Saturday, 25 July 2009

Winter not mutation that made Flu deadly

There is no proof that the flu virus had mutated but it is certainly
winter in Argentina.

Similarly for Spanish Flu. It was more deadly in winter than in

Similarly for the current swine flu. It is more deadly than Spanish
Flu in Summer of 1918 but because it is less deadly than the Winter
Spanish Flu, the idiots start concluding that Swine Flu is much milder
than Spanish Flu.

Please note that the higher fatality in Summer due to Swine Flu now is
despite advanced medical care and the availability of Tamilflu. There
was none in the Summer of 1918.

The only danger to Swine Flu are idiots who believe confidently that
Swine Flu is milder than common flu.

SARS was much more deadly and also very infective, infecting entire
hospitals in just a few days, and yet we managed to control it because
everyone treat it as deadly.

Swine Flu, despite having a much lower fatality rate, has killed many
more than SARS.

China has done the right way. Despite failing to stop the spread of
swine flu, it has managed to slow it down tremendously with its
aggressive quarantine procedures, despite condemnations from people
all over the world.

But China has been rewarded with ZERO fatality.

Argentina Flu Death Mystery Sparks Probe for Virus Mutation
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By Eliana Raszewski and Jason Gale

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Scientists wondering why swine flu has killed
more people in Argentina than almost any other nation are studying
whether a more dangerous mutant has emerged.

The Latin American country has reported more than 130 deaths from the
pandemic H1N1 flu virus since June. Analyses of specimens taken from
two severely ill patients showed subtle genetic differences in the
virus, the International Society for Infectious Diseases said in a
report via its ProMED-mail program yesterday.

Scientists from Columbia University and Argentina's National Institute
of Infectious Diseases now plan to decode the complete genomic
sequences of at least 150 virus samples over the next 10 days to gauge
the frequency of the changes and whether they are linked to more
severe illness. Major changes in the pandemic virus could erode the
effectiveness of vaccines being prepared to fight the scourge.

"We are cautious about the findings until we have more sequences,"
said Gustavo Palacios, assistant professor of clinical epidemiology at
Columbia University, who is participating in the study. The changes
already noted haven't previously been associated with greater
virulence, he said today in a telephone interview from New York.

Roche Holding AG's 454 Life Sciences unit, which makes genetic-
sequencing technology, is helping to decode viruses swabbed from
patients' noses and throats. The sequence data will be shared with
other scientists for broader analysis, according to ProMED.

U.S. Fatalities

The pandemic virus has infected at least 125,000 people globally,
killing about 800, the World Health Organization said. Only the U.S.,
with 263 deaths, has recorded more fatalities than Argentina. More
than 3,000 people have caught the bug in the country, with the biggest
surge in cases occurring in the first two weeks of July.

To cope, hospitals such as the Federico Abete, on the outskirts of the
capital, Buenos Aires, converted halls and waiting areas into
treatment rooms to double the number of beds to 200. At the peak, 120
swine flu patients were hospitalized at Federico Abete with a death
rate of four a day. It now has 90 patients confirmed or suspected to
have the virus.

"We could say that we are on a downward trend, but we may have a new
outbreak in August, when kids go back to school because this flu isn't
going to disappear," said Carlos Rubinstein, head of research at the
hospital, one of the major pandemic-treatment centers in the province
of Buenos Aires. "We see fewer patients sent from other hospitals and
fewer people coming in who are concerned they have swine flu."

Seasonal Strain

Rubinstein said he can't explain why so many cases in Argentina were
fatal. Nine of every 10 cases of flu in the country are caused by the
pandemic strain, Health Minister Juan Luis Manzur said on July 6.
Rubinstein said it's possible the virus circulating in Argentina
swapped some of its genes with a seasonal strain, spawning a new

Others blame the health system and the distraction of a mid-term
election on June 28, which saw the ruling coalition lose majority
control of congress and was followed by the resignation of former
health minister Graciela Ocana.

"We have a more dramatic situation than in other countries because
Argentina delayed taking measures before the mid-term elections," said
health economist Ariel Umpierrez, who heads a nongovernmental
organization called Medicos sin Banderas, or Doctors Without Flags,
which teaches poor people about hygiene and how to prevent and respond
to sickness. "We wasted a lot of time."

A spokeswoman for the Health Ministry in Buenos Aires didn't
immediately respond to a message left by Bloomberg seeking comment.

The Argentine government ordered companies to give 15 days paid leave
to pregnant women and people suffering diabetes and auto-immune
diseases. It also closed all public offices -- which led to banks and
financial markets not operating -- on Friday, July 10, creating a four-
day weekend that started with the July 9 national holiday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos
Aires at; Jason Gale in Singapore at
Last Updated: July 24, 2009 12:41 EDT

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