swordage: rotf Soundwave (no animals were harmed)

No. They are suggesting that you avoid heading there to be a tourist for now. If you do go, they recommend being up-to-date on all your shots, keeping an eye on local health warnings, washing your hands, stuff like that. As you come back from Mexico there will be a health screening which may lead to testing if you seem sick. That's it! No ban, not even a strong recommendation, nothing is getting shut down. Just "hey, guys, this flu seems to be worse there, maybe you should think twice about that holiday trip."

Everything in this post still applies. As of right now, there are a grand total of 53 confirmed cases worldwide. You may notice that the news is giving waaaay higher numbers - they are trying to pass off suspected or potential cases as confirmed cases. Also, of those 53? Only 7 deaths, all in Mexico. That's still around .1%. To put this in perspective: every year 2,448,017 people die in the USA. It's easy to make numbers look scary. And yes, there will be higher numbers of cases being "discovered" as time goes on. I recommend reading this article for a very calm, reasonable approach to handling this flu.

I'm still seeing a lot of misinformation, like the idea that the flu shot will protect you from the swine flu. Uh, no. They're totally different flus. Don't go yelling at your doctor to give you the flu shot. It's the end of flu season, they might not even have any left, and it would be pretty pointless.

As always, if there are any questions or concerns about pandemic flu, swine flu, or avian flu, I am more than happy to inform people. :D
swordage: rotf Soundwave (no animals were harmed)
I'm way too excited about the swine flu, guys. It is highly relevant to my interests. So let's talk about it! The information here is largely copied from my blog Bird Flu Will Kill You (Maybe) which draws primarily from the CDC. All information is as accurate as I can get it.

About the spread of swine flu:
1. The handful of people in the US with lab-confirmed cases haven't died. The only guy that needed hospitalization was immune-compromised, and he got better. Yes, ladies and gents, the USA death rate for this monster swine flu is a staggering 0%!
2. The cases trickling in are cases that happened a 2-4 weeks ago, and we're just now getting genetic results back on the specific strains of flu they had. Basically: swine flu already happened, and we're just figuring it out. It's probably over. EVERYBODY PANIC
3. There are going to be more cases of this. The reason cases will start trickling in is because we're now actively looking for them. It's just that simple.
4. No there won't be a pandemic. You have to die a lot to have a pandemic. Even in Mexico, the death rate for flu-like illnesses that might be swine flu is a staggering .07%. My god, we're doomed!

About swine flu itself:
1. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, sore throat, fever, headache, body aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. It's a flu! Surprise!
2. It does seem to transmit from human to human rather than pig to human. That means it spreads fast. In fact, it already happened. Did you miss it? It was that fast.
3. Genetically, this thing is awesome. Four different strains of swine, human, and avian influenza! It's called genetic shift and it's something flus do naturally. Because they're whores.
4. It may have some characteristics that are a little like the killer 1918 flu except for the whole part where it's not really killing people, and also those characteristics might be a fluke of Mexico's flu surveillance. They do more containment/treatment than genetic testing of flu-like illnesses, so it's hard to say.

What to do about swine flu:
1. Wash your hands.
2. Cover your face when you sneeze/cough.
3. If you're sick, consider doing to a doctor.
4. Does this list look familiar? Like maybe it's exactly what you do for every other minor illness that's ever happened? Yeah. There's a reason for that.

What to do if you're paranoid:
1. Get a respirator rated N-95 to filter out virus bits.
2. Stock up on water and non-perishable foods.
3. Make signs reading "THE END IS NEAR" and a nice hat out of foil.
4. Repeat steps 1-3.

If you have any lingering concerns or questions, please do ask. I like being useful. Right now I'm laughing at my family, cackling madly: "SEE?! MY OBSESSION WITH THE BIRD FLU IS USEFUL! I KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN ONE DAY!" If you want to wade through a lot of technical and political jabber, check out the CDC or WHO.

P.S. No pig has ever had this strain of swine flu. Pork is safe. Go eat your bacon.



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