BBC BLOGS - Fergus's Medical Files
« Previous | Main | Next »

What are the chances of dying from swine flu?

Fergus Walsh | 10:17 UK time, Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The recent deaths of people with H1N1 swine flu especially that of a six-year-old girl in London, has led many to perceive that the virus may be getting more deadly. NHS Direct say the number of calls they've received on swine flu has increased by 50% to 9,000 a day.

The reality is that there are no indications that the virus is mutating or getting more virulent. Laboratory testing around the world indicates the H1N1 virus appears to be behaving in the same manner that it was three months ago.

The rise in the death rate is due to the huge increase in the number of cases. Even seasonal flu can, rarely, kill young children. Every winter, flu contributes to thousands of deaths, mostly of the frail elderly. The difference with H1N1 swine flu is that it is tending to affect those under 65.

Many people want to know what their chances are of dying from the virus. The simple answer is that it's very, very low. The UK has probably had tens of thousands of cases (we don't know how many - more on this in a moment) and there have been 17 deaths.

Researchers at Imperial College London have warned that accurate predictions about the death rate are not yet possible.

The researchers say the best estimate so far is that about 0.5% of those who get swine flu bad enough to seek medical help may die from it. This is what they call the case fatality rate.

Professor Azra Ghani, an epidemiologist at Imperial, explained that this could be very wide of the mark:

"Our best estimate, based on the cases that come to the health system is around 1 in 200 (deaths) at a maxiumum which is very similar to the estimate you would see for seasonal influenza but that doesn't take into account many of those milder infections where individuals may stay off for a few days or not display any symptoms at all."

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

It's worth reiterating that this case fatality rate doesn't include a huge group - people who get sick and never seek medical help, nor those who get infected but are without symptoms.

If there is a sudden surge in the numbers seeking medical help because they perceive the virus is more dangerous, it would change the case fatality rate.

The researchers also point out that some deaths where swine flu was a contributory factor may be missed because it is not always tested for.

They want more accurate mapping of the actual numbers getting the virus. This would involve community testing of representative households and combining this with hospital reports of sickness.

For those of you who like the raw data, I'm attaching one of the tables presented by the disease mappers at Imperial. I'm indebted to them and to the British Medical Journal for permission to reproduce it here. The crude and adjusted case fatality ratios show that estimates in the worst affected countries vary very widely.

Swine flu estimate figures from Imperial College London


or register to comment.

  • 1. At 10:39am on 15 Jul 2009, oakwitch wrote:

    i'd be interested in whether any of the vacinations our children have may protect them from complications arising from swine flu, they get a Pneumococcal jab now, and will this help protect them from complications or does the swine flu cause a different strain?

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 10:41am on 15 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Just to keep things in perspective here.

    If the papers and other media were to report daily deaths from drug abuse, chemical abuse, extreme bullying, knife crime, smoking, drinking, dangerous driving, dangerous play, accidents in the home, accidents on bicycles, accidents in sport, sexually transmitted disease, and all of the other risk taking activities that young people do, there might be some shock horror figures. For example, children aged 11 going to casualty for alcohol overdose, FACT. You don't see that reported every day but it is happening all the same.

    I understand that the flu is not in our control, it is new and it is the latest news. However, we as a society seem to bury our heads in the sand over the REAL issues going on out there.

    The flu is a wake up call to take personal responsibility and to think about other peoples needs.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 10:41am on 15 Jul 2009, capricornchristina wrote:

    Dear Fergus, you are doing a good job by informing us, but this continous minimalising of the problem, in my opinion, is dangerous. Yes, every winter YOUNG children may die from seasonal flu, by young i mean under 2 years of age, but i really don't think that properly treated, previously healthy 6 years old children may fall victims to normal seasonal flu. That little girl who was recently killed either had medical help too late, either this virus in some cases can produce a fulminant viral pneumonia, which is not the case with seasonal flu. If this is happening i think authorities should better ring the alarm bell, so that people don't delay in seeking medical help and these unfortunate cases can be avoided. Predicting all the time how many will die is not important. Important is preventing these deaths by competent medical intervention.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 10:43am on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    After the fiasco of certain academics putting alarmist 'swine flu death rates' into the public domain yesterday, I thought the following quote from kind of says it all:

    "If you look at statistical modelling, it's very valuable, but you do have to treat it with a lot of caution early on," Sir Liam said.

    "We know that, for example, from the CJD epidemic where early predictions were of hundreds of thousands and millions of cases, when in fact there have been 164."

    That helps people get all these figures into proportion - I've said upteen times that we must always remember we are talking probabilities and not certainties and that there are a lot of difficult to quantify variables in the midst of the equations.

    I totally disagree with the academics, we don't truly NEED to keep them amused and in jobs pontificating about figures that will use up valuable resources to collect and collate. I see that as a 'want', at best.

    We do NEED to focus resources on 1) the treatment of significantly ill people and 2) reducing the risks of vulnerable people contracting this flu variant through a major vaccination programme.

    Now, given this is actually something of an emergency situation, the question is do we dot academic i's and cross theoretical t's, or do we get on with saving lives and reducing illness?

    I will acknowledge, by the way, that Imperial College have been much more responsible than some in terms of explaining what they mean by the figure of 0.5% of the population.

    In 24 hours this figure has gone from being the "swine flu death rate" through "worse case scenario" and is now presented to the public as the percentage "of those who get swine flu bad enough to seek medical help" that MAY die from it".

    I really would not be surprised, given the rate alleged "experts" are making ill-considered statements into the public domain, if the relevant Secretary of States were to issue gagging orders on certain Universities, or at least write warning certain Universities to "rein in" some of their people.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 10:59am on 15 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Gagging orders would not solve anything. I can't see how suppressing information is going to help a sick person make the right choices. If the information sent out has been interpreted incorrectly then it is at least a topic for debate and further REAL enquiry.

    Hiding behind figures is a cop out because statistical information is what you want it to be, and can so easily manipulated to suit the individual.

    I like a lot of what you say but I would be cautious about gagging orders at the moment.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 11:31am on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    5. At 10:59am on 15 Jul 2009, sensibleoldgrannie wrote:

    "Gagging orders would not solve anything."

    Gagging 'bad' information and ensuring proper information is promulgated by the agencies and departments responsible for managing the public information and public health, would prevent unnecessary public panics and save diverting resources away from the correct and appropriate points of focus.

    Let's be real here, public information is as much a tool in managing this infection as Tamiflu. Why do you think all those leaflets were distributed and those TV adverts made and broadcast?

    In my view, perhaps naively, if the information released yesterday had been chanelled through the responsible agencies, then it would not have been released into the public domain in its earlier, very misleading, forms.

    And I will make NO apology for expecting academics to behave in socially responsible ways with information, especially at these times when the public, whether truly justified or otherwise, are getting edgy and nervous.

    We have structures and processes for issuing information to the public and the various civil servants responsible for them are accountable for what is put into the public domain and how it is put there.

    It is inappropriate, and socially irresponsible, for others to bypass those mechanisms and release ill-considered information into the public domain. Especially as the motive seems to have been for the sake of their publicising their own names and their academic repute.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 11:49am on 15 Jul 2009, jpwrighty wrote:

    Thank you again Fergus for your blog. It's great to have your work here on the BBC.

    I design Health Education models, games, etc for use by health professionals and teachers with young people and adults. I have just finished a product that is used to show deaths per day from various incidents - poisoning, road accidents and then preventable death rates finally focusing on smoking and it's huge contribution to deaths daily (the product is a caricture of a skelton with two lungs that get fed marbles of different coulours showing different types of death per day). Of course deaths from smoking fill up the lungs with black marbles, showing the real statistical danger of smoking against other types of deaths... I guess i'm trying to get people, especially young people to get a 'real perspective' on smoking.

    Now I wish I could (and I might just...) make something similiar to help show the danger H1N1 Flu has in comparison to other deaths... it would be good to put some elements in the media into perspective on H1N1... and therein help the public understand better as well.


    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 11:49am on 15 Jul 2009, oliverpbessell wrote:

    Very well said Sutara. There needs to be tighter control over what information is filtered thorugh to the public. I agree that the public need to know whats going on, but it is important for the public to get the right and relevant information. So far this week, I have seen predictions of 40 deaths a day, 500 deaths a day and 1000 deaths a day. What use is that information? It just makes people less trustful towards the government when they tell us things. Whether we like it or not, we have to trust the government as they are the ones who are going to have to pull us through this. And I for one belive they are doing everything they can.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 11:50am on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    Let me put it another way to you.

    If Andy Burnham had said such a remark as that, then the Department's Press Office would have soon afterwards issued a press statement saying something along the lines of, "When the Health Secretary made his remarks, he meant to stress that these figures should not be taken as a death rate for the infection currently within the UK, just as an estimation of the global situation. It is really far to early to estimate useful death rates ...."

    However, alleged 'experts' from Universities get themselves on telly and there are no such counter-checks on what they say. They are basically unaccountable for what they say.

    Indeed, if these people were just blogging somewhere, even here, then probably others would correct their poorly worked-out assumptions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 11:52am on 15 Jul 2009, Janik17 wrote:

    "I will make NO apology for expecting academics to behave in socially responsible ways with information, especially at these times when the public, whether truly justified or otherwise, are getting edgy and nervous."

    Well, if this is truly your concern, then your suggested course of action is entirely counter-productive. With the current climate of suspicion of authority, such a 'gagging order' would have the effect of causing panic as many people leapt to the alse conclusion that there was a terrible truth that the government was trying to supress. Bizarrely, such a course of action would be seen (wrongly) to give the academic told to shut his trap a greater degree of credibilty with the British public at the moment.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 11:53am on 15 Jul 2009, Niall wrote:

    Gagging orders would almost certainly be counter productive and unhelpful.

    Firstly because 'the Government' doesn't have the expertise to judge what is 'proper information' except by reference to academia.

    Secondly because by and large it is the reporting of scientific information and announcements that is the problem, rather than the original information. I'd be very surprised if you can quote an academic publishing 'alarmist swine flu death rates' though I wouldn't be surprised if you could find a media report that inaccurately or misleadingly reported what was originally stated.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 11:57am on 15 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    If we had gagging orders we would not be having this debate. It is only through debate, no matter how unpalatable, that we can move on and learn. I admit the stats. shocked me but then I remembered how manipulative stats. can be. Kids at secondary school know how to 'work' statistics. I would think many working people know how to manipulate statistics in order to boost sales etc. We are not children watching TV past the watershed hour of 9pm.

    We are sophisticated consumers of information in an information rich society and by now, most of us know how to figure out issues with information. Admittedly there are those who will take information at face value and become worried but we are all texting messages, blogging, watching TV, discussing with each other and generally working towards understanding.

    If you are worried about people being told about a few statistics about their health chances then perhaps you should also be worried about the proliferation of highly unsuitable, violent and disgusting video games, chat sites, TV shows, web sites etc that are freely accessible to our future generations.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 12:23pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    12. At 11:57am on 15 Jul 2009, sensibleoldgrannie wrote:

    "If we had gagging orders we would not be having this debate."

    Not true. The problem is one of authority.

    Bloggers on here can have their opinions, sometimes they are spot on and they have clearly researched out what they are saying, other times ..... well let's just say less so.

    But the anonymous bloggers on here are not going on TV as a virologist, and therefore in the public's view, an 'expert', from XYZ University.

    If these virologists were just anonymously blogging here and talking twaddle, I wouldn't mind. It's that they present themselves, via the media, as "experts" to the public and within that context talk alarmist twaddle.

    Even if they were on TV and were being interviewed as the 'main in the street', it wouldn't be so bad, but once they attribute what they are saying and associate it with the academic authority of the University, then it becomes out of order.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 12:25pm on 15 Jul 2009, billathome wrote:

    You are trying to stress that the virus is not more dangerous now than it was previously...

    "The reality is that there are no indications that the virus is mutating or getting more virulent. Laboratory testing around the world indicates the H1N1 virus appears to be behaving in the same manner that it was three months ago."

    But, you then go on to say... "The rise in the death rate..."

    So, now you are saying that proportionally, more people ARE dying from the virus than previously, which would indicate it is becoming more virulent

    Be careful with your choice of words!

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 12:35pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    11. At 11:53am on 15 Jul 2009, nlitchfield wrote:

    "Secondly because by and large it is the reporting of scientific information and announcements that is the problem, rather than the original information."

    Exactly. Published research in reputable journals has checks and counter balances on it, in a way similar to the checks and counter balances that official government issued statements have.

    Though in this case, the orginal information was poor too and probably would have gone nowhere if there had been any checks and balances on it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 12:53pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    Right, the fearmongering is much higher than the actual risk that this virus present. Would it be only to get to the level 6 and therefore be able to establish martial law?

    And why BBC don't cover the charges that the journalist Jane Burgermeister filed against WHO and UN for bioterrorism??

    The charges contend that these defendants conspired with each other and others to devise, fund and participate in the final phase of the implementation of a covert international bioweapons program involving the pharmaceutical companies Baxter and Novartis. They did this by bioengineering and then releasing lethal biological agents, specifically the "bird flu" virus and the "swine flu virus" in order to have a pretext to implement a forced mass vaccination program which would be the means of administering a toxic biological agent to cause death and injury to the people of the U.S. This action is in direct violation of the Biological Weapons Anti-terrorism Act.

    Burgermeister's charges include evidence that Baxter AG, Austrian subsidiary of Baxter International, deliberately sent out 72 kilos of live bird flu virus, supplied by the WHO in the winter of 2009 to 16 laboratories in four counties. She claims this evidence offers clear proof that the pharmaceutical companies and international government agencies themselves are actively engaged in producing, developing, manufacturing and distributing biological agents classified as the most deadly bioweapons on earth in order to trigger a pandemic and cause mass death.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 1:00pm on 15 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Don't forget that this blog is the media. If something has been said in the media, that is out of context and misinterpreted, then here we are blogging it out. If we did not have this MEDIA outlet (thank you so much Fergus) we would not be able to discuss this. Don't forget that everyone can read and join in this debate and I am sure that there have been some positive outcomes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 1:12pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    But, that is not the point.

    The point is that bloggers here are not blogging in a 'professional' or 'official' capacity. It is an informal exchange of information, nonetheless sometimes extremely well informed.

    If snottynose3 posts a comment on here about death rates, it does not have the same authority as a comment made to the press by Prof Joe Bloggs or whoever, virologist or whatever, of Aberdeen University or wherever.

    THAT is the difference.

    If someone on here states that 25 million people will die in the UK from this flu within the next half hour - no-one will take the comment very seriously. But if you watch the lunch time TV news and it tells you that XYZ from such-and-such University has stated it, then it has some degree of authority and credibility.

    Along with that very authority also comes responsibility.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 1:23pm on 15 Jul 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    COMMENT 14.

    Do you think before you start typing? At all? The death rate is due to the spike in cases, how hard is that to understand? Fergus even says that! And you choose to ignore it. Can you please refrain from posting on the blog if you aren't going to post factual information please, there are people with health anxiety here who Im in contact with via email and Im sure these venerable people don't need to be put in a panic by some "individual of questionable intelligence" for no reason.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 1:26pm on 15 Jul 2009, M C from Chester wrote:

    This is the important line for me :

    "Our best estimate, based on the cases that come to the health system is around 1 in 200 (deaths) at a maxiumum which is *VERY SIMILAR* to the estimate you would see for seasonal influenza"

    If its so similar then why all the panic ? - Cancer kills one in three people and half of all people who die of cancer are dying because of the actions they take (ie its preventable, things like smoking, overweight etc). Applying these stats to the UK population: 10 million people are going to die of preventable cancer - So why we worrying about a normal strain of flu !?!?

    Did you know that there is 500,000 people killed every year of normal seasonal flu ? - Does that make it to the news ? - NO !

    Oh well - Guess the news papers / 24 hour mass media makes even more money.

    I have taken the appoach to delete 24 hour news from my TV as i'm fed up with this constant news media brain washing panic thats happening. 10 minutes on the BBC news web site is enough for me ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 1:28pm on 15 Jul 2009, bengrumpie wrote:

    One in 200 fatalities would make swine flu very much more dangerous than most activities which are considered high risk. It puts catching the flu in the same league as taking a ride on the Space Shuttle. Also, if it really does get that bad, consider the knock-on effects. If a family of 4 become infected, the odds are (almost) 1 in 50 that one of them will die, which of course would be devastating to the survivors.
    I am glad that the government is taking this seriously and ordering vaccine.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 1:32pm on 15 Jul 2009, piper61 wrote:

    How will accurate numbers of sufferers be recorded when the current system is flawed? Having been diagnosed by the Out of Hours medical service with Swine Flu on Saturday and issued with Tamiflu, I was advised by my GP today that having not had a blood test, it will not be recorded that I have Swine Flu! I understand that due to the number of people showing symptoms, and the need to keep infected patients away from doctors surgeries, that patients will not now be given blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. This obviously means that official numbers of sufferers will not be recorded properly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 1:32pm on 15 Jul 2009, icetroggy wrote:

    RE comment 14 & 19.

    It seems that part of the problem is some of the terms. Fergus seems to use 'death rate' to mean number of deaths per day, which has gone up, and 'mortality rate' to mean number of deaths per medicalised infection, which hasn't.

    I don't know if either or both of these terms are correct, but it is certainly confusing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 1:46pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sarah125 wrote:

    "The recent deaths of people with H1N1 swine flu especially that of a six-year-old girl in London, has led many ... "

    " ... *have* led ... "

    Sheesh. Even on the BBC.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 2:13pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    If you don't want to have the vaccine yourself, then don't.

    However, this nonsense about forced vaccination is misleading piffle.

    In law, in this country, there are few situations whereby a person can be medically treated for an illness without, at minimum, his/her implied consent. Note the word 'treatment'.

    Vaccination is not even a treatment, it is a preventative measure.

    The value of it is that it reduces the level of the infection within the population as a whole and thereby reduces the the risk of the most vulnerable people contracting it. It also reduces the individual's likelihood of having a seriously debilitating episode of flu.

    It is NOT some magical panacea, but quite simply a pretty effective tool to use against epidemic and pandemic infections.

    It is NOT a perfect solution for everyone, but it is just fine for most.

    As for the conspiracy theory of assorted US politicians and bankers and other high-profile names plotting to mass murder people via a poisoned vaccination programme .... well I would suggest that the authors of that story are paranoid to a level where they would be well advised to seek help from mental health professionals.

    Realistically, why manufacture a flu virus let it escape into the wild, and then poison everyone by means of a vaccination programme? Hell, why not just bump everyone off with an appropriate biological contaminant in the first place?

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 2:17pm on 15 Jul 2009, Pierre_UK wrote:


    I apologise but it is you rather than Post 14 who should think before typing.

    The "death rate" is exactly that, ie as a made up example, if 1 in 100 people die, that is the death rate, 1 in 100. As the virus spreads sure more people will die, since if 1000 people get infected, at that death rate (1/100) there will be 10 deaths.

    Therefore, an increase in death rate would not be due to a spike in cases as you say. You mean that the total number of deaths would increase, which is not the death rate.

    Presumably the death rate for Swine Flu is still the same (ie per my made up example still 1/100)

    The point Post 14 was trying to make was the misleading / poor choice of the words in the article "The rise in the death rate..." Going back to my made up example, this would suggest that the death rate has increased from 1/100 to say 5/100. This would suggest the virus is becoming deadlier, rather than just killing more people as it becomes more widespread at the unchanged rate of 1/100

    I hope you understand this, and perhaps you might wish to follow your own advice in the future: "Can you please refrain from posting on the blog if you aren't going to post factual information please" since you would seem to fit into your description of an "individual of questionable intelligence" (apologies but these are your own words!)

    And to re-iterate in case anyone reading my comment is worried, the death rates I have used are made up and to illustrate the point. They are not Swine-Flu death rates.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 2:23pm on 15 Jul 2009, Pierre_UK wrote:

    I keep reading that swine flu symptoms vary from individual to individual, with some having mild symptoms (perhaps not even realising they've had swine flu) whilst it can also be fatal for a very small minority.

    If you look at the NHS website, the list of symptoms is very similar to flu, and suggests that you have to have all of them (or at least most)for it to be swine flu. But if people are getting swine flu and possibly not even being aware of it, they surely cannot have all these symptoms as typically with seasonal flu you will be in bed for a few days. There is no way you can be unaware you've had seasonal flu!

    Is there any useful documentation or an article that can shed some light on how symptoms can vary from person to person? I had a sore throat all of last week, no other symptoms, and it has now gone. Could that perhaps have been swine flu and I was lucky to have only mild symptoms?

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 2:24pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    It's exactly because patients are no longer normally being tested for swine flu, i.e. lab tests are not being used as a diagnostic tool for each individual case, that we don't truly know how many people are infected.

    Even if the health professionals were still testing, some people are displaying few, and even no, symptoms. That means we still would be missing some from the numbers as these people don't feel ill, or they think they just have the 'slight sniffles', and are not contacting GPs or NHSDirect/NHS24.

    And that, in turn, is why Imperial College has started to talk about the death rate as a percentage of the people who are ill enough to seek medical assistance, i.e. not counting in all of those who don't notice they have it, or just rest up and take 'over the counter' remedies and don't contact their GPS or NHSDirect/NHS24.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 2:28pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    Baxter, the main laboratory behind the vaccine, is been currently investigated for spreading 12 kilos of vaccine contaminated with live bird flu virus. This didn't stop WHO from putting them in charge to "develop" a "vaccine" for a super-hyped swine-flu.

    Besides that, the pharmaceuticals labs won't be accountable for any criminal charges due to deaths caused by the vaccine, this is on WHO documents.

    People, inform yourselves, this virus is been hyped so that the population will beg to be vaccinated with a vaccine not tested sufficiently and made by criminal laboratories that have history of spreading the bird flu. How the mainstream news doesn't cover that?

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 2:31pm on 15 Jul 2009, HalfHighlander wrote:

    "Though in this case, the orginal information was poor too and probably would have gone nowhere if there had been any checks and balances on it."
    [Post 15: Sutara]

    Sutara although you try to sound like you know what you are talking about you are yourself mixing up sources of information causing the innocent to get caught up with the guilty, particularly as you seem to be referring to the blog entry "What are the chances of dying from swine flu?" by Fergus Walsh

    The information in the blog is the same information released by Imperial in their paper published in the British Medical Journal today which is peer reviewed. The models developed by Imperial's team are used by governments (not just the UK) on how best to deal with contagious diseases such as bird flu and swine flu, when best to use interventions such as tamiflu or isolation, based on rate of transmission, what point people realise they are ill compared to when they are infectious. Models try to take all this information into account and where possible is based on what hard data is available in this case the data being reported worldwide. Imperial has from the start been saying that they are only predicting based on current reported trends and previous experience (eg how does normal sesonal flu behave.)

    Of course actual information changes on a daily basis as does the potential for the virus becoming worse or better. However, at what point do you draw a conclusion? After an outbreak and say oh we should have done this differently? Tamiflu is regarded as safe, but what happens if you don't have enough or ready in time, how do you treat the population in order to maximise the usefulness of the drug and minimal spread of the disease?

    The news item in reality is the other BBC one not about what are the chances of dying but that more information is needed ( - same Imperial team incidentally). The modelling teams are just as desperate to get their predictions as accurate as possible so they can help the government respond to this effectively as possible.

    It is the media who decide whether to be alarmist about the data and to misreport either deliberately or through misunderstanding of what the data represents.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 2:40pm on 15 Jul 2009, Eveline van der Steen wrote:

    It is clear from all blogs and comments that most people are NOT worried, and NOT interested in getting vaccines. Why is the health service so determined to frighten us by hammering on about it? Let's face it, if the goverment tells us there is no need to panic, we all tend to get a little worried....

    I can't help thinking that there is a major interest here from the pharmaceutical companies, who, in the end, are the only ones to profit from it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 2:40pm on 15 Jul 2009, HIFUMARKETING wrote:

    Everyone is talking about H1N1 in 'plague' terms.Yes, it is proving itself to be contagious but already the number of deaths from this virus is low compared with many other infections.Examples are with 'the common cold', regular 'seasonal influenza and a host of other 'common' infections that can cause multiple complications.
    Vacines are being prepared but there are many really excellent and simple ways to protect ourselves in addition to the simple but vital requirement of infection-control.
    A few examples are: Eating good, healthy food, getting adequate sleep,adding fresh garlic to your food at serving,taking vitamin C as a supplement...all these steps will stimulate the immune-system so, if you contract the virus, your body will be much better placed to deal with the infection.
    Speaking with medical friends they agree that the very simple steps(above) will be very helpful in helping your body deal with the invader...

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 2:49pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:


    There are currently documents that imply forced inoculation *.
    In a not-related case, remember the boy which was forced to have chemotherapy, even if his parents decided to use alternative treatments?

    The vaccination can led to serious illnesses, see the case of HPV vaccine, for example, or if the vaccine itself is contaminated by the virus, see the case of the baxter vaccine case.

    Regarding your claim of "conspiracy theory" (to try to dismiss and not even consider it), check the charges, and why WHO don't sue the jornalist? Because it's true, which is the reason why no mainstream news have covered the case.

    * [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    "Most legal powers needed to manage a pandemic are provided under the Public Health Acts covering England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which empower local authorities to require examination, hospitalisation, or isolation of infected persons, create a criminal offence relating to exposing others to risk of infection, and allow some controls over school attendance and playgrounds."

    See also:

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 2:51pm on 15 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    Do some of you posting here get a thrill out of scaring people? I have to say that there is a real lot of garbage being posted here, particularly in respect of conspiracy theories - perhaps the moderators could do a tighter job in reviewing some of the postings?

    Fact, swine flu is spreading widely around the UK.
    Fact, we may have a lull and then it may get worse in autumn/winter
    Fact, only a small number of people with H1N1 have died and the vast majority have NOT died from the virus
    Fact, using basic hygeive techniques can make a huge difference in how widely it spreads.

    Once again, let's get real and take responsibility for ourselves and our families. Get on with your life instead of scaremongering and making other peoples lives a misery!

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 2:51pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    27. At 2:23pm on 15 Jul 2009, Pierre_UK wrote:

    "Is there any useful documentation or an article that can shed some light on how symptoms can vary from person to person?"

    I'm going to kind of turn your question on its head.

    Look, if you want personal medical advice, contact directly a GP or NHSDirect/NHS24. They can then discuss symptoms and give advice to you with reference to your personal medical history, what medication you take, etc., etc..

    A book, or leaflet, or web-site can usually only give 'average' advice. If you're seeking SPECIFIC advice contact a medical service.

    Your sore throat might have been an episode of this flu, though I think it is unlikely. But then again there are usually loads of throat infections that 'do the rounds' at this time of year, too. (I usually end up with one or two over the summer period).

    If you had done as I have suggested, I would guess that some of the questions you would have been asked would include just what part of your throat was sore - pharynx or larynx? Were you coughing up phlegm, if so what colour was it? Did you have a temperature? ...and so on ... and so on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 3:09pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    The context of my comments is probably best explained by my #4 and with reference to Fergus's previous blog (13/7/09) and how discussion there developed.

    My swipe is not at Imperial College, though I disagree with the real NEED for more information, as I have stated earlier.

    It was a swipe at the contents of this story actually, and at the statement made by a virologist from Cambridge University that the swine flu death rate was 0.5% (one in 200) of those infected.

    Later, a similar, but slightly different account, from another source appeared, namely

    Had only the comments from Imperial College reached the public domain, I would have had no problem with that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 3:12pm on 15 Jul 2009, July187 wrote:

    Last week my baby daughter had a 39.5 temperature, sore throat, cough and was pretty uncomfortable. Her temperature then dropped to 34.5 a few days later before stabisling. Her brother had a terrible cough and was far from him self and her older sister lost her voice for a few days accompanied by a sore throat. Prior to all three, my wife had a sudden sore throat and cough but she described it more as a heavy cold. All are fine now - actually the children bounced back quickly.

    Was this swine flu or one of a number of other viruses? Are we included in the stats or not? In my street and community there are numerous cases.

    The reason for my post is to stress the confusion on whether or not one has swine flu and secondly to emphasise the numbers must be way out?

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 3:15pm on 15 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    To perhaps put a little more context around this. Today has seen the third major plane crash in just over a month with in excess of 600 dying in total. Is this going to stop us going on holiday this year, or abroard on business. No. So just get on with your daily lives and take basic hygiene measures.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 3:15pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    31. At 2:40pm on 15 Jul 2009, evdsteen wrote:

    "Why is the health service so determined to frighten us by hammering on about it?"

    Probably because they have a legal and professional responsibility for public health and for keeping the public informed about such issues.

    If individuals feel bored with it all then they should probably just ignore it all and give their attention to something else. That is a personal decision.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 3:15pm on 15 Jul 2009, random_thought wrote:

    There was some very useful information in a speach by Margaret Chan of WHO on the 2nd July (

    "For reasons that are poorly understood, some deaths are occurring in perfectly healthy young people. Moreover, some patients experience a very rapid clinical deterioration, leading to severe, life-threatening viral pneumonia that requires mechanical ventilation...... more and more data become available, we are getting a better grip on warning signs that can signal the need for urgent medical care. Symptoms of concern include difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain and severe or persistent vomiting.

    In adults, a high fever that lasts for more than three days is a warning sign, particularly when accompanied by a general worsening of the patients condition."

    I haven't seen this information in the press over here, but it seems very useful advice as to whether you really need to seek urgent mediacl advice. The only problem with it being that if you wait for three days, then you are past the point where Tamiflu will be of any help.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 3:17pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:


    Didn't like my answers? That's why you complaint about it? Can't you limit to arguments instead of doing this?

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 3:32pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    The link removed is a PDF from the UK parliament.

    To find it, just google it part of the text.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 3:34pm on 15 Jul 2009, rapidmarley2 wrote:

    This is probably unrelated to previous comments but I just wanted to say that I feel that any vaccinations, when they become available,should be given to babies and children first. I don't feel that any adult should be prioritised first.

    If the symptoms are retatively mild in the majority of cases, as the media keep emphasising, then I don't see why health professionals should get priority. The problem is that this catergory is usually extended to included other public sector workers, police etc. (and even god forbid) ministers).

    However swine flu does appear to be potentially more dangerous that seasonal flu as it penetrates deeper into the lungs (ie 5 times more dangerous as last night's news indicated).

    One young child's death is too many if there is a vaccine to prevent it. I am sure that other parents of children would agree.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 3:50pm on 15 Jul 2009, Pierre_UK wrote:

    @SUTARA / post 35

    I am not looking for specific advice. I am trying to reconcile what I read on the NHS in terms of symptoms you will have with swine flu, versus the reports that some people don't even know they've got swine flu.

    The NHS website suggest you must have nearly all the symptoms they list (normal flu symptoms plus vomiting / the runs etc. But clearly this is not factual since people are often supposedly unaware they even have swine flu.

    I guess what I was asking is: is there a better source than NHS direct to show what mixes of symptoms might be possible, rather than you've got to have all of these otherwise it's not swine flu?

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 3:56pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    Just for the record, you're wrong.

    It wasn't me who referred you to the Moderators.

    But if you have a problem with the Moderators, I suggest you take that up with them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 3:59pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    Does this help?

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 4:15pm on 15 Jul 2009, HalfHighlander wrote:


    Thankyou for your clarification, your comment about Imperial in 4# got lost in subsequent arguments.

    I would like to however give you something to ponder over regarding your comment in 4#:

    "I totally disagree with the academics, we don't truly NEED to keep them amused and in jobs pontificating about figures that will use up valuable resources to collect and collate. I see that as a 'want', at best. We do NEED to focus resources on 1) the treatment of significantly ill people and 2) reducing the risks of vulnerable people contracting this flu variant through a major vaccination programme." (Sutara 4#)

    The academics would agree with your second point of what is needed, but how do you work out who are the vulnerable people and how best to deal with the problem? It's not just a who presents with the right microbiology and underlying health problems as risk factors. It's also how any disease is spread and at which point to administer any intervention. eg

    a) Possible problem 1: (I don't know how fast Tamiflu works and H1N1 in this case so don't ask) but for any disesase what happens if time between the point at which a patient presents with symptoms is too short for drug to take effect? This time factor may also change with age and underlying health problems.
    Before answering this with vaccination of the general populace... see next problem.
    b) Possible problem 2: All drugs have possible side effects, since some side effects are an unknown risk factor and therefore a probability, they do not make themselves evident until tried on a population large enough for the unknown side effects to be apparent. Something that happened with a past flu vaccine. Then you have to weigh up the balance between vaccination and a possible disastrous even fatal side effect against the mortality rate for the disease.

    The data the academics want is not for them to pontificate about and stay in a job, its what is necessary to generate accurate prediction rates that governments and medics can use to decide when best to intervene and cause the least damage. Governments and medics in such situations are usually "damned if they do and damned if they don't".

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 4:26pm on 15 Jul 2009, Steve Cooke wrote:

    Isn't it strange how every "crisis" creates another "hero journalist". We had Peston on banks, Flanders on economy and now we have Walsh on swine flu. Can you please stop this reporting? There is no swine flu pandemic. It's just flu with a fancy name. Have you ever tracked normal flu...the one with no fancy name. In the UK, for some reason, there is a flu outbreak in November/December every year. Will you be able to split swine flu and "ordinary" flu at that time?

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 4:37pm on 15 Jul 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    Rapidmarley, I have three children under seven so know where you are coming from. However, children need healthy adults to look after them. In my opinion, health workers should be first, then pregnant women, then families, adults as well - you cannot underestimate the impact that the death of a parent can have on a child. Given the number of times our children have needed urgent medical care (we usually have at least one hospital admition over the winter) I want to know that everything is being done to ensure there will be adequate medical staff to look after my children should the need arise. They have to be the priority.

    And, being totally honest, I will want to wait until the first wave of vaccinations to see how severe the side effects are before giving it to my kids.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 4:57pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    This is an ever-changing situation insofar as we are still learning more about the virus. For example, didn't someone say yesterday - that was someone official, that is - that it is just too early to calculate any meaningful death rate.

    We know that there are certain geographical areas where the infection is spreading particularly quickly, but there seems to be little clear explanation as to just why.

    Is population density the big factor? Is air quality a factor? Could it be spreading in some ethnic groups faster than others? If so, why? Are there other factors, like obesity, diet, poverty, homelessness? Are there links with the use of certain types of medications such as inhaled steroids? Are people with asthma less susceptible if their asthma is well controlled?

    Now, half the planet, not just the 'usual culprits' of Governments, healthcare professionals, social care professionals and pollice, are "damned if they do and damned if they don't".

    The issue here is not about academic knowledge, it's about patient outcomes.

    To repond effectively we need to focus on people and outcomes. Other considerations, need to be secondary.

    Now in order to nationally manage the infection there are balances to be made, or to put it another way management decisions to be made about strategy and tactics.

    However, if you read back on Sir Liam's recent comments, it would seem that he is kind of taking that view that statistical research and mathematical modelling, whilst having their uses are not the first priority.

    Or perhaps, I mis-interpret what he's said.

    Also, please don't anyone under-estimate the immense amount of planning and direction of resources that will be necessary for a national vaccination programme - even if a small percentage, for whatever reason, decline the opportunity.

    Which in itself says something of the value of the proposed vaccination programme, because it would be one whole lot easier and cheaper to not bother with it, but that would increase the incidence of serious illness and death from the virus.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 5:00pm on 15 Jul 2009, Kpullen40 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 52. At 5:03pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    Sutara wrote:
    "Probably because they have a legal and professional responsibility for public health and for keeping the public informed about such issues."

    Why we are not informed us that Baxter has "accidently" released 72 kilos of super-dangerous live virus as if it was a innocuous vaccine? And is been currently investigated in Austria?

    Why the government don't inform that in 1974 the swine-flu, which was misteriously originated in a US militar installation, was highly hyped after only a few deaths, then a huge vaccination program was created. This program was then halted afterhundreds of people died because of the vaccine and the swine-flu itself proved to be close to mild.

    Toronto Sunday - Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus
    More details here at page 34:

    Wired: March 24, 1976: Ford Orders Swine-Flu Shots for All

    Minutes from the Austrian parliament (in german):

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 5:05pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:


    My apologies, it just took a while to go through.


    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 5:12pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    I personally intend to have the vaccine if it becomes available as I have respiratory issues, so I could just be in quite a problem if I contract this flu.

    If you want to believe these stories you have linked to, then that up to you.

    These semm to relate to a contamination incident that one side says was accidental and the other says was deliberate. As far as I can see "the jury is still out" on that one.

    Notwithstanding your views (or anyone else's) about a particular manufacturer, I substantially believe that by the time my local GP or nurse is sticking the needle in my arm, the safety of the vaccine being used will have been reasonably determined. Remember, it has to be licenced as safe by the UK authorities before it can be administered by medical practitioners.

    The UK Government actually has a vast array of emergency powers it could put in place, with certain legal and parliamentary limitations, but it has shown very little political appetite for using these to date.

    I do not expect that to change, unless the situation becomes considerably more desperate and urgent than it currently is.

    Yes, it is possible that I'll wake up tomorrow to find the country under martial law - though I don't think the wise money would be on that happening.

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 5:37pm on 15 Jul 2009, Japanbytes wrote:

    38 GillieBollie

    I see the point you are making - except that the group of people that may have complications and may die would see it differently.

    It's a bit different to flying - you have a choice whether to do it - not catching a flu virus is much harder.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 5:44pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    52. At 5:03pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    "Why we are not informed us that Baxter has "accidently" released 72 kilos of super-dangerous live virus as if it was a innocuous vaccine? And is been currently investigated in Austria?"

    Probably because of legal issues around defamation and the like as the case has sdeemingly not yet been resolved in court.

    But just because it isn't being talked about in newspapers and on TV, does not necessarily mean the situation is not being watched by Governments and civil servants.

    Perhaps you should write to your MP. MPs can raise all sorts of things in parliament and be protected by 'privilege'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 5:49pm on 15 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:


    stop posting this inflammatory nonsense. People are concerned enough without someone like you making things worse. Sit back and consider what you are suggesting and then go out and get a life...............

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 5:57pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    Just one last comment.

    Do you really believe that if Fergus, or any other journalist, went and talked with Andy Burnham or Sir Liam about alleged incidents involving Baxter - or any other possible supplier of vaccine to the DOH/NHS for that matter - that anything that was said by them, assuming they said anything more than 'no comment', would be 'on the record' and would be reported anywhere on the BBC, or on any other UK news service?

    Because I don't.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 6:06pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    Inflammatory? Is it inflammatory to open people's eyes?
    It's only the truth, anyone can check the sources by themselves. Why don't you check yourself before doing non-sense accusations?

    People are worried because the government, together with the mainstream media and WHO, have been fearmongering about the swine-flu, hyping it even if it is not any danger than the normal flu.

    I've got a life, that's why I'm pretty worried an eventual forced vaccination.

    Why are you using inflammatory non-sense instead of grounded reasoning.

    For all means, if you want to continue to sleep, just ignore this and get back on the queue for the flu-shot.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 6:14pm on 15 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    Yes I agree we do have a choice about flying. However, we also have a choice about using basic hygiene when mixing with people. Why are some people still sneezing and coughing without using tissues? Why are people not using anti-bacterial hand gels? Why do people not carry around anti-bacterial wipes with them and use them to wipe down surfaces? No-one will bat an eyelid in the current climate if we do this and it could save a lot fo people from illness.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 6:34pm on 15 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    In the cause of Consider All Factors I looked at the sites you recommended and now I am confused. I know from looking at the World Health Flu Map that there appears to be an abundance of severe illnesses around the world that fit the descriptions mentioned. Have you directed us to a site where we might be compromised for looking at it? The whole thing seems very X files and surreal. I hope that what has been described is pure fiction because if it were true it would be awful.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 6:49pm on 15 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:


    No it's no fiction. Baxter, our dear swine-flu manufacturer, have indeed send 72 kilos of vaccine contaminated with virus which fortunately only killed dozen of ferrets and there is indeed charges against the WHO and UN.

    Surreal is the hype that the media/government/WHO is giving to the swine-flu.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 7:08pm on 15 Jul 2009, twistywillow wrote:

    That nice little number crunching chart is great until I am reminded of one thing. The relative size and population of the countries listed. Now I dont know much about all this number crunching lark, but the UK is a whole lot smaller than the US or Canada in terms of demographics and population.We have the same sort of numbers as Canada, and the same location as the EU with more population and their infections are overall less as is their death ratio, and Canada is more. So what's not being told here? how are the figures so variable? Is it because the various governments are treating it differently? or not treating it at all?

    I'll be very honest, this whole swine flu epidemic scares the heck out of me. I have reason to be scared. I am asthmatic, so are my children, and there is not enough real information for us about how to avoid or treat this bug.The governments entire line is its a flu, it wont kill you but just in case you spread it around, don't see your gp or hospital. In other words, you have the dreaded lurgy we don't want it, go die in your own home and leave us alone.That is the attitude from the NHS literature. It is not enough. I want to know how it affects us, bottom line, does anyone have any immunity from it? can we get it again and again? (I have a seasonal flu vaccine)How will the vaccines work who gets them? Children? adults, babies? who? There is no where near enough real hard fact or information coming out and that in this day and age is astonishing for a government that says we have stockpiled anti virals and then said oh they don't work so we wont be giving them out now, even when the evidence from the WHO in Mexico has said otherwise. Sorry but as usual the government has its pants down and THAT is what is causing the panic, there is not enough of the right information, if there was the panic wouldn't be there.
    Oh and one last thought, when someone in the government says don't panic, automatically we distrust that person and the government body around them and we do exactly that. So less, 'Don't panic Mr Mannering!' and more, and here's the latest, here's what we do know and here's how we are dealing with it. A blanket leaflet over a month old is now old news.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 7:21pm on 15 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    Aargh! This is not a conspiracy by the government or the WHO or pharmaceutical companies. We have a flu pandemic which is mild in many, more serious in some and may lead to deaths in others. So far, only one person appears to have died directly from H1N1 out of in excess of 100,000 who have probably been infected in this country. The NHS is doing its best/ We are buying vaccinations - don't have it if you don't trust it but don't come bleating when you get sick. I am not bothering to read this any more due to the level of paranoia exhibited by many who post here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 7:21pm on 15 Jul 2009, shiveringpeaprincess wrote:

    Echofloripa, I'm right there with you!

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 7:25pm on 15 Jul 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Echfloria, I read the reports re Baxter a few weeks ago, and am very anxious re any possible vaccine. Even if the 'mistake' was accidental, how are we to trust a company that can make mistakes like that?
    I have also lost a lot of faith in the WHO since reading a list of their mistakes also, such as vaccine programs that non intentionally sterilized thousands of women.

    Very flaky indeed.

    Julie Burgermeister is in the process of trying to take Baxter, the WHO and the American Govt to court re the potential harm that these vaccines could do. I dont know what to think about it all to be honest, but I know that I will be thinking long and hard before lining my young children up for a vaccine.

    Re the American Govt, it does not bode well either that Obama, before the news of the pandemic broke, ordered something in the region of 500,000 coffins (Why would they want us to know this? ) and ordered the use of troops to patrol America in Peacetime??

    I can see where the conspiracy theories come from.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 7:27pm on 15 Jul 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    Pardon me, Jane Burgermeister.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 7:57pm on 15 Jul 2009, focuszx5 wrote:

    If it is estimated that 10 000 cases are going undetected then in the same breath does that not mean larger numbers are dying aswell? They may have passed away from "pneumonia" and never have been tested for swine flu.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 7:59pm on 15 Jul 2009, Tinkerbellbobby wrote:

    I apologise, Obama did not order the coffins, but he did order the use of the troops.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 8:05pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    68. At 7:57pm on 15 Jul 2009, focuszx5 wrote:

    "If it is estimated that 10 000 cases are going undetected then in the same breath does that not mean larger numbers are dying aswell?"

    No, not really. The point being that by far the majority of those who are seriously ill ARE coming to the attention of the health services.

    It's the ones with mild illnesses that aren't.

    So the number of deaths, hospitalisations and the like are more statistically reliable than the guestimates of the total number of people infected.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 8:40pm on 15 Jul 2009, osteogenesis wrote:

    I am quite amazed at how these very posts have become a breeding ground of fear, panic and conspiracy theorists.
    I have been reading from the very beginning of Fergus' blogs and have found clear, concise, beneficial information from most of the people posting. Except for now.
    Have a new breed of blogger decided to create the fear the newspapers are begging for on this BBC website?
    Where are the moderators?

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 8:52pm on 15 Jul 2009, luv_n_haight wrote:

    Interesting stats from the Guardian site:

    Although the rates of increase are alarming, note that the increase of 42% is less than half Andy Burnham's prediction last week of doubling each week that would take us to 100,000 cases by August. And this is before the schools have broken up, too.

    Influenza illness per 100,000 people across all ages is 73.42, giving 44,000 people infected (assuming almost all cases are Swine Flu). This would subsequently give a mortality rate of about one in 2 *thousand*, far from the worst case scenario of one in two hundred.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 9:08pm on 15 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:


    Another voice of reason. Was not going to post again but having had a quick look I saqw your sensible words. I too wonder what the moderators are doing to allow such stuff to be posted.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 9:21pm on 15 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    I don't think I shall click on any more sites from this blog as I have grave concerns about the nature of some of the links.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 9:52pm on 15 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:

    Well sone sensibleoldgrannie. This blog has become a breeding ground for people who wish to scaremonger. As someone posted earlier, initially this was a really helpful blog but has turned into some kind of freaky conspiracy theorists site.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 9:56pm on 15 Jul 2009, angelscomeinthrees wrote:

    I was scared witless when the swine flu story broke, not for me but for my wee ones. I've been able to regain a sense of proportion, due mostly to this blog, although I do still have moments when I want to curl up and howl and shut us all away for a couple of years'. Now even this blog has gone barking. I think I'll go back to sticking my fingers in my ears. Laa laaa laa, I can't hear you! Much more effective. I feel better already!

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 10:01pm on 15 Jul 2009, salb72 wrote:

    Hi im a concerned parent as is every parent in the country, but my question is "Is there any evidence that the normal seasonal flu jabs give you some resistance to this outbreak??"

    I am happy with the information that is being given nationally but locally i am very disappointed, and also think that media hype is not helping.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 10:16pm on 15 Jul 2009, shiveringpeaprincess wrote:

    Actually, I think you all make a good point there. Though I agree with some of what has been raised (and called scaremongering), this probably isn't the place to raise those issues, so I would like to say I won't encourage those comments in future - there are others places in which to discuss such issues.

    Angelscomeinthrees: I have been feeling the same as you over the last couple of days, and this blog has really helped me to get things in perpective, and stop the "sick with nerves" feeling I had (for the safety of my five yr old son, who was diagnosed with Henoch Schonlein Purpura recently, and has been quite poorly with chest infections ever since). I can really identify with the feeling you sometimes have of wanting to run away and hide, to keep your little ones safe.

    I apologise for encouraging negative comments. As I said before, this isn't the right place to raise those particular issues.

    Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped me feel better, and my apologies for helping to bring everyone down.

    Just felt I had to say this, as I felt bad about it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 10:17pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    72. At 8:52pm on 15 Jul 2009, luv_n_haight wrote:

    "This would subsequently give a mortality rate of about one in 2 *thousand*, far from the worst case scenario of one in two hundred."

    There has been massive discussion about the alleged "mortality rate" on this blog and on Ferrgus's last blog.

    All in all, it really is just too early to calculate any meaningful rate.

    Fergus deals with most of the relevant issues in his interview with Azri Ghani above. If you've not played it, it's worth hearing.

    People need to be very careful just what they are saying as is well brought out when Fergus distinguishes between infection mortality rate and case mortality rate, near the end.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 10:19pm on 15 Jul 2009, SkylineOnFire wrote:

    No the seasonal flu vaccine does not provide protection.

    The conspiracy theorists need to go back to their caves, its pathetic and embarrassing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 10:26pm on 15 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    74. At 9:21pm on 15 Jul 2009, sensibleoldgrannie wrote:

    "I don't think I shall click on any more sites from this blog as I have grave concerns about the nature of some of the links."

    I think you should not give any great credence to links to an article/document that is just a list of one person's unsubstantiated allegations against an organisation or company.

    If there was some reference to a criminal act, felony, breach of health and safety regulation or something that had been actually proven in Court, or even some established civil liability, then that would be one whole other matter.

    As I said earlier, I would expect the UK authorities to know of this situation anyhow and probably to even have formed an official view upon it, though that view might not be for the public domain at this point in time.

    As I also said earlier, the proper route for these concerns in my view, and I stress again are these are the subjective views of individuals and are unsubstatiated allegations, would be via MPs who could seek answers from the Secretary of State or raise matters within Prime Ministers Questions, shielded by parliamentary privilege.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 10:53pm on 15 Jul 2009, BobRocket wrote:

    #78 shiveringpeaprincess

    My sisters eldest boy had HSP when he was about 6, he is now 26, 5 foot 7 and healthy as a horse :), if you look in the doctors I-Spy book of spots you should see a picture of his backside as apparently his spots were the most typical and obvious in aiding diagnosis.
    Back to Swine Flu, todays blog title 'What are the chances of dying from swine flu?' seems to me to be straight out of the red top newspaper manual of sensationalist headlines.
    The answer is very slim indeed.
    To put it into context about 10 people per day die on the roads in the UK out of a population of 60 million so the question 'What are the chances of dying on the road in the UK' is answered, 1 in 6 million.
    So why is there such interest ? SF has a high transmission rate and has spread rapidly creating a truly global pandemic which is producing huge amounts of data that can be mapped and modelled for future pandemics
    SF has a low fatality rate so procedures for dealing with pandemics can be tried and refined so when a really nasty one comes along we will have robust strategies for dealing with it.
    SF deaths appear to be under .3 deaths per day so the answer to the headline question is 1 in 180 million, as I said, very slim indeed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 10:54pm on 15 Jul 2009, littlejaneyd wrote:

    I heard that the flu outbreaks pre 1950s may give the over 50s some protection from current H1N1 - which is good news for that age group. Also interested that there has been no mention of the nasally administered live attenuated flu vaccine (marketed as FLuMist in USA); the H1N1 version of which is currently being manufactured in Liverpool but will all be sold to the US government as it is not yet licensed in Europe. Such a shame!

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 11:12pm on 15 Jul 2009, shiveringpeaprincess wrote:

    Thank you Bobrocket. I appreciate it. I'm feeling much better. Thank you everyone.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 01:15am on 16 Jul 2009, BobRocket wrote:

    I think we are unlikely to see mass vaccination against the current outbreak of SF, governments the world over are however pushing vaccine manufacturers to reduce the time it takes from identifying a possible pandemic strain of a virus to having stocks of viable vaccines. It currently looks like it takes about 5 months which is too long.

    They are aware of the impact of a wholescale switchover of production away from the normal seasonal flu vaccine, seasonal flu is known to be risky which is why an annual vaccine is produced. The systems for switching production rapidly should the need arise must be tested and proved which is what they are doing now.

    If you take a step back from the daily stuff you can see the aspects of the outbreak management system in action, one of the problems is studying community action and inaction. If this was a viscous strain and people were dropping like flies then we would naturally start to distance ourselves from each other and take up obsessive hand washing but because it appears mild we soon revert back to our usual (sloppy) habits. This behavour plays havoc with attempting to model true pandemic spread patterns and develop coherent stategies. One way would be to drop bombshell headlines on the redtops and for a small amount of time people will behave in pandemic mode, information management is the key.

    There is always a reason for the style and timing of official announcements, occasionaly it is purely informative but more usually it is to (subtly) provoke some kind of response or behaviour change.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 01:59am on 16 Jul 2009, BobRocket wrote:

    One area where I think the outbreak management system worked well was in the very early stages of UK infection and the use of anti-virals to buy time and slow the initial growth pattern.
    SF has turned out to be a true pandemic agent with the required high transmission rate, there was never any chance of containing the outbreak but that initial strategy of anti-virals for all patients, contacts and possible contacts was invaluable in getting a head start in setting up procedures for the later stages of symptom management and vaccine production.
    There are still areas that require work such as prioritising vaccination groups and disseminating useful and authoritative information but on the whole I think the 'powers that be' have not done such a bad job (which is praise indeed from a serial complainer like me)

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 08:52am on 16 Jul 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    Once again I think your reporting of this is measured and shows a serious attempt to present issues to the public which are (looked at in detail) quite complex.

    I think a question here is: is this actually any more lethal than the flu we get most years?

    Every year large numbers of people (usually old) die from flu. This time a small number of people, some young, have died. Less (?) people dying but more media/NHS attention.

    What does this actually say more about? The seriousness of this flu? Or our attitude towards old people?

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 09:30am on 16 Jul 2009, BobRocket wrote:

    #87 jon112uk

    'I think a question here is: is this actually any more lethal than the flu we get most years?'

    A straightforward question with typically complex answer.

    The answer is no and yes, the fatality rate for normal seasonal flu without a vaccination strategy is relatively high, the rate for SF is quite low so the answer is NO however the transmission rate of SF is higher than normal seasonal flu so more people are theoretically likely to catch it so the answer could be YES.

    The question should be put more along the lines of 'I am a normal healthy person with average personal hygiene, what are the chances of me dying today from a SF related infection ?'
    The answer to that one is very slim
    Another question that could be asked is ' I am a normal healthy person but am now showing symptoms that are SF like, what are the chances.. etc.'
    The answer to that one is still very slim.

    In fact if a person starts to show symptoms of SF, whilst their chances of dying from SF related cause is increased, their chances of dying from lots of other causes is decreased (if he/she has SF they are less likely to be up a ladder cleaning out their gutters or stepping out in front of the no. 37 bus)

    I agree with your comment regarding attitudes to old people, it's not a very sensible attitude really as we all hope to be able to make it to old age one day.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 10:22am on 16 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    "I am quite amazed at how these very posts have become a breeding ground of fear, panic and conspiracy theorists."

    The mass media together with WHO is the main one spreading panic here. Why labelling facts as conspiracy theory? People should investigate themselves:

    The fact that the 1976 swine flu outbreak (ONE SINGLE death at Fort Dix) triggered a mass vaccination that killed 25 and cause neurologic problems in 500 people.

    The fact that baxter "cock up" (to say the least) vaccines with the real virus and sent 72 kilos of it from austria to several other countries in europe in february this year.

    I'd be very curious to hear from Fergus his comments on this two specific points.

    All I say is: Investigate, question, research. Google is your friend.


    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 11:44am on 16 Jul 2009, Aminti wrote:

    #89 echofloripa:

    Frankly, I wonder why you take the Swine Flu Debacle into account. This might have been applicable in the beginning stages, but that particular strain was only found on the Fort Dix army base, not anywhere else. The current strain has spread around the world, sustaining transmission in several countries around the globe.

    Regarding the deaths and disabilities -- That is not the way you want a vaccine to go, but the risks are there (with a lot of vaccines). Considering the vaccination was blown off as around a quarter of the American population at the time had received the jab, some math reveals that the chance is, indeed, higher than we ('the public') want, but low in absolute terms. As Stalin put it: The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.

    Should this rate of one affected in 100.000 happen in the middle of a country-wide Swine Flu outbreak, as is expected in a few months, I feel it is likely that the deaths would not spark as much of an outrage as they did back then. The lesser of two evils, if you wish. Sad, but true.

    Re: Baxter, yes, that's a good question. Why does the world still order vaccines with them, given this mistake. (To put it mildly.) The answer is probably that there is not enough supply to meet the world's demand.

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 12:48pm on 16 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    Thanks Aminti for the answer!

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 3:20pm on 16 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:

    Some of you struggling with some of these mathematical modelling ideas around around infection rate, death rate, case rate, etc., etc., might find the following interesting / helpful.

    It's pretty gently, so there should be no need to get fraught if maths isn't your thing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 4:27pm on 16 Jul 2009, nilfrol wrote:

    Unfortunately Fergus is wrong in saying the H1N1 virus is not mutating - the emergence of Tamiflu resistant strains demonstrate how mutation is moving the goalposts and in this case making a more dangerous variant of the virus.

    The only given with any organism containing genetic information is that it will mutate however the majority of these mutations will either not affect how the virus works or they will make the virus less viable (i.e they will not be able to replicate or will do so badly)

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 4:34pm on 16 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    Also check this out:

    Swine flu vaccine rushed through safety checks

    To make it worse, all 40 comments disagreeing with this rushed vaccine were totally cleaned-up. A few of the comments that were saved in other websites before been removed:

    Nobodys coming anywhere near me or my family with their experimental mass vaccine/poison programme, wrote one. We will take our chances of catching their manufactured bird/pig/human virus, that was accidentally on purpose! released onto an unsuspecting public in the first place!
    Anybody who reads this obviously still has the ability to reason and be guided by their own survival instinct and thus should listen to it. The mass fear mongering is a worldwide, co-ordinated and open conspiracy with massive geo political underpinnings. Dont be fooled, eat properly and exercise,
    A vaccine that is effectively being tested on the population, the prime reasons for such being the economy and easing pressure on the NHS? Ill be another one who passes
    Thanks but no thanks. Rushed through tests in 5 days? What about long term effects? Vioxx and Thalidomide had long testing. How safe did they turn out to be? The side effects of Statins that they want everyone to take are worrying. Ill take my chances with cholesterol

    As I said, seems that the major British newspapers are censoring the mass opposition to the planned nationwide roll out of the swine flu vaccine.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 5:03pm on 16 Jul 2009, Sutara wrote:


    "The European Medicines Agency said the fast-tracked approval procedure has involved trials of a mock-up vaccine and that the speed would not compromise patient safety."

    Got that? "Would NOT compromise patient safety."

    That quote is taken from the article you linked to.

    You seem to only want to read the bits that fit in with your need to be in a flap and panic about this issue.

    As a result, the main person you are panicking is yourself as you convince yourself that everyone agrees with you.

    Don't get me wrong, if individuals don't want to have the vaccine, then fine, but basically slanging down the intent and intelligence of the medics and professionals who are charged with the responsibilities for public health - a serious and onerouse responsibility indeed - doesn't help anyone.

    And that is the point - they DO have the responsbility and duty, you don't.

    In fact, you are increasingly coming across like the people who send around scaremongering emails about all the speed camera's in London / Birmingham / Manchester have been reset so that everyone driving even 1 mph over the limit will be prosecuted. (When I say people, I've always presumed them to be 9 year old children, or at any rate at that level of emotional development).

    You have a European Government Agency - not U.K., not U.S.A., assuring you that whilst they will ensure there are no delays in the processes allowing the vaccine to be licenced, they will NOT compromise safety.

    What sort of assurance are you suggesting people should look for? The Angel Gabriel appearing before each person individually to personally assure him/her that the vaccine is safe?

    There is no totally 100% safe vaccine. There will always be a number of people who have a reaction to a vaccine, for whatever reason. Don't you think that such a fact is taken into consideration when planning a vaccination programme?

    As I've said before, I for one will be accepting the vaccine if it gets through to being issued to my local GP and I would urge others to do similarly - but that is their choice.

    I accept that I might just have a bad reaction to it and maybe even need emergency treatment. Much more likely - though still pretty improbable - I accept it might make me feel a bit grotty for a couple of days by causing mild flu-like symptoms. (That has happened to me before with the seasonal flu virus).

    By far the most likely scenario is that I'll have a slight bump on my arm for the rest of the day.

    What is for certain, and is underscored by the increasing death figure - now 29 - is that dealing with this flu pandemic on a society-wide basis will save lives.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 5:44pm on 16 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:


    "Would NOT compromise patient safety."

    Really??? I would guess the 1976 were approved also by the american authorities, which weren't any more capable than our european ones.

    It's the other way, I believe there is no need for all this panic that the media is trying to transmit.

    Check this out - "Swine-flu scare: Caution from '76 vaccine"

    A lot of professionals are alerting for the danger of the vaccines, if you get away a bit from the manipulated mainstream media, search and you will find:

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 6:11pm on 16 Jul 2009, GillieBollie wrote:


    May I suggest that you keep your ridiculous ideas to yourself rather than trying to get everyone as clearly paranoid as you are? 29 people have now died but that does not mean they died from the flue - it siomply means they had it when they dies. Please don't have the vaccine if you're so concerned about it. You state there is no need for the panic the media is transmitting so why are you trying to engender a similar panic with your ridculous nonsense.

    As skylineonfire sais earlier today: The conspiracy theorists need to go back to their caves, its pathetic and embarrassing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 6:19pm on 16 Jul 2009, random_thought wrote:

    Well Fergus, the Government seems to have answered your question. It seems they are predicting between 19000 and 65000 deaths this winter - which I suppose means the average risk for each of us is between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 3000.

    That would be a lot worse than normal seasonal flu (6000 to 8000 deaths) but still nowhere near as bad as the 1918 pandemic (250000 deaths).

    Not a cause for panic perhaps, but certainly not just hype. This is quite a serious matter and people should take seriously things like personal hygene, staying at home if infected etc. And if a vaccine were available it would be a good idea to take it - unfortunately I wouldn't expect it to be available for most of us until it is too late anyway.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 6:20pm on 16 Jul 2009, xLazyGunx wrote:

    I really wish you could educate some of your anchor colleagues on the way they are covering the swine flu story Fergus.
    Inaccurate comments about Tamiflu as a cure for flu, Inaccurate commentary giving the impression the the Royal College of GPs was critical of the Governments response and preparation to epidemic, finally corrected in an interview with Prof Steve Field, and a morbid fascination with our position in the swine flu global league table make me despair.

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 7:24pm on 16 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    What is going to happen to all of the potential dead bodies from this flu? There is going to be an awful lot of mortuary filling, hole digging, funeral planning et. in a relatively short space of time. I know this is a less talked about aspect of death but it is a reality and there must be some sort of contingency planning to deal with the increased numbers of infected bodies needing a dignified disposal. If you add normal seasonal death rates to swine flu death rates you have a logistical nightmare of what to do with so many bodies.
    Will funeral plan insurances hold up with an increase demand for payouts?
    I am sorry if this has put you off your supper but I am a realist.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 7:57pm on 16 Jul 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Chances don't matter, only if you die. 1 in a million is OK unless you are the 1. This little weasel is getting stronger and seeking to make a return visit with the seasonal change. Nature may just be restoring the balance of nature and population....don't take it personal. The Christians, will say it is God's will, the Jews relate to a vengeful God, Islam will declare it as God's attack on Satan's children, the Buddhist will say the Wheel of Karma has turned to reconcile past misdeeds and the Chinese will shrug their shoulders and wait to see how many jobs and educational seats become available.

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 8:00pm on 16 Jul 2009, Horseless Headsman wrote:

    Many thanks to echofloripa for the bold attempt to re-focus minds on important, related but not widely-known aspects to this strange global situation.

    Swine flu is, in my opinion, just another stage in a progression of stages which may well have an end-scenario as described by so-called conspiracy theorists (a catch-all term used to categorise and dismiss those with greater tenacity than most). A dress rehearsal, if you like. There does not seem to be an awful lot of difference between swine flu and your average flu, EXCEPT for the great media PR machine driven by WHO and international government institutions, and faithfully repeated by media (who do little else but repeat 'information' from official sources). The tendency towards dismissal comes from an effective moral and social State-sponsored conditioning - beware - you won't even notice you're doing it. To suggest that the moderators remove such ideas (and links to actualities), and to offer the route to Mental Health professionals to cure an 'unfounded paranoia' is clear evidence of such conditioning. Disappointing, but to be expected.

    Some of the earlier stages in this pandemic-mentality process was the concern over SARS and then Bird Flu - an acclimatisation process whereby more and more people became aware of SOME of the procedures and contingencies in the event of a major outbreak which spread rapidly and internationally. I remember worst case scenarios being spelled out with fine graphics on the BBC some years ago. Those diseases came to nothing, although in the case of bird flu there was little mention of the appalling conditions in which birds and animals were being kept in the areas of large cluster outbreaks.

    In the same way that a few US and other government agencies are known to have created computer viruses and Internet worms, from time to time, in order to test the delivery and propagation systems of cyber-warfare emergency situations, this H1N1 could be viewed as a similar test in propagation and delivery, and also serves the purpose of directed 'education' (although, as we've seen, the resultant confusion hardly justifies the term - but confusion serves the cause rather well). Some famous computer viruses travelled the Net rapidly infecting many millions of machines, but the result of infection amounted, like this swine flu, to nothing much more than severe nuisance factor. In other words, there was no significant payload. Why? Because it was, and is now with Swine Flu, a test, nothing more. You wouldn't develop a battlefield missile without testing it. Same thing. The payload will come at a future stage, and you can count on it. When the payload is added for real, and people die quickly in large numbers from the nature of some 'mutation' or new virus (with a catchy new name and code) then there will be no need to even think about not having some vaccination (which the media will describe as 'your best chance'), although Civil Contingency laws allow for enforcement, movement restriction and quarantine by compulsion, and will be enacted as necessary without question.

    To say that this is impossible is extreme naivety. To be beaten back or compelled to dismiss such notions on the basis of an emotional or psychological inability to grasp all of the possibilities (based on the stated intentions of a few closed-door and generally unreported groups), is to bask in ignorance. This whole case as it stands at the moment is not about some deadly viral infection. It's essentially about the public's pliability and readiness to comply with officially-sanctioned PR, a prelude to something altogether more menacing. If this makes you feel uneasy or upset, I apologise. I don't like it any more than you do. But a clear head and a refined BS detector can go a long way if you do what so many have so far failed to do - make real good use of your computer, and dig deeper.

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 8:09pm on 16 Jul 2009, JenBryte wrote:

    I have a couple of questions that worry me that I hope others can help me with.

    1. Why is it recommended that we take Tamiflu if we get swine flu, if swine flu is not much worse than seasonal flu and we are not prescribed Tamiflu if we get the latter?

    2. If swine flu is diagnosed over the phone (as is the current trend) rather than by in a lab, and if Tamiflu is prescribed and then taken; what if the patient does not have swine flu but has some other virus. What will happen if days, weeks or months later that patient does then get swine flu? Will a second batch of Tamiflu be prescribed? If so, will it be less effective for having being taken previously?

    Can anybody advise?

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 8:35pm on 16 Jul 2009, archilost wrote:

    Hmmm... seems to me reading some of these comments that pandemic viruses are nothing more than weapons of the New World Order!

    Apparently, they are testing and probing the public response to a far greater outbreak - whilst this theory strikes me as having some holes, the far greater spectrum of this argument begs the question - How have these viruses ravaged the human population for the entirety of its existence, when the medical and technological necessities to wield biological warfare at such an intricate level have only been around for the past 100 years at the most?

    Was the Black Death just another of these tests? Sent back in a time machine from some lab in Nebraska?

    Or is it just the way the world works, and that viruses do actually mutate without our omniscient intervention, and that it really was just two planes piloted by fundamentalists that flew into the WTC and that we really did actually land on the Moon? Occam's Razor, springs to mind.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 8:54pm on 16 Jul 2009, random_thought wrote:

    #102 and others

    There seems to be a very English tendency to dismiss swine flu as hype. I can't help but feel that this tendency leads to people failing to take sensible precautions (going to work while ill, failing to wash their hands after coughing etc) - and maybe that is why England is unique in the Northern Hemisphere in still having exponential growth in this disease.

    This is not hype. It's hard to get solid facts at this stage, but it does seem to be significantly more serious than seasonal flu in a number of ways
    - some 25% of the people it kills are otherwise healthy and young
    - there is now scientific evidence that it multiplies deeper in the human airways and is therefore
    more likely to lead to pneumonia
    - the child mortality rates published in the US are higer than what you might get with
    seasonal flu.

    So please don't panic, but don't dismiss it either. It's not going to be a repeat of the 1918 flu, but it still may be the biggest public health issue for fifty years. Take all the sensible precautions and learn to recognise when flu may be turning into pneumonia (difficulty breathing, chest pains, persistant vomiting etc).

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 9:05pm on 16 Jul 2009, jane_1983 wrote:

    I really hope people stop with all these conspiracy theories! I for one find them really pathetic, like we don't already have enough to think about!! I have just watched an interview which tool place with Liam Donaldson which was shown on the BBC yesterday morning. These are the facts which i picked out from the interview:

    We are to receive the vaccine during the early autumn with the first supplies coming in at the end of august.
    During a normal flu season up to 7000 die, in a bad flu season up to 12/13000 die. As for swine flu, Liam Donaldson quotes it is "not as severe as previous pandemics, closer to the seasonal flu situation" but it is still early to put figures on the situation
    Everyone is eligable to receive antivirals...this is not a cure but relieves the symptoms if taken early. I hope this puts things into perspective for people, i was terrified when the whole pandemic came to light, but when things are put into context it does settle me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 9:14pm on 16 Jul 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Some of the things being suggested on this blog are truly terrifying.
    What is the average log on to this site per day since the beginning of this blog?
    How many people across the world read this blog every day?
    If most people with Internet access read what has been said, and there is some truth, then any coverup or whatever will now be blown wide open.
    Perhaps those who do not have our best interests at heart will step back from the brink and think again.
    If what has been said is not the absolute truth then please admit it and stop now, because even children read this blog.
    I, like most others reading this blog, can only interpret what has been said with my own personal judgement. As I have said, I do not want to go on to web links that might lead to manipulative lies or exaggerations or chinese whispers or whatever. I only want substantiated truth, and so does everyone else.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 9:20pm on 16 Jul 2009, Horseless Headsman wrote:

    archilost: "How have these viruses ravaged the human population for the entirety of its existence, when the medical and technological necessities to wield biological warfare at such an intricate level have only been around for the past 100 years at the most?"

    Are these opposing concepts mutually exclusive, then? Does the swine flu virus contain a mix of avian, human and porcine elements, or not? And if not, why did mainstream report that it did? Why did several eminent microbiologists feel moved to state that this has all the earmarks of a bioengineered product? That's not to say that some other entirely natural mutation or re-emergence might not suddenly appear and surprise us all! Hey, what if there was a sudden re-emergence of a more virulent and infectious version of bird flu, along with a deadly SARS comeback AND a new black death to boot? Wouldn't that be something? To any given situation there is a relevant context - which may or may not be immediately apparent, and might well require some effort to uncover those extra pertinent factors which increase one's level of understanding. You may take the risk of heading down dead-ends, fishing for red-herrings, and running down the road to nowhere after wild geese. The only apparent risk involved in this, however, is possibly to look a bit stupid. But that doesn't mean you should stop refining the context of information which is *supplied* to you, unverified. Occam's Razor itself should be applied within a relevant context - alas, too often it is used as an excuse to stop looking altogether. Some will never really outgrow the habit of being spoon-fed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 10:01pm on 16 Jul 2009, thesefeetdontdance wrote:

    To all these people writing about conspiracies etc etc, if you aint going to constructively add a viewpoint given the facts available find other blogs to spout your hot air. You are probably the type of people who are walking into A & E or surgeries with the ailment.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 10:08pm on 16 Jul 2009, archilost wrote:

    Horseless_Headsman, the novel flu virus does include parts of flu found in swine, human and avian influenza. This doesn't immediately smack of sinister bioengineering. What it does show is that influenza is a highly mutating virus, and it evolves according to outside pressures and influences as everything else on this planet does, as well as producing that rogue evolution every so often that just happens to give it a better hand.

    When the press first published the reports on the initial breakdown of this virus' genetic make-up, they clearly stated it was of a human, swine and avian flu re-assortment. Nothing new there, experts say that the original 1918 H1N1 virus was with us until the 50's until crowded out by the pandemic strain that emerged in the late fifties, which came from wild ducks in the form of a re-assorted H2N2 virus, which experts also say then re-arranged again a decade later striking back in a H3N2 form - all with genetic parts of avian, swine and human flu. What struck me afterwards was the misleading thought within these blogs that the 'avian flu' part of the virus meant H5N1 - something people got very wrong, that particular avian flu is H5N1 in it's entirety - this is H1N1 - prompting some very worrying comments from people.

    I agree that everyone should dig deep and uncover the truth about things. No problem with that whatsoever - I for one was terrified of this outbreak, but with my morbid fascination with it, I've read up and come to my own conclusions from alternative theories and ideas. It is after a few weeks of keeping track of this thing and evaluating my position on it that I've managed to keep my sanity. Ignorance is definitely not bliss. I'm not saying that I only read and agree with what makes me feel better about this disease, on the contrary, I have read some horrible things that have made me think twice.

    However, the one thing I do not believe for a second with this pandemic is that it is human engineered.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 10:34pm on 16 Jul 2009, TroyTempest99 wrote:

    Horseless_Headsman wrote:
    "Occam's Razor itself should be applied within a relevant context "

    Strange that you should invoke this concept when Occams Razor itself suggests that one should choose the simplest option that explains the most data. Therefore you have viruses that have been around since time began and are able to mutate and cause pandemics at fairly regular intervals. OR you propose (with no evidence whatsoever) that this is a global conspiracy caused by shadowy cabals to "test" virus propagation for some unknown end. I would suggest that Occams razor would clearly favour the simpler (i.e. more rational) option - which is the first.

    Otherwise I would stick your tin foil hat on and also keep a close eye out for aliens, chemtrails (ooh that could be relevant!) and any other favourites of the conspiracy theorists. They're bound to be along in a minute.

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 11:15pm on 16 Jul 2009, Horseless Headsman wrote:

    I have not stated a belief of my own that H1N1 is human engineered - insufficient data as far as I'm concerned. A lack of expertise on my part doesn't help me much, either. But don't let that put you off. ;-) I consider it a possibility - it is certainly not an impossibility, and anyone who thinks it is, is also lacking sufficient data. What I was suggesting is that it is perfectly possible to find examples of those who do have expertise, experience and qualifications who take a different view of matters as opposed to 'others' who you get to hear on your TV screen all the time. I am saying that the information is selective and biased. As with a lot of other areas. Governments do not have a fantastic recent track record for being open, honest and straight with the people they 'serve'. And media still prefer to act as organs for official channels and minimise exposure to other qualified dissenters of those official views. And all that forms a small *part* of the relevant context I mentioned before.

    I understand that a lot of folk have trouble with this kind of viewpoint. It shakes them up, and makes them feel uncomfortable. Or, if one is not prepared to admit that, it should just routinely be tagged with some associated buzzwords in a dead-pan fashion with a dash of humour in order to assure oneself that there is nothing to see here, move along. " should choose the simplest option that explains the most data." That would entirely depend on what one would describe as the 'most data'. If selective data is the only data being considered then the simplest option will likely turn out quite differently compared to that which includes other data not originally considered and similarly verified. Conspiracy theories are naturally controversial due to their tendency to contradict official history. But controversy alone is not enough reason to be selective by conditioning or fear, as opposed to being *inclusive* by objective, tenacious investigation. History is full of truths which were once unknown, and which later became known. And historians recognise that the course of history could well have taken a different path if they were known at the time. We don't have to leave our future history to the officials and repeaters. We can write that history ourselves. But it takes some effort. To consider the swine flu in isolation to our other problems is to follow the script and merely 'manage' the information that you allow yourself to experience. Context is everything.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 00:21am on 17 Jul 2009, Aminti wrote:

    #112 Horseless_Headsman:

    It is likewise so that some of the alternative sources, to use a slightly marked word, are overly selective in their sharing of information. (By which I mean: more so than is inherent in media itself.) To digress slightly, but the announcement of the documentary on the missing lemur link (from May) was one such thing, where several sites immediately jumped to the conclusion that 'they' were going to officially announce that aliens exist. Though that is slightly off the topic, I have read both fairly-well argumented blogs or posts and less-well argumented blogs or posts (which is putting it mildly in some cases -- some of the arguments seemingly work off the premise that 1 + 1 is equal to 17) on the yes-or-no of the human-engineered origins of this flu (or the vaccine's toxicity or...) and whether or not it poses a real threat to society.

    I agree that context is everything, but it also depends on whichever way you choose to interpret that context. I feel that it might be possible for the virus to be of human-made origin, but it is, in my opinion, more likely to be a 'natural' happening. One with perhaps some convenience, but that also goes both ways. It is convenient for us from the Northern Hemisphere that it emerged at the end of our flu season. It is less convenient for the Southern Hemisphere, which is being hit quite hard. Likewise, the power of the internet and everything that comes with it is both good and bad in times like these. Information overload may occur, or, as CNN Europe dubbed it back in the beginning of May, lead to an 'infodemic', but at the same time, that same information is helpful, both for assessing the threat and for alternative views, to forego the use of the 'conspiracy theory' term.

    The absolute truth rarely is simple and is even more rarely completely uncovered, if ever. I feel that one simply makes choices to interpret information to mold their own 'truth'. You have yours, I have mine. (And I'm glad for it, because life would be boring if everyone just agreed.)

    #105 random_thought:

    I wouldn't say it's a completely English phenomenon. I'm from the Netherlands, and the general consensus over here seems to be the same of dismissing it as a hype. Though it is true that significantly less cases have been officially found here*, I predict that it will only change the moment that a fully-fledged outbreak comes around, at which time I have no doubt that everyone will over-react and go completely bonkers for a few weeks. I've secured a few boxes of tissues just in case, since it's not unlikely that they will be in short supply come outbreak.

    As for why the UK has been affected far more than any other European country? (Which, incidentally, I've seen linked to one theory...) I have no idea. It could be, and I suspect it most likely is, a combination of factors, not the least of which probably is 'luck'. That's a virus for you.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 10:32am on 17 Jul 2009, Tom Hicks wrote:

    @ echofloripa:

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the MMR jab....

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 12:48pm on 17 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:


    Regarding other vaccines, including the MMR jab, I'm still trying to educate myself regarding their effectiviness. Not being an expert, I wouldn't say anything. I would suggest you having a look at the WAVE - World Association for Vaccine Education, an independent organ, with doctors and PHDs, which independently evaluate vaccine strategy:


    Thanks, you really put things so much better :)

    For those accusing any attempt to show facts as pathetic and dismissable "conspiracy theories" I will repeat Horseless_Headsman:

    "The tendency towards dismissal comes from an effective moral and social State-sponsored conditioning - beware - you won't even notice you're doing it. To suggest that the moderators remove such ideas (and links to actualities), and to offer the route to Mental Health professionals to cure an 'unfounded paranoia' is clear evidence of such conditioning. Disappointing, but to be expected."

    "To be beaten back or compelled to dismiss such notions on the basis of an emotional or psychological inability to grasp all of the possibilities (based on the stated intentions of a few closed-door and generally unreported groups), is to bask in ignorance."

    Re: man-made virus, there were many reportings from the main stream media of virus manipulation by US government agencies, which have been "researching" bioweapons, regardless of the numerous treaties to stop it.

    If you want to know a bit more about the depopulation agenda (including US bioweapons strategy), which have been publicly stated by the billionaires and members of your own royalty, so to give it a bit more of context, I'd recommend these posts, full of references to mainstream articles:

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 1:38pm on 17 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:


    Sorry for the off-topic, but here you can see an aggreagate of studies regarding the risks and ineffectiveness of the MMR vaccines:

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 2:00pm on 17 Jul 2009, Japanbytes wrote:

    103 JenBryte

    Re No.1

    Difficult this, Swine flu can kill as we know, but as they say, the majority of people will recover without any problem. Trouble is they are still unsure why normal healthy people, young and old are susceptible to this strain of flu, as we have seen. So they have to make sure we have some anti-viral to help people recover, even if they would have done anyway.

    No 2.

    Yes I thought about this - I heard an interview yesterday evening and what I understand is:

    You get diagnosed over the phone, your get Tamiflu - if you are wrong and you didn't have Swine flu, you will have difficulty obtaining any more Tamiflu without going to see your GP. It's called self-diagnosis and is somewhat unreliable and presents the spread of flu at the surgery.

    If you were wrong you may now be at risk because you are left with another self-diagnosis.

    What does this say in reality - do they have limited amounts of Tamiflu or that they need only the very ill to request this drug. If the latter it is likely to be too late to do any good.

    Too crumbly for me!

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 7:26pm on 17 Jul 2009, prendlovu wrote:

    Dear Readers

    I am a graduate in Acute Healthcare. Over the past two years, I have been looking at a novel way of containing worst case pandemics.

    The link below:

    leads you to the report - CODE-RED: The Ethics of Exterminating Lives of Entire Communities for Public Health is now complete

    And will get all people thinking

    In Brief: The next pandemic could be caused by the emergence of a microbe that is still unknown, much as happened in the 1980s with...the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and in 2003 with SARS (Lemon et al, 2007:1). CODE-RED: Hypothetical situation (described in detail in Page 2), whereby a pandemic has emerged, there is no readily available vaccine, prophylaxis or cure. The contagion is highly virulent and extremely contagious and if the Redzonians are not exterminated, the world population would be infected and dead within three weeks.Killing the infected is one extreme way of stopping the contagious from spreading the infection because it breaks the chain of transmission by eliminating the source of the infection. In the case of CODE-RED, extermination would work through getting rid of the source of the infection before the contagion mutates. If extermination is delayed, extermination will not work because after mutating, the spores could travel though the air for longer periods meaning that the spores may even reach hundreds of miles from the infected person which significantly expands the Red Zone. THIS WORK EXAMINES THE ETHICS AND LEGALITY OF EXTERMINATING THE INFECTED The next pandemic could be caused by the emergence of a microbe that is still unknown, much as happened in the 1980s with...the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and in 2003 with SARS (Lemon et al, 2007:1). CODE-RED: Hypothetical situation (described in detail in Page 2), whereby a pandemic has emerged, there is no readily available vaccine, prophylaxis or cure. The contagion is highly virulent and extremely contagious and if the Redzonians are not exterminated, the world population would be infected and dead within three weeks.Killing the infected is one extreme way of stopping the contagious from spreading the infection because it breaks the chain of transmission by eliminating the source of the infection. In the case of CODE-RED, extermination would work through getting rid of the source of the infection before the contagion mutates. If extermination is delayed, extermination will not work because after mutating, the spores could travel though the air for longer periods meaning that the spores may even reach hundreds of miles from the infected person which significantly expands the Red Zone. THIS WORK EXAMINES THE ETHICS AND LEGALITY OF EXTERMINATING THE INFECTED

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 8:19pm on 17 Jul 2009, TroyTempest99 wrote:

    prendlovu wrote: blah blah

    Good grief.... meanwhile back in the real world....

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 8:55pm on 17 Jul 2009, prendlovu wrote:

    I do not mind to be told that I write blah blah, however, I did expect to get such a responsse. Mr/Ms TroyTempest99, I suggest you read the report or at least the conclusion. I wrote the paper to get people thinking beyond the box and so that they consider practical solutions to such problems.

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 9:18pm on 17 Jul 2009, archilost wrote:

    Dear God. This would not work at all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 10:29pm on 17 Jul 2009, User Five six zero four one zero wrote:

    If things get so bad that the the UK assumes Marshall Law then all resources will be funneled into saving, ironically that portion of society which it usually vilifies namely teenagers. They supposedly have received the most investment in the form of education and are of good breeding stock to rebuild the population with. So anyone over thirty or under thirteen will be seen as expendable. We will be left to fend for ourselves at best or at worst seen as the looting enemy. Among the excluded unfortunates there will be a total breakdown of law and order as police response will be seen as a waste of finite resources.

    So Time to plan for the worst, I have been warning on HYS for years to stockpile some non perishable provisions, remember Supermarkets do not keep any significant back room stock, they work on just-in-time logistics as an item is scanned out at the till its replacement is ordered from the supplier. This system is very vulnerable to any breakdown in human resource so shelves could empty in hours. Society is only 3 meals away from anarchy, things could get ugly quickly in the Autumn, so be prepared. Remember the fuel blockade of 2000? Blair used emotional blackmail to make the picketing refinery workers look uncaring when Blair said 'enough is enough people are at risk of dying' he as usual was lying, all essential workers such as my wife had easy access to plentiful supplies of fuel. Blair was worried about the supermarket distribution system grinding to a halt and the scenario I describe above unfolding, resulting in his version of Thatchers battle of Trafalgar. Nationwide looting and rioting.

    On top of a background of Swine Flu and economic collapse we have another interesting portent approaching as I believe it was not a coincidence that the world trade centre was attacked on a date which when written in the American format is also the phone number for US emergency services. Is it worth considering the appeal to such minded organisations the ninth of September THIS YEAR might have for the date of a British 'event' (9/9/9)

    Learn urban survival, watch You Tube prepare a 'GO BAG' get a generator if you have room, camping stove and equipment 2 liters of bottled still water 17p at the supermarket so stock up now before the sheeple if it all turns out to be a damp squib you have lost nothing the stuff can be used over time but if things go down you have saved yourself and loved ones.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 11:02pm on 17 Jul 2009, TroyTempest99 wrote:

    LifeofReilly wrote:"So Time to plan for the worst, I have been warning on HYS for years to stockpile some non perishable provisions,"

    My word - we're back to the Y2K situation. It's almost like conspiracy theorists are running a dodgy corner shop.

    I can picture a Ronnie Barker type character trying to shift the backlog of conspiracy theories he's had knocking about round the back of his shop since 1999. Discount conspiracy theories rebadged for swine flu!

    I notice you mention HYS - suggest you listen to a podcast of tonights Now Show (Radio 4)- because you are joking ... surely!

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 05:43am on 18 Jul 2009, User Five six zero four one zero wrote:

    Troy I'll paraphrase the opening moments of Stingray Stand by for action! Anything can happen in the next half year!

    Those people who hoped for the best but planned for the worst prior to the turn of the century by stocking a 'Millennium Cupboard' did nobody any harm by their preparedness. It's easy to be smart after the event and I do consider this when I mentioned 'if it all turns out to be a damp squib you have lost nothing the stuff can be used over time but if things go down you have saved yourself and loved ones.'

    You on the other hand I assume will run your food and other supplies especially low just to prove how alarmist I am being and keep your faith in the supermarkets to supply you 24/7.

    You suggest I am a conspiracy theorist, where have I said anything to give you that impression? Who ever carried out the 9/11 attack did conspire to plan it and may well have chosen the date for a little added irony as any other organisation might see the appeal of 9/9/9 for a UK event where is the tin foil hat required for such a suggestion?

    Thanks for the likening to Ronnie Barker what a compliment! Although I prefer to associate my view of the world with that of his most famous character, the wise and cynical Fletcher.

    Thanks too for the Now Show referral. I hope for your sake I turn out to be stupid whilst you continue to derive an obviously huge pleasure from trolling people on here in order to appear smart.

    Here's a suggestion why not contribute to this thread without quoting others comments for once let's here your views on how well things are being handled. As I believe the NHS has lost control of this because it has pandered to an increasing wave of selfish urbanites & their families who are presenting at A&E (well enough to walk in themselves I might add) claiming to have SF. Because there are now so many doing this it has become too costly to swab to determine if they actually do have SF so have given in to the mob & are now handing out Tamiflu like sweeties. This is costing the country a fortune and will cost lives if Tamiflu is ever actually needed.

    What do you think?

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 03:03am on 19 Jul 2009, TexanByInjection wrote:

    I am absolutely sick to death of the press scare mongering in a bid to gain ratings, audience and popularity - we are always under the illusion that news we read/see/hear (even from the dedicated BBC)is factual, when truth is, it is sensationalised and "plumped up" in order to grab the publics' attention. And what better way than to report on a subject that affects the world population.
    We all seem to have our own personal favourites when it comes to newspapers and news channels; BBC, CNN, Telegraph - yet we cease to remember that pretty much all journalists are out for one thing: A great story. Nothing more.
    My husband and I are due to fly back to the UK to visit family (I am a British expat living in Texas) and I am worried sick about Swine Flu being most rife in the area that my family live.
    Why are people being treated like lepers by hospitals and doctors when they call, worried about whether they have this virus or not?
    If the damn government and health authorities don't want an influx of hypercondriacs "time wasting" in A&E and GP surgeries, then why the hell are they giving the press a free reign to make us all too scared to live our lives without fear of being ill and dying??
    Perhaps these newspaper editors and TV news producers might eventually get the hint that by sensationalising this "pandemic", they're not gaining readers/viewers at all. If anything, it's actually STOPPED many people I know, including myself, from buying these papers or tuning into the TV news as much as I used to.
    DAMN the press.

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 7:06pm on 21 Jul 2009, echofloripa wrote:

    Seems like that in US the pharmaceutical companies producing the vaccine had got legal immunity from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine.

    Associated Press article:

    In canada, a leading public health expert is calling to create a compensation program for people harmed by the vaccine.

    How is things going in UK? Will the criminal companies be excempt from responsability of damages caused by the flu vaccine??

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 02:10am on 14 Aug 2009, jhandtee wrote:

    Fergus, you say yourself that the present flu outbreak has not even reached average levels yet you and the BBC newsteams in general are stil calling it a pandemic. To compound a possible charge of flying pig flu propaganda could you tell me why the indictment of the world health organisation and criminal charges against Baxter AG by jane Burgermeister and others are not international news despite her claim of conspiracy to genocide.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.