Recombinomics Commentary 21:38
February 07, 2010
The level of disinformation in the media and internet continues to grow.  The latest disinformation campaign has now started calling the 2009 pandemic an epidemic.  This follows disinformation on the end of the pandemic, which follows reports questioning the existence of the pandemic.  This frequent and common disinformation is leading to serious confusion in the general population, which will lead to needless deaths by those who shun the pandemic vaccine and those infected by those who shun the vaccine.

The existence of the pandemic was an easy, but decidedly late, call.  A flu pandemic is simply a novel strain that spreads worldwide.  The detection of swine H1N1 in two children in southern California in March/April strongly suggested that the pandemic had begun.  The children had no contact with swine or each other and were over 100 miles apart, indicating the detected infections represented thousands of cases in southern California, including symptomatic relatives and contacts.  When the “mystery illness” that was hospitalizing and killing 100’s in Mexico was confirmed in April to be the same swine H1N1, it was clear that the pandemic had begun.  The original phase 6 definition of sustained transmission of a novel strain of influenza had been met.

The swine H1N1 contained flu genes that had been circulating in swine since the 1990’s and most of the flu genes had been in swine since the 1930’s or earlier.  Thus, the H1N1 was novel and the vast majority of the world’s population had no immunity, setting the stage for rapid spread worldwide.  Although jumps of swine H1N1 to humans happen multiple times per year, prior jumps generally had a direct link to swine exposure and transmission was limited to family members of close contacts. The most extensive spread was in 1976 at Fort Dix in NJ where one soldier died and 200 were infected.  However, the virus did not spread outside of Fort Dix and was quickly contained.


•  Algeria wants to cut flu vaccines order; ministry (Link)

•  Soldier dies of acute inflammation accompanied by hemorrhage (Link)

•  Bangladesh culls 13,000 chickens after bird flu outbreak (Link)

•  Cambodia culls bird flu-affected ducks (Link)

•  Two new human H5N1 cases (Link)

•  Health Ministry Remains Diligent (Link)

•  Bird sacrifice banned at Manakamana, Kalika temples (Link)

•  Senegal confirms H1N1 outbreak (Link) Map link (Link)

South Africa
•  SA’s 2010 swine flu danger (Link)

•  Two new swine flu cases spark warnings in Tasmania (Link)

•  Health Ministry: death toll from flu, respiratory infections in Ukraine rises to 1,076

•  387 cases of A/H1N1 flu confirmed in Kyiv, including 54 deaths (Link)

United Kingdom
•  Swine flu delays ‘tragic’, MPs told (Link)

United States
•  US: Half of parents but 1/3 of Adults Get H1N1 Vax (Link)
•  Bird flu out of mind but still a threat – book review (Link)
•  MA: With flu abating, Mass ritual to return (Link)
•  OH: Cleveland arena removes drinking fountains (Link)

•  Kon Tum province: H5N1 outbreak in birds (Link)

•  Bird flu is spreading rapidly in many provinces (Link)

•  H1N1 virus present in animals in 20 countries (Link)
•  SciClone and Sigma-Tau Announce Additional Positive Results in Clinical Study Examining ZADAXIN’s Ability to Enhance Response to H1N1 Vaccine (Link)
•  Health authorities ready to limit flu drug use (Link)

•  CIDRAP: WHO decision on flu vaccine strains expected next week (Link)
•  New outbreaks of bird flu (H5N1) in Asia (Link)

•  Recombinomics: More Severe H1N1 Increases In Mississippi (Link)