Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tracking Disease

My new friend and uber-blogger Maxed Out Mama, worries about things like economic crashes, crushing debt, Mortgage ARM defaults and bird flu epidemics. Now, I'm not saying that she's not right to worry (she conducts risk assessments afterall, it's kind of her job). It's just that too much information can be a bad thing. Sometimes I'm glad I don't understand the nuts and bolts of the economy, for example, so I can blissfully buy at Target with narry a pang of regret.

Over at medGadget, they spotlight a thing called HEALTHmap Global Disease Tracker. This seems like an excellent advance. It is visual. It is accessible. It is relatively simple to understand.

The worrywarts among us can indulge their apocolyptic fantasies. Or, maybe, this map will assuage their troubled souls. Either way, it's a cool advance and excellent use of technology.


K C said...

Dear Dr. Clouthier, your friend uber-blogger Maxed Out Mama is very right to worry about the Bird Flu virus.

The H5N1 virus is currently growing at more than twice the rate of the last year, even according to the WHO figures.

So far, during 2006, there has been one human fatality as a result of the bird flu virus, every four days!

That is even worse, when you realise that the current H5N1 virus, is a BIRD virus and is not supposed to be killing humans!

It may not be a "Pandemic" as yet but there is an increasing possibility of it actually mutating in to a human virus. That would be a major threat to all of us every where.

There have been 153 deaths related to the Bird Flu virus to date, that we know of.

We expect more such announcements shortly.

Added to the above, is the fact that if the expected mutation of the current H5N1 virus, is to follow the 1918 pandemic, it is likely to use the victims own immune system for its attack.

From the past experience, it tricks the immune system to virtually "liquidise" the lung tissue of the host body, so that the victim dies by "internal drowning".

As a result, the stronger the host body's immune system, the more likely it is for death to occur.

During the 1918 pandemic, the majority of deaths occurred in the age range of 13 years to 30 years.

I hope that the powers that be, are taking this global threat to us seriously enough, to try and prepare for the worst case scenario.

I am sure that every one hopes that this virus does turn out to be nothing more than a "a lot of the hype".

It would be very foolish to not assume a worst case scenario though.

We have today added the "Tracking Disease" entry of your blog, to The-Best-Bird-Flu-Blogs section of our site.


Dr. Melissa said...

Or, the bird flu epidemic could turn out to be the swine flu epidemic that never was.

So far, the deaths have not been human to human. They have been bird to human.

What precautions, save isolation and quarantine, will prevent a worldwide problem? If we do have an epidemic, how will all the kvetching now help? And what plan, that wouldn't bring the economy to a screeching halt, would save us?

I sincerely want to know. Otherwise, all the talk just strikes me as fear-mongering and one more thing for people to worry about that they are helpless to handle.

If a real flu outbreak occurs, a slate-clearer, we're all in trouble. Talk about panic. People won't go to work. People won't deliver food to stores. People will be afraid to go shopping. Anyone with a sniffle will be ostracized. The typical care-takers, the 13-30s and into the 40s will be dying. The old people and chldren will be left orphans and untended.

The financial markets will take a nosedive. Air travel will be banned. Public transit will stop. Hospitals will be overrun. Health care workers will die. Police and fire department people (the young and strong) will be dying.

Looting, murder and mayhem will be widespread. The national guard would intervene but they are sick, too. Government officials will be dying.

There will be riots for the feeble, unhelpful flu drugs that exist. Terrifying all.

How can this type of thing be averted?

Anonymous said...

Actually there has been human-to-human transmission in at least one cluster in Indonesia.

The death rate in Indonesia this year is 80%.

Officials will probably try isolation for those who are ill and quarantine for those who have been exposed.

Schools will close.

A vaccine will be available eventually, and there are anti-virals although not enough.

Stock up on non-perishable food and water.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the powers that be, are taking this global threat to us seriously enough, to try and prepare for the worst case scenario.

Why? As long as HILLARY! and PARIS! (and enough of the common rabble to act as servants) are safe, why bother?

Problem is (as the above Anonymous illustrates), there is a Bird Flu mythology riding on the actual disease: "IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! NOBODY CAN STOP IT! IT'S ALL OVER BUT THE SCREAMING!" (Urgent Crisis #3,492 on the To Do List, all of which Must be Addressed IMMEDIATELY!!!)

Anonymous said...

I had the same conversation with a doctor friend of mine today about this post. It sounds so over dramatized. He put it in perspective by giving facts.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear the "facts" the doctor told you.

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