Swine Flu Prevention and High Tech Hopes

By | May 2, 2009

Thermal Image taken by a scanner in an Airport, to help determine whether traveler have swine flu

Thermal Image taken by one of many scanners used in airports around the world to help determine whether travelers have swine flu

Airports are currently trying new high tech detection techniques (actually many installed them back during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and bird flu scares). Still they are fairly new. The only problem with their fancy thermal image scanners is that they can only detect swine flu after the early stages of entry and uncoating, before it triggers all of our bodies defenses. However, during this incubation period which can last up to 6 days the virus can still be contagious.

Unfortunately, for recognizing the limitations of these thermal images scanner and using them sparing here in the US many have officials have come under fire.

Now Rhode Island is still awaiting results on swine flu tests, but we are now up to 4 probable cases here, as there has now been the addition of one from Johnson and Wales University, along with the one from North Kingstown High School and the two others from around the state. There are now somewhere around 19 states and 149 cases in the US, along with 34 in Canada, 14 in Spain, 8 in UK, 2 in France, and 1 in Hong Kong (Mexican citizen). There are of course cases in a number of other countries too.

President Obama reportedly sought $1.5 from congressional leaders to help fight swine flu. They are now moving forward towards a vaccine hopefully by the fall. Although, they still do not know for sure if it is possible to create a safe and appropriate vaccine. Further, they do now believe the origins of swine flu now to be a million hog farm in Perote, Mexico run by Smithfield Foods.

Fortunately swine flu seems to lack some of the genetic traits of the 1918 flu and bird flu despite being of the same subtype H1N1. They now believe swine flu to be less variable then first feared. Now that it seems we have very much overreacted to this swine flu, and are now proceeding with cautious optimism. Let us just hope that next time something comes down the pipe we do not under react to what may be the proverbial bubonic plague of our time.

As I have said before the only known prevention methods for swine flu H1N1 thus far are the same ones you would use for the common flu. However, we are thus far only guessing that this flu has the same vectors (methods of transmission) as the common flu, which would make sense being that it is so similar.

Again just to summarize some prevention methods that can and have been taken at the level of the organization or company are:

  • Place hand sanitizers strategically around in public areas to provide easy access for people to make sure their hands are clean.*
  • Post signs will be in restrooms reminding people of the importance of hand washing as a means of prevention for cold and flu.
  • Take extra steps to clean all public areas with solutions specializing in prevention of flu bacteria, wiping down door knobs, elevator buttons, handrails, phones and other places that are considered high touched areas.

  • On a personal level some prevention methods are again:

  • Cover your mouth when coughing to prevent the spread of germs
  • Wash your hands regularly, and carry or use conveniently located hand sanitizers*
  • Make wise choices about places you choose to frequent where large crowds might be present
  • Stay home from work or school when you are sick, and visit the doctor at the first indication of the flu like symptoms
  • * (Make sure hand sanitizers are at least 60% alcohol (typically ethanol) content or better, there are some discount brands out there which are only 40% and can actually mobilize the bacteria and worsen the problem. (as indicated by an informal classroom experiment at East Tennessee State University))

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