November 03, 2009

Ukraine's “High Attack Rate” of H1N1

flu photo Ukraine I have been kind of alarmed by the speed at which H1N1 (or some kind of viral cousin) seems to be spreading in Ukraine. In the span of about a week 60 people died. As of today, it is believed a total of 67 people have died from infections related the virus and pneumonia, which may be a side effect of the flu. Lviv, in the West, is the worst hit city but the virus seems to be spreading quickly. This morning I read an article about the high attack rate of the virus in Romania and they compared it to the situation in Ukraine. "These high numbers raise concerns that the death rates in these countries will climb sharply in the upcoming days or weeks" experts stated.

The Geneva based WHO sent a team of experts yesterday to Ukraine to try and diagnose the situation and samples have already been sent to London for analysis. Gregory Hartl of their response team stated "This is something that certainly needs investigating." They are concerned about media reports of blood filled lungs apparently hearkening back to a devastating 1918 pandemic.
According to a Bloomberg article “It’s a bit like Mexico in the beginning.” John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, added that Ukrainian authorities may be inadequately equipped to observe the outbreak closely. According to WHO, the highest death probability is in the ages between 20 and 50 yrs of age.
The sudden cold wave has made the flu situation worse. "At the moment there are two waves of flu that are coming together: The normal seasonal flu and the swine flu," Tatiana Bakhteyeva, the chair of the Ukrainian parliamentary health committee, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
The Mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadoviy wears a mask in his office during meetings. “Safe is safe” is the motto of the day. He said that “One in 10 people in the medical profession is ill." Here is a chart showing all of the major cities and regions in Ukraine and the current infection rate. So far, Crimea lists no infections but, apparently, on the news yesterday, two young women who had been in Western Ukraine apparently returned to Simferopol with the virus and are in quarantine in the hospital here. I almost spent a night in this wing of the Simferopol hospital and definitely recommend avoiding it at all costs.  Unfortunately, things like masks, Vitamin C and Echinacea are mostly sold out in pharmacies in our area. On November 2, Prime Minister Timoshenko said  "If you can sew a mask yourself, for your children, for your friends - it will be a great help to the nation." She said 6 million meters of reserved guaze, i.e.cheesecloth, would be turned over to the nation's 9 state owned clothing factories for the purpose of making masks. Gauze is a far cry from the meltblown, polypropylene now standard in surgical masks, but better than nothing.
A sister of mine in the US recently described how her two children have been diagnosed with H1N1 in Columbus, Ohio. These are the first people I know personally who have been infected. It seems like wearing a mask is a good idea and I may even make some because none are available commercially. Boosting the immune system seems to be another good idea, with Vitamin C, Echinacea, etc. I'm still not convinced taking the inoculation is worth it considering the mercury and other additives often found in the "cocktail." Plus, where I live in Crimea the virus isn't widespread yet. For people who believe in God and the scriptures, Psalm 91.10 is a good verse to know: "No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent."
What is your experience and opinion regarding H1N1 and related viruses?

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