April 29, 2009

Swine flu anyone?

So swine flu has arrived in the remote shores of New Zealand. Confirmed cases, with many more quarantined, possibly infected. Let's face it - we can expect many of us to get it. The real question - how fatal will it turn out to be. So far, they are all recovering well.... but the situation will worsen for us all if it starts to kill the same way it appears to have done in Mexico.

I guess if it spreads we will face some time in masks, some loss of freedom, no travel, no group gatherings, and the fear associated with knowing you are likely to catch something and there is not a lot you can do about it. I know in the past when my children have been really ill with various viruses, trying to isolate them is a joke. Part of you knows the damage is already done, but just trying to keep from breathing it, handling it, spreading it is very hard. The fact that often only one child got ill I put down to good luck and immunity, not necessarily good management! I can imagine it would add a new dimension to supermarket shopping - let's dress up to go to the mall! Now where are my mask, gloves.....

Still, if we hit a pandemic alert, I will have the thrill of trying to run training classes from home and seeing the learning of many students completely disrupted. That's without trying to figure out how to cope with sick staff... I have coped with fire, flood and snow here; this will just be a new experience. I did read that the things we need to cope; drugs, masks, gowns, gloves, might all run out as they are all produced in Asian countries and travel will slow down...that in fact people are more likely to die, regardless whether they get the flu, because they cannot get access to the regular drugs they need - insulin, antibiotics etc.

I guess if we do catch it, most of us will be nursed at home, with some comfort, space, running water. I am trying to imagine the impact this will have elsewhere too... on those who are already ill or immuno compromised. Yes, for them I worry.

I read this today about Dhaka in Bangladesh - how will places like this cope with a potential pandemic!

1 more dies; power situation improves

One person died of a heat stroke in Bhola yesterday while the diarrhoea situation continued to worsen in the capital and elsewhere in the country over the last 24 hours.

According to the meteorological office, temperature in Dhaka came down to 36.5 degrees Celsius yesterday from 39.6 degrees Celsius a day before, while the highest temperature was recorded in Jessore at 39.2 degrees Celsius yesterday.

The heat wave may continue for two more days, met office sources said, before an expected rainfall. The city dwellers got a little respite from the agony of frequent power outage with the slight improvement in the power-supply situation in the capital. But the acute crisis of water in many areas of Dhaka has compounded the sufferings of city dwellers.

The city thoroughfares witnessed a low presence of people yesterday as many people tried to stay indoors to seek refuge form the heat wave that has been sweeping the country for the past few weeks.

Cases of diarrhoea, cholera, viral fever, pneumonia, typhoid and jaundice have increased in the city and across the country due to the scorching heat and water pollution. Children are the worst sufferer of these diseases and hospitals have been experiencing almost double the patients than usual.

It helps me to keep this in perspective....

You can track the outbreak on google:

View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map


  1. We had a pig in the auditorium last Friday as part of a pep rally skit. If only we knew...

  2. Great post hun, we were emailed yesterday about infected students and staff at uni. Nothing has been said to us in any class by the teachers at all, so I have no idea about what we will do in the case of pandemic.....weird.

  3. the WHO had proclaimed the disease may become pandemic with the way the strain rapidly travels from one human to another.
    it's good though that it's not airborne but we were warned of the droplets from sneezing. therefore we need mask, to wash our hands often, and to bolster our immune system to fight this type of strain.
    stay indoor if you have nothing important to do outside, ok?
    take care...

  4. Hey Mum, I've been reading all of your posts - it's nice knowing you're keeping up with the news and weather over here :) I really hope swine flu stays away from BD, but we'll see soon enough I suppose. Anyway, hope you and Scott are both happy and healthy. Love James

  5. We are in the eye of the storm here - only a few streets away from Rangitoto College. One of the infected students is a neighbour, another is the sister of a girl in E's class at intermediate. Everyone seems to be calm about it around here. Our neighbours have just closed their gate to quarantine themselves. My understanding is that the kids have all made a good recovery and are being treated with tamiflu and the families have been given preventive doses. The affected girl in E's class was back at school today. We are going for our flu shots tomorrow morning. H1N1 is a common flu strain, hopefully it will give us some protection. We'll see. To be honest I'm not too worried.

  6. Odette - will be interested to follow what happens and found your post on the issue very interesting!

    Fred... you are quite safe from pigs - despite the swine part of it all....

    Neo - i am sure you can imagine the disruption - not all learning can happen online - but we will do our best.

    Ta Araroa - wow - you really are right in there! That is great news - and much relief that it could yet be a storm in a tea cup! It is interesting how fast it is spreading .... but I hear there are worse flu versions doing the rounds at the moment - so yes, get a flu shot:)

  7. Great post. there are more cases coming out here to. the goverment are sending every home a leaflet about it next week and meant to be getting a load of masks in too but many think that is too much at the moment...but who knows?! xx

  8. Check out this website http://www.swine-flu-tracker.com/ that tracks the spread of swine flu, it really puts things in perspective.

  9. Great post. A lot of people over here in the US seem not to be taking it very seriously. They are mostly on media overload. Honestly I am very weary of this. Good luck to you and your family.


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