Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Large Outbreak of Flu Imminent in Southern Hemisphere; 2 South Africans infected so far

Longini's simulations of a fictional killer flu that were ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show the importance of steps health officials can take to prevent further spread of the virus. These measures include "social distancing," or encouraging those sickened with the flu to stay home or seek medical treatment; closing places where groups of people gather; and making anti-flu medications available to large portions of the population.

SHOOT: See my comments below the fold.
"Timing is terrible for people in the Southern Hemisphere -- places like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, parts of South America, "Longini said. "They are just coming into their flu season."

SHOOT: A massive cold front (as in a weather system) is already passing over South Africa. Cape Town today is cold, 14 C minimum, 17 C maximum today. South Africa for one should be on high alert as a cold snap is likely to be followed by seasonal influenza, and an outbreak would be, at least initially, disguised and thus invisible. Are there any measures in place to inform the public how to differentiate H1N1 swine flu from ordinary flu?
Dr. Ira Longini studies simulations of hypothetical influenzas and how they would spread.
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