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Apr 30 2009

Spam about the swine flu? How apropos!

As usual, don’t take investment, safety or medical advice from e-mail forwards. Here’s a blog post at the Great Orange Satan dissecting the origin of a new chain mail about the swine flu.

- There are 10-25 times more actual cases (not “possible” cases — actual), than what is being reported in the media. The way they fudge on reporting this is that it takes 3 days to get the confirmatory nod from the CDC on a given viral culture, but based on epidemiological grounds, we know that there are more than 10 cases for each “confirmed” case right now.
- During the night, we crossed the threshold for the definition of a WHO, Phase 6 global pandemic. This has not happened in any of our lifetimes so far.. We are in uncharted territory.
- They are advising President Obama to declare an emergency sometime in the next 72-96 hours. This may not happen, but if it doesn’t, I will be surprised. When this happens, all public gathering will be cancelled for 10 days minimum.
- I suggest all of us avoid public gatherings. Outdoor activities are not as likely to lead to infection.. It is contained areas and close contact that are the biggest risk.
- Tamiflu is running out. There is a national stockpile, but it will have to be carefully managed for law enforcement and first responders as it is not enough to treat the likely number of infections when this is full-blown. I don’t think there is a big supply of Relenza, but I do not know those numbers. If I had to choose, I would take Relenza, as I think it gets more drug to the affected tissue than Tamiflu.
- You should avoid going to the ER if you think you have been exposed or are symptomatic. ER’s south of here are becoming overwhelmed today– and I mean that — already.

I can’t even begin to tell you how irresponsible it is telling people not to visit the doctor if they believe they’re sick, not to mention proclaiming the only treatment to be in short supply when in actuality, virologists are metering out Tamiflu usage to only the most dire cases in hopes of keeping the virus from mutating. Bet the nutjobs will start stockpiling Relenza and Tamiflu because of this. Way to help the virus evolve, nutjobs. Thanks for your diligent work in trying to shorten our species’ life expectancy, you always do give 110% at it.

And that doesn’t even touch on the homeopathic and herbal remedy suggestions!

- N-Acetyl-Cysteine — a nutritional supplement available at the health food store or Wimberley Pharmacy, has been shown to prevent or lessen the severity of influenza. I suggest 1200mg, twice a day for adults, and 600mg twice a day in kids over 12. It would be hard to get kids under 12 to take it, but you could try opening the capsules and putting it on yogurt. For 40 pounds and up, 300-600 mg twice a day, for less than 40 pounds, half that.
- Oscillococinum, a homeopathic remedy, has been vindicated as quite effective in a large clinical trial in Europe, with an H1N1 variant. You can buy this at Hill Country Natural Foods, or the Wimberley Pharmacy.

The fearmongering and outright bullshit in this letter comes thick and fast, so we can’t afford to wait for a Snopes counterpoint to counter this letter. Naturally it’s making the rounds on the rightwing websites like Free Republic, along with aspersions cast about Obama refusing to close borders (you know, now that the virus is already in the country). Beyond all this, none of these assertions are sourced. So, can anyone help debunk this stuff?

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