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Entry #5: FLU YOU! Why H1N1 is so hyped and more~

Posted 12-08-2009 at 02:55 PM by BeanMarine
Updated 12-08-2009 at 03:00 PM by BeanMarine
If your mom is like mine, then your daily phone calls from home usually consist of how you should consider wearing a gas mask or staying away from humans altogether to avoid getting H1N1. And, if you're like me, then you've probably spaced out 1 minute into the conversation and have no idea what your mother is talking about.


But is the H1N1 scare legitimate? As of December 4th, 2009, there have been 3,000 deaths world wide, but USAToday predicts that number to rise up to 30,000-90,000 deaths due to this flu strain. Maybe you should start saving up money for that gas mask afterall


You'll notice that I've been in a blogging frenzy. It's not because I enjoy reading myself talk or because I have no life (okay, maybe just a little), but I've found that teaching others is a great way to help solidify the knowledge I've acquired through lecture and reading. So by writing this, I not only help prepare myself for the final that I will be taking some 24 hours from now, but I'm also providing an educating form of entertainment (hopefully).

But I digress. This blog will be about Influenza, not about my impending doom. SO OFF WITH HIS HEAD and get back to talking about the flu.

30,000 and 99,000 deaths sure does sound like a lot, but compared to the 500,000 deaths in the US and approximately 55 million deaths world wide due to other flu viruses--it's safe to assume that we've encountered and survived through more dangerous strains. And we have.

Before the Swine Influenza, the world has battled with several strains of flu viruses and emerged triumphant.


hold onto your seats, 'cause it's a history lesson starting... NOW

Moving back some years, in 1918 an unusually virulent strain of Influenza suddenly appeared. But unlike most flu viruses that attack the old or young people, the Spanish Flu (H1N1) attacked young adults who have perfectly healthy immune systems! No one has yet to figure out how the Spanish Flu works, but it left behind 500,000 deaths in the US (that's 5 times greater that the US Causalities during WWI) and approximately 55 million deaths worldwide.

In 1976, the H1N1 strain showed it's repugnant face once more in Ft. Dix, New Jersey. The CDC was quick and adamant about creating a private government sector specifically for the Swine Flu Vaccination and quickly procured a vaccine. Unfortunately, the vaccine was contaminated and resulted in the death of 27 people while giving 500 others severe side-effects. Needless to say, the Vaccination program was terminated and the Swing Flue fizzled off and never really amounted to much

Now in 2009, the Swine Influenza is back. Originating in Mexico and the US, it emerged as a result of the intermixing influenza strains in European pigs and Mexican pigs (pigs make great mixing vessels for influenza viruses).

So why the scare? Why are your mothers constantly badgering you to wash your hands and avoid jabbing your dirty fingers into your eyes?

Genetic mutations in the H1N1's integral proteins can bring the Swine Influenza into a Pandemic. The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is that, while Epidemics are concentrated in certain countries, Pandemics can kill people across continents. Most pandemics occur every 10-15 years. The last time we had a one was around 30 years ago. The World is long overdue for an Influenza Pandemic, we just don't when or where it will begin.

"Okay, cool" You say, "Why don't we just create a vaccine?"

There's already a vaccine out for the H1N1, but the "seed virus" is growing very slowly and delaying Vaccine Development and testing. This is why there were restrictions on who could get the vaccine several year ago.

The best way to prevent catching H1N1 is to


WASH YOUR HANDS AND KEEP YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM YOUR EYES


Like vampires to sunlight, Influenza positively hates being dry. It needs to be in a wet environment, so transmission usually occurs when someone inhales a viral respiratory droplet or jabs their finger into contaminated materials and then proceeds to rub their eye. The other thing you can do is get the vaccine.

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  1. Torikakae's Avatar
    Though if we were to panic with every (new) viral strain that appears to infect the world, then what a life we would live~

    Maybe it's just me, but I've been rolling my eyes every time H1N1 was mentioned. Malaria and dengue are more lethal and more widespread (especially here in the tropics), and a hell lot easier to catch. And well...I'm basically still alive, so whatever~
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    Posted 12-09-2009 at 11:20 PM by Torikakae Torikakae is offline
 
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