liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Flu Presentation Notes

The Flu of 1918 and the Politics of Flu in Current Times
Notes for oral presentation, 3/19/08, paper to follow

1) The Book:
--Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the SEarch for the virus that Caused It, Gina Kolata
--overview of history of flu, admitting ignorance
--story of 1976 universal vaccination program, on President Ford’s watch
--attempts to reconstruct flu’s genome
------tissue samples saved in paraffin at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
------intact flu virus in corpses buried permafrost
--speculates about origins

2) The Flu of 1918 (aka “Spanish flu”)
--pandemic, most devastating in world history, killed more than black plague
--1/5 of world pop was infected, more than ¼ of Americans, lasted 2 yrs
--worldwide 20-100 million died, Kolata thinks the number is close to 40 million
--occurred at end of WWI: killed more than WWI, WWII, Korean & Vietnam wars
--forgotten pandemic because of the way it destroyed families
--1/2 million people Americans died in about 3 months, piles of bodies, need to forget
--the W shaped death curve vs normal U shaped curve
--people in their 50’s & 60’s had immunity from prior flu exposures
--spread around world via traveling military youth

--1918 flu occurred before we had the technology to study DNA or proteins
--hemaglutinin and neuraminidase = proteins present on all flus, numbered sequentially
--hemaglutinin is used by virus to get into a new cell, incidentally causes RBC’s to clump
--neuraminidase is used by new virus babies to burst out of a cell and infx new cells
--1946 flu was H1N1, the first which we could identify the proteins
--1957 “Asian” flu: H2N2 (pandemic)
--1968 “Hong Kong flu”: H3N2 (pandemic)
--both 1957 and 1968 were new strains that came indirectly from birds in S. China
--people in Southern China were not affected by 1918 flu
--the MOST DANGEROUS new flu has new versions of BOTH proteins
--humans currently have no antibodies against H5 (H5N1)

--birds carry flu virus in intestine, it doesn’t usu sicken them
--the most recent bird flu: H5N1, sickens chickens but no human to human trans
--in 1997 1.2 million birds were slaughtered in Hong Kong to prevent the spread
--bird flus are thought to lack a necessary enzyme to infect human lungs
--pig gets both bird flu and human flu, viruses exchange genes, new strain is transmissible to and between humans
--probable: people who had swine flu antibodies were immune to 1918 flu
--people who survived the 1918 flu had antibodies to swine flu
--bird flu is scary if it bypasses swine DNA mixing step
--China: epicenter of flu evolution due to proximity of human, duck and pig pops

--FEAR TACTICS: US govt warning of a new “super avian flu” that could kill as many as two million or “if we’re lucky” only 200,000 or so.
--MEDIA parrots hype (no mention of 2.8 million AIDS deaths worldwide AND 300,000 annual US deaths attributable to obesity)
--in 2005, Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to recommend that all children 6 mo-5 yrs of age receive flu shots every year, wants to expand recommendation to include children up to age 18
--cost is $15-$35 per shot
--this year’s vaccine effective against 40% of circulating flu virus, usu covers 70-90%
--RESISTANCE to antiviral drugs is increasing: 5% of this year’s flu viruses are immune to anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu, as opposed to 1% last year, according to CDC
--our govt purchase $2 billion worth of Tamiflu
--Donald Rumsfeld (most controversial secretary of Defense in US history) was prez of Co that developed Tamiflu (Dr SSL’s comment “…truth and light”)
----ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
----phenol (aka carbolic acid, used as a disinfectant or dye)
----formaldehyde (carcinogen)
----aluminum (associated with alzheimers, seizures and carcinogenic in mice)
----thimerosal (each shot contains~25 micrgrams of mercury: FDA says unsafe for anyone weighing less than 550 pounds→ alzheimers and auto-immune illness)
----neomycin and streptomycin (antibiotics to which you may have allergies)
--some vaccines contain live virus (FluMist, FDA approvd 2003) can cause infection
--MY CONCLUSION: no need for vaccination among healthy individuals, better to avoid toxins

hand washing, strong immune system, eating right (no sugar), getting plenty of sleep and dealing with stress
----quarantine, isolation
----school closures
----mask wearing led to “a rapid decline in the number of cases of influenze” (JAMA 12/28/1918)

CDC Death Reporting
--CDC reports that 36,000 people die annually of flu, and also that 5-20% of pop gets flu each year, and that 200,000+ people are hospitalized annually from flu complications
--Mercola found out that they report all deaths from pneumonia as flu deaths
--the actual number of deaths from flu in 2005 was 1,806 (according to CDC “preliminary data” which is all you can get) , and in 2004 there were 1,100.
Tags: army, birds, china, death, diet, disease, fda, flu, government, history, immunology, mercury, microbes, my practice, pandemic, public health, vaccines, war

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