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28 November, 2009

Meteor Impact As Seen In The Skies Over South Africa Saturday Evening

The link comes courtesy of Jim Rawles at www.survivalblog.com, who states, "Listening to eyewitness accounts it was seen from as far away as Maputo (in Mozambique) Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The meteor was traveling northwest and was presumed to have landed beyond the Botswana border. This video footage was taken approx 350 kilometers from the border."


24 November, 2009

Cold War Era Bunker Converted To Luxury Home

The link below will take you to a photo slide-show put together by the folks at the Wall Street Journal highlighting how a Cold War era bunker was converted into a luxury home.

It turned out to be a beautiful home, but would I seem nuts if I said I would have preferred the bunker? ;)

LINK: Photos: From Bunker to Home - WSJ.com


20 November, 2009

Another Update Re:"H1N1 'super flu' plague in Ukraine spark concern, conspiracy theories about origins"

Another facet has now entered into the discussion over what is happening in the Ukraine that basically poses the question, with the WHO claiming there is little evidence to support the feared worsening of disease there, that perhaps the whole thing might be being blown out of proportion for political reasons. Apparently, the president's hold on his office is becoming shaky, and so the postponing of election, talk of martial law, etc. could be all about trying to hang on until he can change public perception sufficiently to get himself reelected; the 'hero who bravely led us during harsh times' and all that.

My problem with that explanation is that no amount of political juxtapositioning accounts for fatalities whose lungs, at autopsy, were found to be so black that they appeared burnt and were described as looking more like a liver than lungs. This was a quote from a doctor in Ukraine. And then there is the fact that it took weeks to finally get the sequences from Ukraine samples released to the public, only to have them say very little.

RBD Change D225G in Ukraine Lungs Raises Concerns: "Recombinomics Commentary 21:53
November 18, 2009

... All H and N sequences are typical for H1N1, as indicated in early WHO announcements. There are no large changes. Additional gene segments have been deposited from a subset of these isolates... There are silent changes that are in all or most Ukraine sequences, but the only HA polymorphism was the receptor binding domain change, D225G. This polymorphism was in the three lungs, as well as the one throat sample. It was not in the nasopharyngeal washes or the isolate grown in MDCK cells suggesting the D225G may have a tissue tropism component and may allow for high levels of virus in the lung.

D225G was also found in necropsy lung tissue from fatal cases in Sao Paulo, further supporting tissue tropism associated with this polymorphism. The polymorphism has recently appeared on a series of different genetic backgrounds, supporting acquisition by recombination. The genetic backgrounds were geographically diverse... In addition, it was in isolates from last spring collected in the United States and Mexico.

The appearance of D225G on multiple recent genetic backgrounds raises concerns that the polymorphism is offering a selective advantage in association with multiple genetic backgrounds, and the selective detection of the polymorphism in lung and throat samples may indicate it is more widespread because of its absence from nasopharyngeal washes. Lung and throat sampling may be required for detection and determination of the true geographical reach of this change..

More information on outcomes for these patients, as well as results for lung and nasopharyngeal samples from the same patient, would be useful..."


Then, from comments exchanged later at the Flutracker site, this is Niman explaining what is happening:

"D225G was in all 3 lung samples and the 1 throat samples. I would guess that all four were fatal (they are from the two hardest hit areas). Nasopharyngeal washes were negative, which I would guess are from patients that are alive. If those two assumptions are correct, it would mean that virus with D225G has a MUCH higher CFR than virus without D225G.

My guess is that D225G directs the virus to the lung and allows it to grow to high levels, leading to cytokine storm and death. I don't think that these patients are dying because of delayed treatment. I think they are dying because they got the virus with D225G."


19 November, 2009

Letter Re: My Thoughts on 2012

Corey Pein of the Santa Fe Reporter sent me the following link to a piece he had printed in that publication recently regarding all the 2012 hoopla that is making the rounds right now. It is worth your time to give it a read.

Personally, I've spent some time debunking 2012 here at Backwooods Survival Blog as well.

See the following:
2012 is B.S.!!!


14 November, 2009

Report States That Oil Running Out Far Faster Than Predicted

Oil running out far faster than predicted: report: "A leading academic institute has urged European governments to review global oil supplies for themselves because of the 'politicisation' of the International Energy Agency's figures....

... Kjell Aleklett, professor of physics at Uppsala and co-author of a new report 'The Peak of the Oil Age', claims oil production is more likely to be 75m barrels a day by 2030 than the 'unrealistic' 105m used by the IEA in its recently published World Energy Outlook 2009. The academic... described the IEA's report as a 'political document' developed for consuming countries with a vested interest in low prices..."

The report points out that IEA estimates are based on an expectation that oil will somehow be extracted at a pace never previously seen without providing any justification whatsoever for such an assumption.

This comes just days after a whistleblower spoke-out about the way energy statistics were being handled at the IEA, suggesting that the influence of the United States was being used to encourage downplaying of the potential for future oil scarcity because of fears of 'panic' occurring in the markets.

For what it's worth, the author of this most recent report "said he had experience of similar internal worries about the IEA."

The IEA, of course, denies any such assertions.

In closing, the author added, "I am a scientist, not an economist or a politician. I believe in the facts and if someone can prove me wrong I will happily change my mind."


13 November, 2009

Supply Of Conventional Crude Oil Is Very Close To Its Peak

The piece linked below is not new, but the author does a superb job of explaining how society is fully and unabashedly tied to a steady supply of cheap, plentiful oil and how those days are rather quickly drawing to an abrupt close.

Extra points are conferred due to their understanding that so-called alternative or "green" energy sources, while they will no doubt be necessary, can never give us what we got from oil over the past century as cheaply and easily as oil gave it to us.

We have come to the end of the era of perpetual and unlimited growth.


Supply Of Conventional Crude Oil Is Very Close To Its Peak: "... Sceptics can say what they want; it does not change the fact that our world is struggling to maintain daily flow-rates. Whether you agree with us or not, the energy reality is that the supply of conventional crude oil is very close to its peak and no other fuel source can easily fill the supply gap.

Yes, various governments are now promoting alternative sources of energy and over the following years, we expect this drive to intensify. But those sources will provide too little, too late. So there remains, today, an unbelievable degree of denial when it comes to “Peak Oil”. Most people simply dismiss it as a conspiracy. Others gleefully point to alternative sources of energy, whereas some believe that the vast improvements in oil drilling technology will save the day. Do not be seduced by these delusional hopes..."


12 November, 2009

Massive Blackout Engulfs Brazil

This is especially interesting in light of the recently leaked information regarding two separate instances where cities in Brazil were the victims of cyber attacks on their infrastructure. For the record, officials are denying that this had anything to do with anything like that, blaming a technical problem instead.

Massive Blackout Engulfs Brazil: "Brazil's two largest cities have been hit by a massive blackout that has also affected other parts of Latin America's largest nation.

Media reports say problems at a huge hydroelectric dam are to blame for the electrial outages affecting large parts of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and other cities in several states.

The G1 Web site of Globo TV says Brazil lost 17,000 megawatts of power after an unspecified problem happened at the Itaipu dam that straddles the border of Brazil and Paraguay."

Another article stated, "Traffic on the city's streets descended into chaos shortly after the power outage. Thousands of passengers were forced to exit stalled subway trains and walk along the tracks to get back to stations and make their way to the surface.

The city's streets were still clogged early on Wednesday after the mayor canceled restrictions on the amount of cars allowed to circulate during rush-hour traffic.

In Rio, the beachside city that will host the 2016 Olympics, many tourists left their hotel rooms along Copacabana beach because of the lack of air-conditioning and milled around on the darkened streets."

Photos courtesy of here and here.


08 November, 2009

US Natural Gas Potential Highly Overrated

Over the past several months, there has been a lot of talk about how so-called 'shale gas' was going to save us all, supplying U.S. energy requirements for decades to come. Those of us in Peak Oil circles knew this, of course, to be utter hooey, and now here it is coming to light.

It appears production from these wells drops-off drastically within just the first few years of operation, causing pricing to skyrocket. The depletion curves I have seen regarding natural gas production make oil actually appear to be a stable resource. No kidding.


Peak Oil – The Rewards: "... Geologist Art Berman, for example, offers a decidedly negative view of the latest “big thing” – obtaining large volumes of natural gas from “tight shales.” In a comprehensive review of production and flow rates from several thousand wells drilled in the past decade in the Barnett Shale of Texas, Mr. Berman presents a gloomy forecast.

Looking at a large sampling of Barnett wells, the overall data reveal that initial gas flows decline rapidly. With some wells, the drop-off is as much as 70% in the first year, with further declines of 20% in the second year.

This hardly dovetails with the happy talk about how “shale gas” will supply US energy requirements for the next several decades, if not a couple of centuries. It appears that most Barnett wells are short-term money losers, with a few prolific wells carrying the bulk of capital expenditure.

According to Mr. Berman, the picture is not much better in other shale plays, such as the Fayetteville and Haynesville shales. And similar gloomy data are just now starting to come in on the embryonic gas play in the giant Marcellus formation of Pennsylvania..."


05 November, 2009

The Making of a Narco State

The theme following Mexico's long descent into chaos as a now barely-standing failed state is old hat here at Backwoods Survival Blog. We've talked about it previously on numerous occasions due to the inherent dangers it poses, especially to our readers in states directly bordering that proverbial wasteland.

Mexico has been stumbling for quite a long time but it has benefited from being propped-up by tourism, oil and a sturdy, strong United States. However, now that their primary oilfield is dying and the U.S. as a nation is beginning to show cracks in our foundation, who will be there to help them the next time their roof is falling-in on them. The answer, of course, is very likely no one, and it is something that will almost assuredly occur in our lifetimes, if not within the decade.

It is quite obviously already pretty far down that path. To quote the article, "... the line between law enforcement and organized crime has virtually disappeared. Many of Mexico's police officers, who are paid less than $5,000 a year on average, supplement their meager incomes by taking money from drug traffickers. In a recent investigation of 400 federales, 90 percent were linked to the cartels. Police who refuse to cooperate are frequently executed, often in broad daylight. More than 500 police were killed last year, some of them beheaded by members of the growing cult of Santa Muerte, or Holy Death — a group, celebrated in shrines across the country, that includes drug traffickers and police officers alike. In January, to cite one of many grim examples, the severed head of a police comandante was dumped in front of the police station in Ciudad Ju├írez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas."

What you will have when the true collapse finally occurs is a fractured collection of barely functioning Mad Max-ian No Man's Lands, controlled by drug lords and cartels who will set themselves up as petty warlords. They will control the land and everyone in it, but all semblance of what people know as government will likely vanish as the full resources of the state will be turned toward their chosen industry: narcotics. As a result, even the meager social services that now exist will disappear completely, except for those that might continue to survive and operate under the auspices of the Catholic Church. By and large, the people living in these areas will be ignored by their new government rather than actively oppressed, until such a time as they are needed as slave labor to support the increased drug production that will undoubtedly explode after what little law enforcement now exists is truly no longer a threat. Also, human trafficking in pretty little Chicas will be a booming business in such a lawless environment, even more so than it is currently.

Why will this be an issue for you, you ask from your comfortable retreat home in the U.S.? Because, if you think there are a lot of illegals coming over the border now, you ain't seen nothing like the deluge that is going to occur when half of the villagers in northern Mexico become refugees fleeing a life of depredation, rape and torture. And, such an influx of population will only serve to further stress the carrying capacity of the land, water and environment.

LINK: The Making of a Narco State : Rolling Stone


Further Update Re: Re: "Unidentified Outbreak in Western Ukraine"

Reports below appear courtesy of Dr. Niman at Recombinomics.com. Selected emphasis in bold are mine.

Clusters of Hemorrhagic H1N1 Pneumonia in Ukraine
Recombinomics Commentary 11:54
November 4, 2009


Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast

All the six dead young people had symptoms of severe hemmorhagic pneumonia. The disease starts slowly, with temperature rising to 37.2 - 37.3 degrees, slight cough and pain in joints. Nasal catarrh developed at the end of the second or third day. Autopsy revealed that the lungs were soaked with blood, the oblast chief specialist said.

The above comments are from an early story describing cases in Ukraine. The clustering of hemorrhagic cases raised concerns. The concern was increased by anecdotal reports citing a high frequency of such cases in Lviv. The recent WHO announcement that they were initially focusing of severe acute respiratory illness in Lviv also increased concerns.

Hemorrhagic pneumonia was also observed in the 1918 pandemic and was thought to be linked to cytokine storm. Consequently, those with robust immune systems (previously health young adults) disproportionately died, which has also been seen in the current outbreak (Mexico, US, and worldwide). However, the cases in Ukraine appear to be clustered, raising concerns that the virus has changed.

However, the change may be minor, since the current H1N1 has produced the above symptoms in earlier cases. More severe cases may be linked to a higher viral load, which could be linked to minor genetic changes, or simply due to concentration of virus in schools. In the US the spread of the virus has been linked to school openings, which lead to an explosion of cases and subsequent student deaths. However, now there are increases in fatalities in teachers and administrators, increasing concerns worldwide.

In Ukraine, weather changes and heating issues may have led to a surge in cases, and increased concentrations of virus could have produced conditions favoring high viral loads and increased cytokine storms.

Samples have been sent to Mill Hill, and sequence data should be released shortly. Similarly, investigations on hemorrhagic pneumonia in Lviv should help resolve the mechanism for the high concentration of such cases in western Ukraine.

However, H1N1 spread in Kiev has been noted, and other countries such as Belarus have announced additional H1N1 suspect or confirmed fatalities.

Sequence analysis of these cases and an update on the frequency of hemorrhagic pneumonia in Ukraine and worldwide would be useful.

Reported Cases in Ukraine Double in Two Days
Recombinomics Commentary 14:34
November 4, 2009
478,456 Influenza/ARI

24,003 Hospitalized

60 Ventilators

81 Deaths

The above numbers are from the latest update from Ukraine. The number of infected patients has almost doubled to just under ½ million, compared to the report two days ago. Hospitalized patients also have spiked higher, to 24K from 15K. ICU cases are not listed, but 60 on ventilators are. However, most (37) of those on ventilators are Chernivisti Oblast, but Lviv, which has the most fatalities and cases, has none, suggesting the data is incomplete or there are significant shortages of ventilators. The number of dead has risen to 81, but media reports describe additional fatalities, include those in the Kiev Oblast.

The explosion of cases again raises concerns that the number of fatalities is significantly higher than the 81 listed. Media reports have described an equal number of pneumonia fatalities which were not considered flu related. The basis of these exclusions remains unclear. Similarly, anecdotal reports suggest the number of fatalities is markedly higher than the 81 in the table.

The rapid rise in reported infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in the past few days raise concerns that the virus is transmitting very efficiently. Spikes in cases have been reported throughout the northern hemisphere, but the spike in fatalities and the frequency in hemorrhagic cases in Ukraine have raised concerns.

Earlier media reports suggest that an update by WHO might be issued today and include preliminary analysis of samples sent to Mill Hill in London.

Daily updates on the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine, including sequence analysis, would be useful.


04 November, 2009

Another Update Re: Re: "Unidentified Outbreak in Western Ukraine"

Information coming out of Ukraine is still rather sketchy. Honestly, we don't even yet have a handle on whether or not it is H1N1 swine flu or some other virus or infection altogether. CIDRAP (the Center or Infectious Disease Research and Policy), however, recently did release a statement saying, "Laboratory testing at labs in the Ukraine have confirmed the pandemic H1N1 virus in samples taken from patients in two regions, the WHO said, adding that because the pandemic virus has become dominant throughout the world, most of the Ukrainian respiratory illnesses are probably caused by the novel H1N1 strain;" so there you go.

Swine flu scare tightens borders around Ukraine (AP): "Russia and Slovakia tightened their borders with Ukraine on Tuesday as the World Health Organization began investigating a suspected swine flu outbreak.

The death toll from flu has climbed to 71 since the outbreak struck last week in the western city of Ternopil, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said.

Blood tests have yet to determine how many of these deaths were from the new and aggressive H1N1 strain. But the WHO said in a statement on Tuesday that most flu cases in Ukraine can be assumed to be H1N1, 'as the pandemic virus has rapidly become the dominant influenza strain worldwide.'

As a precaution, schools and universities across the country will remain closed this week, and officials urged people in western Ukraine to travel only when necessary and stay away from public places..."


Here is an update from Dr. Niman of Recombinomics.com:
"WHO Targets Hemorrhagic H1N1 Cases in Lviv Ukraine
Recombinomics Commentary 19:54
November 3, 2009

Work will initially begin in Lviv region, where reported numbers of cases showing severe manifestations of acute respiratory illness have been especially high. Two virologists on the team have started working at the National Influenza Centre and the laboratories of the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Kyiv to provide diagnostic support.

The above comments from the WHO update on Ukraine strike a more serious tone than yesterday's quotes from WHO spokespersons playing down the alarming number of hospitalized and fatal cases, as well as media reports spinning political considerations, or politicians claiming only 15 confirmed H1N1 cases. As the WHO update clearly states, the dominant influenza circulating worldwide is swine H1N1 and it is assumed that most cases in the Ukraine (see map) are swine H1N1. Since the official government website lists 19,189 influenza cases (in addition to more than 235,000 ARI cases), the willingness of politicians to cite 15 confirmed cases, as well as media support in the distribution of the propaganda, is unfortunate.

The more severe manifestation of ARI cases are clearly hemorrhagic disease that fills lungs with blood and produces bleeding at all orifices, which are stark reminders of 1918 pandemic cases which were also linked to a swine H1N1.

Samples have arrived at Mill Hill in London, and sequence data should be available shortly. Since current swine H1N1 produced lethal infections in previously healthy young adults, and produced hemorrhagic disease, changes in the viral genome may be absent or minor. Therefore, release of the sequences to the entire scientific community would be useful.

Similarly, an update on the number of hemorrhagic cases would be useful. Rumors have suggested that such the number of such cases is significantly higher than the six described in media reports."


03 November, 2009

Update Re: Re: "Unidentified Outbreak in Western Ukraine"

Lastest post by Dr.Niman of http://flutracker.rhizalabs.com/:

"Swine H1N1 can cause a hemorrhagic disease, which has been descibed in many cases, including those in Ukraine. Similar disease was caused by the 1918 pandmeic strain, which also was H1N1 and of swine origin.

There have been no reports out of Ukraine that would point away from H1N1. The range of symptoms for H1N1 are quite broad. Some have no symptoms. Others have symptoms with no fever of low grade fever. My whole family has been infected with H1N1 (PCR confirmed in 2/4). All of our cases were mild. I had a low grade fever for less than 12 hours (I was PCR confirmed). My wife had no fever. One daughter (who was also PCR confirmed had a fever of 103 F). We all had coughs. Some had chills and night sweats. Some had a sore throat. Some had a headache. I believe one daught and I were reinfected about a month later.

Others of course have had much more severe disease. About 5% of those hospitalized in the US die. Many are young previously healthy adults with no underlying conditions.

H1N1 is widespread throughout the northern hemisphere. In the US absenteeism is high (up to 30-50%) and schools close because too many teachers and administrators are sick to keep the schools functioning. The same scenario is hapening in the Ukraine and other European countries.

H1N1 is called a pandemic for a reason, and appears to be taking a turn for the worse. Ukraine may be leading this change, but it is quite widespread and deaths are increasing in Europe, Asia, and North America.

The flu season has just started amd it is likely that most flu this season will be swine flu. There is NO seasonal flu circulting in the Ukraine or anywhere else in Europe, other than a few sporadic cases. In the US and Erurope, over 99% of infleunza A is swine flu."


More from Dr. Niman (source):

"Ukraine H1N1 Deaths and Hospitalizations Spike Higher
Recombinomics Commentary 21:54
November 2, 2009

255516 Influenza/ARI
15810 Hospital Admissions
235 Intensive Care
70 deaths

The above numbers reflect the latest government update on cases in the Ukraine. They are dramatically higher than those reported in the past few days and raise concerns that the death toll will increase significantly over the next several days.

Some wire service reports and comments from WHO have downplayed these numbers, noting that the death rate for Ukraine is similar to other countries in Europe. However, the deaths in the other countries accumulated over the entire pandemic flu season, while the deaths in the Ukraine were in the past few weeks, with most cases reported in the past few days.

About 5% of patients admitted with H1N1 infections have died in other countries, so that rate in the patients currently hospitalized would increase the deaths in Ukraine 10 fold, which would be markedly higher than any other European country. Moreover, the vast majority of the cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths are in three Oblasts in western Ukraine. Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk.

This concentration of H1N1, including serious and fatal cases, raises concerns that the virus in this region has changed. Samples have been sent to London for analysis and prompt release of that data would be useful."


"'There are a lot of unknowns,' he said. The crew of experts will collect samples from patients and send them to the WHO’s influenza collaborating center in London for diagnosis. The WHO may have more information on Nov. 4,' Hartl said." (source)


02 November, 2009

Could All The Vaccine Debate End Up Being Pointless?

After all the debate, could the vaccine end up being ineffective?


US Emergency Declarations Raise Pandemic Concerns: "... the CDC has reported a low reactor isolate, indicating the virus is evolving away from the vaccine..."


Update Re: "Unidentified Outbreak in Western Ukraine"

I promised yesterday when this first hit my radar that I would try to stay on top of it as it unfolds, but I have to admit the information coming out of Ukraine has a really high noise-to-signal ratio, and therefore it is difficult to know what to report and what to ignore. For now, I'm going to try to stay away from the obvious tinfoil hat conspiracy stuff, but if it continues to pile-up I may start passing it along as well. Don't worry, however, if I do, I'll be sure to mark it accordingly; that way, you can skip it if it isn't your thing.

Okay. Here we go:

From the WHO website...

"Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Ukraine

On 28 October 2009, the Ministry of Health of the Ukraine informed WHO, through its Country Office in Ukraine, about an unusually high level of activity of acute respiratory illness in the western part of the country, associated with an increased number of hospital admissions and fatalities.

On 30 October 2009, the Ministry of Health of the Ukraine announced the confirmation of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection by RT-PCR in eleven out of 30 samples obtained from patients presenting with acute respiratory illness in two of the most affected regions. Tests were performed in two laboratories in Kyiv, including the National Influenza Centre. Confirmatory tests will be performed at one of the WHO Collaborating Centres for Influenza.

The situation is quickly changing with increasingly high levels of acute respiratory illness (ARI)/Influenza-like-illness (ILI) activity being observed in Ternopil, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Chernivtsi regions. The higher levels of transmission in these regions corresponds to an increased number of hospital admissions and fatalities associated with severe manifestations of acute respiratory illness.

As of 30 October 2009, over 2,300 individuals have been admitted to hospital, including over 1,100 children. One hundred and thirty one (131) cases have required intensive care, including 32 children. As of 31 October 2009, a total of 38 fatalities associated with severe manifestations of ARI have been registered. Preliminary epidemiological data analysis indicates that severe cases and deaths primarily occur among previously healthy young adults aged 20 – 50 years. Fatal and severe cases are reported to have sought medical attention 5 to 7 days after onset of symptoms.

International experience of the (H1N1) 2009 pandemic to date, especially from the Southern Hemisphere, has shown that poor clinical outcomes are associated with delays in seeking health care and limited access to supportive care. In addition, this virus has also shown its ability to cause rapidly progressive overwhelming lung disease which is very difficult to treat.

Public health measures recommended by the Ministry of Health of the Ukraine across the entire country include: social distancing (school closures and cancellation of mass gatherings); enhancement of surveillance activities; increased respiratory hygiene; and continuation of the vaccination campaign against seasonal influenza targeting at risk groups.

The Government of the Ukraine has activated coordination mechanisms to respond to the rapidly evolving situation, including the harmonization of response plans across all administrative levels.

In response to the request from the Minister of Health of the Ukraine, WHO is deploying a multi-disciplinary team of experts to assist national authorities in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. The team comprises of the following expertise: health emergencies coordination, case management, epidemiology, laboratory diagnostics, logistics, and media/risk communications.

As per WHO's communication in May 2009, there is no rationale for travel restrictions because such measures will not prevent the spread of the disease.

Travelers can protect themselves and others by following simple recommendations aimed at preventing the spread of infection such as attention to respiratory hygiene. Individuals who are ill should delay travel plans and returning travelers who fall ill should seek appropriate medical care. These recommendations are prudent measures which can limit the spread of many communicable diseases and not only the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus."

Note: Bold emphasis above is mine.

So, there is an official report, but there is also quite a lot of internet chatter bouncing around as well. Obviously, this stuff needs to be taken with a grain of salt, since the internet is usually awash with some of the craziest conspiracy theories, et cetera. To my mind, however, it is still important to absorb the information for whatever shreds of truth it may hold before discarding the junk. Oh, and believe me, even as I expose you to the following, be aware that I'm still insulating you from some of the heaviest tinfoil conspiracy stuff as promised.

The blogosphere is all-a-flutter with reports out of Ukraine that claim deaths are being vastly under-reported. They are saying that many fatalities where the patient was over 50 years old are being classified as 'heart attacks' instead of flu.

If you took the time to listen to the interview with Dr. Niman that I provided the link to yesterday, you heard him say that he believes it is H1N1 swine flu and that Ukrainian officials are likely just unwilling to make a definitive statement until they get the test results back; likely within 2 weeks.


Niman's latest:

"H1N1 Doctor Deaths In Ukraine Raise Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 22:22
November 1, 2009

Four doctors died of flu in Ukraine's Ternopol and Lvov regions, Health Minister Vasily Knyazevich said at the Sunday meeting of the operative headquarters for the prevention and treatment of A/H1N1 flu.

The above comments describe the death of four health care workers (HCWs) at two sites in western Ukraine. The government website shows a total of 53 deaths (see map), which is quite low if four HCWs have already died. HCW are trained in methods to minimize infections from parents, and they are likely to get prompt medical attention, yet four have already died. These numbers add to the confusion in Ukraine.

Initial reports denied the outbreak was due to H1N1 even though there was virtually no seasonal flu circulating in Europe (or North America). The explosion in cases of acute respiratory illness (ARI), in view of the exploding H1N1 pandemic throughout the northern hemisphere, would signal involvement in the cases in Ukraine
... continued here.


01 November, 2009

Unidentified Outbreak in Western Ukraine

It would be an enormous understatement to say that the information coming out of the Ukraine about this illness is confusing. In fact, much of it directly contradicts itself, but somebody obviously thinks it is a pretty big deal since the WHO is sending a team there to investigate.

I'll try to stay on top of it and report back.


Unidentified flue outbreak in Western Ukraine: "Western Ukraine was hit by a severe epidemic of unidentified influenza, tentatively diagnosed by doctors as viral pneumonia. The number of dead has climbed dramatically. Doctors advise Western Ukrainians to stay at home and use preventive medication. The first pedestrians wearing face masks have been seen on Lviv streets

Lviv kindergartens and schools have been closed, and the city council is to have its emergency session soon to address the flue outbreak. So far, the information released by the authorities on the epidemic dimensions spread and preventive measures is scarce, causing panic to spread in the city..."