The outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) began in China in Novemebr 2002. By June, 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a cumulative total of 8,450 probable SARS cases and 810 reported from 29 countries. In the current swine flu outbreak, 149 people have died in Mexico and the outbreak has not proven to be very severe in other areas. When the WHO and the U.S. government tells you to wash your hands, you are probably not dealing with an imminent disease disaster….
Also, Secretary Napolitano of DHS said during a “normal” flu cycle in the U.S. we can expect 35,000 deaths from the flu….
It seems to us here at Peace and Freedom that people of the United States are growing more and more comfortable with a “nanny state” that solves all their problems and gives them all they need to know via TV and the Internet. This seems dangerous and Orwellian to us….
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In 1976, President Gerald Ford orders a nationwide vaccination program to prevent a swine-flu epidemic.
Ford was acting on the advice of medical experts, who believed they were dealing with a virus potentially as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic.
The virus surfaced in February at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where 19-year-old Pvt. David Lewis told his drill instructor that he felt tired and weak, although not sick enough to skip a training hike. Lewis was dead with 24 hours.
The autopsy revealed that Lewis had been killed by “swine flu,” an influenza virus originating in pigs. By then several other soldiers had been hospitalized with symptoms. Government doctors became alarmed when they discovered that at least 500 soldiers on the base were infected without becoming ill.
It recalled 1918, when infected soldiers returning from the trenches of World War I triggered a contagion that spread quickly around the world, killing at least 20 million people. Fearing another plague, the nation’s health officials urged Ford to authorize a mass inoculation program aimed at reaching every man, woman and child. He did, to the tune of $135 million ($500 million in today’s money).
Mass vaccinations started in October, but within weeks reports started coming in of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease, right after taking the shot. Within two months, 500 people were affected, and more than 30 died. Amid a rising uproar and growing public reluctance to risk the shot, federal officials abruptly canceled the program Dec. 16.
In the end, 40 million Americans were inoculated, and there was no epidemic. A later, more technically advanced examination of the virus revealed that it was nowhere near as deadly as the 1918 influenza virus. The only recorded fatality from swine flu itself was the unfortunate Pvt. Lewis.
History’s verdict of the program is mixed. Critics assail Ford, accusing him of grandstanding during an election year — it did him no good, because he lost anyway — while kowtowing to the pharmaceutical companies. Supporters laud the ability of the nation’s health bureaucracy to mobilize so effectively.
Those who remembered 1918 probably consider it money well spent.
The World Health Organisation is not recommending travel restrictions and border closures to fight swine flu, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
Infected people may not show symptoms at the airport or when they reach a border crossing, so travel limitations like those imposed during the SARS outbreak are ineffective, spokesman Gregory Hartl said.
“Border controls don’t work. Screening doesn’t work,” he told a news conference, describing the economically-damaging travel bans as basically pointless in public health terms.
Still, the WHO is urging people to think twice before travelling to and from affected areas, and to avoid crowds and public transport in the presence of any flu-like symptoms.
“Certainly if you feel that you are ill you should not travel, in any case, to anywhere,” Hartl said.
Up to 149 people in Mexico have died of the new swine flu virus known as H1N1, which has caused milder symptoms in other countries including the United States, Canada, Spain, Britain, Israel, and New Zealand.
“We don’t understand why the disease has been more severe in Mexico,” Hartl said.
The first victims may not have recognised they were infected with a new type of flu requiring different treatment than normal seasonal flu, they may not have received the required medicines until late, or they may have been infected with other diseases reducing their immunity to the virus, he suggested.
All transmission of the disease so far appears to have been human-to-human and not from animal or other contact, according to the WHO.
“There is no danger form eating pork,” Hartl said. “If you cook pork well, if you cook all meat well, it kills all virus.”
The WHO does not yet know where the outbreak started from.
“We are still looking for the origin of this event. We don’t know where it is, we don’t know where the initial infection occurred.”
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