Over-reaction to H1N1 Influenza
There are 331 confirmed cases of the H1N1 influenza virus that have been found now in 11 countries (WHO information, as of 06:00 GMT, 1 May 2009). The U.S. reports only one death with 109 confirmed cases. Mexico had nine deaths and 156 confirmed cases. No other countries have reported any deaths due to the H1N1 influenza virus.
Like all influenza viruses this one is spread by coughing or sneezing into the air. If there are no infections in your school, then there is no reason to close the school. ABC News reports that an estimated quarter million schoolchildren are out of school this morning. How many of these schools have confirmed cases?
Like all influenza viruses this one is not spread by eating meat. It is safe to eat bacon and other port products. Egypt has no swine flu cases, but has ordered a mass pig slaughter. It is reported that they have slaughtered an estimated 300,000 pigs. Killing a healthy pig will not prevent the spread of the disease.
It is safe to ride the subway and to fly if you are healthy. If you have symptoms of the flu (fever, chills, aches, etc), then you are asked to stay at home (voluntary isolation) for a minimum of 7 days after checking with you physician. Checking with your physician is especially important if you are pregnant or have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or emphysema. CDC guidance on care of patients at home can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/guidance_homecare.htm )
It bears repeating: It is important to continue to follow the advice already given:
* If you do need to travel, whenever possible avoid crowded enclosed spaces and close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
* There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products.
* Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.
* Ill persons are encouraged to practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, wash hands). >> Learn more about flu and cold here.
World Health Organization
Center for Disease Control and Prevention