Thursday, April 30, 2009

A social cytokine storm?

Catchy headline, eh? I've posted my opinion on the flu in earlier posts. And I still feel that way, namely, its not time for panic but we should stay informed on the matter and be aware of any change in lethality or if it reappears in wore way in the Fall. And this article talks a bit about the overreacting part:

A cytokine storm is a gross overreaction by the immune system to a perceived infection...something like dropping an H-bomb on a suspected burglar in your back yard. The result is to kill, or needlessly harm, the patient.

We may be inflicting something like that on ourselves. Via the New York Times: Fort Worth Closes Schools as Number of Swine Flu Cases Rises in U.S.
Taking extreme precautions to stop the fast-spreading swine flu, Fort Worth became the nation’s first major city school district to close on Thursday, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 114 cases in 12 states, up from 91 cases in 10 states on Wednesday. ...

... About 80,000 students are expected to be kept out of their classrooms through May 11 in that city, adding to the 53,000 pupils already out of school in Texas, where 26 people have been confirmed with cases of the swine flu. (more)

And in related news from UK Reuters:

White House issues advisory after Obama Mexico trip
(Politico) -- The White House is issuing a health advisory outlining "protective measures" for anyone who traveled on President Barack Obama's trip to Mexico, after a member of the U.S. delegation came down with flu-like symptoms - and tests on his family showed they're probably infected with the swine flu.
The individual - an advance security staffer for Energy Secretary Steven Chu -appears to have spread the flu to his wife, son and nephew. All three have tested probable for swine flu, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said

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