H1N1 Pig Flu, Swine Influenza Virus

Apr 29th, 2009, in IM Posts, by

The swine flu scare, H1N1, effects on tourism and industries, and whether it is manmade.

A new mongrel variant of the swine influenza virus, similar to Spanish Flu, (influenza A subtype H1N1) that has struck Mexico and now spread to the United States and many other countries has Indonesia preparing for its possible arrival.


Real time map of swine flu cases.
Key - Pink markers are suspect. Purple markers are confirmed or probable. Deaths have no dot in marker. Yellow markers are negative.

In general the reaction has been calm. Health minster Siti Fadilah Supari says the fatality rate for H1N1 is only 6%, compared to 80-90% for H5N1, or bird flu. Nevertheless she says 80 hospitals in the country have prepared special facilities to deal with any outbreak.

Siti Fadilah Supari
Siti Fadilah Supari

Ever suspicious Siti Fadilah Supari said there was a chance swine flu was man-made:

I'm not sure whether the virus was genetically engineered but it's a possibility

She also said Indonesia was too hot for the virus: [1]

H1N1 survives in countries with four seasons. The type A H1N1 virus hopefully won't be able to sustain itself once it enters the tropical climate of Indonesia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held a special ministerial meeting to discuss the matter and said afterwards: [2]

We have to watch the airports, especially flights originating from Mexico, United States, and other pig flu affected countries.

While in Bali tourism authorities pleaded with the national government to not impose any hasty travel bans. Ngurah Wijaya of the Bali Tourism Board said surveillance at airports was sufficient for now. Visitor arrivals to the island were still normal, at 2,500 to 3,000 per day, said Ida Bagus Subhiksu of the Tourism Department. [3]

Farmers, Pigs & Pork

Drh Sigit Hanggono of the East Java Livestock Office (Dinas Peternakan (Disnak)) said he was worried the livestock industry would be harmed by the swine flu issue, and that the matter was overblown. [4]

Of the same department but in North Sumatra Drh Hj Teti Lubis said Disnak would try to educate the public about swine flu, so as to minimise the risk that irresponsible people would cause trouble for pig farmers and consumers of pork, considering that the disease was passed person to person, not via contact with pigs or pork. [5]

Pig farmers in Boyolali, Central Java, complained that pork prices have fallen 15% in recent days, largely because many producers are trying to offload what they have quickly. [6]

Indonesia is a large exporter of pork, mainly to Singapore, but as of writing no bans have been placed on this trade by partner countries. Indonesia has however banned the import of pork, however this trade is small.


51 Comments on “H1N1 Pig Flu, Swine Influenza Virus”

Pages: [1] 2 »

  1. avatar Odinius says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 3:01 am

    Well, it’s dominating the news here, with some justification. However, as far as I know, not even 1 case in the US has even necessitated antivirals, let alone caused a fatality. Sounds like it’s a big danger in terms of spread, but it doesn’t appear any deadlier than regular influenza.

    But then again, it’s still early…

  2. avatar Mike Oxblack says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    It’s about as deadly as SARS, i.e. it’ll finish you off if you’re over 90. Any Muslims want to chip in with some anti babi tirade?

  3. avatar DumadiSatrio says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I hope the name does not make it confusing. It is a flu virus…it is not “from pigs”. You cant get it from eating pork for instance.

    It is mostly a product of over crowded farms. You see the flu virus gets into a population of animals, in a dense farm population it will spread quickly, giving it many chances to mutate. In this case it was a swine population. What makes it significant is that swine have a very similar respiratory system to humans, therefor within the swine population it can become very affective on humans.

    The reason it is hitting mexico city so hard, is because it is a very very crowded city, with many people who are malnourished, add that to the many other problems at the moment, and you get a population that will not have as good an immunity to the virus.

    All and All, I dont see this as something to freak out about.

  4. avatar Mike Oxblack says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 11:42 am

    …and Bird Flu still mutates and evolves in the background. Wait for that one, it’ll be a biggie. It’s enough to make you wish evolution wasn’t true…

  5. avatar ultratupai says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Here is the real scoop on the swine flu outbreak! The political rightwing nuts in the US are now in a tizzy over border security. They are all clueless racists.

    Published on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 by The Guardian/UK
    Swine Flu Crisis Lays Bare the Meat Industry’s Monstrous Power

    The Mexico swine flu outbreak should alert us to a highly globalised industry with global political clout
    by Mike Davis

    The Mexican swine flu, a genetic chimera probably conceived in the faecal mire of an industrial pigsty, suddenly threatens to give the whole world a fever. The initial outbreaks across North America reveal an infection already travelling at higher velocity than did the last official pandemic strain, the 1968 Hong Kong flu.

    …….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/27/swine-flu-mexico-health

  6. avatar DumadiSatrio says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I’m not sure whether the virus was genetically engineered but it’s a possibility

    Face Palm…..
    It was created by aliens working with bigfoot, why not? Its a possibility.

    Can she be less helpful?

  7. avatar oigal says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    She also said Indonesia was too hot for the virus

    I have not been to Mexico City…but its colder than Indonesia??. Wow the things we learn from this woman. I must have been crook last time I traveled around Indonesia as well, could have sworn there was some pretty wild variations in tempature as well but that might have been the rum.

    Ok..Someone needs to explain to poor little kampung guy like myself how this woman holds down the post. Bakrie, Kalla etc I may not like but understand the process..but this one has me bemused..or is that amused

  8. avatar oigal says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    and Bird Flu still mutates and evolves in the background. Wait for that one, it’ll be a biggie. It’s enough to make you wish evolution wasn’t true…

    Mike Mike Mike.. fair go.. you just had life, the universe and everything explained to you other thread still you perserve with this evolution thingy..

  9. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Dear All,

    This issue too important for usual IM pissing contests…

  10. avatar diego says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Guys,

    Nothing to worry about. This only affects people living in the slum of Mexico City (and Asia, of course). Bules have nothing to worry about.

    That’s what a british — sure, who else would say that — guy said:

    Swine flu: Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says only slum-dwellers should worry

  11. avatar Andrew says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Man-made? Indonesia too hot for the virus? ugh, not another comment from the village’s idiot. Isn’t this the same stupid b**tch who said Indonesia didn’t benefit anything from Western medicine? I bet she paid to get her MD degree.

  12. avatar Odinius says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    diego said:

    Guys,

    Nothing to worry about. This only affects people living in the slum of Mexico City (and Asia, of course). Bules have nothing to worry about.

    That’s what a british — sure, who else would say that — guy said:

    Swine flu: Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says only slum-dwellers should worry

    Guess he counts California, Texas, New York City, etc. as “slums” too!”

    (sorry to be pedantic, but he’s Irish not British…)

  13. avatar diego says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    One commenter saying in a mexican newspaper (eluniversal.com.mx): this preventive action (of making people wear mask) is actually a good thing: less ugly women to be seen.

    Jajajajaja….

    Can we say the same thing with burkha?

  14. avatar Odinius says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    How, exactly, did this quack end up as health minister?

  15. avatar joao says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 6:19 am

    …and Bird Flu still mutates and evolves in the background. Wait for that one, it’ll be a biggie. It’s enough to make you wish evolution wasn’t true…

    Mike, relax. You still have less than four years before TEOTWAWKI happens. Drink and be merry.

  16. avatar David says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 7:56 am

    AFP quoted Siti as saying it might be man made, as above, to boost pharm companies profits, but she is denying that she ever said that, according to Antara.

    WHO raised the threat level of the virus to a 5 out 6 but apparently this is not as bad as it sounds, they are trying to prod governments into being more proactive.

    The Jakarta Livestock department – maybe seeing all this as a revenue raising opportunity – is trying to force all pork sellers to get some sort of certificate stating that they got the meat from a registered slaughterhouse.

    Meanwhile in Egypt… Egypt orders slaughter of all pigs over swine flu.

  17. avatar Observato says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Man-made? Indonesia too hot for the virus? ugh, not another comment from the village’s idiot. Isn’t this the same stupid b**tch who said Indonesia didn’t benefit anything from Western medicine? I bet she paid to get her MD degree.

    Since human is now capable of modifying (making) genetic entities, there is always a chance a genetic entity is ‘man-made’. Logic solved. Organisms do differ from chemical entities. Medicine will be given support equipments as necessary, but virus need suitable environment to survive naturally.

    Mrs Fadilah is not only MD, she is a cardiac specialist.

  18. avatar Oigal says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Mrs Fadilah is not only MD, she is a cardiac specialist.

    Eeer…Well I really really hope I never suffer chest pains anywhere near her then..although she does make me tummy ache from laughing.

    Ob.. Seriously.. you really should use logic and her name in same paragraph, its a “contradiction in terms”

    Although Andy’s bile is well over the top again :-)

  19. avatar Observato says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Ob.. Seriously.. you really should use logic and her name in same paragraph, its a “contradiction in terms”

    I wish your health is always great, oigal. But when you were in trouble, indeed she can help you. Being 25 years as cardiac specialist doctor at RS Harapan Kita will convince you she will do it the best. Due to her professional records then, she worth become the minister of health.

    Pada 1987, ia menerima The Best Investigator Award Fakultas Kedokteran Universitas Indonesia dan Best Young Investigator Award dalam Kongres Kardiologi di Manila, Filipina (1988). Ia menerima The Best Investigator Award Konferensi Ilmiah tentang Omega 3 di Texas Amerika Serikat (1994) dan Anthony Mason Award dari Universitas South Wales (1997). Ia juga menerima beberapa penghargaan dari Amerika dan Australia. Tak kurang dari 150 karya ilmiahnya telah diterbitkan dalam jurnal lokal, regional, dan internasional.

    Source : http://www.sitifadilah.org/about/

  20. avatar Mike Oxblack says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Since human is now capable of modifying (making) genetic entities, there is always a chance a genetic entity is ‘man-made’. Logic solved. Organisms do differ from chemical entities. Medicine will be given support equipments as necessary, but virus need suitable environment to survive naturally.

    Whoa, steady there. We’re almost able to do this but synthesising new viruses from scratch is still some way off. Genome sequencer Craig Ventnor recently claimed to have synthesized an entire chromosome from scratch however it was very small. As for a previous claim by Mrs Supari that bird flu was a man made biological weapon: well, if it is then it’s not a very good one is it? If a nation had the power to synthesize a biological, viral weapon from scratch and the will to use it then I think they could come up with something a little more potent. The bird flu species jump remains a huge, huge danger for the world though. Mutation, natural selection, population decimation….or a judgement from God if you want to bury your head in the sand.

  21. avatar Observato says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Genome sequencer Craig Ventnor recently claimed to have synthesized an entire chromosome from scratch however it was very small.

    Not from stratch, Mike, I even put ‘man-made’ in quotes. But by selecting the some variants from the result of conditioned mutations or adaptations.

  22. avatar Odinius says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Observato said:

    I wish your health is always great, oigal. But when you were in trouble, indeed she can help you. Being 25 years as cardiac specialist doctor at RS Harapan Kita will convince you she will do it the best. Due to her professional records then, she worth become the minister of health.

    Too bad, then, that she keeps on talking out of her H1N1…

  23. avatar Oigal says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I admire your defence of her OB..but she is just tad too paraniod for me.

  24. avatar Oigal says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    “The Best Investigator Award” What is this by the way?

    I have search but not found much in the way of international recognition..well not for on the plus side anyway. However, being a self confessed techno leper that may be more reflection on me rather than her. It is sad tho, most stuff I found was caustic to bemused comments about some her internationally famous pronouncements on WHO and other paranoia fanasties.

  25. avatar Mike Oxblack says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Scientists Create First Synthetic Bacterial Genome — Largest Chemically Defined Structure Synthesized In The Lab
    ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2008) — A team of 17 researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) has created the largest man-made DNA structure by synthesizing and assembling the 582,970 base pair genome of a bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium JCVI-1.0. This work, published online today in the journal Science by Dan Gibson, Ph.D., et al, is the second of three key steps toward the team’s goal of creating a fully synthetic organism. In the next step, which is ongoing at the JCVI, the team will attempt to create a living bacterial cell based entirely on the synthetically made genome.

    It’s coming folks. Then we can engineer a bigger, better health minister.

  26. avatar Observato says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 8:17 am

    oigal said,

    I admire your defence of her OB..but she is just tad too paraniod for me.

    She may love a bit rethoric but way off paranoid. We are not used to be threatened, we are struggling. Paranoid is for people feel being threatened either by tiny amount of cholesterol in their dietary, or rather by Osama Bin Ladin.

    Anyway let be it your opinion then, but please search for different perspectives, too. As a matter of fact, her previous calls to transparency in world medical research issues is indeed meaningful and now brought real outcomes. A balancing quote from the Economist,

    For the sake of basic human interest, the Indonesian government declares that genomic data on bird flu viruses can be accessed by anyone. With those words, spoken on August 3rd (2006), Siti Fadilah Sapari started a revolution that could yet save the world from the ravages of pandemic disease. That is because Indonesia’s health minister has chosen a weapon that may prove more useful than todays best vaccines in tackling such emerging threats as avian flu: transparency
    Source: http://kampung-ugm.org/?p=2301

    oigal said,

    I have search but not found much in the way of international recognition..well not for on the plus side anyway.

    Her professional reputation as a cardiac and lungs specialist doctor is simply undebatable, it was sufficiently proven. Need Indonesian translation to my previous quote from her blog?

  27. avatar Observato says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Mike Oxblack said,

    Scientists Create First Synthetic Bacterial Genome — Largest Chemically Defined Structure Synthesized In The Lab

    I think your grumbling worth a response, M.O. The first party benefits from such invention exactly would be Osama bin Ladin Myths Manufacturer Ltd. At least they would be able to synthesize a real remote controlled biological figure, not merely video tapes.

  28. avatar Mike Oxblack says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Her professional reputation as a cardiac and lungs specialist doctor is simply undebatable, it was sufficiently proven. Need Indonesian translation to my previous quote from her blog?

    I think it’s her diplomatic skills that are more in question here.

  29. avatar tomaculum says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Her professional reputation as a cardiac and lungs specialist doctor is simply undebatable, it was sufficiently proven. Need Indonesian translation to my previous quote from her blog?
    Due to my informations she is a specialist in cardilogy and angiology (Sp JP) and not in cardiology and pulmonology.
    sufficiently proven” ?

    I wish your health is always great, oigal. But when you were in trouble, indeed she can help you. Being 25 years as cardiac specialist doctor at RS Harapan Kita will convince you she will do it the best. Due to her professional records then, she worth become the minister of health.
    I think other qualifications are needed to be a minister of health than such to be a cardiologist able to confirm the diagnosis of tako-tsubo syndrome.

    I think it’s her diplomatic skills that are more in question here.
    Also her courage and administrative organization skills.

    Read this:
    http://kepustakaan-presiden.pnri.go.id/ministers/popup_biodata_pejabat.asp?id=774
    Has RS Harapan Kita also a social function? Would a beggar or a tukang becak be treated like one with money or position/status?

  30. avatar oigal says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Her professional reputation as a cardiac and lungs specialist doctor is simply undebatable, it was sufficiently proven. Need Indonesian translation to my previous quote from her blog?

    Translation..laugh..no thanks..According to my CV I am pretty fanastic as well..any external references?? Oh not sure that your Kampung..ugm..(again laugh) counts. Still waiting for what is Investigator award..is that like best teamman award in sports..and we all know what that award is for..

    BTW..Your Kampung reference sucks..the reality was Indonesian locked down any viable research not opened it ..

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