No doubt everyone has heard about the outbreak of swine influenza A (H1N1).
I am sanguine about this one for a number of reason.
The virus was identified a threat early in the outbreak. The virus seems to be transmitted by droplet. While this is worse than if it was bloodborne its better than if it was airborne. In the past the morbidity rate for these viruses are around 4% and so far seem to be responsive to the antivirals oseltamivir (prescribed under the trade name Tramiflu in Australia) and zanamivir.
Medical authorities have raise the alarm, The World Health Organisation has set the ‘global Influenza Prepardness Plan at Phase 4 which is characterized by
"...verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion..."
In Australia we have 8 million viable stocks of Tramiflu for our popualtion.
Our medical professionals have been briefed on the clinical signs and able to send samples to type the virus to confirm if it is swine influenza A (H1N1). The public is aware that if the display flu like symptoms to have them checked. Also the Government on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop included swine influenza to be a quarantinable disease in humans under the Quarantine Act 1908.
Under the Quarantine Act, people who, in the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer, are likely to have been exposed with swine flu, can be placed under surveillance until it can be established that they should either be ordered into quarantine, or it is established that they are not affected by the disease.
I am following the news, still no confirmed cases in Australia though still awaiting results on some. I am carrying out good hygiene practices and have advise co-workers if they cough anywhere near me is shall ‘kill them where they sit’. So I am fairly confident.
How about you?