Saturday, 25 July 2009

Quarantine is cheaper than Tamilflu

UK started giving out Tamilflu to anyone who suspects themselves to be
suffering from Tamilflu, approved by online services that may not be
manned by doctors.

If UK had adopted a tougher quarantine procedures as China had done,
UK won't suffer such a fate. It is too late for Australia and New
Zealand authorities who are convinced that Swine Flu is milder than
common flu.

The next step would be for everyone to wear masks in public places. It
will not stop swine flu or protect ourselves, but it will slow down
the spread so that medical care is still sufficient for all and
protect those that we may infect.

Those who die are those with underlying diseases and I suspect those
that are thought to be healthy are not really that healty, but Swine
Flu is much more virulent than common flu that even slight immune
deficiencies are exaggerated. That includes weak heart and kidney
(diabetic) that normally will allow people to still survive if not for
Swine Flu.

Malaysia is having perpetual summer so its infection rate should not
be so high as long as not many people visit air conditioned shopping
centres that have centralised air conditioned systems.

Air condition manufacturers should have developed anti virus air
filters by incorporating ultra violet lights and ion producers but
they are not so concerned about safety as much as they should.

Despite the SARS scare, air conditions are still not equipped with UV
light except a tiny one offered by Hitachi. Only a tiny LED light that
will not be sufficient to kill any virus at all.

By Melissa Gray
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Pharmacies in England are reporting a run on
supplies like surgical masks, thermometers and anti-bacterial gels by
customers concerned about swine flu amid a surge in the number of
people infected by the virus.
A box of leaflets containing information about swine flu, distributed
by the UK's Department of Health.

A box of leaflets containing information about swine flu, distributed
by the UK's Department of Health.

In some cases, drug stores in England say they are out of the items
and may not get more in for weeks or months.

"People are very panicked," said a pharmacy assistant at Zafash
Pharmacy in southwest London. "That's why everyone is running for
thermometers, surgical masks, and anti-bacterial gels."

The UK's Department of Health estimated this week that there were
around 100,000 new cases of swine flu in England in the week ending
July 17 -- nearly double the number of cases for the previous seven

The UK has been hit hard by the H1N1 virus, with only the U.S. and
Mexico recording more cases of infection, according to World Health
Organization figures earlier this month.

The World Health Organization has stopped giving a global tally of
cases but said Friday that swine flu has now spread to more than 160
areas and territories in the world.

At least 26 people have died of the disease and this week the British
government set up a national flu hot line and Web site to allow those
suspected of having swine flu to get a prescription for antiviral
medication over the phone.

Those who are given prescriptions must pick up the medication at
designated collection points in their area.

But at Hodgetts Chemist in north London, a supply of surgical masks
that normally lasts for half a year has gone in three days, said
pharmacy assistant Sylwia Sznyk.
Don't Miss

* New swine flu cases double to 100,000 in UK
* Poisoned chalice? Swine flu hits church wine
* U.S. trials for H1N1 vaccine announced
* Swine flu facts

Sznyk displayed a receipt from the chemist's suppliers that showed
three types of digital thermometers that were out of stock. The
pharmacy is now out of thermometers.

"One of the manufacturers, he said the next thermometers they will
have is in October, so now there is no chance to get them from this
particular supplier," she told CNN.

The supplier is also out of stock of three different types of anti-
bacterial gel, she said, even though the gel is ineffective against

Central Pharmacy in Ashington, in northern England, is also out of
thermometers, pharmacist Nadeem Shah told CNN. He said he believes
most shops and pharmacies in the area are also out.

"There's no thermometers at all, which is worrying because it's just a
sign that it's going to impact on other supplies as well linked to
people generally not feeling well -- in particular paracetamol
(acetaminophen), ibuprofen, and other medications," Shah said.

The pharmacy was out of stock of anti-bacterial gels last month, but
manufacturers are making more so it's back on the shelf, he said.
However, it's being sold for nearly double the price, he said.

"They're pennies otherwise to buy, but very quickly some manufacturers
have got into the market of producing gels and their prices are quite
high," Shah said.

At their sister pharmacy in nearby Morpeth, any anti-bacterial
products at the checkout counter are "gone in a day, rather than in a
month," he said.

"Some of the gels don't do anything different to your soap at home,"
he said, emphasizing that good hygiene, good handwashing, and
disposable tissues are the best way to ward off viral infection.

"There's definitely some kind of misunderstanding -- people are
thinking that having those type of products will give them a bit more
confidence. But it's their choice, obviously."

Though Central Pharmacy does not normally sell surgical masks, they
considered stocking some when the virus broke out a few months ago,
Shah said. They decided against it so as not to stoke panic.

"It could be seen as a sign of endorsement rather than asking people
to get advice," he said. "It would just give a very visible panic

Croydon Pharmacy, south of London, still has stocks of thermometers
despite higher demand, but it has run out of surgical masks, said
pharmacist Michael Hammond. He said the pharmacy has noticed a rise in
people asking questions and wanting information about swine flu.

"I think the reaction has been in response to what they've heard on
the news," Hammond said. "And even where it is not a true case of the
patient suffering, they still want more information. But I think
generally we've been able to give them what they need."

A branch of the Boots pharmacy chain in Fulham, southwest London, has
been out of thermometers for two weeks, said employee Wilson Le.
They're also running out of anti-bacterial gels; the store doesn't
stock surgical masks.

While it is not running out yet, one pharmacy in the eastern English
city of Norwich said it is noticing an increase in demand for masks,
thermometers, and anti-bacterial items.

"It's not completely a foregone situation where I can't get hold of
it, but it's becoming difficult," said the pharmacist, who asked not
to be identified because his pharmacy is one of the government's
distribution points for the antiviral medication Tamiflu, and he
didn't want to spark concern.

The pharmacist said he was doling out Tamiflu to 70 to 80 people a day
and described the lack of supplies as worrying.

"From a business point of view, yes, and from a clinical point of
view, yes, because I can't offer the services I need to," he said.
"And if people want reassurance from (the supplies), I'm not able to
reassure them."

The pharmacist complained that the paperwork he is required to fill
out for each patient takes him five minutes per person, giving him
less time to spend consulting with other customers.

"I wish somebody would have organized it a little bit better," the
pharmacist said.

Shah, of Central Pharmacy, said the run on supplies makes him worry
that they won't be available later in the year, when flu season kicks

"Manufacturers would have made their plans for winter a while ago, but
if we're consuming these products early, in August and July, I don't
know if those manufacturing plans are in place yet," he said.

The government advises anyone suspected of having swine flu to send a
friend or relative -- a "flu friend" -- to their pharmacy to pick up
the medicine for them. But that advice isn't being followed by

"Some patients come in directly rather than ask their friend to come,"
said Le, of Boots pharmacy in Fulham. He said one dispenser has come
down with swine flu after being infected by a sick customer.

No comments: