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With over 1,600 suspected cases in Mexico City, and 162 reported deaths, the swine flu pandemic has become the hottest news item. It has raised questions about Twitter's credibility, while giving Google Flu Trends a chance to shine.  (Source: CNN)
The swine flu pandemic has showcased some websites strength and others weakness

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt once called Twitter a "poor man's email."  While such an aspersion is obviously questionable in nature, it might seem true for once, as the usually successful Twitter has come under fire for the its use during the swine flu outbreak, all while one of Google's newest additions has shined.

With 36,000 people dying of flu-like symptoms in the U.S. alone per year, the possibility of a new flu virus is a serious one indeed, especially for at-risk groups like the immuno-compromised or the elderly.  Thus the recent outbreak of swine flu, swine influenza A (H1N1), originating in Mexico, has the world health community greatly alarmed.  With 152 suspected deaths in Mexico City and 1,600 suspected cases of the illness and confirmation that the illness is transmissible from human to human, the World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled the illness a pandemic.  Multiple cases have also been reported in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Amid this growing global crisis, blog-blurb site Twitter has come under fire for delivering misinformation.  The site has become inundated with doomsday predictions and exaggerated figures that are confusing many in the public.  Brennon Slattery of PC World writes, "This is a good example of why [Twitter is] headed in that wrong direction, because it's just propagating fear amongst people as opposed to seeking actual solutions or key information.  The swine flu thing came really at the crux of a media revolution."

Some are a little less harsh.  Writes CNET's Larry Magid, "[The internet is] a great way to get general information, prevention tips and information on how to handle a known condition, but be cautious when using it to try to diagnose yourself."

Meanwhile, as Twitter's credibility is challenged, Google Flu Trends, a product of Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org is proving its worth.  The newly introduced site is being praised by health officials for providing what they consider very accurate information on the outbreak, offering wire reports, flu center shot locations, and accurate figures of the flu threat by state that don't exaggerate numbers.  Most notably, Texas and California, two areas considered "at risk" due to heavy traffic to and from Mexico, are still consider "low" risk, according to the site.

The site uses searches for symptoms and other signs to track how many people might be infected.  Describes the site, "We've found that there is a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening, and are therefore good indicators of flu activity. Our estimates, based on up-to-date aggregated Google search data, may indicate flu activity up to two weeks ahead of traditional flu surveillance systems."

The site does not track by searches such as "swine flu".  Thus, while many people are alarmed, the site still lists the U.S.'s overall risk for flu as "low".  Interestingly, another Google site is reflecting the surge in interest -- Google trends.  It found that of the most-searched-for terms, "swine flu" came in sixth place, "CDC.gov" in tenth and "swine flu site CDC.gov" in twenty-first.



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Swine flu = crap
By FITCamaro on 4/28/2009 12:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing but the latest thing overblown by the media. This flu isn't new at all. Is it potentially deadly? Yes. But so is the regular flu. Is it going to wipe mankind from the Earth? No.




RE: Swine flu = crap
By martinrichards23 on 4/28/2009 12:23:13 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, it won't wipe out man kind, just kill a few million if we are unlucky. Who cares about a few million people?

Just remember: It HAS happened many times before.

That doesn't mean it will happen again, but it sure means it can happen again.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By sprockkets on 4/28/2009 5:46:30 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, sure, FIT, overblown, you remember history very well, where the Spanish Flu killed 20-100 million people, young healthy people at that. How would you like to be healthy one moment and then die the next day?

Well, we will see whether it was overblown. This also isn't 1918 and that level of medical care.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By PrinceGaz on 4/28/2009 7:14:05 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, Spanish Flu killed more people than were killed in all of World War 1, and Spanish Flu was an H1N1 strain which mutated during the 1910's to become especially virulent in 1918, eventually killing many people aged twenty to forty years old because their optimal immune systems overreacted and essentially killed their body when trying to fight off the virus.

This swine-flu outbreak (probably soon to be global pandemic) is another H1N1 strain, and there is no telling what it will do. It is sure to mutate many times as it spreads around the world. It may end up causing little more than mild flu symptoms outside of Mexico, or it may end up with trucks being driven by drivers in protective gear saying "bring out your dead!" into the PA system.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Fiendish on 4/29/2009 1:01:16 AM , Rating: 4
or..... it could result in a band of four unlikely companions battling through a hoard of infected in an attempt to find the last surviving military stronghold.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By danrien on 4/30/2009 8:38:43 PM , Rating: 2
exactly my thoughts. good thing i know how to fight off thousands of infected.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By callmeroy on 4/30/2009 8:42:00 AM , Rating: 4
Your post is strange to me that was rated 4? Why for stating the overly obvious? Can i make a post that water is wet now and expect a favorable feedback from readers?

Aside from your callous sentiment of "who cares about a few million people" -- no one unless it happens to be them or someone they care about, i agree with your post as obvious as it is.

All living things are susceptible to bacteria....infections...sickness...diseases....dea th. Its the nature and the cost of being alive --- be it plant, animal or human.

1918 50+ million plus died from Swine Flu, and I think that coupled with the media trying to divert folks from thinking about the economy for a change is why the story today is sensationalized.

But our medical knowledge today is worlds beyond what it was in 1918, let alone the tools and medicine we have now.

The funny thing is you know the best defense (aside from staying away from folks you know are sick of course) --- to this potentially deadly flu --- um....be clean...wash your hands dude...seriously its something we shouldn't have to say to begin with, I'm not a girlie man to be afraid to get his hands dirty but it really irks me when folks don't practice good hygene -- and I get aggravated when is see guys in leave the men's room w/o washing their hands. You know what it happens more than folks think...makes me wonder if women do the same -- since they are always about "looking good" -- it would be pretty messed up if they do what a lot of guys do as well.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By StevoLincolnite on 4/28/2009 12:23:51 PM , Rating: 1
Swine = Pigs.

Swine Flue is a re-assortment of several strains of flue, It can spread more rapidly and easier than other strains of the flue, once infected it can be passed onto pigs again where it can evolve into more exotic strains, hence becoming more deadly and possibly even easier for humans to contract.

You cannot fix this with Penicillin, it doesn't work on viruses unfortunately.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 12:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
who engineered this virus and for what purpose?
Mother nature, God, etc. engineered this virus, or put another way, it engineered itself for its own purposes.

In other words, let's get past the conspiracy theory, unless you have some evidence.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 12:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
You also can't call it a "theory" if you can't provide the proof that it does exist. What's even more ridiculous is that you seemed to base your opinion on groundless fact. Scientifically, you just formed a hypothesis. A ridiculous one at that, but still a hypothesis.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 2:39:38 PM , Rating: 3
...or that you based your groundless hypothesis (yes, not a theory) on your personal opinion? You have absolutely 0 evidence that this flu could be man-made. Your hypothesis is as good as "my theory is that this flu is made by aliens".

From WHO:
Swine influenza viruses are most commonly of the H1N1 subtype, but other subtypes are also circulating in pigs (e.g., H1N2, H3N1, H3N2). Pigs can also be infected with avian influenza viruses and human seasonal influenza viruses as well as swine influenza viruses. The H3N2 swine virus was thought to have been originally introduced into pigs by humans. Sometimes pigs can be infected with more than one virus type at a time, which can allow the genes from these viruses to mix.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By someguy123 on 4/28/2009 4:34:54 PM , Rating: 5
but your hypothesis is based on nothing factual; it's merely a correlation that you've pulled from thin air.

you're basically saying "because we're unsure of the source, this means it had to have been engineered by man!". what a ridiculous claim. it would be like me claiming "because we're unsure of the source, it was definitely created by video game developers in an attempt to force people to stay home and play video games".

both have the same amount of factual evidence, and both were pulled straight out of someones rear end.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 5:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
You call what you are doing "science"? LOL.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By MrBungle123 on 4/28/2009 5:05:30 PM , Rating: 3
You have provided no evidence to support your clain so your hypothesis is based on an appeal to ignorance (a logical fallacy) sure it COULD be right but it’s highly unlikely.

It is the intellectual equivalent of me saying "I know almost nothing about cars and I don't have a clue why it's doing that but I'm sure it’s a bad crank shaft."


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By MrBungle123 on 4/28/2009 5:16:57 PM , Rating: 4
you do if you want people to take it seriously.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By MrBungle123 on 4/28/2009 7:50:00 PM , Rating: 3
get rated down probably.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By Subzero0000 on 4/29/2009 12:23:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
OMG nooooes!!! what ever will I do if the people on a tech blog site in a half @ssed tech/flu article don't believe me! *cries* *sob


That's funny.
if you don't care whether people believe you, then why are you so insist on the theory?

I wouldn't surprise if you really cry. 'cus it looks like you really can't take it when people disagree you.

if you want others to take your idea seriously, you need to provide proof/fact.
It is that simple.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/29/09, Rating: 0
RE: Swine flu = crap
By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 5:54:59 PM , Rating: 2
You DO need a background that supports such hypothesis.

Clearly, you either have not taken the basic Science course back in high school, or your high school actually teaches "creationism" in your science class.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/29/09, Rating: 0
RE: Swine flu = crap
By someguy123 on 4/28/2009 5:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
understanding the methodology doesn't somehow make you less of an idiot, or somehow make the claim less senseless, and when you cry conspiracy you definitely want something factual to back up your argument.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 5:52:49 PM , Rating: 2
So what is the hypothesis based on? Your gut feeling? Just because you say so? Again, you have absolutely 0 evidence that this could be engineered, let alone proving it. None.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Swine flu = crap
By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 7:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument could work, only if I'm the one who's making the claim. Then its my responsibility to provide the evidence to support my claim. However, you're the one who's making the hypothesis, therefore the burden of proof is on you. Like I said, this is a very rudimentary rule of science, unless of course, you didn't learn it.

But nonetheless, I'll play along.
From New Scientist, a very reputable publication in the scientific community.
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscienc...
Flu viruses contain 8 strands of RNA, which code for 10 proteins. If two flu viruses infect a cell at the same time, new viruses budding from that cell can contain a mixture of RNA strands from the two original viruses - a phenomenon called reassortment. Recombination - "cutting and pasting" - can also produce mixing within RNA strands.

It is unusual to be infected by two flu viruses at the same time, and even rarer for one of those viruses to come from another species. But it does happen, especially in pigs, which are susceptible to both human and bird flu viruses. Repeated reassortments can produce mixtures like that found in the swine flu virus now spreading worldwide.


As New Scientist's flu correspondent Debora MacKenzie has reported over the years, the problem is not just the sheer number of potential hosts. The conditions in which animals are kept can favour the evolution of new and deadlier strains.

For instance, in the wild nasty flu strains that make animals too ill to walk or fly are unlikely to spread far. On crowded factory farms, they can spread like wildfire, helped by the global trade in animals and animal products.

The interaction of farm workers with animals, especially on small-holdings where pigs, ducks, chickens and children all happily intermingle, also provides plenty of opportunities for viruses to jump species.


That should pretty much answer your question of "why is this flu composed of different flu viruses from different animals?". Of course, this doesn't rule out the fact that it still could be artificial (which I'm still waiting for you to provide proof of), but as the article states, the likelihood of this virus being naturally occurred is much, much higher than artificial. And of course, we still know too little about the virus, but as time goes on, we can more accurately determine the composition of the virus.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Swine flu = crap
By Etsp on 4/29/2009 10:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
They are asking them to stop calling it Swine flu because it's making people afraid of pork. You can't get it from eating pork. Pigs ARE infected with this particular strain, but it is not something that people can catch by eating the cooked meat...


RE: Swine flu = crap
By yomamafor1 on 4/29/2009 11:03:47 AM , Rating: 2
Again, you're indulding in your self-created glory based on misinformation (or non-information)?

The flu has been CONFIRMED to be originated from pigs, where the flu virus combines and mutates. It is apparent that you did not read the excerpt I quoted from WHO.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/29/2009 12:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
yes pigs from asia mixed with north american bird flu, as reported by a number of sources. sounds like a perfect mix. where is the confirmation of the infected pigs?

Im still trying to figure out how the WHO knows anything about the situation in Mexico when the friggin Mexican authorities know jack squat nothing. Maybe the WHO has become psychic?


RE: Swine flu = crap
By yomamafor1 on 4/29/2009 6:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
How about some of the animals being exported to Latin America? Oh wait, that's not possible, so it must be an artificially genetically engineered virus!!

Seriously, how about set aside your tin foil hat for now and wait until more information is available?


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/30/2009 4:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Negative, I can come up with any theory I wish. Maybe you need to lighten up a bit. Seriously, you must be one stressed out person. Do you chain smoke? Maybe its time for a pack break...


RE: Swine flu = crap
By AahzNotOz on 4/28/2009 4:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
actually this isn't technically swine flu. It is a mixture of swine and bird flu. the media has picked up on swine ignorantly and it is misleading the underlying cause of concern which is how did and who engineered this virus and for what purpose?


Pretty obvious to me where a swine/bird flu mix would come from. Flying pigs! Dang it! There goes another good excuse for not doing something.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Swine flu = crap
By DM0407 on 4/28/2009 12:34:49 PM , Rating: 3
Well, TheraFlu has worked to cure it, its just a matter of catching is fast enough. Its a Flu Virus, like happens every year. Remember how scared we were supposed to be a bird flu?

This did happen in the past, so did Polio, drugs evolve.

The media is loving this, they feed off of fear, why else would you be glued to the TV (and its commercials) if you were not afraid? I wonder how many people put themselves at a high risk by twittering or texting while driving to work. I'm going to assume that you're more likely to die in a car accident on your way home from work then from catching a virus. Have a nice drive.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/2009 12:40:29 PM , Rating: 3
Its Tamiflu!!! Not thereflu. Tamiflu and Relenza are the effective drugs.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Parhel on 4/28/2009 3:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
Not so fast! Ask yourself . . . who engineered that post . . . and to what end?


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/28/2009 3:33:29 PM , Rating: 2
I did, and to correct a grave error so some foolish person might read this board and actually think Theraflu will help them.

Now your turn, and think carefully...


RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 12:42:25 PM , Rating: 5
1. Seasonal flu doesn't have a kill rate of 5-10%, as early reports of swine flu seem to have

2. The reason that bird flu wasn't a global pandemic is because WHO and various goverments did an excellent job in attacking that particular problem. That doesn't mean that the underlying virus was not dangerous.

I agree with you that we shouldn't panic, but there clearly is some cause for concern and the threat of this becoming a very serious problem.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By MozeeToby on 4/28/2009 1:03:16 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The reason that bird flu wasn't a global pandemic is because WHO and various governments did an excellent job in attacking that particular problem. That doesn't mean that the underlying virus was not dangerous.
Actually, avian flu never became pandemic because it never spread from human to human, at least not efficiently. That being said, we made a lot of preparations for Avian Flu that will work just as well if there is a major outbreak of Swine Flu: stockpiling antivirals, training hospital staff, training customs staff, etc.

As a result, I think the US and most other Western nations will cope okay. The real question is what will happen if the disease becomes established in China or India. Those countries are not prepared nearly to the level we are and in many areas their population densities are much higher.

Could you imagine a disease as easily transmitted as the flu that kills 1 in 10 people rampaging through Mumbai? Few hospitals and even fewer people who can afford them, all packed almost literally shoulder to shoulder over dozens of square miles.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By MrPoletski on 4/29/2009 9:07:50 AM , Rating: 2
It's just a shame the republicans stripped 900 million dollars of funding for pandemic preparedness from Obamas stimulus bill isn't it.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By SandmanWN on 4/29/2009 2:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
yes, its such a terrible shame to have a flu shot for every person in America, we simply must add 900 million so we can have 6 shots for every American, Mexican, and while we are at it lets have one for every person in the world too...


RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/29/2009 4:13:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's just a shame the republicans stripped 900 million dollars of funding for pandemic preparedness from Obamas stimulus bill isn't it.
Actually, Obama is asking for $1500M now, so isn't is a shame we have a Democratic president?

(That seems like an aweful lot of money for preparedness, IMO.)


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Keeir on 4/28/2009 1:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. Seasonal flu doesn't have a kill rate of 5-10%, as early reports of swine flu seem to have


Haven't there been 40-60 cases in the US with no reported deaths?

Doesn't swine flu respond to a few normal flu medicines?

I don't see this as any thing more than normal variance in flu virus and really not a concern for those outside the field of public heath.

After all, more than 100 people die each day from normal flu in the US. Close to 100 die in traffic accidents.

This seems to be more of a case of the media creating fear and disinformation similar to the Bird Flu... well every possible pandemic since SARS got so much press coverage.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 1:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Mexico is reporting >1000 cases with >100 deaths, so that is where that figure comes from. The number of cases in the US is still pretty small.

I would also expect Mexico to under- and delay reporting their statistics for obvious reasons.

I think there is a need for concern, but not panic. On the other hand, we don't want to stick our heads in the sand either. We need to be vigilant, prepared, and informed, in case this does spread and become something to worry about.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By omnicronx on 4/28/2009 2:40:15 PM , Rating: 1
Actually of the 152 deaths in Mexico, only 20 have been confirmed as swine flu. (as of last night)

I also find it interesting that of the cases around the globe, deaths (and almost all the severe cases for that matter) have only been reported in Mexico.

So really the possible mortality rate approaches 10% right now, but the confirmed mortality rate is a mere 1%.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By omnicronx on 4/28/2009 2:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
I would also like to point out, assuming 40 thousand people die per year in the US, it is not out of the realm of possibility to think that Mexico matches if not outdoes this statistic (They actually don't know what the mortality rate is). Well 40k/365 = ~110 people deaths per day. At this point, I find it hard to believe that Mexican doctors can tell the difference between the two, so until we get word on how many of these cases are actually confirmed as swine, this 10% number means little to nothing.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Keeir on 4/28/2009 3:03:19 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree the number of cases in the US is still pretty small. But at the same time, a "killer" flu is more like the kill the first patients when the disease is unknown and there is less data on treatment options. If the in the US there was even 1 single death from Swine Flu, it might be something to be concerned about.. right now, its a lot less important in terms of public safety than dozens and dozens of other virsus, etc.

Lets focus energy and excitement on things that actually make a difference, rather than ordinary things with funny names.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 3:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
But on the other hand, this has the potential to quickly become a global pandemic, and increased public awareness is an important part of preventing that.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Keeir on 4/28/2009 4:36:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But on the other hand, this has the potential to quickly become a global pandemic, and increased public awareness is an important part of preventing that.


I disagree.

The steps to prevent infection by swine flu are no different than those taken to prevent infection by normal flu. The steps to treat swine flu are apparently just the same and so far in US cases has lead to 100% recovery. Swine flu has not even been shown to be extra contagious.

What this has the potential to become is the situation where we become so concerned and automatically label any new strain of flu, etc as the next "pandemic" that the public actually gets fatigue from caring about it. Look at it this way... first SARS was supposed to kill millions, then bird flu, and now swine flu... nothing much has occured (swine flu is still open I guess)... leading to public just not caring anymore.

Or worse, over-reaction leading to more negative consquences

I remember a situation from the 1960s... I think it was a variant of swine flu at that time period as well. 1 person died and a few got seriously ill. The government sponsered a massive immunization program to protect against this "threat" based on public demand. Predictably, there were significant complications from the immunization program, I believe the "death" toll from the immunization program (which reached 33% of the population or there abouts) was in the teens, which is not really that much of a surprize, since immunization -does- have a risk of other health complications and when talking about millions of extra "untested" immunizations the chances of complications must lead to unfortunate results.

In conclusion, media hoopla and concern over tiny little incidients (0 deaths when probably treated) do not seem to be benificial for public health in the long term.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 4:47:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I remember a situation from the 1960s... I think it was a variant of swine flu at that time period as well. 1 person died and a few got seriously ill.

Is this the outbreak you mean?

The Hong Kong Flu was a category 2 flu pandemic ... This pandemic of 1968 and 1969 killed an estimated one million people worldwide. The pandemic infected an estimated 500,000 Hong Kong residents, 15% of the population, with a low death rate. In the United States, approximately 33,800 people died.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_pandemic#Hong_Ko...

I understand your overall point, but I disagree. I think governments should be proactive, and the public should be informed. Otherwise at some point we're going to have a repeat of 1918.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By MadMan007 on 4/28/2009 6:21:52 PM , Rating: 3
You should write a children's story entitled 'The Health Official Who Cried Pandemic.'


RE: Swine flu = crap
By tastyratz on 4/29/2009 10:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
The biggest issue is the media, and in this age the media is causing the issue more than the government.

If you look at the statistics and information directly at the CDC website you can understand while there is a reason to be aware, but there is no reason to lock yourself in your basement with soup cans and oxygen systems. Any virus has the potential to mutate into something nasty, right now its just a bad flu weeding the weak without medical attention from the herd like any other.

Big news hype gets viewers, people don't want boring news to watch.

The biggest concern is areas where this virus can infect people who don't have access to proper medication (tamiflu) and medical care. The likely scenario is a larger full blown outbreak in areas such as india/mexico/china/etc (many 3rd world countries) will be disastrous. Many people would die. This is not the same for people who live in the usa/uk/etc. where we have many medical facilities and medications available.

I am a US citizen, and I just got back from Mexico on my honeymoon yesterday. I can tell you the news footage they are using to hype this isn't even related, probably old sars footage.

I saw a maximum of 50 total people with masks in the airport, and made a game of counting the people with the masks just around their necks (like airport punch buggy) I counted 18 people not even wearing them.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/29/2009 12:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously you didn't take your honeymoon in Mexico City. That is where mask use is more widespread.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By tastyratz on 4/29/2009 1:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
nope wasn't Mexico city, but I still had to take a layover in the houston tx hub where they all converged at customs.

Flights from that area are crossing through customs there.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Mojo the Monkey on 4/28/2009 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
That figure does not take into account the reality of the situation in that not everyone who gets swine flu gets tested or confirmed. Not everyone will be symptomatic, or perhaps feel anything beyond the sniffles. These people will not even be TESTED, let alone confirmed for swine flu.

The real figures of exposure/infection vs. death, as opposed to confirmed vs. death; will show a much lower mortality rate.

Think about it. Only the people who are really coming down with the worst of the symptoms are going to be reporting to the hospital. You think its magic that some random middle schooler happen to get the disease with no other trail connecting him to the infected areas or to mexico? Of course not. Other people have gotten it, are carriers, and have not come down with symptoms but still spread the disease.

Long story short: even 6% is much higher than the actual figures.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By MrPoletski on 4/29/2009 8:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
Cause for concern? why?

Theres too many people in this world. A swine flu pandemic would be great for culling off the weaklings and serve to move ME further up the food chain.

SWINE FLU IS MY VIRUS AND SOON I WILL DOMINATE THE WORLD.

ALL YOUR BACON ARE BELONG TO US!


RE: Swine flu = crap
By MozeeToby on 4/28/2009 12:53:54 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry but you're wrong. The regular flu has a mortality rate of .1% and kills only the old, the young, and the already dying. This flu is new, it is a combination of flus commonly seen in pigs, birds, and humans which has, within the last couple months at most, evolved the ability to spread from human to human.

This flu has a mortality rate of 5-10% in Mexico (and there are reports of censorship covering up higher statistics there) compared to the Spanish Flu in 1918 which had a mortality of 4-8%. The Flu pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have killed up to 200,000,000 people. This is potentially a very big deal.

In the US, it seems that either our medical system is coping better or we are individual better prepared to fight off this particular infection. Right now, the sample size is too small to make any conclusions, as only 50 people have been confirmed infected in the US only a couple would be statistically expected to die at 5% mortality. When the cases in the US reach a couple hundred without fatalities we can relax a bit, until then we are well within the realm of statistical error.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By bfdd on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Swine flu = crap
By omnicronx on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Swine flu = crap
By FITCamaro on 4/28/2009 2:10:43 PM , Rating: 4
When there are carts going around neighborhoods with someone ringing a bell and shouting "BRING OUT YOUR DEAD!", I'll worry.

Last year it was bird flu, before that we had SARS. Every year the media comes up with something they blow out of proportion that is supposed to kill us all and wipe out a good chunk of the population.

I'm not saying steps shouldn't be taken to control this, but the media does nothing but hype it up and create a firestorm because they have nothing else to do.

This is the result of 24/7 news coverage. Nothing more.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Lord 666 on 4/28/2009 3:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it was the attention the media brought to issue that prevented further illness? I'm at the front lines of this issue in NYC and my family (including newborn) have contngency plans made up already to keep me separated just in case I get it.

Back in your "bring out your dead" time, communication was sorely lacking. You are correct this is the result of 24/7 news coverage, but to the benefit of humanity.

Excellent example is the pre-Katrina coverage saying "Get out of New Orleans!" Did anyone listen? We are supposed to learn from history, not repeat it.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By BailoutBenny on 4/29/2009 4:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
I think it is another government induced hysteria. Remember that this administration is looking to "not waste a good crisis." I don't know what the reasons are for hyping the virus or what the end result will be (FDA regulatory changes, mass quarantines thanks to executive order 13295, some other bigger and more oppressive governmental power grab) but I do think that this is WAY overblown and that no one should be overly worried about it.

This administration is running through all the doors the Bush administration opened and trampling on the remains of the Constitution the Bush administration finished destroying. People must be wary to believe the hype, especially if the government is backing it, and give very long careful thought to whatever the government is asking for before consenting to it.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By TomZ on 4/29/2009 4:41:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think it is another government induced hysteria. ... but I do think that this is WAY overblown and that no one should be overly worried about it.
And in other news, the WHO again raised its pandemic threat level to the second-highest level and is advising governments around the world to activate their pandemic preparedness plans.

But on the other hand, maybe this is just a power-grab on the part of the Administration, LOL.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By BailoutBenny on 4/30/2009 1:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
So how many people have died from this pandemic so far? Oh that's right...

When Oprah drops dead on TV from swine flu then I'll believe it is a pandemic.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By omnicronx on 4/28/2009 2:27:58 PM , Rating: 3
P.S The Spanish flu never killed anywhere close to 200 million people. It was all based on estimates and they ranged from 20 million to 100 million (but not even close to your 200 million number).

What was estimated is up to 1 billion people (or half the earths population at the time) was infected. So comparing this flu to the Spanish flu is quite pointless, especially considering (as others have mentioned) it was far more easily transmitted and all age groups were affected.

Furthermore the symptoms exhibited by this flu were far worse. When we start bleeding out of our orifices I will start to worry.


RE: Swine flu = crap
By MrPoletski on 4/29/2009 9:02:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Furthermore the symptoms exhibited by this flu were far worse. When we start bleeding out of our orifices I will start to worry.


And you'll stop frequenting those dodgy nightclubs?


RE: Swine flu = crap
By Samus on 4/29/2009 3:45:29 AM , Rating: 2
if you didn't see last nights' daily show, it was a doozy.


Enough with Twitter
By homebredcorgi on 4/28/2009 11:45:38 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously. Nobody uses twitter. If we just ignore it, it will go away.




RE: Enough with Twitter
By novacthall on 4/28/2009 12:00:08 PM , Rating: 5
The irony there being that there are legions of nobodies out there.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By smegz on 4/28/2009 12:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly...yes there are.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By Souka on 4/28/2009 1:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
Forget Twitter....old news...

Try "Flutter"
http://slatev.com/player.html?id=18328570001


RE: Enough with Twitter
By homebredcorgi on 4/28/2009 12:14:46 PM , Rating: 4
One million people following what Ashton Kutcher ate for breakfast qualifies as nobody in my book. Other than a bunch of people listening to the inane ramblings of a select few narcissists, what is it good for?

Is it a business? How does it make money? I could see it morphing into something that could work, but getting the headline of a news article and nothing else doesn't exactly seem useful. It's a niche at best and will be gone in a year at worst.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 12:24:54 PM , Rating: 2
What's even more sad is the fact that current successful social sites (such as facebook) is modeling themselves after Twitter.

Just a personal preference, but I really hate Twitter's structure. How are you going to make informational post just in 150 character? Oh wait, you can't, so you don't.

Unfortunately I know someone who's going to jump ship from Google to Twitter, because apparently the chance of him making millions is higher with Twitter than Google. Such is life.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By DM0407 on 4/28/2009 12:25:03 PM , Rating: 4
It does not have a business model as of yet. It is run on investment and makes nothing ATM. Their are plans to introduce a profit model.

Thank god for Twitter, I've been looking for the laziest way to say something on the internet that no one else wants to hear.

What is a past-tenths tweet anyway?
I tweet so I'm a twit, but if I tweeted earlier, what does that make it?


RE: Enough with Twitter
By stirfry213 on 4/28/2009 12:34:34 PM , Rating: 1
Unfortunately, that still makes you a twit...


RE: Enough with Twitter
By DM0407 on 4/28/2009 12:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
What does that make the tweet though?.... British people would have gotten it.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By VaultDweller on 4/28/2009 1:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
Replace that "i" with an "a" and you'll have something.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By ClownPuncher on 4/28/2009 2:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
Tenths? I didn't know math was involved.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By DM0407 on 4/28/2009 12:20:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The irony there being that there are legions of nobodies out there.


Spot on. I friended Swine Flu on facebook.

Anyone who is freaking out about what they heard on Twitter deserves to die, or at least suspended from the internet. I assume these are the same people that previously got their news from the National Enquirer until they went to Walmart and bought a E-Machines then signed up for AOL.

I go to my 4yr old niece for current events. At least she knows what the caps lock does.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 12:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just curious, what kind of misinformation are we talking about?


RE: Enough with Twitter
By DM0407 on 4/28/2009 12:38:19 PM , Rating: 4
We don't know what is misinformation and what is truth. Its too early to tell, but freaking out about it when there are are only a few hundred deaths and hundreds of millions of citizens, seems a little crazy.

The only people who profit from fear is the media. Now we all check CNN about 900 times a day for updated info.


RE: Enough with Twitter
By omnicronx on 4/28/2009 3:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only people who profit from fear is the media
And any drug company that manufacturers the influenza vaccine ;)


True Pandemic or Media driven Paranoia?
By Yeah on 4/28/2009 12:26:13 PM , Rating: 2
From what I have gathered from reading various sites about this flu is that it has killed individuals in their prime, normally healthy people. Whereas you may understand an elderly or very young person unable to deal very well with a viral swine flu. Can this be confirmed? there is much controversy on the validity of the numbers actually dead. The conspiriacy theorist in me wonders what they are trying to get us to overlook by all this.




RE: True Pandemic or Media driven Paranoia?
By DCstewieG on 4/28/2009 12:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think you can take your tinfoil hat off. This stuff happens, especially where sanitation is less than ideal.

And about the flu affecting healthy people, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine_storm


By TomZ on 4/28/2009 1:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This stuff happens, especially where sanitation is less than ideal.
Flu virus is typically spread by coughing and sneezing, so it's not really a question of sanitation. In other words, it is just as likely to spread here in the US as it is in Mexico, similar to seasonal flu viruses do.


By TomZ on 4/28/2009 12:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
If what is being reported is true - that there are a lot of vicims in the "prime" of their life - that would be kind of scary, since that is one of the defining characteristics of the 1918 outbreak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:W_curve.png


RE: True Pandemic or Media driven Paranoia?
By MrBungle123 on 4/28/2009 1:32:00 PM , Rating: 5
They're not paranoid! They aren't telling the whole story!

The swine flu will turn its victims into zombies. Everyone should start stocking up on ammo and converting their basements into safe rooms to prepare for the coming zombie apocalypse...


RE: True Pandemic or Media driven Paranoia?
By AahzNotOz on 4/28/2009 4:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just trying to decide on where I want to move. Boulder or Vegas.


RE: True Pandemic or Media driven Paranoia?
By MrBungle123 on 4/28/2009 4:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
whatever you do... If you think you're getting sick don't goto Mercy Hospital.


By MrPoletski on 4/29/2009 8:47:59 AM , Rating: 2
I'm trying to find the nearest hottie named zoe...


RE: True Pandemic or Media driven Paranoia?
By Mojo the Monkey on 4/29/2009 11:52:07 AM , Rating: 2
“The subway can take us straight to Mercy Hospital”


By MrBungle123 on 4/29/2009 6:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
I hate subways


.
By StevoLincolnite on 4/28/2009 11:56:35 AM , Rating: 2
The Swine Flue which has been reported in Australia hasn't been confirmed, tests are underway to determine if it is the Swine Flue, and 4 people have been cleared of it already, a Pandemic is the last thing we need right now with the (Dare I say it!) Financial Crisis and Climate change issues we have in our laps presently.




RE: .
By SandmanWN on 4/28/2009 12:10:29 PM , Rating: 1
It is coming and there is nothing you can do to stop it. As long as flights land there every day it is just a matter of time.

Your paranoia will sky rocket now but I will say this... Much like climate change this is non-issue as we have these things called drugs to take care of this, just like we have new tech to ease the fears of the climate nuts.


RE: .
By StevoLincolnite on 4/28/2009 12:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is coming and there is nothing you can do to stop it. As long as flights land there every day it is just a matter of time.

Your paranoia will sky rocket now but I will say this... Much like climate change this is non-issue as we have these things called drugs to take care of this, just like we have new tech to ease the fears of the climate nuts.


I'm really not all that worried about it, I live in Rural Australia, and not in a city, Plus I'm young fit and healthy, the thing that worries me is friends/family who are elderly or have a poor immune system.

Those drugs need to be developed, some drugs available now can combat the virus to good effect, however you may have those who don't live in a country with free/cheap health care, or cannot afford to get the drugs required with no available roads to prevention. (A Prevention is better than a cure).

However our government has for the last several years initiated plans and prevention measures to minimize impacts brought on by out-side diseases, will be interesting to see if it falls on it's face or not and what exactly it entails, so far everyone who is suspected to have the virus has been confined.


RE: .
By SandmanWN on 4/28/2009 12:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
Preparation is good but won't matter. People will die anyway in the end. Old people die constantly from the regular old flu and there are many who will ignore or misdiagnose their condition until it is too late.

Seems to be a lot of fear-mongering going on in the media for nothing more than viewership and ratings on this. They need to be pointing out the symptoms and what to do about it but all I see is death tolls and pandemic spread fear/statistics. The media has truly become an enemy of good information.


RE: .
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: .
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 12:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
With comments like yours, you should clearly be posting to Twitter, not here. See the XKCD cartoon linked below, since it's pretty relevant.


RE: .
By SandmanWN on 4/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: .
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 2:55:06 PM , Rating: 2
We all want to know the origins...but in the meantime, most of us are not jumping to conclusions without even a hint of logic or evidence either.


RE: .
By Justin Time on 4/29/2009 4:01:41 AM , Rating: 2
There is a lot of media beat-up and good old fear mongering going on here.

Sure, the virus does exist, it can be deadly in the right circumstances, but it’s nothing like the imminent “pandemic” it’s painted to be.

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_28/en/index.htm...

WHO are watching the progress but is not currently recommending any changes to travel conditions due to disease risk. i.e. They don't see any major threat.


xkcd take on Twitter swine flu
By nafhan on 4/28/2009 12:16:23 PM , Rating: 5
Kind of surprised no one has posted this yet:
http://xkcd.com/574/




By StevoLincolnite on 4/28/2009 12:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know why you were rated down, that was funny!

My favorite is (And I quote):

"I fell down the stairs, and there was a crack and a white jagged white thing is sticking out of my arm, guys is this swine flue?"


By yomamafor1 on 4/28/2009 12:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
+1


RE: xkcd take on Twitter swine flu
By Etsp on 4/28/2009 1:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting to note: Most if not all of the twitter accounts portrayed in that comic either existed, or do now exist, with matching twitter posts...


Minor Type
By MozeeToby on 4/28/2009 11:49:53 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
all while one of Google's newest additions has shown.
Maybe it's just me, but I had to read this a few times to figure out what you were trying to say. Though it sounds wrong, 'Shined' is actually correct, 'shone' is acceptable if you insist.




RE: Minor Type
By MadMan007 on 4/28/2009 12:04:41 PM , Rating: 2
And the picture is of a shiny pig! Imagine that..


RE: Minor Type
By StevoLincolnite on 4/28/2009 12:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's Miss Shiny Piggy to you mister!


RE: Minor Type
By AahzNotOz on 4/28/2009 4:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
I, for one, welcome our microbial porcine overlords...


RE: Minor Type
By teko on 4/28/2009 1:59:50 PM , Rating: 3
I'm surprised the article doesn't link to these 'useful' Google tools:
- Google Flu Trends page: http://www.google.org/flutrends/
- Google swine flu map: http://tinyurl.com/swineflumap


Terrible example
By tjr508 on 4/28/2009 12:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
The 1:1,000,000 ratio of people infected with swine flu to people freaking out about it makes this an awful case to track accurately using search trends.




RE: Terrible example
By DCstewieG on 4/28/2009 12:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Did you read at all? To track the actual flu, they track the search terms for people who might actually have it, like symptoms or doctors or something. They have previously found this to be very accurate with the seasonal flu. This is why they actually say we are at LOW RISK even though "swine flu" is the 6th most searched query.


RE: Terrible example
By tjr508 on 4/28/2009 4:08:30 PM , Rating: 2
They can narrow it down all they want, but the 1:1,000,000 ratio still holds true.

With the common flu, nobody is even remotely interested except those who are infected or parents of infected children. Furthermore, most of these people have experienced it before and are not exactly freaking out about it.

I think trends can be excellent indicators of more common disorders, but what we are seeing now is a "pandemic" with only a hand full of people actually infected. This is at best "nearly" impossible to trend.


RE: Terrible example
By foolsgambit11 on 4/28/2009 6:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
Swine flu is still flu. They don't need to track swine flu specifically. You can determine an upper limit to the risk of swine flu without knowing which flu cases are swine flu:

'swine flu' is a subset of the set 'flu'
All members of set 'flu' possess property 'risk'
Sum of property 'risk' for all 'flu' = low number
Therefore, sum of property 'risk' for all 'swine flu' <= low number

Of course, if you assume that swine flu is abnormally virulent or abnormally deadly, then you would project that the risk will increase dramatically in the near future, but it doesn't invalidate Google's snapshot of current risk. I haven't found definitive evidence to support either conjecture, though. Still, it is good to understand the limits of Google's statistics. (I bet Google can do a better job of differentiating cases than I gave them credit for in the preceding analysis (which was no credit at all). After all the fundamental principle the program is based on has proven itself very effective in many fields at capturing meaningful, complex data.)


... twits!
By HighWing on 4/28/2009 12:51:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amid this growing global crisis, blog-blurb site Twitter has come under fire for delivering misinformation. The site has become inundated with doomsday predictions and exaggerated figures that are confusing many in the public.


Seriously... the people who believe any predictions off twitter would just get it from some other site if twitter did not exist. Which makes it kinda silly to blame twitter when they are just one of many messengers out there.




RE: ... twits!
By TomZ on 4/28/2009 12:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I had some laughs yesterday at some of the "user-generated content" on iReport (from CNN) regarding swine flue. It is a good reminder that the general public is a crazy bunch, that's for sure.


RE: ... twits!
By foolsgambit11 on 4/28/2009 6:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
I know, really. Twitter doesn't 'deliver' information, its users do. Who thinks of Twitter as a resource for factual data? It's like trusting grafitti as gospel. We rule the school!


RE: ... twits!
By Souka on 4/28/2009 7:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Forget Twitter....old news...

Try "Flutter"
http://slatev.com/player.html?id=18328570001


Miss Piggy Flu
By rburnham on 4/29/2009 9:42:36 AM , Rating: 2
So this is what killed Kermit, eh?




RE: Miss Piggy Flu
By tmouse on 4/30/2009 8:47:25 AM , Rating: 2
No, that was swine syphlis


RE: Miss Piggy Flu
By BailoutBenny on 4/30/2009 1:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
What's green and smells like pork?


Only a few hundred die of the flu each year
By Damien on 4/28/2009 1:44:54 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, but please stop quoting the 36,000-die-of-flu number: in 2001 it was 257, in 2002 it was 753
(http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_13... whereas in 2005 it was 1,812 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_10...




By omnicronx on 4/28/2009 2:20:01 PM , Rating: 2
Your links don't work, and you are wrong. Between 1971 and 2001 an average of 41000 moralities a year are the result of influenza (whether that be directly, or indirectly i.e Pneumonia etc..)

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/163...

While that number has decreased, 36000 was the most recent yearly number.


By TomZ on 4/28/2009 2:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
The 36,000 number also comes from CDC:

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and; about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes . Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/index.htm


Can we say "Duh"?
By Fanon on 4/28/2009 12:14:47 PM , Rating: 1
A social site who's content is provided by the every-man vs. an application that catalogs flu search queries and estimates flu activity. Of course the former is going to suck for accuracy while the latter provides more precise information.

This just in: the sky is bluer than the grass.




"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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