Previous reports and "pandemic" talk described hundreds of victims. So far,influenza A/H1N1 has only caused 10 deaths in the entire world, as described by this WHO map.
"A crisis is a terrible thing to waste"
"Economists predicted 8 out of the last 4 global crises"
"Swine influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through
eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived
from pigs. The swine influenza virus is killed by cooking temperatures of
160°F/70°C corresponding to the general guidance for the preparation of pork and other meat."
We must learn the lessons from SARS.
The colossal flow of misinformation has created more problems than the flu, forcing US, Mexico and World Health Organization to correct most of the "false positives" in the news:
"False positives" revealed until May 1, 2009:
- The "death toll" is much lower than announced: only 9 on 128 deaths from pneumonia reported in Mexico were caused by A/H1N1 virus. Only 1 in the US. All deaths are reported in persons with additional and preexisting health conditions. WHO and Financial Times confirmed. 20,000 people die every year of pneumonia in Mexico alone. Many Mexican deaths are mostly caused by dysfunctional public healt-indiced cultural malpractices.
- The virus didn't start at a hog farm nor in Mexico: there were previous cases reported in San Diego, California -and all of them tested positive for A/H1N1 and they had never been close to pigs or in Mexico. US CDC , WHO and Wall Street Journal reported. The current virus might likely be a benign genetic variety of foregin (not Mexicna, not American) varieties.
The H1N1 virus -generated by a mutation of a virus common to birds (SARS), humans and pigs, is transmitted from human to human only -and through the respiratory system-. N1H1 remains a A type influenza.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) last report, the N1H1 virus is the combination between 1 human influenza virus strain, 1 brid flu strain and 2 different virus strains from pigs. Viruses mutate and combine inside a human host, that operates as a "lab flask".
Infection is only possible from human to human through respiratory ways.
Food consumption (pork meat or any other produce) is safe.
According to the most recent report from US Center for Disease Control (CDC), Mexico is unlikely to be the origin of the virus, but its victim.
Mexico got more severe (lethal) cases moslty because its poorest population has less exposure to anti-influenza vaccines that US -and also a more crowded-air environment-. .
New information seems to indicate that lethal cases have almost come to a stop and new contagion inside Norteamerica has slowed down or stalled. Energetic measures by WHO, US and Mexico governments seem to be producing results, particularly the early hospitalization and use of proven antiviral drugs early on and preventively.
The economic damage to trade, tourism, agriculture and almost all kinds of economic activity is , however, pretty evident.
US-labs produced drugs and vaccines are already available and ramping up production to get out to the global market in May. WHO has millions of dosis, US Health Dept over 50 million and EU -after the SARS scare- has a stockpile about the same size.
At the begining - 15 days into the alarm- , 180 deaths were reported -150+ in Mexico-.
Only 9 were caused by N1H1.
A regular influenza epidemic produces 37,000 deaths in the US only.
The US government statistics since 1900 show 6 influenza pandemics:
- 1918: Spanish influenza: 680,000 death in US. No vaccine or drugs available, virus unknown
- 1957-58: Asian flu. 68,000 death in US. Virus was identified and vaccine developed
- 1968: Hong Kong flu: 33,800 death in US. Virus identified and vaccine developed.
- 1976: "Swine flu" threat: few hundred cases in Fort Dix, USA
- 1977: China flu: first appearance of influenza A/H1N1 virus. Fuew hundred death, in minors
- 1997: SARS: Started in China, with 18 death, 200 infected and was controlled.
US Secretary of Commerce recognized that "swine flu" should be called N1H1 and that pork produce is complete safe, reamking the damaga that misinformation causes to the industry and the population in US and Mexico depending on it.
Facing the possibility of travel quarantine at a global scale and restrictions to the use of public space, the challenge is to find wasy to minimize disruptions to education, business and production.
As during the September 11, 2001 global scare and SARS, e-performance technologies might help alleviate and overcome such restrictions, by allowing human interaction and communication while minimizing person-to-person, physical contact.
Mega project organizing health centers in Tartagal, Salta, 1998 - Refinor project, Mariano Bernardez-
But our key questions must involve a larger framework of our current PII strategic projects:
- How can your PII project help during this crisis ? (if it can be done, please also do it)
- Which other PII projects could have strategic impact in this crisis? (explain why and how)
- How can PII and ITSON help organize our South of Sonora ecosystem to overcome the crisis? Refer to our PII projects Mega indicators and goals.
- Luhon, J, De Cordova, J & Naik, G. (2009) Germ Sleuths Stalk Origin of Killer Flu. Wall Street Journal
- CCD Report April 30: CDC Virologist: Swine Flu Origin Likely Not Mexico
- La Nacion (2009) Descartó la UE suspender los vuelos hacia México por la gripe porcina
- Sidney Sunday Times (2009) History of swine flu
- Tamiflu results (patients)
- Swine influenza cannot be transmitted through pork products
- Wikipedia (2009) Swine flu epidemic in Mexico - article in progress-
- World Health Organization resources on AVHN-1 potential pandemic
- US government Pandemicflu.gov.
- US impact of possible pandemic state-by-state analysis
- Bloomberg estimates
- History of global flu pandemics since 1900 (US government)
- Pandemics (different causes) Wikipedia
- Influenza pandemics
- Swine flu outbreak makes imported pork a harder sell
- Tamiflu anti-viral drug treatment
- Oseltamivir (generic drug)
- The Lancet (editorial, 2009) Swine influenza: how much of a glolbal threat?
- The Lancet(editorial, 2009) A reapraisal of avian influenza
- The Lancet (home page)
- World Health Organization (WHO Home page)
- WHO: Swine influenza updates
- WHO: FAQ on H1N1
The way forward
If Paul Romer is right, we must use this crisis as an opportunity for improvement and transformation.
Here is a possible agenda:
- How can we generalize pork production best practices?
- How can we align meat production with Mega goals?
- How can we organize a healthy ecosystem?
The history of cold cuts (1 of 4)
The history of the pig (Modern Marvels)
Animal welfare - pig production best practices
Sustainability on the pig farm
How baby pigs are really treated
Truth about modern pork production
Pig farm employee tells all
Ham culture: Museo del Jamon, Madrid (Ham Museum, Madrid)
Iberico ham "de bellota" (acorn fed) arrives in Chicago
Iberico ham explained and demonstrated