Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Structure of the influenza virion. The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins are shown on the surface of the particle. The viral RNAs that make up the genome are shown as red coils inside the particle and bound to Ribonuclear Proteins (RNPs).

I'm not a doctor.

I don't even play one on TV.

But I have a good computer and can find lots of information about lots of things.

That's a 3-D representation of a flu virus.

You may not understand all of the terminology, but suffice to say it is a complicated organism over which there is controversy as to its nature.

We hear a lot about a particular strain of the flu virus which is (as of this writing) affecting about 50 people in the United States.

We hear the term "pandemic" tossed around. I wonder whether we know what it means.

How does it differ from an "epidemic," which we almost never hear any more?

Here are the definitions.

Epidemic: a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease; many people are infected at the same time. A disease or anything resembling a disease; attacking or affecting many individuals in a community or a population.

Pandemic: An epidemic over a wide geographical area; "a pandemic outbreak of malaria."
An epidemic that is geographically widespread; occurring throughout a region or even throughout the world.

The flu virus attaches itself to a normal, healthy cell in the body and renders it unhealthy.

It also replicates itself and attaches to many other cells.

When enough viruses attach themselves to enough otherwise healthy cells, symptoms occur which we refer to as "the flu."

Here's what a virus attacking an otherwise healthy cell looks like:

That's pretty impressive, don't you think?

I was on a web site yesterday (I visit so many that I have forgotten which one) at which there was a comment about President BO's lackadaisical attitude toward this so-called pandemic of swine flu.

President BO responded by reassuring Americans it was "not a cause for alarm," even as the government began urgent steps to respond to the small-but-rising number of cases.

Another commenter then chimed in, saying something like, "Well, its ONLY 20 cases...what do you want him to do?"

(Now it's up to about 50 cases...still not a great percentage of 360,000,000 people.)

By the afternoon, Janet Napolitano, the ever vigilant Director of Homeland Security, was out front on the government's response to the outbreak. Besides fighting terrorism, overseeing epidemics is also part of her job.

This brings up the question of the task of Charles E. Johnson, Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services, who leads the Nation’s efforts in protecting the health of all Americans.

So who is in charge of the "pandemic," Janet Napolitano or Charles E. Johnson?"

It seems that Janet has been put in charge.

Sunday she declared a public health emergency to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.

So the swine flu is "not a cause for alarm," but it is "a public health emergency."

At best, that seems inconsistent to me.

Is this a real confidence builder?

Does this increase your sense of trust in this sophomoricly run government?

At this point, please imagine me giving out with a heavy "SIGH!"


TAO said...

Yep, kind of like, "Mission Accomplished" and or my favorite, "Our economy is fundamentally sound..."

Joe said...

TAO: The economy is FUNDAMENTALLY sound. If we had just let it work itself out (which it may be too late to do now, with so much government involvement) it would have done so. If congress had been honest (an oxymoron), we sould not be in this mess and the crooks would have been found out and prosecuted.

Trouble is, too many congress persons are among the crooks.

Mustang said...

Were I prone to dark humor, I might observe that if you lay down with the swine, you can catch the flu . . . good news for conservatives. This explains why Arlan Spector is now a full blown Democrat.

Remember Alinsky’s first rule: take advantage of every crisis. In that context, we can understand the apparent contradictions. This pox is also upon us because we don’t have a secretary of health and human services – although I admit, I’m still struggling with the logic of this peculiar corollary. I do disagree with one statement though; the voters are among the crooks; the crooks ARE the politicians. Too bad our people are among the most intellectually challenged in the entire world, otherwise they’d never give Ă˜bama and his horde the keys to the castle.

Joe said...

Mustang: Can't we just take his key away? Please!

It is my humble, but correct, opinion that nothing, absolutely nothing can explain Arlen Spector, regardless of the Party he's in.

bluepitbull said...

Or maybe it's kinda like flying a plane over Lower Manhattan and pretending like you didn't authorize it, or even know about it.

snaggletoothie said...

I am expecting Napolitano to assure us that everything is OK now that she has dispatched more agents from the Southern border to man the Canadian border and protect us from the dreaded pox.
On one of the Sunday shows Axelrod bragged that we are now closely examining trains going INTO Mexico. Since he wasappearing on the MSM he was treated as a sane person regardless.

Joe said...

Pitbull: I would like to see just ONE DAY when President BO and his cohorts don't do something really stupid. A lost cause, I'm sure.

Snaggletoothie: An example of what I said to Pitbull. Examining trains GOING INTO Mexico...brilliant!