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Old 05-30-2006, 09:09 PM   #46
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Unfortunately while we can do certain things to prepare as individuals, this is really a government/state matter that must be dealt with on that level. Both from the development of the vaccine, to stocking anti-virals, to the way that primary health care workers respond. If there is a pandemic, the mortality rate will be determined largely on the basis of their state of preparedness.
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Old 05-30-2006, 09:24 PM   #47
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Interestingly this past Saturday the Toronto Star had an entire special interest section devoted to disaster preparedness including supply and equipment lists and how to deal with quickie evacuations.

Even during the SARS outbreak and quarantines I don't remember seeing this type of information in the mainstream.

I remember seeing the Oprah show a few months back. The thing I remember most was the CDC guy describing the domino effect of shutting down borders...not only shut to people but to imported/exported goods and domestic distribution channels grinding to a halt. We've become so globally fluid and dependent on trade and JIT inventories that you've got to wonder how self-sufficient any one first-world country can be for any length of time these days.

Combine that with people potentially quarantined or otherwise afraid to leave home for weeks and weeks at a time and it wouldn't take much for a public health emergency to trigger a serious economic meltdown with global proportions.
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Old 05-30-2006, 09:35 PM   #48
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Well we have to be smart about evacuations and things like that.

IMO, college campuses are one of the most obvious breeding grounds. As it is, statistics show that the rates of acquiring meningitis are 6x the normal rate in college housing. If there is an outbreak, this is going to be a big problem for two reasons. First, because there is a large enough population which helps the spread. Second, because young people are generally healthier, it's likely that the more resistant/dangerous strains will take hold here than say, in a nursing home where you will have large numbers succumbing anyway.

IMO, this is what you shut down right off the bat at the outbreak of a pandemic.
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Old 05-30-2006, 11:12 PM   #49
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Has Pat Robertson said anything asinine yet?
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:21 AM   #50
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What's really a mindfuck to me is that they're saying that the people who are most vulnerable to this particular virus are those with healthy immune systems. I understand this a little bit in terms of my own experience--I am sort of a health freak and have built up a really strong immune system. As a result, this year I started to get weird autoimmune things like eczema that I've never had before in my life. Can you explain this a little bit anitram? For me to not continue building up my immune system in the face of a possible (probable, actually) bird flu pandemic is so counterintuitive that it freaks me out.

I did watch the Oprah rerun tonight and one of the things that struck me most was when this guy said that basically the setup for a pandemic is so clear he doesn't know what can stop it from happening.
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:32 AM   #51
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Well define health-freak? Do you get dirty and exposed to as much grit as possible in your day to day life or do you try to stay clean.

Just a point, the risk of the virus becoming more dangerous when spreading among healthy populations is a great illustration of natural selection ~ the stronger immune systems will remove all but the most virulent strains, those leftover ones will be the ones that propogate.

Should worst come to worse just lock yourself in your room with tinned food for a year
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:02 AM   #52
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Well define health-freak? Do you get dirty and exposed to as much grit as possible in your day to day life or do you try to stay clean.

Just a point, the risk of the virus becoming more dangerous when spreading among healthy populations is a great illustration of natural selection ~ the stronger immune systems will remove all but the most virulent strains, those leftover ones will be the ones that propogate.
I am not afraid of getting dirty but I wash my hands a lot, I take a lot of supplements, I work with a nutritionist, I exercise nearly everyday, I read labels on foods and avoid the things I know are bad like hydrogenated oils, I make smart food choices but am not afraid of the occasional bag of chips or ice cream or joint or whatever, I just try to be balanced about it, I don't drink soft drinks or eat fast food (maybe like once or twice a year), and I buy organic when I can. But it's the supplements I take that have really boosted my immune system to the point where I travel by air between 2-4 times per month and was surrounded by sick colleagues all through the winter and never even got a sniffle. I haven't been sick since April 2005 after waiting to see U2 in the cold, wind, rain and hail, and before that it had been a long time since I'd been sick.

So should I stop all that and start eating junk food, lol?
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Old 05-31-2006, 04:30 AM   #53
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So should I stop all that and start eating junk food, lol?

Yes.


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Old 05-31-2006, 11:13 AM   #54
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What all this reminds me of is how extremely fragile this thing we call life is, on both the micro and macro scale. I'm also struck by how dependent we've become on things beyond our ability to really control or manage--we are deeply dependent on the "systems" in our world working as they should. If these "systems" ever break down. . .we're going to have a mess.

And people like me, who live on small remote Pacific Islands are in even more trouble. I can't imagine what would happen here if there was shut down of world trade etc due to bird flu or something like that. This island can not function without those flights in and out, and the containers coming in. (Actually, I can imagine it. . .I've been working on a novel about something like that happening and I'm beginning to freak myself out!)
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:02 PM   #55
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^ Yes, you're right about how dependent we are on systems. In that way people in 1918 probably faired better than we are prepared to. My friends and I are seriously contemplating this whole thing and trying to prepare ourselves as best we can. We figure preparations can never be a waste. After what we saw with hurricane Katrina here in the states and what we've seen in other parts of the world with various disasters, I don't think preparedness can be overestimated. At the same time, we realize there is only but so much we can do and in the end, as anitram said, so much depends on how well we are prepared for anything on a local level. Knowing that if a pandemic strikes it is up to each state to handle it means that we here in NM are pretty much on our own.

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Old 05-31-2006, 04:39 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Well we have to be smart about evacuations and things like that.

IMO, college campuses are one of the most obvious breeding grounds. As it is, statistics show that the rates of acquiring meningitis are 6x the normal rate in college housing. If there is an outbreak, this is going to be a big problem for two reasons. First, because there is a large enough population which helps the spread. Second, because young people are generally healthier, it's likely that the more resistant/dangerous strains will take hold here than say, in a nursing home where you will have large numbers succumbing anyway.

IMO, this is what you shut down right off the bat at the outbreak of a pandemic.
That would be a good reason to vaccinate this age group first along with health workers...help contain the spread.
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Old 05-31-2006, 04:46 PM   #57
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Originally posted by joyfulgirl
What's really a mindfuck to me is that they're saying that the people who are most vulnerable to this particular virus are those with healthy immune systems.
Quote:
The H5N1 virus caused proteins known as cytokines to rush to infected lung tissue -- evidence of a so-called cytokine storm, an immune system overreaction that can be fatal.
So the stronger your immune system (young healthy adults), the stronger and faster the deadly overreaction.
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Old 05-31-2006, 05:10 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy




So the stronger your immune system (young healthy adults), the stronger and faster the deadly overreaction.


i haven't been genuinely sick since Thanksgiving of 2000 when some european preschooler gave me a nasty strep throat. i have a spectacular immune system -- the slightest bit of illness, and i have a bunch of water, a tablet of Vitamin C, and the next day, i'm all better.

i'm doomed.

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Old 05-31-2006, 06:43 PM   #59
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I'm not so sure that people who haven't been sick in a while can safely claim a great immune system on the basis of that alone. A lot of it also has to do with exposure.

For example, when I was at university, I had a bad cold once in 4 years and felt great. When I started working at a pediatric hospital surrounded by SCIDs and kids on chemo who have no immune system and are routinely ravaged by opportunistic pathogens, I picked up everything imaginable. You could compare your immune system with mine and come to the conclusion it's better when in fact it hasn't been challenged even a fraction of the amount. So for those of you who haven't been sick much, I wouldn't panic yet.

The best way to test your immune system is with an array of tests (subclasses levels, total IgG, mitogen and antigen stimulation). Some of these are very specialized and very expensive.
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:54 PM   #60
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actually, i think it was my year long exposure to european strands of colds, flus, and strep that has made me invulnerable to everything -- i spend loads of time on public transportation and work in a big old office and it's still been years.

so i'm doomed. doomed! not even Brangelina's baby can save us.
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