Swine Flu

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The Swine Flu is a strain of influenza so named because it is believed to be a disease that crossed over from porcine species to humans. It has had two major outbreaks in Davis, one in 1976 and one in 2009.

2009 Outbreak

Cutaway_PD.jpgA cutaway view of an Influenza virus

The Swine Flu outbreak of 2009, known as the H1N1 strain, has already struck in Sacramento with 3 confirmed cases. The [wikipedia]World Health Organization has raised their pandemic level to five, as of April 29, 2009. The illness has caused all schools, universities, and public events in Mexico to be closed until May 6, and the spread of the flu in the United States is causing increasing amounts of schools to close.

It is worth noting that the mortality rate (as of 2009-10) of H1N1 is slightly lower than that of the seasonal flu, especially among children. It is also important to remember that the seasonal (i.e., "normal") flu kills many thousands of people each year in the U.S., so it is still expected to kill many people should it spread as expected during the Winter of 2009.

Precautions should be taken to minimize the possibility of spreading the flu (although these should be generally followed for any type of sickness — the normal flu usually kills about 36,000 people per year in the U.S.1). Here are a few pointers:

  1. When washing your hands, use soap, and scrub for at least 20 seconds.

  2. Wash your hands before eating!

  3. Use a tissue to cover your mouth when coughing. When done, throw the tissue away.

  4. Steer clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay home until you feel better.

Google maps has created a pretty nifty map to show the [WWW]current spread of the disease, while the California Department of Public Health has a [WWW]county by county listing.

As of 2009-09, there have been 12 patients hospitalized or in the ICU and one death in Yolo County. Keep in mind however, that the number of 'probable cases' tends to outnumber the laboratory confirmed cases, and these statistics aren't currently available for Yolo County. As of August 2009, there have been ~25,000 confirmed cases nationally, while the CDC estimates there have been over 1 million actual cases in the US alone. Nearly every case of the flu is the novel-H1N1 variety, as the seasonal flu has not yet (Oct 18 2009) hit the US yet.

1976 Outbreak

Anybody who remembers the local response to the 1976 outbreak is encouraged to edit this entry with their knowledge.

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http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/swine_flu.png
Randall Munroe CC-By-NC

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2009-04-29 22:33:08   Some undergrads wore face masks in class today, prompting flurries of discussion regarding the swine flu. —AlexQuan


2009-04-30 19:38:53   I had to take 3 midterms in one day last year when I had mono really really bad, and not one of the professors cared. ;(

I bet now my professors will suddenly let me make up my midterms at a later date if I feel sick. A few coughs and sneezes in their office hours should do it if a kind e-mail request doesn't work. —OrofinJackson


2009-10-17 22:58:38   Can anyone find current Yolo County stats? It's since become much more serious at the national level than when the original "it's coming" stories broke and were mostly shrugged or snickered off. The WHO declared it a global pandemic, the first time they've done that in 40 years. —EdWins


2009-10-18 15:05:53   Glines has Swines —StevenDaubert


2009-10-19 03:27:19   I had it the second week of school. Honestly aside from the raging fever for three days, it was not so bad. I even managed to avoid a secondary bronchial infection which is normally what happens when I get the flu. Plus now I don't need to pay for the vaccine to get the antibodies-sweet!! —OliviaY

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