Archive for Avian flu

H7N9 Case in Taiwan

Read about it here.

“Oh, no big deal!” you might say. “Just another case of flu. Nothing to see. Move along here.” The man has been in the hospital since April 16 in critical condition. Suppose the critical care units in the hospital were unavailable? Remember how SARS was shutting down Canadian hospitals? I think we’re going to see that again. If memory serves me correctly, it was Taiwan/Canadian airline traffic that spread it.

It is killing about 1/5 of the people that are infected if the Chinese numbers are correct.

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H7N9: Y’all Need to Keep Up With This ‘Un

This latest avian flu variation doesn’t hurt or even sicken birds, but has a high death rate for the humans it infects. It appears to be adapted to spread through humans now. It is still early days yet in this flu. Perhaps it will evolve further to be less dangerous to its mammalian hosts. We do not know. Perhaps it is spreading mostly unremarked through the population. This is unknown.

Just remember that this kills its victims through pneumonia and how quickly hospitals with advanced life-saving equipment can be overwhelmed by large numbers of people seeking treatment.

According to Recombinomics, the birds infected at the live markets were probably infected by humans per the DNA analysis.

If your plans to avoid the next big flu epidemic include locking yourself in your house with no outside contact, now might be a good time to start stocking up your vital supplies. *sigh* I ALWAYS get a bad case of the flu even if I’ve been immunized.

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I Didn’t Know Eyeballs Could Rattle

I thought I was having an allergy/asthma attack with the sudden onset of coughing yesterday at school. Lots of pollenous hell flowers out there in bloom. The jasmine is particularly potent. The temperature at school was in the low to mid 90s yesterday afternoon, so I thought the dragginess I was feeling could be attributed to the heat. I did a deep watering of the classroom flower garden before heading home for the weekend because there is *no* rain in the forecast. By the time SwampMan arrived to pick me up, I could barely keep my eyes open except when paroxysmal coughs tore through me. Crap. Probably NOT allergies.

I went home and took my temperature. Great. 100 degrees. One hundred degrees isn’t that big a deal, except my normal temperature is around 97.6, not 98.6. Always has been. When my temperature is at 98.6, I’m running a temperature (grin).

I staggered through today as best as I could. I finished my morning chores that are normally finished by 7 a.m. by about 2:00 p.m., then rode to Home Depot with SwampMan against my better judgement. Then we rode out to the grocery store so that I could pick up some milk, we got something to eat (SwampMan got lunch and dinner; I had my first meal of the day) and then stopped by SwampSon’s house so that I could do his livestock chores and plant waterings, and then home to my livestock.

I looked at my chickens. The horizon tilted crazily in my yard. Weird. I reminded myself that if I put one foot in front of the other, I would get there, although the front yard looked like an impossibly long way from the gate and rather steep, considering that it was flat ground. I fed two pens of “orphan” chicks that had been hatched out and abandoned by ducks. I fed a pen of 15 ducklings in the large round pen. I fed two pens of layers although I did not move the pens. I didn’t think I could move them. Perhaps in the morning. Then behind the house to three pens of chicks, then to the back of the house for a hen on a nest and a pen of pullets just beginning to lay. Then to the back pasture for two large pens of layers and one small pen that I’m introducing to the pen that I would like them in. By that time, I was moving like a robot or zombie. Step. Step. Step. Put feed in feeders. Check water. Ignore eggs. Step. Step. Step. Wait. Did I feed the chickens in the back of the house and in the front yard? I didn’t remember. Backtrack. Step. Step. Step. Wait! Did I feed the chickens in the side yard or back pasture? Step. Step. Step.

Okay. I can do this. The headache was like a tight band tightening around my head with every step, and the horizon started darkening and narrowing to a little spotlight of light out at the horse stalls, and Breeze neighed impatiently. My vision cleared. I had work to do. Okay. On to the stables. I can count the steps! One. Two. Three. Uh, where was I again? Oh, right, gotta check the chickens in the wooden chickenhouse and close them in for the night. They need water, too. The turkey poults are calling. There are wild turkeys in the woods, and they might hear the adults calling to one another. Back to the gate for the sheep feed. One. Two. Three. 105. 106. 107. 108. Scatter corn for the rams and dry ewes. 109. 110…..115. 130. 135. 140 and climb over the fence. I’m nearly trampled by ewes and lambs rushing up, running around in front of me, through my legs, and jumping up on me like dogs. Put feed in managers, avoiding stampeding sheep. Step step step back to the house, almost done. Take hamburger out of freezer for Puppy, about two pounds’ worth, and put it in his bowl. He can wait for it to thaw; he has a dozen boiled eggs to eat. Feed Momma cat dry food instead of her beloved canned feed, and take a scoop of dry cat feed out to the back of the horse barn for three cats. Two of them are SwampDaughter’s. I dunno who the hell the other one belongs to, but he apparently thinks we belong to HIM.

I went back into the house and downed a couple large glasses of sweet tea. The tightening band around my head eased. Just dehydrated a little. Did I have much to drink today? Probably not, I didn’t feel like eating. I took another look at my temperature. Now it’s 102. The temperature inside the house is in the high 80s or low 90s, but I just want to wrap up in a blanket and shiver for awhile. I think I will. SwampMan wanted to hover for awhile until I told him to get the heck OUT before he got sick, too.

“I’m glad you’re not a pussy when you get sick like I am!” he offered. Is that a compliment or a criticism? I dunno. I don’t care. I wish I hadn’t taken microbiology those many years ago so that I wouldn’t know that the muscle pain is coming from destroyed muscle cells that the virus has reproduced in and then burst open with little viral replicants to infect other cells, and that the temperature is my body’s attempt to make the body unfriendly to the invaders. Bastards. Explode MY cells? I don’t think so. My body is a battleground tonight and I am ground zero.

SwampMan helpfully left the military channel playing “Ike” for me. Why couldn’t he have left something helpful, like a bottle of hard liquor? Oh, right, *we* don’t drink. I turned on “How It’s Made” instead. I bet it would be MUCH more entertaining with a bottle of medicinal liquor except for red wine. Red wine gives me migraines. I already have one, thank you very much. Maybe red wine would help?

Now I’m tired out. Gotta go cover up and shiver again, then shed all my clothes and stand under the fan a few minutes later. Good times, right?

3:45 a.m.

Back to myself for a bit. I’ve been having fever dreams with lots of bright colors in which I keep trying to do things over and over that I cannot remember with no success. Temperature is down to 101 again. I dunno WHAT this thing is, but it seems to be making the rounds of schools. My next door neighbors told me that my friend, who works at a different school system than I do, had a racking cough and hadn’t gotten out of bed all day. If you have children in the school system, beware!

More pacing the floor because muscles hurt too much to stay still. What I had planned to do this weekend was more T-shirt painting/tie dying along with felting. I felted a flower onto my T-shirt for a school function, and it turned out crude, like many first attempts do, but…not bad. Not bad at all, considering that I was doing it about midnight and suddenly realized I had to go to sleep IMMEDIATELY in order to get five hours’ sleep. If I had done something like sketch it out first instead of doing it free form, it would have probably undoubtedly been a lot better.

Anyway, I had wanted to make some brilliant colored little baby shirts for Zoe with things like fishies and bugs and dinosaurs and flowers (not all at the same time) felted on them this weekend. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not feeling up to it!

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Cultural Background?

Daughter was asked to provide, for the Christmas party at the grandson’s kindergarten, food appropriate to her “cultural background”.

WTF? So, she called me to ask me what food would be appropriate to our cultural background. Raccoon, squirrel, or other critters? Latkes? Yellow jacket* soup? Haggis? Gator or deer taken without the purchase of a hunting license which would piss off the state but would be culturally correct? Leg of ram? There are a lot of choices available to Jewish German French Indian English Scottish rednecks Southern Americans.

We finally decided that her culture was take out, and she’ll pick up something chickeny from Chic-Fil-A.

Update: SwampMan says that HIS cultural background would recommend 20 Krystals which are a lot cheaper.

* Who was the first person that saw yellow jackets flying around stinging people and said to herself “I bet them sumbitches are tasty!” If I ever have the opportunity to use a time machine to go back and research history, I wouldn’t waste it on some asshole like Julius Caesar. I’d want to watch that intrepid woman make her culinary discovery and then convince other tribe members to eat it.

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Comatose Swine Flu Victim Loses Baby

From News4Jax:

WELLINGTON, Fla. — A 22-year-old is in a coma at a local hospital with swine flu and her prematurely born baby is dead.

Claudia Hernandez was eight months pregnant and diagnosed with swine flu last week. She was admitted to a Palm Beach County hospital last Wednesday and that’s when doctors delivered the infant prematurely.

The baby lived five days. Hernandez doesn’t know her baby died because she is in a coma; family members said doctors have told them that the woman’s life is also in danger.

This disease is deadly in pregnant women and to their infants. Get your vaccination if you are pregnant.

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In Arizona, a Family Prays for Flu Recovery

From reporter Ginger Rough at the Arizona Republic:

The progression of Justin’s illness is common for severe H1N1 cases, but the symptoms weren’t readily apparent to him.

When he first fell ill, he thought it was a cold. He felt tired and had a nasty cough. His mom said she didn’t suspect the flu because he didn’t have what she thought were “classic” symptoms, like vomiting and aches. She got worried after a week passed and he kept getting worse, despite a trip to urgent care and taking antibiotics.

He lost his appetite, got a high fever and started having trouble breathing.

“I don’t think he had slept in four days,” Monica said of the night she took him to the emergency room. “He was really struggling.

“I was so scared,” she says. “I still am.”

By the time he arrived at Good Samaritan, Justin had developed pneumonia, an inflammatory infection of the lungs.

Public-health officials say both seasonal and H1N1 flu can lead to secondary pneumonia infections; that’s what usually lands patients in the hospital.

With seasonal flu, the infection often results from separate bacteria. The body’s immune system is so wiped out from fighting the flu that it can’t fend off the new germ. When that happens, patients feel like they are getting better for a day or two, then suddenly crater again.

But H1N1 is also causing “viral pneumonia,” said England, of Maricopa County public health, meaning that the flu virus itself is attacking the lungs.

That’s why some patients who get seriously ill feel like their symptoms are getting worse over time.

The most severe patients, like Justin, can develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening condition caused by extreme injury to the lungs. Basically, the damage is so great that it prevents adequate oxygen from reaching the other organs and the blood.

* * *

The final days of last week passed in a blur, with Justin’s mom and sister riding a constant seesaw of emotion.

Justin took a turn for the worse late Wednesday.

The ventilator was turned back up to 100 percent; he was again completely dependent on the machine.

It was a setback, but after several hours, he appeared stable.

Then, on Friday, more trouble.

Justin developed a fever, and his lungs began filling with fluid.

His doctors covered him with a cooling blanket, and a team of five medical professionals entered his room, closed the curtain and performed a bronchoscopy, in which a metal tube was inserted through the hole in his windpipe. His doctors used the tube to remove secretions and examine his lungs.

Afterward, his sister, Megan, went back in and sat at the foot of his bed.

His mom stood just outside and tried to calm her nerves. She didn’t know how much longer Justin could keep fighting off the infections.

“They are not giving up on him. I am not going to give up on him,” she said.

A few minutes later, her face crumpled and she broke down. She walked down the hall, sobbing.

After two weeks, there have been few signs of improvement.

In an e-mail, Justin’s pulmonologist, Dr. Manoj Mathew, said he remains in critical condition. His prognosis is unclear.

“Beyond what he’s currently receiving, the options are limited,” Mathew said. “But what is hopeful is that he is young and otherwise healthy.”

The road ahead could be long and difficult. Doctors have told Monica that he’s going to need rehabilitative therapy because his muscles have atrophied.

Justin’s 27th birthday is Thursday. His mom and his sister hope he’ll be awake to celebrate it.

“We just pray and we wait,” Monica says. “That’s all we’ve done. What else can we do?”

I, too, pray that this young man makes it back to his family. The swift progression from healthy man to critically ill patient can be very, very short with this disease.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Concerned with Influx of Patients Requiring Life Support

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10-Year-Old Georgia Girl Dies From Swine Flu

No underlying conditions.

ATLANTA — A 10-year-old girl in the Augusta area has died of swine flu.

State health officials say that Summer Rockefeller of Harlem, Ga. died Saturday of the virus. Officials say she is the second child in the state who died of the illness without having an underlying health condition.

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How the Hell Does 55% Become “Most”?

Are all reporters and editors innumerate? Otherwise, how can this paragraph be explained?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Most of the people who have died from the new pandemic H1N1 flu had underlying conditions such as asthma, but 45 percent seemed healthy, according to the largest study yet of U.S. cases.

I do not consider that 55% of flu deaths that had underlying conditions constitutes “most”, especially when I know that several cases of “underlying conditions” are bullshit. Gout? Bullshit. Obesity? Bullshit. Heart disease, lung disease, and compromised immune systems are legitimate underlying conditions.

A better phrase would have been “slightly more than half” of flu deaths had underlying conditions, and I’m not sure that, if we knew the exact underlying conditions, it would be that high.

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Rapid Rise in Pediatric Flu Deaths

From the Washington Post:

The deaths of another 19 children and teenagers from the new H1N1 virus were reported in the past week around the country, including two in Maryland, pushing the total number of fatalities to 76 among those younger than age 18, officials said. It was the largest number of pediatric deaths reported in a single week since the pandemic began last spring.

“These pediatric deaths seem to be increasing substantially,” said Anne Schuchat, who heads the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

While most of the children who have died have had other health problems that made them particularly vulnerable, such as asthma, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, about 20 percent to 30 percent were otherwise healthy, Schuchat said.

Between 46 and 88 children died from the seasonal flu in each of the last three years, so the fact that so many have already succumbed is disturbing, Schuchat said.

“It’s only the beginning of October,” she said, noting that the flu season usually starts much later and runs through May. “We saw a peak of deaths, you know, starting April, May, June. It started to level off this summer. Now it’s starting to shoot up again.”

In addition to the two deaths in Maryland, three were reported in Tennessee, seven occurred in Texas and one occurred in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

I would hope that parents with the most vulnerable children ensure that the children are vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available in their area.

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3 More H1N1 Deaths in Jacksonville This Week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In the past week, a 25-year-old man and two women in their 50s died in Jacksonville with confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu.

The Duval County Health Department said there have now been 11 deaths in the county as a result of the flu. The state of Florida reports 102 laboratory-confirmed H1N1 deaths.

Health officials say that while most cases of the so-called swine flu are mild, there are exceptions. Pre-existing health conditions often play a role in how individuals react to the flu.

“H1N1 swine flu, like seasonal flu, can in some circumstances be very serious, therefore, all of us should continue to adhere to good health practices including, stay home if sick, cover cough and sneeze, and wash hands frequently,” said Florida’s surgeon general, Ana Viamonte Ros.

People with respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections, including influenza, to others in the community.

Yeah, that “washing hands frequently” thing doesn’t work so well if there isn’t a sink in the classroom. If everybody with a respiratory infection stayed home, there wouldn’t be any students as well as any teachers at school.

Also read’s article on 3 swine flu deaths in 3 days last week.

Health officials confirmed the deaths today of three Duval County residents who died of swine flu over the span of three days last week.

The deaths raise the swine flu death toll in Duval to 11, which makes the county second in Florida to Miami-Dade County’s 22.

Dead are a 25-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman who each died last Saturday and a 55-year-old woman who died Thursday. Authorities did not say whether the cases involved existing health problems — one of swine flu’s high-risk groups.

Across Northeast Florida, 13 have died. Clay and St. Johns counties have reported one death apiece.

Across Florida, health officials today reported 11 swine flu deaths newly confirmed over the past week and 102 overall since the virus first appeared last April.

Sure am glad it isn’t flu season!

CDC Says Get Your Pneumonia Shot!

From Tampa Bay Online:

Valerie Post, 24, who died Monday after the health department count was taken, died Monday night.

“A mom who had just delivered just died, and she seemed to be healthy other than pregnancy, so it’s a serious disease and one we should really pay attention to,” said Maggie Hall, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Health Department.

Health officials say Post had no underlying health conditions but pregnant women are in the high-risk group for swine flu.

In the last two weeks, swine flu claimed the life of two other people in the Bay Area, both in good health – a 39-year old Pinellas County man and a 14-year-old from Highlands County

Army: FL recruit death in SC is swine-flu related
By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER (AP) – 2 hours ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Army says an autopsy shows a soldier from Florida who died while at Fort Jackson in South Carolina passed away from pneumonia caused by the H1N1 flu virus.

Fort Jackson officials said Thursday the death of 23-year-old Spc. Christopher Hogg of Deltona, Fla., is the first such death at the Army’s largest basic training site.

Pentagon officials say they’re trying to confirm details of the case.

Hogg died a week after he was taken to a the hospital with fever and respiratory problems. He was in his fifth week of basic training and would have graduated Oct. 15.

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