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Monday, April 27, 2009

LIVE REPORTS on SWINE FLU from Doctors in Mexico

The following are actual commentaries from Doctors in Mexico about this flu outbreak and their comments display the tense emotional rollercoaster people feel during a "pandemic".

It is obvious from these good doctors that rumors still run rampant even among educated medical staff; people also become scared because of lack of good information; and at a time of great need, trust in local and federal government to come "bail them out" in the worst case scenario, appears like a bleak chance to virtually no chance. Preparedness does come up again, in that people are out obtaining facemasks and hand sanitizing lotions and soaps. Good ideas for us to do so before the panic sets in in this country and these items are not availble.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/8018428.stm

Readers in Mexico have been emailing the BBC describing the sense of fear gripping the country as a result of a flu virus outbreak, which has so far claimed more than 80 lives. The World Health Organization says the virus has the potential to become a pandemic. Read a selection of BBC readers' comments below.

I'm a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.
Antonio Chavez, Mexico City

I am a doctor and I work in the State of Mexico. I don't work in the shock team; I am in the echocardiography team, but I do get some news from my colleagues in the hospital. There have been some cases of young people dying from respiratory infections, but this happened before the alert and they were not reported because the necessary tests weren't done. We doctors knew this was happening a week before the alert was issued and were told to get vaccinated. I went to buy some anti-virals for my husband, who is also a doctor, because he had contact with a young patient who presented influenza symptoms and died. I don't think pharmacies stock enough anti-virals.

I understand the government doesn't want to generate panic, but my personal opinion is that they issued the alert too late. Still now, the population is not getting the information they need. We have been out in the street and some people are not wearing face masks and are not taking any preventive measures.
Guadalupe, Mexico City

I think there is a real lack of information and sadly, preventative action. In the capital of my state, Oaxaca, there is a hospital closed because of a death related to the porcine influenza. In the papers they recognize only two people dead for that cause. Many friends working in hospitals or related fields say that the situation is really bad, they are talking about 19 people dead in Oaxaca, including a doctor and a nurse. They say they got shots but they were told not to talk about the real situation. Our authorities say nothing. Life goes on as usual here.

Young people are going to schools and universities. Buses and planes go and come from Mexico City as frequently as before. Even with two people dead locally, last night the local baseball stadium was full, mainly with young people. What's really happening? I know vaccines are good for nothing, and if you take care, maybe you won't die, so, why not acknowledge the real situation? I know that the economic situation is not the best, and it will worsen with panic. But panic comes from a lack of information. Many people travel for pleasure or without any real need. Stopping those unjustified trips can help a lot to ease the situation. We must do something!Alvaro Ricardez, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico

The truth is that it is very strange, what we are living through here. The streets are empty, we are all staying in our houses. People are only going out to the hospitals, drugstores and to buy food. The great majority have their mouths covered. Concerts, festivals, masses have all been cancelled, the football matches have all been played behind closed doors. On the television and radio, every commercial break contains information on the symptoms, saying that if you have them to go to the doctor at once. Although we have been told to go to work as normal on Monday, I am worried because I am employed at a company where there are many people and believe that it could be highly contagious. They say on the news that the cases that are most critical involve people aged 20 to 50.
Nallely T, State of Mexico

Right now the situation is quite scary. We've never been living under such circumstances and it's caught us completely off guard. We are a developing country so our health system isn't very effective, plus the fact that our city is overpopulated doesn't help much; the government is doing what they can but I don't think it's enough. So the future isn't looking too bright. Everyone is very frightened, there are few people on the streets and we are all trying to be as safe as possible. But not knowing exactly how the virus works and how it can be killed off creates a horrible uncertainty. I'm being pessimistic but that's how most people I've talked to feel. Mariana, Mexico City

It's certainly been very quiet where I'm living in the Historic Centre of Mexico City, whereas normally the centre is almost uncomfortably packed at the weekend. Most people also seem to be wearing the facemasks being handed out by the army around the city. There always seems to be a healthy mistrust of the government here, but I wouldn't say I'm sensing a great deal of paranoia or panic. It does seem as though the unprecedented actions being taken by the government to contain the virus don't match with the statistics being provided, however, so there is some doubt as to whether they're just being overly cautious or whether things are a lot worse than what they're telling the public.
Randal Sheppard, Mexico City

Right now, things are far from under control here. All the museums, zoos, and concert venues have been closed. Masses, football games, sporting activities, cultural activities, have all been cancelled. All schools will be closed until 6 May, from kindergarten to university. We don't know what to think, the truth is that the government isn't telling us the truth. This case is worst than we think, some people take this just like a joke but not me, this is serious! Als it seems clear that this illness doesn't appear to be affecting the whole country, just Mexico City, the State of Mexico and San Luis Potosi.
Carla, Mexico City

I work as a resident doctor in one of the biggest hospitals in Mexico City and sadly, the situation is far from "under control". As a doctor, I realize that the media does not report the truth.

Authorities distributed vaccines among all the medical personnel with no results, because two of my partners who worked in this hospital (interns) were killed by this new virus in less than six days even though they were vaccinated as all of us were. The official number of deaths is 20, nevertheless, the true number of victims are more than 200. I understand that we must avoid to panic, but telling the truth it might be better now to prevent and avoid more deaths.
Yeny Gregorio Dávila, Mexico City

The situation in Mexico City is really not normal. There is a sense of uncertainty that borders on paranoid behavior in some cases. At this very moment, Mexican TV is showing how military forces are giving masks to the people in the streets. Moreover the news is sending alarming messages for the audience. Really, the atmosphere in the city is unsettling, a good example: pubs and concerts are being closed or cancelled and people don't haven thorough information. In this city (and country) there is an urgent need for assertive information, no paranoid messages from the government or the Mexican media.
Patricio Barrientos and Aranzazu Nuñez, Mexico City

Massive events have been cancelled at the National Auditorium - Mexico City's largest indoor venue with capacity of 10,000 - which has been closed. Two soccer games have been cancelled at the Olympic Stadium. A sold out game with 70,000 expected attendance will be played behind closed doors. Another game at the famous Azteca Stadium that would draw an attendance of 50,000 will also be played behind closed doors.
Juan Carlos Leon Calderon, Mexico City

It's eerily quiet here in the capital. Lots of people with masks, Facebook communities exchanging gallows humor, everybody waiting to see if schools and universities will stay closed for ten days (as goes the rumor). All masks have been used up, and we are waiting for new supplies.
Dr Duncan Wood, Mexico City

Yesterday in my office it was a bit surreal walking in to see all in blue masks with deep cleansing of computer equipment and surfaces going on. Let's hope it is contained and does not escalate. The local news is reporting 200 fatalities and reports of flu spreading from areas outside of Mexico City. Given the volume of daily commuter traffic on cramped busses and trains, this may not have to be too virulent to be disastrous in human terms. I wonder what controls there will be on flights in and out.
Will Shea, Mexico City

I work for the government as a head of a computer infrastructure operations department. At work we are doing several actions to try not to expose workers. We sent several home. I support the Pumas football team and the very important match with the Guadalajara team will be played behind closed doors. My family and I are going to stay home all weekend. We feel a little scared and confused with the feeling that we are not given being told the truth. Many people think the numbers of dead people is higher than we are being told.
Marcos, Mexico City

The whole city is affected, I have a very bad feeling about this. Two of my friends at work are sick, they were sick for a couple of days, they went to the hospital and they sent them back to work. The doctor told them it was just a flu until Friday when the alarm was spread, then they were allowed to go home. I work in a call centre and I'm worried because there are no windows in the building so it cannot be ventilated and around 400 people work there.

We all have talked to our supervisor but no one has done anything not even sterilize or disinfect the area. We will be sick soon and, well, do the math - 400 can infect at least another two per day. The authorities say there's nothing they can do since it's a private company and I can assure you, the company I work for is not the only one like this in the whole city. Us workers don't have much protection from our government and if we want to keep our jobs we have to go anyway.
Adriana, Mexico City

My sister got influenza like symptoms two weeks ago. She is fine now, thank god, but similar cases have been showing up since two weeks ago. I work for a bank and we were told to take our laptops because there is a high possibility to work from home. I have gone out to buy some facemasks.
Ruben Farfan, Mexico City

I'm a college student in Mexico City, and I can only say that the information that the media has provided doesn't seem to be enough, we do not now how serious it is because they have failed to mention it. There have been two ways of responding to this event, the ones that have entered themselves into quarantine claiming that the government is hiding something much more serious, and those who take this as a joke saying that everyone is overreacting. To put a cherry on top all kinds of crazy rumors are flying around - that they are going to quarantine Mexico City, that a school and some specific branches of offices and jobs are going to be suspended for days to come, and so on. I wish more info was available, for example how to prevent it? Have there been many deaths? Is there a threat of an epidemic?
Mari A, Mexico City

I didn't hear about the flu epidemic until last night at 2330. Yesterday the streets were almost empty compared to a normal Friday afternoon. The media is bombarding the same information over and over again, but the authorities haven't said anything new yet, only that they have enough vaccines for those with the flu and that we should avoid public spaces.
Paulina, Mexico City

This is another blow to the tourism industry in Mexico, even though non of the events that is taken place is anywhere near the tourist areas of Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Puerto Vallarta, the news comes across as all of Mexico is affected! After wrong reports of drug related violence, military presence etc. in Cancun, which hurt the industry tremendously, now people think that all of Mexico is affected by a virus that is mostly present in the capital. I guess the problem is that this is a country where the capital carries the same name as the country, thus when people hear news about Mexico, albeit it refers to Mexico City, they assume it is affecting the whole country.
Rainer, Cancun

Swine Flu State of Emergency Declared

Determination that a Public Health Emergency Exists

As a consequence of confirmed cases of Swine Influenza A (swH1N1) in California, Texas, Kansas, and New York, on this date (2009-04-26) and after consultation with public health officials as necessary, I, Charles E. Johnson, Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. § 247d, do hereby determine that a public health emergency exists nationwide involving Swine Influenza A that affects or has significant potential to affect national security.

Acting HHS Secretary Charles E. Johnson Source: http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/phe_swh1n1.html

Survivalblog.com is a "goto" site for real Source Information:
The Mexican Flu and You

In the past 24 hours I've received dozens of e-mails from SurvivalBlog readers about the emerging Mexican Flu. Some news stories have included cryptic comments from heath officials, implying that the mechanism of infection makes this particular virus "very difficult to contain." This leads me to conclude that those infected have a long latency period during which they are infectious, yet, they do not display frank symptoms. This does not bode well for any hopes of containing the spread of the virus.
Then we hear a CDC official stating: "The swine flu virus contains four different gene segments representing both North American swine and avian influenza, human flu and a Eurasian swine flu." That strikes we as something very peculiar.
The disease is respiratory, and has one strong similarity to the 1918 Spanish Flu: "The majority were young adults between 25 and 45 years old," said one official under the condition of anonymity. Since, young and healthy people with strong immune systems are the most likely to succumb, this might indicate that the biggest killer is a cytokene storm--a collapse caused by the human immune system's over-reaction to a pathogen.
I strongly recommend that everyone reading this take the time to re-read my background article on flu self-quarantine and other precautions: Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic. The details that I give there are quite important. Pay special attention to my discussion of the shortage of hospital ventilators. If anyone in your family is immunosuppressed, consider yourselves on alert. Make your final preparations to hunker down, immediately.
In the next few days, there is a good chance of wholesale panic, including some well-publicized "runs" --probably first for hand sanitizer and face masks, and soon after for bottled water and groceries. Plan on it.
UPDATE: The BBC News web page Mexico flu: Your experiences has some updates posted from individuals in Mexico City.
To summarize, here are some key quotes from a recent article:
"This outbreak is particularly worrisome because deaths have happened in at least four different regions of Mexico, and because the victims have not been vulnerable infants and elderly."The most notorious flu pandemic, thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19, also first struck otherwise healthy young adults."..."But it may be too late to contain the outbreak, given how widespread the known cases are. If the confirmed deaths are the first signs of a pandemic, then cases are probably incubating around the world by now, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a pandemic flu expert at the University of Minnesota."No vaccine specifically protects against swine flu, and it is unclear how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer."
Current statistics show a less than 10% lethality rate, but of course the first wave of flu victims are getting access to the best medical care available. If the contagion spreads, sheer numbers will quickly overwhelm hospital facilities--particularly the number of mechanical ventilators available. So the lethality rate may rise, even if there is not a viral mutation.

Here are the latest headlines on the flu, as well as some background pieces.
County's masterplan to deal with flu pandemic

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What About Wheat for Food Storage?

It is recommended that you have at least 300 pounds of wheat per person for a one year supply of basic wheat grains.

*There are six major classes of wheat listed below.

Hard Wheat

Hard red winter wheat is a high protein wheat used mostly for breads and all-purpose flour and as an adjunct in other flours to increase protein content. This class of wheat accounts for more than 40% of the U.S. wheat crop and half of U.S. wheat exports.

Durum wheat is a spring wheat, and may be either white or red. It is the hardest of all U.S. wheat, offers both high protein and high gluten content, and used to make the semolina flour used for premium pasta products and some Mediterranean breads.

Hard red spring wheat is the highest protein wheat, and is used for bread, hard baked goods, all-purpose flour, and flour blends.

Hard white wheat is medium protein grain that is closely related to red wheat except for color, in milling and baking qualities. However, it offers a milder, sweeter flavor, and is used in yeast breads, hard rolls, bulgur, tortillas, oriental noodles, whole wheat and all-purpose flowers, and used in brewing. It is the newest class of wheat to be grown in the United States.

Soft Wheat

Soft red winter wheat has a low to medium protein content, and is used for breads and blending. It is used to make cookies, cakes, donuts, and other fine pastries as well as flat breads, and crackers.

Soft white wheat is a low protein wheat, but offers high yields to growers. It provides a whiter product for high quality cakes, crackers, cookies, pastries, and Asian-style noodles (bakery products other than breads), and is ideally suited to Middle Eastern flatbreads.

*For more information: http://www.gramene.org/species/triticum/wheat_intro.html

Feed Wheat, what about it?

Feed Wheat – is wheat normally used for livestock feeding. A very valid question was asked about if humans can (and I would add, or should) consume Feed Wheat.

Yes humans can consume feed wheat. They can also consume dog food and pig food and other animal foods, however would you really want to? I do not think the lower cost reduction of animal feeds, (which often are only very slightly less expensive) justifies the trade out of high quality enriched foods. The drop in food cost in my mind does not outweigh the drop in food quality and lower protein percentages. However, decide for yourself. You can locate feed wheat at most animal feed stores for farm animals.

This being said, some brave souls will continue to eat feed wheat and dog food during emergencies. And no they will not die. After all, in the early 60’s many hippies were surviving on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and our society was criticizing them as ‘heading for the malnutrition lines.

We laughed at them then, but life was sustained. Their diets may have violated the norms of a good balanced diet, however we learned that living on limited basics can still sustain life and not bring about the ‘end as we know it’.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage

In Emergency Preparedness, think in increments in your preparations. I always like to compartmentalize things because it makes it easier to remember.

I consider the following important:

1. Know what types of disasters and emergencies you are likely to experience. If you do not know what is out there, find out. In Washington state, these are likely storms, power outages, hazardous spills, flooding, landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and in some areas, tsunamis, lahars and tornados.

2. Know what types of safety precautions are needed and training needed to deal with each of these.

3. Prepare a 120-hour emergency kit for each member of your family and a vehicle kit for each vehicle. My wife and my 120-hour kits are in bright orange "Search Rescue" bags and our vehicle kits are in clear tubs.

4. Work on increasing your home pantry to include basics, things you normally eat, until you have a three-month supply. Try to purchase extra food on sales. One of the benefits of having these items is that your grocery bill will be reduced once you have built up your supplies. For me, I use an old refrigerator to store boxed items to keep critters and bugs out and the cabinets of our pantry doors are left locked to keep items from tumbling out in the event of earthquake.

5. Gradually add to your camping and survival gear, heat sources, light sources, sleeping and comfort gear, clothing, blankets and quilts, sanitation gear, etc. Take an inventory and check over your list of desired items. If you concentrate on these items in groups, it makes it easier to realize what you do not have and what you still need or do not need. You will also find you can upgrade your items easier by dating and identifying what you actually have or do not have, what you need versus what would be nice, etc...

6. Gradually add to a one year or larger food storage of such basics as grains (including wheat, flour, corn meal, oats, rice and pasta), fats and oils (including shortening, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing and peanut butter), legumes (such as dry beans, lima beans, soy beans, split peas, lentils and dry soup mix), sugars (including honey, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, jams and powdered fruit drink), dairy (both powdered and evaporated milk), cooking essentials (such as baking powder, baking soda, yeast, salt and vinegar) and at least a one month supply of drinking water and a few bottles of plain bleach without additives to be used for cleaning and for water purification. Also store some comfort food. For me, that means a couple of #10 cans loaded with Snickers candy bars. They probably will not last twenty years in those cans, but then I will probably give in to eating them sooner than later anyway....

A little work and some luck on sales will see you ready in a very short time. May you be blessed with success on being prepared for the future. Being a Prepper is just a matter of thinking and writing and then acting on your needs, one little step at a time. Happy Preppering!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Welcome Jonnalyhn Wolfcat Hall to WashingtonPreppersNetwork.com

I wish to extend a welcome to Jonnalyhn Wolfcat Hall as our newest contributing author of washingtonpreppersnetwork,com. She has an extensive background in preparedness subjects and will be able to provide a great diversity of subject material to our lives.

Thank you for your willingness to serve the people of Washington State in preparing against the times of disasters and state emergencies.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hope you had a Good Easter

I have been absent from my computer for the last few weeks.

First, we traveled down to Utah and spent 9 days with our children who live down there. It was a wonderful visit, despite the snowstorm we had one day out of our entire time in Utah. I had the opportunity to go by a couple of survival and emergency preparedness stores and I picked up a few more items to round out our emergency preparedness gear and food storage.

During this past week I remained very busy planting my garden during some of the warmer days. It is a little early, but I plan to cover my plants if we get another cold snap, in order to protect my new plant starts. I put in some ever-bearing strawberries, some broccoli, some cauliflower, some zucchini squash, and two kinds of lettuce. My peach tree is in full bloom and my apple trees are full of buds; so are my grape vines and my raspberries, and one strawberry plant. The warm spell has confused my plants to thinking it is later I believe. It is comforting to see my garden going in. I love the feel of the rich topsoil; it is something I cannot get enough of.

Today is Easter Sunday. I spent my day attending Church and then traveling to one of my daughter’s homes for an Easter supper. One of our sons joined us there also. Again another great visit with family and grandchildren.

My daughter did something unusual today. We hid plastic eggs throughout the downstairs and then called the children down and let them hunt for them. Each child was told that they were to find only eight eggs and then come to the table with their bowl of eggs. The hunt was fun and all of the children eventually met at the dinner table.

My daughter then picked out twelve plastic eggs that they had found that each had numbers on them from 1 to 12. We then sat around in the family room and the kids took turns opening the eggs one egg at a time in sequence. Each egg contained some item to remind the children of some part of the life, Atonement, death and Resurrection of the Savior and had a pre-printed scripture to tell that part of the journey to the Resurrection. The children looked up additional scriptures and they took turns reading from the New Testament story in Mathew and other books of the Bible.

About half way through, my son-in-law asked the children if there were any of the kids that could tell what was in the previous 6 eggs and what they represented. One of the older girls repeated the items with the other kids chiming in. I was impressed that they remembered what each of the items was and the symbol they represented. At the completion of the 12th egg, which was empty, they simultaneously shouted out the answer, there is nothing there; it represents the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. One of the youngest then volunteered to name all twelve items. She had some help, but she did very well considering she is only eight years old.

Instead of just an Easter of the world (the other plastic eggs had candy in them), the children enjoyed the Easter story just as much, while family all sat around in the family room listening intently. I am thankful that they know the real reason for the season of Easter and have there priorities straight. It made for a special evening.

My wish to all of you is that you had a great day with your family also and that we are all able to keep our priorities straight. Our country depends on our being a righteous people with strong families. There is much more to preparations than just being physically prepared. Today I was reminded of the importance of the spiritual aspects of preparation also.
Washington Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Washington Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.