H1N1 (swine flu) Roundup

I could be wrong but evidence does not yet show we need to declare pandemic.

Good roundups on Australian TV (SBS, ABC 7.30 Report)

Twenty confirmed cases in US have not been shown to be the same as the Mexican variant. I haven’t had it confirmed by reliable sources but the alleged 81 deaths in Mexico might only be 22 attributable to the new variant. There is much misinformation (including in traditional media). The prize for the most disgusting goes to the Daily Telegraph, as usual. Its front page was wrong “Deadly Pig Virus Hits NSW.”

Both cases tested in Australia have proved negative (we are one of the four sites in the world with WHO labs to do final testing).  Stats should emerge shortly on rate of false alarms.

Best broad information is here which shows 6% mortality in Mexico and at US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), though I’ve blogged today about problems on their website.  World Health Organisation site is disappointing.

On Twitter there are pockets of good info, but as time goes on the wrong or badly sourced information is swamping the good info. The altmed nutters (chiropractors, wellness kooks etc who don’t understand evidence based medicine) are trying to bump up business from the uneducated, as are the click harvesters (get paid a few cents to get people to click on their silly links promoting whatever).

It was interesting to see the twitter community diverge. Better information was coming via #H1N1 rather than #swine. A fact that many critics overlooked. As a group mind like this evolves on emerging issues you may get people generating new tags to sort out better info. There was even discussion about the best hash tags. The maths of it will probably follow that of bird flocking and fish shoaling. Great stuff.

Depending on news tomorrow I’ll be riding my pushbike down the hill to go shopping, despite urging my wife not to today. Let’s keep our fingers crossed but be aware it could still get bad now or the next time around.

Kevin McCready

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