -- pandemics sometimes do. And were we prepared? No, we were not. That's the bottom line of a perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine right before Thanksgiving when our thoughts of birds had all to do with feasts and not the influenza A viruses many wild ones naturally harbor. The commentary, which you can read in full on the Web , was penned by three scientists at RAND in Santa Monica and its main theme was vaccine acceptance.