World H1N1 toll nears 10,000

Pretty impressive!  Yesterday I was feeling a little achy and so I immediately suspected I was coming down with the swine flu.  Thankfully, I believe I was mistaken, but I am sure I will have several other “swine-flu scares” before it has run its course.

People still don’t really know what’s going on with this mysterious virus.  It was reported that the principal who died in NY had underlying medical conditions.  Yet, his wife says he only suffered from gout, a disease marked by acute attacks of arthritis.

Also, people have been criticizing the WHO’s pandemic levels. Because the phases represent the extent of the spread of the virus, and not the severity, several health experts think the current pandemic levels are not very useful.

“One of the better determinants is the incubation period,” said Robert I. Fields, chair of the department of health policy and public health at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Fields said a long incubation period with mild to no symptoms would allow the virus to spread quickly and widely before people quarantine themselves. Couple a long incubation period with a particularly deadly strain, and doctors have their “worst nightmare” of a flu virus, Fields said.

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A Couple Things

The aforementioned principal in New York has died from complications of the H1N1 virus. He is the 6th person to die from flu related complications.  It isn’t known if he had any pre-existing medical problems. Or if it is…no one’s saying anything. The city of New York is seeing a rise in flu reported illnesses.

Additionally, Japan is seeing an increase in swine flu cases, and is freaking out.

Kobe residents rushed to hospitals, where doctors in biohazard suits checked people for fever in tents set up in parking lots, Agence France-Presse reported. Transit workers and supermarket employees began wearing masks.

Japan is well known in public health circles for being exceptionally nervous about flu; it has an aging population and a national obsession with cleanliness that makes even Switzerland look messy.

Masks are common on subways because it is considered rude to lack one if you are sneezing. Before the outbreak began last month, Japan used about 60 percent of the world’s stock of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

A biohazard suit in some kind of animal print might work for me, though.

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