and old, but spreading like normal flu, it can only mean that the
death rate will be much higher than normal flu.
Normal flu kills 1 million world wide but these are the very young and
old so the world don't really care much about it.
Because this swine flu does not create fever half of the time and even
tests prove negative many times, the only effective way is to employ
complete quarantine, i.e. everybody who travel from one border to the
Since this is not done, there is no hope of containing it. The good
news is that only pork eaters seem to be most affected, reinforcing my
muslim friend's sense of safety.
It is better to be on a cautious side. Not only should we avoid pork,
but also pork eaters or entire race or culture of people who eat pork.
It may sound like racism but it is a matter of life and death.
These pork eaters are those who have created this disaster in the
first place. Even the normal flu is created and maintained by these
pork eaters but we tolerate it because it only affects the very young
Now is not the time to let racism cloud our judgements, or rather in
this case, fear of being labelled as racist. We must make dynamic
decisions based on FACTS, not emotions, or even so called logic that
is based on the lack of data (no evidence deemed as absolute proof of
What next if WHO declares flu pandemic?
05/16/2009 | 12:29 AM
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LONDON – The World Health Organization has been warning for weeks that
swine flu is on the verge of flaring into the first flu pandemic in
Countries are on the lookout for cases, governments are buying anti-
virals, and China has quarantined entire hotels full of people
connected to cases.
But if WHO raises its alert to phase 6, the highest level, what
exactly will that mean?
Because the word 'pandemic' often conjures up images of the 1918
Spanish flu, which killed up to 50 million people worldwide, some
people worry a phase 6 would automatically herald a catastrophic death
For the moment, experts say, there could be greater danger in mass
panic than in swine flu virulence.
WHO's pandemic phases only judge how fast a virus spreads – so moving
from phase 5 to 6 doesn't mean the virus is more dangerous, only that
it will be spreading widely in another region beyond North America.
So far, swine flu appears as mild as regular flu, meaning even if it
does go global, there probably won't be millions of deaths. But health
officials also warn that could change if the virus mutates into a more
Since 1918, there have been two other pandemics. In 1957, the Asian
flu killed about 2 million people worldwide. And in 1968, the Hong
Kong flu killed about 1 million.
Some countries worried about global panic attacks over phase 6 are
pressuring WHO behind the scenes to hold off on declaring a pandemic.
Other countries may also be dragging their feet on testing, fearful
that they will be the trigger for hitting the phase6 threshold.
One reason is that a pandemic announcement would likely have severe
economic consequences: it could trigger expensive trade and travel
restrictions like border closures and quarantines, as countries not
yet affected by the virus struggle to keep it out.
Under public pressure, extraordinary measures such as large-scale pig
culls slaughters like the one undertaken by Egypt could be taken,
whether or not they are scientifically justified.
At a recent meeting in Bangkok, 10 Asian nations asked WHO to revise
its pandemic phases to consider a flu virus' severity before
announcing a global outbreak.
"Countries that have been reluctant to do anything ... will be up
against the wall," said John Oxford, a professor of virology at St.
Bart's and Royal London Hospital. "Their citizens will be asking, why
haven't we got Tamiflu? Why haven't we got vaccines?"
Despite calls for transparent reporting, there are suspicions some
European countries might not be moving fast enough to identify cases,
slowing WHO's decision to declare a pandemic. As of Friday, WHO
confirmed that worldwide, 34 countries reported more than 7,500 cases.
For WHO, one of the most difficult decisions upon reaching phase 6
would be whether to start making swine flu vaccine.
With incomplete information about how deadly the virus is, WHO must
gamble on whether the world needs regular flu vaccine or swine flu
vaccine more, since large quantities of both cannot be made at the
same time because of limits on global vaccine production capacity.
Regular flu kills up to 500,000 people a year. So far, officials
aren't sure if swine flu's ultimate toll would top that or if the
virus will fizzle out. Deciding which vaccine is needed more means
guessing which virus will do more damage. And if the swine flu mutates
into a more deadly version, it's uncertain whether any vaccine now
will still work later.
That is a dilemma WHO grappled with this week in a meeting it convened
with vaccine manufacturers and other experts in Geneva.
For developed countries that dusted off their pandemic plans when the
swine flu crisis began – and have already stepped up their response
systems – a pandemic announcement could be anticlimactic.
"There will be some initial concern, but I don't think a lot will
change in phase 6," said Michael Osterholm, a flu expert at the
University of Minnesota who has advised the U.S. on pandemic
With more cases detected in more countries every day, many experts
think the declaration of a pandemic is inevitable.
"At this point, you have to expect that what happened in the US and
Mexico will happen around the world," Osterholm said. "The virus is
continuing to spread. I can't see how we won't get to a pandemic at
this rate." - AP