Flu roundup: A marked (and tweeted) acceleration

You have to move fast these days to keep up with the flu. Or outrun it.

A quick roundup from the last 24:

From the invaluable H5N1:

Meanwhile, Helen Branswell reports that Dutch researchers find mutation linked to greater virulence in swine flu virus -- but so far it doesn't appear to be the big upgrade in nasty we've been fearing. Effect Measure gives it a good look.

A sad story about Ground zero of Canada's flu crisis, about a village in WInnipeg that asked for sanitation supplies -- and got body bags.

The WSJ Blog asks whether Pregnant Women Will Get the Swine Flu Vaccine. Avian Flu Diary looks at why they might want to.

Avian Flu Diary look as well at another study showing the swine flu does its worst when it goes particularly deep into the lungs.

And a couple doctors tweeting from Dell Children's Hospital in Austin, where they set up tents to handle the overflow, record a remarkable surge there. No links, but tweets tell a sort of shouted story of acceleration, starting last Friday, Sept 25:

Fr 9/25:

setonh1n1: Flu patient volume continuing to build up at Dell. Approximately 341 patients last 24hrs! Majority with ILI or flu.

setonh1n1: 343 patients at Dell yesterday, majority with flu or flu like illness. Tentatively planniing on opening flu tents tomm

setonh1n1: Yesterday a whopping 68% of patients tested by our flu research group with ILI symptoms tested positive for type A flu. A new high rate.

Sun 9/27: setonh1n1: Wow! 365 patients at Dell in the past 24hrs! 7am today there are already 40 waiting to be seen. Possibly time for a new plan.

Mon 9/28:setonh1n1: Last 24hrs at Dell Children's volume was 386! Majority with flu illness. With continuing rise in cases when will it peak and start to taper? Tue 9/29: setonh1n1: Extremely busy again, 353 patients. Over 70% with flu or ILI. Second tent treatment area opens today with an extra doc or nurse practitioner

Wed 9/30: setonh1n1: 404 patients at the Dell ED yesterday! The highest yet. We keep hoping the flu has peaked in children but no solid sign of such yet.

Thu Oct 1, 7:50pm (CST): setonh1n1: 3 more tents arrived at Dell. Decision if, when, where, to deploy will depend on volume across the network. Still mostly just kids sick.

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I think it might be time to close some schools in Austin for a couple of days. Most school systems have a couple of bad weather days built into the schedule, or the state legislature could pass something allowing for a 2 to 3 day shorter school year. Really, 3 missed days aren't going to affect learning that much, and if combined with a weekend, it could break the momentum of the spread of the virus.

Having taught school in the past, it's probably more difficult to keep classes moving through the material when lots of individuals are out over a long time. Honestly, a 177 day school year isn't all that different from a 180 day school year. They could just eliminate silly assemblies and other fluff and not even notice the missed time.

By military wife (not verified) on 01 Oct 2009 #permalink

There is some interesting data suggesting that keeping your vitamin D level optimal will prevent colds, flu and in particular H1N1 (swine Flu). The Canadians are taking the data very seriously and starting studies to see if Vitamin D can prevent Flu
Here are links to two interesting articles:

August 2009-Vitamin D3 deficiency and its role in influenza
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs026/1102452079631/archive/11026854…
Sept 2009-More on Vitamin D3 and influenza
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs026/1102452079631/archive/11027286…

If these links donât work you can go to www.vitaminD3world.com and click on âIn the newsâ to find the articles.