Discussion Board

Topic: Swine Influenza

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France
Date: 04/29/2009

Dear Greg...Hi all,

If you are worrying about this potential pandemic, then apart from the usual sensible measures (washing hands, using sterile gel) ...the pandemic after WW1 proved that a lack of Vit D contributed to the mass infection. Vit D is found in fish and fruit.

Personally I dont eat much of either, so I'm going to the health store tomorrow to stock up on ' one a day' supplements. Probably better than "Tamiflu" as I'm very suspicious of drugs that deal with viral infections. The boffins will probably argue against this, but thats their problem.

Be brave people!...Dont panic!..even if you get you have a 90% plus chance of survival with modern medicen...Cheer up!

Best Regards

Andrew

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/29/2009

I don't know of any scientific support for the efficacy of Vitamin D against viral infections. I've never heard this theory about lack of vitamin D being behind the pandemic in 1918--and I severely doubt it really contributed. Best advice--if you're sick, stay home (other than seeing your doctor) and don't go to work or travel, and if you're not sick, wash your hands and don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your fingers. Viruses can survive on dry surfaces--doorknobs, countertops--for hours. Cough into your arm--your sleeve--rather than your hand. And when a vaccine becomes available for this particular virus, or its possible mutations, get vaccinated. Get your loved ones vaccinated. Go with the real science on this one, or put your friends and family--and yourself--at real risk. Diseases prey on our weaknesses.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Patrick B.
Location: Vancouver, WA
Date: 04/30/2009

I'd be extremely skeptical of this assertion. As Greg has mentioned, I've never heard of any evidence to support this either. Besides, a vitamin D deficiency for someone in the US is unlikely since our milk and many common food products have supplemental vitamin D added (as well as A). Also, your body is able to create D through skin exposure to sunlight.

There's a lot of talk about the abuse of "big pharma" pushing drugs, but remember, the supplement industry is a huge business as well without the government oversight or scientific scrutiny that pharma is under. Any extraordinary claims made about the efficacy of supplements needs to be held to the same standard of evidence.

To add to what Greg has mentioned about sticking to the science, I whole heartedly agree. There is already a paranoid movement in place telling people to avoid any future vaccination programs, citing the 1976 swine flu scare as evidence. This worries me.


Re: Swine Influenza

From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville, La
Date: 04/30/2009

Greg,
My understanding of vitamins and flu is that with normal yearly influenza vitamin "C" is a commonly subscribed by doctors to strengthen the immune system. Does it help who knows?

On the flip side the Spanish Flu virus of 1918-1918 that killed 40 million used strong healthy immune systems against the body. The virus was much worse on people 25-55 and killing them within days of the first symptoms. This flu came in three waves first in March, then November (the most deadly) and again in 1919. It only took a month to reach the USA in 1918.

Two ways of reducing the 1918 virus was minimal social contact 50-75% less chance of contacting the Virus. And sterilizing any and all hand contact, Door knobs, money grocery carts Etc.

Sounds like a great book Greg. Survivors was recently remade in the UK on BBC how fitting.

Stay safe and smart.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/30/2009

Agreed. If anyone traces the source of this Vitamin D rumor to a supplement company, or any such industry group, I'd like to know the details.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/30/2009

Excellent point--an overactive immune system was a big cause of mortality in 1918. As for vitamin C, it had a huge vogue back in the 1970s--in large part because Linus Pauling supported and promoted its efficacy against viruses--but today, the science seems pretty weak on that assertion. As for vitamin D and sunlight, I take a supplement (as recommended) since we don't get a lot of sunlight in Seattle, and I'm allergic to milk! But whenever possible, I spend some time under the sun to get the real stuff--straight from the skin.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 05/01/2009

The best D comes from your body, yes. There's lots of stuff related to D deficiency, though, and looking in the mainstream is going to get you dick. Literally. Medicine is not the same as science, and there's lots of bad medicine out there, much of it mainstream. Has been for ages. The best and simplest are:

1) hygiene as noted above - but all the time folks - don't be slackers.

2) consumption according to your metabolic type (and try to avoid all the gimics that have jumped on that wagon, sheesh).

As for milk, I suggest not even thinking about that shit. Unless it's raw, from range-fed cattle - or, even better, goats or sheep.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Influenza "pandemic?"
Date: 05/01/2009

Hi,

I'm not a nutritionist or a supplement abuser, I just wanted to say to everyone dont panic during this non pandemic.

Just one point though... I bet if you offered my Great Grandfather some supplements, while he was sitting up to his waist in filth in the trenches of the Somme battlefield in WWI..and gave them to his family who'd been living on turnip leaf soup for two years he would have taken them like a shot! (that pandemic ripped through my family like a scythe). I dont think that they had a chance to enjoy a Californian diet much then or in WWII when Nazi bombs were dropping on them three times a day.

I say this as a non scientific person..but hopefully this fact wont preclude me from this debate.

Best Regards

Andrew

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France
Date: 05/01/2009

Greg,

I'm sorry..it is me who started it..the same guy who has the slugs (who eat all my new lettuces!) ..I didnt mean to start a "whodunnit!" about Vit D I just thought that hand washing was a good idea..maybe some vitamins. I so dont represent any drug company...I take the odd asperin for headache!

In my business we regularly get ill people coming to stay. In the first year we were all sick as hell but then my Mum told me about Vit C,D and B+ and lo!...sickness..colds and coughs no more! (also French cider helps...its full of tannin). I am a mere human with a point of view (perhaps not very educated)

I suppose I'll get someone warning me about excess tannin next,..well I'll take a chance on that...I refuse to wear a mask...if I get proper flu like I've maybe had twice in my life then I suppose I'll get over it like most people will.

Newspapers are primariily to blame for this nonsense..also the net. I have mentioned before that I am dyslexic so I'll leave you with this..

"I used to think I was dyslexic, but now I'm not really ruse!"

God Bless Greg,

Pity us mere mortals

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Scott Maasen
Location: Springfield, MO
Date: 05/02/2009

Speaking of 1918 Spanish flu, I have read that it is the first and so far only species brought back from extinction. I think that's a bit disturbing.

A link to citation:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/health/birdflu/1918flu.html

Probably folks here that know a lot more about it than me. I don't have a significant point, it was just something I stumbled over and related to this topic.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Jim Duron
Location: Prairieville, La
Date: 05/04/2009

We had our first confirmed case of HN1N1 virus in my Parish this weekend (10 year old boy). Our Neighboring Parish has 7 confirmed and 14 suspected and they have closed 5 schools. All have been to Mexico over spring break and none are related. There is no panic yet but I did keep my oldest son from Hockey Practice since some of the kids he plays with attend those schools.

CNN said it is believed the Virus may have started in Wisconsin not Mexico. It seems that a Large corporate Pig farm is the origin for the first cases in Mexico(that's were the Mexican boy got it from) and Wisconsin(Both American owned). Prior to the Virus this Farm was causing all sorts of enviro-issues, water run off etc, in Mexico.

Greg should write a Book about a super flu virus with a Alien terrorist twist. A smart X-files meets Terry Nation's Survivors.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 05/04/2009

I'm coming on this discussion late (Anniversary over the weekend and all) and all the traffic about the Swine Flu...which since the weekend the Media has somewhat fessed up to having blown it all out of proportion. There were emergency rooms in SoCal, and probably elsewhere, where people with a slight sniffle thought they were going to die of the Swine Flu.

Everyone over-reacted. Has the media spiraled out of control over the "If it bleeds it leads" mind set? Further Exaggerated by 24 hour cable news services that have to keep their ratings up, with something...and the Economic Depression just doesn't drive the viewer numbers any more.

What of the 60,000-75,000 people who die of Flu every year?

One of my videographer connections went into Urgent Care last week for lower back pain and they over reacted and thought she might have Swine Flu (she pulled muscles moving furniture) and made her sit in the waiting room with a mask on...which she actually liked cause none of the other patients bothered her (she is literally a "hot mama" and gets sweated by total strangers all the time in public).

The Media and the Public were starting to act as if this was Ebola or Aire Borne AIDS, not just a mutant flu coming back from Spring Break. It's fueled that fantasies of those who WANT to see Civilization Fall, as THE FINAL CRISIS. Even the slightly over-reactive saw it as "Captain Tripps".

While there was a porcine origin biovirus infecting tens or dozens of people (maybe hundreds at this time) the real virus was a mental one: Hysteria spread thru the Vector of sloppy news reporting.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/09/2009

Hm... raw milk has a potentially large range of health problems, unless you know it comes from a very trusted source! Have you been introduced to the cow?

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/09/2009

Supplements are useful, but good food will get you along better than supplements alone. In the trenches, they were likely dealing with bad food, rats, other diseases, and not much in the way of sunshine. German trenches were a little less inhospitable, as they dug them to stay in them for a while and provided proper sanitation. Our discussion here, however, is averting flu with Vitamin D, whose efficacy in this case I doubt. (Anybody have contrary scientific evidence?)

Re: Swine Influenza

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 05/09/2009

Hey, Greg. In fact, in most cases, if it can be sold at all, it's done by owning shares in the cow/goats/sheep, meaning it's local, and you have every opportunity to see them and their environment. Further, people who do this often are largely struggling (not only due to the scarcity in the market, but from the animosity of the milk industry and their LOBBYISTS). For them it's a severe labor of love.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2009

I suspect the French cider has a lot to do with it!

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2009

Resurrecting a virus is not quite the same as bringing back a mammoth--but it could be almost as problematic as resurrecting a dinosaur... Still, the DNA/RNA formulae for many viruses are readily available, and some viruses are being reconstructed from scratch in labs--including polio and some HERVs.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2009

I'm intrigued by the sudden appearance of factory farms as possible culprits. Animals on factory farms are often stressed to the max, making them perfect hosts for viruses. In an ironic way, a factory farm is a lot like World War I...

Numerically, this flu does not seem out of the ordinary, though it's late in the flu season. Chief concern seems to now focus on the fall, when it might return with strengthened virulence. By then, if there's a vaccine, I'll definitely be getting a shot.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/12/2009

Given the composition and nature of this flu, I don't think the concern was overblown. We're not over this one just yet--and in November, we might be much better prepared. Had there not been an outcry and "overreaction," particularly in Mexico, what would the outbreak be like now?

Remember, when running from a herd of engraged elephants, not being squashed is no reason for not running the next time as well...

Re: Swine Influenza (factory Farms)

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France
Date: 05/17/2009

Dear Greg,

The mass movement of cattle in the U.K was one the main causes for the spread of BSE back in the day. So it surprises me that even after all those lessons were learned, that the French and other countries still transport animals in jam packed trucks all over the place..State to State; Country to Country..contamination is very possible under these circumstances

As A Chef, I wont buy meat unless the animals have been reared no more than two miles away..my customers demand it..and I'm lucky to be able to control the quality of the meat that I supply to them. In the same way, I either use my own vegetables, or the ones from my neighbours. Believe me..I've cut up and cooked hundreds of kilos of meat in my time...and there is a huge difference in the taste and texture of animals that were looked after prior to their demise.

I dont know what its like in the States..(well I do cos I look into it a bit) but it seems crazy that you have so many farmers producing awesome stuff, going bust and "repo'd" every year.( see Neil Young Farm Aid) The demand for low quality, mass prouced cheap gunk will hopefully decline in the "crunch", and hopefully pave the way to more thoughtful consumation.

Anyway..this is my comment in response to yours on the upsurge of factory farms. For once this is a subject I know a little about, hence this contribution

Cheers

Andrew

Re: Swine Influenza

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 05/18/2009

Another thing about vaccination: I've met two women, now, who have autistic children. Both of one of the women's sons are. And in each case, including incidentally all others I've talked with via other media who have autistic children, the conditions manifested after a PROGRESSIVE VACCINATION schedule in infancy, where the children developed high fevers and even brain swelling after being vaccinated. This is still apparently not being looked into by mainstream medicine.

Re: Swine Influenza (factory Farms)

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/22/2009

Thanks, Andrew! I think the chief concerns here are about price. Mass-produced food reaches far more consumers than local, "boutique" meat and vegetables--costs are lower. Quality of course is also lower (though I wonder if it has to be, given some clever re-thinking), and the risk of creating and spreading "zoonotic" disease must be taken into the economic equation. Mistreatment of animals--including unnatural rearing, compressed herding, and stressful transport--is of concern for so many reasons.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/22/2009

The scientific verdict is in: no form of vaccination has had a verifiable statistical link to autism. How many other children went through those same procedures and did not develop autism? Millions, more than likely. The family tragedy here is immense, but this does not appear to be a cause, and any reduction in vaccination schedules will lead to many, many more illnesses and deaths.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 05/22/2009

re: vaccination and autism: Mmmmmm, it seems that for those who experienced such a coincidence, there is not other factor available. It could very likely be a genetic factor that is unobvious/unknown. Like playing roulette.

Autism and Other Vaccination Scares

From: Fiona Reynolds
Location: Stockport, UK
Date: 07/14/2009

Only two months late for a comment here I suppose, but here goes.

This is an extract from a book by Ben Goldacre who writes "Bad Science" for "The Guardian" newspaper (UK) and he sums up the problem with vaccination scares far more succinctly than I can. (http://www.badscience.net/2008/08/the-medias-mmr-hoax/#more-772)

"Before we begin, its worth taking a moment to look at vaccine scares around the world, because Im always struck by how circumscribed these panics are. The MMR and autism scare, for example, is practically non-existent outside Britain*. But throughout the 1990s France was in the grip of a scare that hepatitis B vaccine caused multiple sclerosis.

"In the US, the major vaccine fear has been around the use of a preservative called thiomersal, although somehow this hasnt caught on here, even though that same preservative was used in Britain. In the 1970s there was a widespread concern in the UK, driven again by a single doctor, that whooping-cough vaccine was causing neurological damage.

"What the diversity of these anti-vaccination panics helps to illustrate is the way in which they reflect local political and social concerns more than a genuine appraisal of the risk data, because if the vaccine for hepatitis B, or MMR, is dangerous in one country, it should be equally dangerous everywhere; and if those concerns were genuinely grounded in the evidence, especially in an age of the rapid propagation of information, you would expect the concerns to be expressed by journalists everywhere. Theyre not."

* Of course, Andrew Wakefield is weaving his own brand of magic in the US these days. He's speaking at the National Autism COnference later this year (http://www.nationalautismconference.org/speakerbios.htm). Despite discredited research alleging a link between MMR and autism, triggering the MMR vaccination panic in the UK and being investigated by the GMC.

Happy Days. Grr.

Autism and Other Vaccination Scares

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/14/2009

An excellent overview from an international perspective. Thanks, Fiona.

Re: Swine Influenza

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Cauterets, France
Date: 07/22/2009

Dear Greg,

I hope that anyone reading this site will run away from any enforced vaccination programme. I sincerely hope that we are all given the choice, but it seems to me that mandatory vaccination is coming to us all.

None of the anti virals have been properly tested and I've heard that "Tamiflu" could potentially kill as many people as it saves. I believe that it is toxic to many people and should be avoided. For my part, I refuse to take any anti viral medicine; I always have and I always will; and if anyone tries to force it on to me...they'll have to contend with my Basque neighbours and our dogs.

Its an interesting time, but I dont believe the crap that is coming out of "Project Camelot" right now..if I did, well we might as well shoot ourselves now..Niburu..chemtrails..morphing influenza virus..what next? I think that they are very dangerous folk!

Cheers

Andrew

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