Saturday, May 2, 2009

Swine Signals Continues

Local update in my area on the elementary school illness in today's Register Guard in School investigating cause of stomach illness

A stomach bug — coupled with worries about catching it — kept 173 students and three staff members . . . home Friday . . .

The district is working with public health officials to determine the cause of the illness, but the symptoms don’t fit the pattern of either swine flu or food poisoning,

Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Upper respiratory distress, which is associated with swine flu and many other types of flu, doesn’t seem to be a component . . .

Notice no mention in this third item about the school and the disinfecting they had to do; that was only mentioned the first time.

And this item, at a child care facility on the University of Oregon campus:
Swine flu comes to Lane County Oregon now has five probable cases, with two suspected local cases involving elementary school children in Eugene:
One of the suspected local cases is an elementary-school-age child at the University of Oregon’s Moss Street Children’s Center on the UO campus, according to the university. The child has been home recovering from the flu since April 27, and has not attended the after-school program for the past four days, the UO said. The facility, along with two others on campus, will remain open.

At a different elemenatry school across town from the one with the 100+ students out with the mysterious stomach illness is a possible swine flu case:
The case has not been confirmed, and the school expects the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have test results in the next few days

The news, locally and nationally, is full of contradictions. Swine flu is down, it's up, schools, etc. are closed, but don't panic. Statistics are thrown out; yet fewer people have died from this flu than during other "normal" flu outbreaks. Caution is advised all over the place, we're told to wash our hands and avoid contact with "sick people" as if we're morons, and told to stay home if we don't feel well. Many of us don't have health insurance or the kinds of jobs where "staying home" is an option, and we all know what the economic climate is now. We're inudated with news and updates, along with the images of people wearing masks, going about their usual routines, or lab coated authorities staring intently at test tubes of presumbly swine flu killing potions.

Oregon is expected to receive the state’s allotment of anti-viral drugs from the federal emergency stockpile today.

Oregon Human Services Director Bruce Goldberg said at a legislative hearing Friday morning that the state will receive about 500,000 doses of the drugs, along with supplies of gloves and masks. He said health officials have no plans to dispatch anti-virals at this point.

“We don’t think there is a need to distribute it,” he said.

And yet, we read on to find:
Still, Kohn warned the virus could potentially evolve into a pandemic, especially in the coming months.

No vaccination for swine flu is expected to be available until the fall, Goldberg said, echoing comments of federal health officials. ( Swine flu comes to Lane County Oregon

So what are the "anti-viral" drugs being sent to the state for?

The other night I was watching the local news, and I was struck by the juxtaposition of being told of all the cases of swine flu, potential swine flu, preparations of vaccines or at any rate, stuff, local authorities are expecting any day now, while also being told not to worry, not to panic, and things are really just fine. All the while, they were showing an image of an official looking person wearing gloves and a mask surrounded by medical equipment and sparkling tubes. I guess the intent was to either scare us -- masked scientist holding a tube of something, from something . . . or to comfort us -- scientist taking care of everything.

I didn't watch the news tonight on television, but was curious about their presentations, so went to the CBS affliate, KVAL, website. Right there on the first page we see an image of a masked woman with "FLU OUTBREAK" in big letters by her face, and nine different links to stories or items about the flu. KEZI had four; three links to articles and one linked button -- 2009 Flu Info -- which gives you codes for different swine flu widgets.

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