If its not birds, its pigs


For a while there a couple of years ago, “bird flu” was in the news just about every day.  Frankly, there may still be occasion to worry again about bird flu down the road.  But for now, it is the turn of “Swine flu”.

Recent press reports have compiled outbreak of this infectious and potentially lethal form of flu in several countries (Mexico, USA, Europe, New Zealand are among the major centers of the outbreak).  Here is the link to a good world map that has push pins in all the locations where swine flu has been detected to date.  If you move your cursor over the push pin it gives you a bit of information about the incidence at that location.  The authors of this useful map say they are going to update the map regularly. You can also visit the CDC (center for disease control) official site for up to the minute and credible information.  Here is the link to their website:  http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

What does this mean to us?

As with all (and I repeat, all ) infections, people with compromised immune systems are more at risk.  We need to be more careful.  Prevention is the name of the game.  The present take on the situation is that Tamiflu (the anti-viral that saw tremendous demand during the height of the bird flu fears) may be effective in the case of swine flu as well.  But that may change down the road.  The best thing you can hope for is never to catch the damn thing in the first place.

What to do?

The first line of protection in avoiding infections is common sense.  We all know what to do, if we pause to think about it for a couple of minutes.  Much of this ground was covered in earlier articles I wrote regarding annual and bird flu.  Here are the links.

Bird Flu

Preparing for the flu

A trusted member also sent this link that provides guidance to individuals during a pandemic.  Thank you Peter.  http://instedd.org/flumanual . An alternate site that may work if the first one crashes is here:



If this “alarm” progresses to be more than a storm in a teacup I will make sure to update the situation as it pertains to CLL folks.  Stay tuned.

On an unrelated note, I had a wonderful time at the Niagara Falls CLL conference.  I will be uploading the slides from my talk as well as the text of my remarks in the next day or so.  My thanks to the organizers for inviting me; but most of all, my heartfelt thanks to all the patients who made me feel so welcome.  You brought tears to my eyes more than a couple of times.