The H1N1-mitable Minister of Health

My hands are clean
My hands are clean

(A guest post by loyal reader Aquiles)

The Venezuelan Ministress of Health Isabel Iturria has weighed in on the outbreak of H1N1 virus across Venezuela, the critical shortage of vaccines in the country, and the complete inadequacy of distribution mechanisms of said vaccine – if, that is, the ministry had any to distribute. Dr. Iturria, who is in fact a bona fide medical doctor (with a degree and everything!), electrified this humble observer by apprising me, the country, and quite frankly the medical community worldwide of two groundbreaking facts.

The first, which offers some stunning insight into the critical mind of socialist healthcare (brought to you by the same people who brought you this)- is that people get sick and die every day, for all sorts of reasons. This bombshell is, I suppose, meant to underline the inane capitalist selfishness of single-causality group-think that would lead anyone to  consider this tepid outbreak of a Pandemic Class Virus as a crisis.

With a running reported tally of 27 dead and nearly 1,000 confirmed cases, it is not hard to see her point. As she reminded us, H1N1, is presently affecting only 1,000 comrades. So … why the long faces? There have been over 8,000,000 cases of other acute respiratory illnesses in the past 4 years alone. And you are still statistically much likelier to die from an errant bullet over the weekend. Relajate, ¿cual es tu drama chico?

The problem is that in Venezuela the reported numbers represent only a small fraction of likely cases.

Having actually suffered from this disease, and having had the joy of spending a week in a class 3 quarantine containment facility (blissfully in a country with an actual healthcare system) I can tell you one thing – this thing is not pleasant.

The reported secondary attack rates for H1N1 are about 26% according to the CDC, meaning that roughly 1 in 4 people who come into contact with an affected individual are likely to get it. That means that you can expect that 1,000 actually reported cases will rise steeply (reported cases have quadrupled in the past week alone), since the asymptomatic period of transmission for the disease is around 4 days.

So what is the broke and broken healthcare system in Venezuela to do at the hands of a pandemic class virus now unleashed upon an underserved populous?

They wash their hands clean, literally.

According to Dr. Iturre being vaccinated is not bad per se, but the really effective course of treatment is good old soap suds. So let’s do it Venezuela, now’s the time to wash your hands .

Just don’t expect to have any paper towels to dry them with.

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    • Mel, thanks! Those are two fine quibbles (I have a couple more), which I can only fault on my fevered anger as I typed away in the middle of the night without benefit of a proofreader,

  1. H1N1? It’s merely one of many poisons currently being released in public domains by right-wing Colombian operatives in their massive plot to eliminate one Nicolas Maduro. He said so. Really.

    • Actually, that’s not necessarily true. What IS true is that sometimes, people who get the shot get the flu. I’ve been getting at least one per year (required by the hospital where I volunteer), and have yet to get sick from it.

      • Haven’t had the flu in the 15 years I’ve been getting flu shots while friends around me who don’t vaccinate get sick all the time. It’s scientifically impossible to “get the flu” from a dead virus shot. People who get the shot and subsequently catch the flu weren’t vaccinated in time or are compromised in some way that makes them more vulnerable to catching the flu. The shot itself cannot give you the flu.

    • You’re wrong – stop spreading lies about vaccination.

      You can a reaction, in the form of fever and/or localized pain.

      If you got sick, you got either another strain of the virus or you got vaccinated after you were already contaminated.

  2. Ok. I get the under-reporting and the lack of interest in one’s neighbour. But what do you expect them to do? The vaccine is ineffective & improved hygeine is known for reducing the rate of disease incidence.

  3. H1N1 ia not an ordinary influenza. Once it recombines with the swine flu strains also radiating out from China, look out, the odds of another 1918 become statistically high. the young a.dn old are at most risk. It is highly tolewrant of Tamiflu and all other known antivirals and attenuants. This lady is literally trying to wipe out a lot of people. Hopefully, this will not happen, but when and if, I hope it gets people totally out of their comfort zone and into the streets a la Otpor/Orange Revolution/ Turkey before it is too late. Yeah, sure, a CIA Imperio Plot, but not Chinese bumbling? The world is tired of self-excusing incompetants.


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