How's Swine Flu Doing In London?

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 99 months ago
How's Swine Flu Doing In London?

Swine flu is starting to creep back into the news agenda, as London apparently has more severely ill patients than anywhere else in the country (though note the final line of the Standard's story: we have more critical care beds, so the conclusion looks a bit post hoc ergo propter hoc). So when the Guardian kindly provided some data, we thought we'd take a look and see if we could make sense of it.

Casting our minds back to July when the outbreak peaked, we were seeing figures like 300 or 400 cases per 100,000 across the city, with Tower Hamlets streaking ahead with 792 per 100,000. The same borough still leads the current case table, but with a much less terrifying-sounding 105 cases per 100,000 (as of the week starting 2nd November). The rest of the city is showing a steady uptick to around the 35-65 cases mark, which is enough to take us back into epidemic status. That's pretty much on par with the rest of the country, although Birmingham and several bits of Scotland seem to be incubating the virus much faster than us. Someone might like to ask what Kingston's secret is, mind - .6.8 cases per 100,000? Do they all have superstrong immune systems down there?

Even as deaths increase, cases are dropping - which could be down to half term - but as winter creeps in, we expect the papers will stop criticising a half-blind man's handwriting and start showing photos of face masks again. The virus isn't showing signs of mutating though, so for most of us it's still a case of wash your hands and bed and paracetamol if you're unlucky, rather than panic and Tamiflu.

Last Updated 15 November 2009

Dr David Hill

I am afraid it is the situation of not letting the virus jump into humans in the first place and everyone appears to miss this point completely. In the tropics and other areas of the world where the killer pandemic virus will no doubt emerge and where it is very cold through the night, farmers sleep with pigs and chickens etc, etc, etc. Therefore as the animals, especially pigs are incubators for most of the possible killer viruses, the farmers are breathing in night-after-night a concoction of air borne viruses and mixing in the human lungs and breathing/throat tract. When man becomes infected with human flu, the whole thing is mixing all together for 8 hours on average every night. This is one of the main reasons why avian and swine jump into man. Stop these simple things happening and the virus will have very little chance to spread into humans – you need very close contact for the initial killer virus to become infected into humans in this respect. After that the person infected can easily transmit via cough, sneezes etc, etc to other unsuspecting humans. It is therefore the initial stages that are so vital. The only element therefore needed in many ways, is that we give these millions and millions of farmers, cheap heaters to keep them and their families warm throughout the cold nights. Then they would not sleep with the pigs, chickens et al. Indeed you take the source away from the jump into humans (nightly incubation that goes on every night) and if people know anything about these viruses they will know that they need a mixing vessel where all three viruses exist together. Vaccination of the livestock is also one of the other preventative measures. Put these two together plus other simple methods and the virus can hardly jump or exist in humans as it has not the incubation period to do so – the innovation chain is broken. Indeed, the transmission is extremely low if at all – as the problem is eradicated at source and it never happens.

But again because there are not billions in profits for this field work for pharmaceutical corporations, no one wishes to listen, not even politicians as the drug’s lobby group is so powerful that it strikes all other alternatives down – even if they are the true solution to the problem. It is estimated that all these preventative methods would cost around £50 billion to put in place and which is a very small price to prevent the hundreds of millions that will die once the real killer virus does raise its ugly head (as it will some day) and the financial costs and damage economically to the world are vast; far , far more than £50 billion as the whole system could well collapse.

You will never quicken the lead-time quick enough for any antidote, even if we had an antidote that was safe within 1-month. The reason, the logistics in manufacturing and then distribution would take at least 6 months in the quantities needed (billions of doses) to get to the very first few. For if people did not know also, the 1918 Spanish flu that killed between 20 and 100 million did its worst in the first 6-months of the start of the outbreak. Indeed, from week 16 > Week 26. We have been lucky in the near past that the virus have not been easily transmitted to humans. But when the killer virus does appear that can easily jump into humans, the drugs strategy will be absolutely useless. People should therefore really use their common sense here for their family’s and loved one’s sake and see clearly that this drugs strategy has not a cat in hell’s chance of working when the thing is with us. Then it will definitely be too late for hundreds of millions of people who will inevitably die – it may even be over 1–billion deaths as some people estimate.

I finish by quoting the old adage that 'Prevention is better than cure and where this has always been the primary consideration of health professionals. This has to be the hallmark statement also to stop the eventual killer virus happening. Why treat the condition when you should never let it start.
Unfortunately we have thrown this well established and primary medical understanding of human health out of the window.

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation Charity
Bern, Switzerland


*ahem* OK... of course, I would caution anyone reading the above comment to be wary of taking scientific advice from anyone who thinks a virus can be combated with an "antidote". But, should anyone wish to look at this Swiss charity further, here's the website, or you can contact them via their PO Box address in Huddersfield.

Seriously, people are confused enough about swine flu and this sort of thing helps nobody.