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Ear to the Ground

Swine Flu Comes to the U.S.

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Posted on Apr 24, 2009
Flickr/The Pug Father

After infecting perhaps hundreds of people and killing scores in Mexico, eight cases of swine flu have been diagnosed in the U.S.—six in California and two in Texas.

Los Angeles Times:

The cases were identified during routine screening of virus samples, and federal authorities have called for intensified screening of samples from flu victims in the area and in flu victims who have recently traveled to Mexico.

The outbreak has caused concern because the virus appears to be spread from human to human, which is the crucial requirement for a new virus to precipitate a large-scale outbreak.

CDC researchers have so far found no links among the U.S. victims or any common behaviors, Besser said, suggesting “that there has been transmission through several cycles”—that is, there were several intermediaries who passed it among themselves before the virus reached the identified victims.

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By diamond, April 27, 2009 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

Did a bit of sleuthing: the ceo of Baxter International is Robert L. Parkinson Jr. He was the Dean of Business at the University of Chicago and he belongs to an organization called ‘Keep our Mission PAC’ which is an organization run by former speaker Dennis Hastert that used to be called ‘Keep Our Majority’ but changed its name after the Democratic victory in 2008. Others listed as members of this organization include Jack Abramoff who is described as ‘incarcerated’. Well, I guess that will be tinfoil hats all round.

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By diamond, April 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Those tinfoil hats must be in shreds by now, inherit the wind. But facts are facts and the company that made Tamiflu is one that Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of for years. It was practically bankrupt before it outsourced the making of Tamiflu to Roche and Rumsfeld made millions when he sold his shares. Bird flu made headlines for all the wrong reasons in February this year, around a month after Obama was inaugurated.

By Helen Branswell, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Last Updated: 27th February 2009, 3:26pm
The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses. And an official of the World Health Organization’s European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International’s research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.
“At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,” medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.
“But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.”
The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and UNLABELLED H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn’t die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses. Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a “serious error” on Baxter’s part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event.
On Friday, the company’s director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected.
“It was live,” Christopher Bona said in an email.
The contaminated product, which Baxter calls “experimental virus material,” was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine — including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly — at a facility in the Czech Republic.

While H5N1 doesn’t easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people. That mixing process, called reassortment, is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created’.

Now, being an ardent tinfoil hat wearer, this was clearly an attempt to mix bird flu with normal flu viruses which are transmissible human to human, which bird flu is not. On this occasion it failed. The question is, who was behind it? Even someone who doesn’t wear a tinfoil hat should be asking that question. That the swine flu is a distraction from the endless details of the illegal rape and torture in Abu Ghraib is absolutely obvious. A means of ‘killing’ a story they don’t want in the media and hopefully preventing the push for charges to be laid to build up a head of stem. The idea that a pandemic is ‘inevitable’ is one that has been floated in the mainstream media for several years now. Again the question is why? Who benefits?

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By KDelphi, April 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

DMFD—Dummy, it has nothing to do with eating pork, per se.

Who is excluding Democrats? NOt me.

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By DMFD, April 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

It’s a vast right wing conspiracy!  I’ll bet that bastard Cheney and his neocons are behind this!  Maybe it was Reagan?! Sorry if I left anyone out.  Screw it, I’m going to smoke some ribs, burn some bologna, and tear up some pork.  Peace!

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By KDelphi, April 27, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Blackspeare—Thanks for posting that.It also does the same thing for anyone who has had a traumatic brain injury (and others too) (whoes brain will also respond to many drugs, as the brain of a child does—you know, paradoxical, as in Ritalian is supposed to calm kids down, although I dont agree with it. Benadryl makes them hyper, etc.)

These Tamiflu effects can occur in anyone and can be very severe. It happens with Chantix,(smoking ceasation drug) some drugs for hypercholesterolemia, and many others, but, you wont see it on a “patient insert”. Many anti-depressents, cause outright Parkinson’s (they call it “permanent Parkinson’s like effects”—for the patient, what s the diff?)

Weapons of mass distraction…

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By Jim Yell, April 27, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The un-natural crowding that is helping to destroy the environment and unstablize society is creating a situation which encourages communicable diseases.

Eventually the opportunity for pathogens to easily infect huge concentrations of people and animals will cause a plague. Eventually the medical industry will be unable to offer a cure, or unable to get funding to offer a cure and millions will die.

The natural environment has always allowed over reproduction followed by population collapse and without birth control and responsible reproduction this process is the only hope for the future.

I am not unmoved by the misery of countries whose birth rate is out of control and whose growing population is stripping the land of its fertility, but not having reproduced at all it isn’t me who is causing this problem and in fact in this country the population growth is substantially from illegal entry and the increase of people who have yet to learn that poverty is bred by a too big population and un-natural farming methods of plants and animals are also justified by the huge populations that need to be fed. One problem has bred all the others.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 27, 2009 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

3. Late 1968 - Kissinger gave secret intelligence to Nixon so that Nixon could secretly obstruct the peace agreement Kissinger had negotiated with the North Vietnamese.
4. 1986 - The October Surprise - which ensured that the Teheran hostages were NOT freed until Reagan was inaugurated.


Interesting. How was Kissinger supposed to have gotten secret intelligence in 1968 when LBJ was still President?  Nixon wasn’t President until Jan 20, 1969.

1986, October surprise?  The hostages in Iran were home nearly 6 years by then.

I knew the tinfoil hats would come out with Swine Flu being another sinister CIA plot. I’m waiting for them to claim it was Mossad and “The Zionists” who were really behind it, the way they usually do.

Since I’ve worked in clinical trials for many years, I can tell you that a vaccine for one strain of flu, sold by one pharma company is counter to their thinking.

They ALL want the next big block-buster drug you have to take the rest of your life, whether it’s Lipitor for your heart, or Viagra for ED.  Barring that, they want the next big super-expensive cancer drug that costs $5000/dose and you have to take 10 to 50 doses.  THAT is what justifies the $1B it costs to develop a new drug. (which is why they LOVED the Botch admin’s reducing of standards—it reduced costs.)

Vaccines are simply low priority to them.

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By purplewolf, April 26, 2009 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

Samosamo. I stopped taking all flu shots in the late 70’s and have not had the flu since then. When I took the flu shots every year, as recommended by my doctor and as the government’s big brother propaganda suggested in all their public service announcements at the time, I was sick from fall through spring every year. Finally I figured if I was going to be sick for over 6 months every year, I would do so without any foreign substance cooked up in a lab someplace, by who knows who and the flu shots didn’t work anyway.

And what about all the hype about the “bird flu” we heard about throughout most of the last 8 years? Did the saboteurs, I mean the republican underhanded shadow guys run out of it and had to use the swine flu virus strains instead? Wouldn’t be the first time the government contaminated of America infected its population with some type of virus and it certainly won’t be the last. Is that why G.W. buried so many of his goon squad members, some until the year 2012 or longer to retain government jobs in the new administrations time at the helm?

Sort of reminds me of the movie “V for Vendetta” where the government deliberately infects people to take even more control over the population. Art imitating life.

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By Kaelieh, April 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In addition to Vitamin C, I gotta suggest Zinc. My Ethics professor would swear by it. If he thought he was getting sick he’d load up on Zinc, aswell as Vitamin C, and would be better in like three days.

And I just gotta say, if the wanted to stop the spread they’d close the boarders. It’s not rocket science. Bloody hell hasn’t anyone ever played Pandemic 2?

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By samosamo, April 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

By Blackspeare, April 26 at 5:38 pm

No wonder I never get flu shots, crimminy, sounds if that would kill quicker than catching the flu.

A suggestion, the immune system thrives on vitamins. But taking what the RDA recommends justs keeps one from catching the disease that is caused by a lack of a particular vitamin, for instance, scurvy is caused by the lack of vitamin C. I myself take 1000mg in the morning and 1000mg at night. That along with taking optimum amounts of the other vitamins and minerals has cut way back on illnesses I used to catch on a regular basis of the seasons. And if I do feel as if I am coming down with a cold or cough, it is not as severe as it used to be.
Just a suggestion.

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By Blackspeare, April 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Just learned that FDA issue this advisement—- Tamiflu: A warning label has been added to the influenza drug Tamiflu following reports of delirium and hallucinations among people - mostly children - taking the medication. Some patients reported the following TAMIFLU side effects:“Painful / burning urination every 1/2 hour. Rare but serious skin reactions and allergic reactions have been reported. Stop taking TAMIFLU and call your doctor if you experience any of these reactions, as they could be very serious. People with the flu, particularly children and adolescents, may be at an increased risk of self injury and confusion shortly after taking TAMIFLU and should be closely monitored for signs of unusual behavior. A health care professional should be contacted immediately if the patient taking TAMIFLU shows any signs of unusual behavior including. but not limited to an erection lasting more than four hours.

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By samosamo, April 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

By Nomad, April 26 at 5:09 am

I am hoping also but the news is reporting that the age range in mexico at least, is

““Nearly all those who died in Mexico were between 20 and 40 years old, and they died of severe pneumonia from a flu-like illness believed caused by a unique swine flu virus.”“

which is unusual as it normally are the very young or very old and those whose immune system is very compromised that succumb to most variations of the flu. This flu is also a strain with parts combined genetically from the swine, human and avian flu which probably contributes to any extra virulence. It is also a strain that I would not doubt that could be created in a bio-weapons lab.

Here’s a link:

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By diamond, April 26, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Ding a ling! Look what I found on

‘Consider this story on the CIA and Cuba from the San Francisco Chronicle on January 10, 1977. This was another issue that was never investigated to its fullest. No one ever stood trial for what the USA did. We don’t even teach about it in our government schools.

CIA Link to Cuban Pig Virus Reported

With at least the tacit backing of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officials, operatives linked to anti-Castro terrorists introduced African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971.

Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic.

A U.S. intelligence source told Newsday last week he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at a U.S. Army base and CIA training ground in the Panama Canal Zone, with instructions to turn it over to the anti-Castro group.

The 1971 outbreak, the first and only time the disease has hit the Western Hemisphere, was labeled the “most alarming event” of 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. African swine fever is a highly contagious and usually lethal viral disease that infects only pigs and, unlike swine flu, cannot be transmitted to humans.

All production of pork, a Cuban staple, halted, apparently for several months.

A CIA spokesman, Dennis Berend, in response to a Newsday request for comment, said, “We don’t comment on information from unnamed and, at best, obscure sources.”

Did I say they were misfits and sexual perverts? I think I underestimated them. It can only mean even worse information and photos and tapes are due out on Abu Ghraib.

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By Blackspeare, April 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

In this age of zero risk and zero tolerance everything out of the ordinary is an emergency; however, it does make good copy!

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By diamond, April 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

On this occasion boggs,it’s distract. Since the politicians all have shares in drugs and guns companies they can’t lose. Swine flu or war -they make money either way.

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By KDelphi, April 26, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

politicky—We were thinking the same thing. Maybe this is “coincidence”?

Pharmaceuticals Division
Solid growth driven by key products — positive launch of RoActemra in Europe

“Sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division in the first three months of 2009 increased 8% in local currencies (8% in Swiss francs; 0% in US dollars) to 9.2 billion Swiss francs. This is around twice the global market growth rate (4.4%).2 The main sales drivers were Avastin, Herceptin, Tamiflu, MabThera/Rituxan and Lucentis.3 In the United States, solid growth of key products compensated for lower seasonal sales of Tamiflu. Sales by Chugai in Japan increased strongly due to Tamiflu, key anticancer medicines and Actemra. Sales in Europe/Rest of World were driven by continued demand for key products in Europe and in emerging markets.”

How can we find out who invests in this stock? Dont we have a right to know?

PSmith—Yes! And lets not forget all the incidents that Klein reported about neo-liberals, who were also advocates of the Chicago School of Shock: The Balkans, Yeltsin, “second colonialisms” in South Am (NAFTA, CAFTA) . We are also, apparently, giving almost $2 trillion to the IMF, which will then give out Trojan Horse loans, yadda, yadda…shoul;dnt we start with debt cancellation? Trying to distract from “torture memos”, or possible “fillibustering”?

I guess the problem is to figure out when youre being “shock doctrined”..

We wil probably be asking for it from Japan and China, very soon…we may find ourselves at the mercy of all this “democracy and Capitalism promotion”.

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By artie, April 26, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Could be a global disaster. A few weeks more will tell. Meanwhile, take precautions.

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By Nomad, April 26, 2009 at 2:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

if the Swine Flu is anything like the other scares and outbreaks in the US, it shouldn’t amount to much (I’m hoping anyway)

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By boggs, April 25, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Everyone knows where the ‘swine flu’ originates from don’t we?
The hog troughs in Washington D.C.
They either want to distract us or vaccinate us.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

I wouldn’t worry much about an epidemic coming from this little piggy pictured here. I think we had gone through a lot of metaphorical “swine flue” for eight long years during the evil Bush administration; a situation that unfortunately continues under the Obama administration and might be the final nail in the coffin of this huge beast called the USA!

What the heck! Those who don’t die from “swine flue” would die from hunger, depression, despair and suicide! It’s all undignified way of death!

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By light the watchtowers, April 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is the strain in Mexico a strain that
has been part of a preventative study,
or any other kind of study and was
there an accidental release.

That’s a question that should be asked,

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By godistwaddle, April 25, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

And evolution goes marching on, much as Jerry Falwell (is that his picture at the top of the page) and ilk deny it.

Fear about the evolution of microbes is a good fear to have—or at least a good wariness to have.

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By jackpine savage, April 25, 2009 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

Um, it’s been in the US for a long time (according to the CDC).

What would America be without fear?

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By Jakob Kantor, April 24, 2009 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From everything i’ve read 8 people were actually diagnosed with this flu. Also, all 8 people fully recovered. WOOP WOOP! sound the alarms we’re all going to die! Now, can we talk about the credit crunch that’ll lay waste to what little economic security we might have left in our minds.

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By Ed Harges, April 24, 2009 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

In a few days, this matter could blow everything else off the front pages for an indefinite period of time. Already CNN is reporting that 75 kids at a school in New York are suspected of having gotten this flu. A biologist friend of mine who is an expert on infectious diseases gave me a hard look and said this looks like it could be very big. He was really surprised at how fast the number of cases and the death rate are jumping.  The numbers out of Mexico go up by the hour. It appears very highly transmissible.

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By politicky, April 24, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

35,000 people a year die of the flu in the US.

Venture capital firm set to reap rewards on swine flu
Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:11pm BST

... Shares of the two public companies in the firm’s portfolio of eight Pandemic and Bio Defense companies—BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX.O) and Novavax (NVAX.O)—jumped Friday on news that the swine flu killed a reported 60 people in Mexico and has infected people in the United States.

The World Health Organization said the virus appears to be susceptible to Roche’s (ROG.VX) flu drug Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, but not to older flu drugs such as amantadine….

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