Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Influenza Fear Mongering

I'm starting to get tired of the various conspiracy theories that are floating around on the internet. People take half truths and use them to fuel their own beliefs. The newest theories I'm seeing are that the US bought a stockpile of antivirals that need to be used up, so the CDC is padding flu case numbers. Of course, anti-virals can be used to treat other viral illnesses besides H1N1 and seasonal influenza viruses. Do people not realize that the government buys a stockpile of anti-virals every year as a precaution?

People on both sides of the influenza debate are using scare tactics to try to make their points. Why can't people simply use honesty and logic?

Dr Mercola's newest fear-based H1N1 post (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/10/27/Obama-Declares-Swine-Flu-Emergency.aspx) contains an out-right lie 2 minutes into the recording. It also claims "CBS has been trying to obtain state-by-state numbers for Swine Flu cases compiled, by the CDC, BEFORE the testing was stopped. The CDC has refused to come across with those numbers. It's been stonewalling CBS for the last three months." These numbers are easily found on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/updates/.

A few minutes into the audio, Barbara Loe Fisher, states that "[The CDC] stopped confirming the cases of hospitalization and deaths that were H1N1 related and this information is on the CDC website." Really? When I look on the CDC website I find provider guidance urging testing in cases involving hospitalization and deaths for H1N1 (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/diagnostic_tests.htm).

The change that has been made is in what the weekly flu report is tracking. You can read more about the CDC FluView and surveillance changes at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/reportingqa.htm and http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/surveillanceqa.htm. Basically, it comes down to the number of cases that meet the criteria for H1N1 testing, is far less than the number of cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) that's in our communities. The cost, time, and availability of H1N1 diagnostic testing make it ridiculous to test every case. To help get a more accurate picture of the true breadth of illness in the nation, the report of flu activity includes all people that physicians have diagnosed with ILI. The World Health Organization had declared H1N1 a pandemic almost 2 months before the CDC changed the surveillance system.

The fatalities are off between the current chart, and what's being reported for the year because the numbers were reset on Aug 30, when the reporting system was changed. You have to add the old numbers to the current ones to get the total. The CDC is being honest with the facts. They were being completely honest and reset the case counts when the surveillance system became inclusive of ILI.

President Obama declared the emergency in order to allow hospitals to deal with possible mass flu outbreaks. If this was originally authorized in July, or October, does it matter? Why are we upset that President Obama is trying to allow hospitals to be able to handle mass influxes of patients? If the American people are being lied to about the severity of H1N1 outbreak, what harm does allowing hospitals to see more patients do?

1 comment:

Blogmaster said...

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