Effect Measure

Archives for April, 2009

There were 3 flu pandemics in the 20th century and each has gotten an unofficial name. 1918 was the Spanish flu, so named because the Spanish were the only ones honest enough to acknowledge its presence initially and thus got stuck with the blame. Like the other two pandemic viruses it probably originated in southern…

A reader (hat tip, sandy) has pointed me to a very interesting interview with CDC’s chief virologist, Ruben Donis, in Science Magazine’s blog, ScienceInsider. In it he provides further information on the confusing reports about the species origin of the current swine flu, originally said to be of swine, human and bird origin but later…

Swine flu: why I’m not complaining

There is a tendency to be preoccupied with the latest in fast moving events, but I want to pause for a moment to make a point that has been lost in the discussion: we are witnessing a medical science landmark. Never before have we watched a flu outbreak of global dimensions unfold in real time.…

Swine flu: the Flu Wiki

In June 2005 a reader over at the old site suggested we put up some of our flu related material on Wikipedia. That sounded like a great idea to me. Even better, why not start a special purpose wiki — a flu wiki — to harvest the vast knowledge of the hivemind? Many, if not…

Swine flu: I beat a dead horse

A student once complained that no horse was too dead for me to stop beating it. Long time readers are familiar with that here. Over the years I have said that the best way to prepare for a pandemic — or any other grave threat to our communities — is to strengthen its public health…

Swine flu: we’re all in this together

This has been a supremely frustrating day for me since I am traveling and must attend to professional business having nothing to do with the current outbreak. I is incredibly maddening to be away from fast moving events. I’ll return home Friday night. In the meantime I will do what I can late in the…

Swine flu: pictures, big and little

As is usual (routine? no, nothing routine about this) in an evolving epidemic contradictory and confusing numbers are appearing. Some of them are the result of information lags (tallies not being updated), some are the result of using different criteria for counting (suspect versus probable versus lab confirmed, etc.), some are just rumors. WHO is…

Swine flu: just a statistic

The first death in the US from swine flu in a Texas toddler is being widely reported, but a piece just in from Bloomberg says the infection was acquired in Mexico: The first confirmed U.S. swine flu death was a 22-month-old child from Mexico, according to a Houston official. The toddler was brought to Houston…

CDC guidelines for antiviral therapy for swine flu infection: This swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is sensitive (susceptible) to the neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications zanamivir and oseltamivir. It is resistant to the adamantane antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine. (CDC) What are these antiviral drugs and how do they work? Over the years here we’ve discussed…

Swine flu: isolation and quarantine

As cases continue to accrue in different places we will hear more talk about quarantine and isolation. These are two terms that are frequently confused, which is too bad, because isolation makes sense for influenza and quarantine doesn’t. So what do they mean?