Mexican Flu Update

The death toll in Mexico now at 149, and climbing, with more than 2,000 patients are hospitalized there. Containment appears unlikely. For a flu to spread this rapidly outside of the normal “cold and flu season” tells us something about its ferocity. I suspect that we will see multiple waves of infection, with the worst of them probably being next winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Mutations are impossible to predict. The only good news is that at least in the long term, viruses tend to mutate into less lethal strains. (The most lethal–a la the Marburg type hemorrhagic viruses–are so lethal that the hosts don’t live long enough to pass on the viruses to others. Hence the tendency for many bugs is to become less virulent. The common cold (acute viral rhinopharyngitis), it is said, probably started out as a killer, many centuries ago.)

SurvivalBlog Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson sent us a link to the first really practical article on using N95 masks that I’ve ever seen, by Tara Smith.

Mentioned a useful CDC background piece: Antiviral Drugs and Swine Influenza

Reader Matt J. in Kentucky notes: “Wal-Mart in Louisville, Kentucky is already out of N95 masks, but the hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have 20-packs readily available (I bought two 20-packs at Lowe’s and one 20-pack at Home Depot.” OBTW, Bob at Ready Made Resources mentioned that sales have been very brisk, and they are now nearly out N95 masks, despite buying all that their wholesale suppliers had on hand. He also mentioned that their inexpensive full protective suit ensembles are going fast

Here are some of the day’s flu headlines:

World closer to swine flu pandemic

Swine Flu: Five Things You Need to Know About the Outbreak Thanks to Dave (at Captain Dave’s) for the link

Texas Closes More Schools as Flu Spreads

Obama: Flu Matter of Concern Not One of Alarm (yet)

Mexico City Now a Zombie City

Call Your Congressman! US Says Not Testing Travelers From Mexico

Swine Flu Hits Ernst & Young in Times Square, N.J. Department of Health Confirms Five Probable Cases

Flashback to 1994: CDC to mix avian, human flu viruses in pandemic study