Fwd: Re: [FoRK] avian flu/home grown/PastFutureTense/retraction

Kevin Elliott k-elliott
Fri Oct 14 12:03:46 PDT 2005

At 14:31 -0400  on  10/14/05, Luis Villa wrote:
>* the problem that caused the most deaths in 1918 was not poor immune
>system response; it was an immune system response so overwhelmingly
>aggressive that while attacking the virus it coincidentally destroyed
>the lungs. That's why more young adults died than old and children.

Interesting.  Wouldn't life support still allow sustained life in 
this situation?  I assume lung function is compromised but still 
functional.  The problem is an inability for the lungs to pull in 
sufficient Oxygen per breathe.  How would a patient respond to being 
put on Oxygen?

>* in an actual epidemic anything approaching the scale of the one we
>saw in 1918, only the tiniest percentage will actually recieve any
>medical care at all. All modern american hospitals run as close to
>capacity as possible- any unused capacity (aka 'buffer for unusual
>emergencies') is actively hunted down, because empty beds cost money.
>If the flu comes again, modern medical treatment won't matter because
>the vast majority will get ill and die or recover before ever so much
>as seeing a doctor. (They'll all be dying too, which won't help.)

Strongly disagree.  I simply don't see it going down this way. 
Capacity is easy to create- you throw people who don't HAVE to be 
their out.  You set up tents in the parking lot.  You ration 
doctor/nurse time aggressively.  You bring in outside assistance.

I simply do not see avian flu as a realistic threat in the USA.
-It's transmission vectors are well understood.
-Proper quarantine procedures are well understood.

IF you could somehow get into to start all across to US, all at once, 
and in 100,000+ people, the potential for disaster is real, but I 
DON'T see how that could happen.  Once what's going on is recognized 
the response would be quite fast- patients are quarantined, medical 
personal are shifted from unaffected areas to assist, the problem is 
contained, and the problem dies out.  I don't see how it could go 
down any other way.
Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in mud.
After a while, you realize the pig is enjoying it.
Kevin Elliott   <mailto:kelliott at mac.com>
AIM/iChatAV: kelliott at mac.com  (video chat available)

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