In The News Today

Posted at 5:19 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Dear CIGAs,

The following is a collection of information in PDF format regarding the Swine Flu outbreak.

Antiviral Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed or Suspected Swine Influenza A H1N1 Virus Infection and Close Contacts
Antiviral Agents for Seasonal Influenza Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
CDC Briefing on Public Health Investigation of Human Cases of Swine Influenza
CDC Health Advisory – Swine Flu
Human Swine Influenza Investigation 26APR09
Interim Guidance for Swine influenza A H1N1 – Taking Care of a Sick Person in Your Home 25APR09
Interim Guidance on Case Definitions to be Used For Investigations of Swine Influenza A H1N1 Cases 26APR09
Media Availability on CDC Investigation of Human Cases of Swine Influenza 25APR09
Prevention and Control of Influenza recommendations of acip 2008
Swine Flu Q&As
Dosage of Seasonal Influenza Antiviral Medications for Treatment and Chemoprophylaxis for the 2008 09 Season United States

Google Maps Plot of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Outbreak (Click to enlarge)

SwineOutbreakMap

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This is one way to really wreck your weekend.

Obama is greeted by an archaeologist upon his visit to Mexico. The archaeologist dies next day from the flu.

Mexico’s Calderon Declares Emergency Amid Swine Flu Outbreak
By Thomas Black

April 25 (Bloomberg) — Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared an emergency in his country’s swine flu outbreak, giving him powers to order quarantines and suspend public events.

Authorities have canceled school at all levels in Mexico City and the state of Mexico until further notice, and the government has shut most public and government activities in the area. The emergency decree, published today in the state gazette, gives the president authority to take more action.

“The federal government under my charge will not hesitate a moment to take all, all the measures necessary to respond with efficiency and opportunity to this respiratory epidemic,” Calderon said today during a speech to inaugurate a hospital in the southern state of Oaxaca.

At least 20 deaths in Mexico from the disease are confirmed, Health Minister Jose Cordova said yesterday. The strain is a variant of H1N1 swine influenza that has also sickened at least eight people in California and Texas. As many as 68 deaths may be attributed to the virus in Mexico, and about 1,000 people in the Mexico City area are showing symptoms of the illness, Cordoba said.

More…

Swine Flu Prompts U.S. to Declare Public Health Emergency
By KEITH BRADSHER and JACK HEALY
Published: April 26, 2009

American health officials on Sunday declared a public health emergency over increasing cases of swine flu, saying that they had confirmed 20 cases of the disease in the United States and expected to see more as investigators track down the path of the outbreak.

“We are seeing more cases of swine flu,” Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control, said in a news conference in Washington. “We expect to see more cases of swine flu. As we continue to look for cases, I expect we’re going to find them.”

“This is moving fast,” Dr. Besser said, “but we want you to understand that we view this more as a marathon.”

Although officials said most of the cases have been mild and urged Americans not to panic, the emergency declaration intensifies the government’s response to the infections, freeing resources to be used toward diagnosing or preventing additional cases and releasing money for more antiviral drugs.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speaking at the same news conference called the emergency declaration “standard operating procedure,” and said it should be considered a “declaration of emergency preparedness.”

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Now here is a new wrinkle. Thank goodness we can depend on government organizations to keep us properly and completely informed.

WHO is well known for its prose.

WHO Fukuda: No Evidence Swine Flu Is Bioterrorism Attack

ZURICH -(Dow Jones)- The World Health Organization said Sunday there is no evidence an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico represents an act of bioterrorism.

"There are no signs we are dealing with purposeful actions," Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s temporary assistant director-general for Health Security and the Environment, said on a media call.

Fukuda was responding to a question about U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Mexico, where at least 81 people have died from severe pneumonia caused by the flu-like illness in Mexico, according to the WHO.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Do you remember signing up for this? Who monitors the monitors? This is from 2005 but is still relevant today.

Scientists Resurrect Deadly Flu Virus
By William Hathaway
As published in The Hartford Courant, October 6, 2005.

Scientists have resurrected one of the world’s great killers in the laboratory, hoping that the genetic secrets within the 1918 influenza virus will help them predict and combat the next major microbial threat to mankind.

In a contained laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, scientists used reverse genetics to re-create the 1918 flu virus that killed 20 million to 50 million people, according to studies released Wednesday. Scientists say that although the 1918 strain probably does not represent a significant human health threat today, it can provide insight into dangerous types of contemporary influenza, such as the highly lethal avian strain now circulating among birds, which some scientists fear could evolve into the next catastrophic pandemic.

"This is truly a spectacular event," Dr. John Shanley, professor of medicine and director of infectious diseases at the University of Connecticut Health Center, said of the studies published in the journals Nature and Science. "To resurrect a virus and gain useful scientific information from it is remarkable."

An analysis of the genetic structure of the 1918 strain, also known as Spanish flu, reveals that it was an avian influenza, like the current H5N1 strain that has infected poultry and migratory birds in Asia and caused scores of human deaths.

The 1918 virus’s jump from birds to humans, perhaps through intermediary animals such as pigs, was different from the two other outbreaks of pandemic influenza that occurred in the 20th century. Those pandemic strains in 1957 and 1968 occurred when novel influenza genes mixed with existing human influenzas.

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Mexico flu: Your experiences

Readers in Mexico have been emailing the BBC describing the sense of fear gripping the country as a result of a flu virus outbreak, which has so far claimed more than 80 lives.

The World Health Organization says the virus has the potential to become a pandemic.

Read a selection of BBC readers’ comments below.

I’m a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The Secretary of the US Treasury had some luck taking the equity rally up, so why not Summers? An uptick rule with teeth will come when talks fail. Two more months is too long to wait as a hard break down is the stuff that kills rallies.

Summers says U.S. economy’s freefall has ended
Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:19pm EDT
By Donna Smith and Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The sense of "unremitting freefall" in the U.S. economy has ended and the picture is no longer completely negative, but rather mixed, President Barack Obama’s economic adviser Lawrence Summers said on Sunday.

Speaking on the "Fox News Sunday" program, Summers also said the "vast majority" of U.S. banks are well capitalized and expressed hope that the auto negotiations between Chrysler and Italian carmaker Fiat SpA would work out.

"Six or eight weeks ago, there were no positive statistics to be found anywhere. The economy felt like it was falling vertically. Today, the picture is much more mixed," Summers said.

"There are some negative indicators, to be sure. There are also some positive indicators. And no one knows what the next turn will be," he said. "But I think that sense of unremitting freefall that we had a month or two ago is not present today. And that’s something we can take some encouragement from."

The U.S. economy, now in its 16th month of recession, shrank at a 6.3 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2008, the steepest quarterly plunge in more than 26 years. Economists expect a report on Wednesday to show it slipped a further 5 percent in the first three months of this year.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

No problem. Central banks will simply create more capital. The magic trick has a fancy name, Quantitative Easing, which was formerly known as monetizing new debt.

The capital well is running dry and some economies will wither
The world is running out of capital. We cannot take it for granted that the global bond markets will prove deep enough to fund the $6 trillion or so needed for the Obama fiscal package, US-European bank bail-outs, and ballooning deficits almost everywhere.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Unless this capital is forthcoming, a clutch of countries will prove unable to roll over their debts at a bearable cost. Those that cannot print money to tide them through, either because they no longer have a national currency (Ireland, Club Med), or because they borrowed abroad (East Europe), run the biggest risk of default.

Traders already whisper that some governments are buying their own debt through proxies at bond auctions to keep up illusions – not to be confused with transparent buying by central banks under quantitative easing. This cannot continue for long.

Commerzbank said every European bond auction is turning into an "event risk". Britain too finds itself some way down the AAA pecking order as it tries to sell £220bn of Gilts this year to irascible investors, astonished by 5pc deficits into the middle of the next decade.

US hedge fund Hayman Advisers is betting on the biggest wave of state bankruptcies and restructurings since 1934. The worst profiles are almost all in Europe – the epicentre of leverage, and denial. As the IMF said last week, Europe’s banks have written down 17pc of their losses – American banks have swallowed half.

"We have spent a good part of six months combing through the world’s sovereign balance sheets to understand how much leverage we are dealing with. The results are shocking," said Hayman’s Kyle Bass.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Therefore the West will do what, and when?

Clinton Says Pakistan Cannot Let Atomic Arsenal Fall to Taliban
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan

April 26 (Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is worried about the “unthinkable” in Pakistan – – that the Taliban and al-Qaeda could topple the government, giving them “the keys to the nuclear arsenal.”

Clinton, in an interview with Fox News last night in Baghdad, said the U.S. cannot “let this go on any further, which is why we’re pushing so hard for the Pakistanis to come together around a strategy to take their country back.”

After failing to vanquish Taliban forces in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, the government in Islamabad signed a peace accord in February permitting the imposition of Islamic law in the region, 100 miles (161 kilometer) from the capital. The Taliban has taken advantage of the truce to challenge government authority in adjacent districts closer to Islamabad.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted his country will fight back. The extremists threaten “Pakistan’s very existence,” U.S. Army General David Petraeus told a House of Representatives subcommittee in Washington the same day.

Clinton told Fox that “we can’t even contemplate” the consequences if the Taliban were permitted to overrun nuclear- armed Pakistan because of the failure of the government “to beat them back.”

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