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Dec 21, 2013
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Nationwide H1N1 Swine Flu Outbreak
Dec 21, 2013
On December 19, 2013, AlertsUSA issued the following
Flash message to subscriber mobile devices:

Health officials warn of H1N1 swine flu outbreak. Half of rptd cases in Houston area have died. Cases rptd from FL to AK. Take your flu precautions seriously.

What You Need To Know

On Thursday of this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via text messages to their mobile devices that public health officials were warning of an H1N1 Swine Flu outbreak emerging across the nation. While not yet at a pandemic level, a majority of those cases are the same strain of the virus which caused a global pandemic in 2009. At the moment, Texas appears to be ground zero though new cases are being reported across the U.S. and Canada.

It is expected that case numbers will dramatically increase over the year-end holidays as families and friends gather. Be careful. While not as deadly as the the H7N9 bird flu virus, H1N1 is still particularly dangerous.

View Most Recent CDC Surveillance Data HERE.
(Consolidated national reporting is delayed at least 1 week.)

View Most Recent Public Health Canada Surveillance Data HERE.
(Consolidated national reporting is delayed at least 1 week.)

View Google Flu Trends HERE.

Readers are reminded that in the 2009-2010 pandemic, the CDC estimates that 61 million Americans were infected, more than 200,000 were hospitalized and in excess of 12,000 died.

Public health experts unanimously agree the number of deaths is likely much higher as many would be attributed to various complications resulting from the flu, not to mention the less than reliable nature of lab testing methods. Some studies have found that only 10% of patients who have swine flu have positive test results on the rapid flu test.

It is also important to note that unlike most strains of influenza, H1N1 does not disproportionately infect adults older than 60 years. In fact, in a typical year, 90% of flu deaths occur in those over age 65. With H1N1, approximately 60-80% of deaths occurred in those under age 65.

Even in the case of previously very healthy persons, some develop pneumonia or what is known as "acute respiratory distress syndrome" or (ARDS). The pneumonia caused by flu can be either direct viral pneumonia or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. As such, it is recommended that doctors and clinicians be extra vigilant for its onset, including in younger, healthy patients. Those whose chest X-ray indicates pneumonia should be considered for both antivirals and antibiotics.

In addition, those with serious H1N1 infections often suffer kidney damage, including complete renal failure.

As is well known in medical circles, recent case-control studies show the yearly trivalent flu vaccine is only about 56% effective in reducing flu risk, and that number is for people with good health. Statistically, that is similar to a coin toss, and a far cry from the panacea of protection often promoted in the print and broadcast media.

Risk Mitigation

We remind readers that despite being informally referred to as "swine flu", the H1N1 virus cannot be spread by eating pork or pork products, as is the case with other influenza viruses. Regardless, cook your food thoroughly.

Swine flu is typically contracted by person to person transmission, including respiratory droplets, so you would be well served by steering clear of sick individuals over the holidays, even to the point of politely declining the dozens of obligatory cheek kisses, even if you have had a flu shot. If you are sick, stay home or otherwise practice social distancing for the safety of others.

View CDC Flu Prevention Guidance here.

View Public Health Canada Flu Prevention Guidance here.

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Travel Security Update

The U.S. Dept. of State is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning on international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation prior to departure.

Latest USGOV Travel Warnings


Important Travel Alerts

See all USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings HERE.

Take Advantage of These Resources

Our social media channels provide a steady steam of important news and resources between issues of Threat Journal with little or no overlap of content. Combined with the AlertsUSA service for instant mobile notification of the really bad developments, you have an unmatched set of tools to keep yourself fully up to speed on the nation's threat environment. With times getting worse by the day, we urge you to utilize these resources.

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