Swine flu, are we doing enough to protect ourselves?

RTE Report that the Department of Health estimate that 1 million Irish people will contract Swine Flu this autumn and winter, with a current estimated mortality rate of 1 per 200 cases this may mean 5,000 fewer Irish people come next spring. While the mortality rate is disputed, partially on the basis that many infected patients will never see a doctor – one wonders if unreported cases also figure in the Department of Health estimate.

The Department of Health has ordered 8 million doses of the Swine Flu vaccine, which may not now be available until the end of the year. Ireland has a population of approxiametly 4.5 million, this is less than two doses per person of a vaccine that may have to be adminstered three times per adult and four per child. Wales, with a population of 2.9 million citizens has ordered 6 million doses of the vaccine.

133 Irish people have been diagnosed with Swine Flu so far, with no fatalities.

Wikipedia offers hygiene related advice which may reduce your chances of contracting the disease.

Should we be planning and developing alternatives now in order to reduce the impact of any school, creche and workplace closures?

  • GavBelfast

    1-in-200 fatalities would be 5,000 deaths, not 50,000.

    Certainly cause for major concern but, as the ‘ordinary’ flu kills hundreds if not thousands of people every year anyway, not cause for mass panic or hysteria – yet anyway.

  • eranu

    it’ll turn out to be a few cases and then go away. thats my guess based on all the talk of other world disaster diseases ive heard about in the recent past that have all turned out to be a storm in a tea cup. id love to know how these estimates are calculated and whether the modern hygienic and knowledgeable world is taken into account.

  • Mack

    Gav – you’re right, basic arithmetic error.

    I’m not sure how many die from common flu each year in Ireland, but it does affect the elderly disproportionately, there are established vaccinations and vaccination programs.

    Swine Flu appears to be highly infectious and affects younger people disproportionately (leading to school, creche & workplace closures). We’ve a pretty good idea this is coming. Are we doing enough now to prepare?

  • fin

    Doctor on R5 a few morning ago, he was then on his way to his 7th Swine Flu call out, he claimed that an estimated 1,000,000 in GB would be affected.

    I know a lot of schools are getting outbreaks and interestingly he said that once the holidays started it would spread faster as people moved around more and already infected kids were around new people

  • The Raven

    Eranu, I wouldn’t disagree fully with what you are saying. Hemorrhagic diseases are so severe, visible and damned quick in physically manifesting, that they are (reasonably) easily quarantined. SARS and other diseases have also been stopped in their tracks where very quick action has been taken.

    The increased mobility of people and the sneaky nature of this (and other) flu-type viruses is a real problem and consideration in this case. Mack is on the money in terms of raising the “developing alternatives” issue.

    My own workplace has contingency in place for home-working should the need arise. It’s not difficult to do in today’s age of teleworking. Documentation management, change management and external service level agreements are not hard – even for the very smallest business – to put in place.

    The problem is, where your business is manufacturing-based, or front-facing service based, and you need people to turn up and make stuff. Certainly about 85% of Northern Ireland businesses haven’t even thought about continuity planning, though in fairness to local government and the Civil Service, they have.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

  • eranu

    time will tell raven. just did a quick google. found chile stats-

    The total number of cases from the 17th of May 2009, the date when the Institute for Public Health confirmed the first H1N1 infection, till June 14 is about 3,125. This information was given out in an official report by the health officials.

    According to the report, still there are lots of cases which are not yet confirmed by the laboratories which are present in Chile. Chile is a national which has seen lots of spikes in viral infections.

    In the report it has been stated that, the New Human Virus (H1N1) has a high level of transmissibility among the population. The report also says that the number of infections is expected to increase as the virus has more chances for circulating during winter.

    Of the total 3,125 confirmed cases, the number of deaths which have been reported due to the H1N1 infection is juts 2. About 2.7% of the total cases need hospitalizations where as 77% of the total cases have recovered. About 20% of the reported cases are under treatment and their conditions have improved.

  • cynic


    Sorry but it’s not even 1 in 200 who will die. It is 1 in 200 of those who become so seriously ill that they need urgent medical intervention ie basicially 1 in 200 of those who become so ill that they have to be hospitalised.

    Most people who get it will have relatively mild / normal flu like symptons cured by paracetamol and a few days in bed or even better a few glasses of whiskey and a few days in bed.

    All the forecats seem to indicate that teh death toll will be a bit above the normal flu – so bad but there’s no sign of horsemen in the sky – unless of course it mutates further!!!!

  • I have been using high doses of vitamin c to protect myself against infection/viruses with some success. Last week I had a very high temperature and sore throat which came on very quickly. During the day I took 5,000mg of vitamin c and the next day the symptoms had gone. Now this may have happened anyway. However it is not the first time I have experinced this.

  • eranu

    just buy a load of grass and smoke your way through any illness. thats the method i prefer!