Swine Flu Spreads Across North America

As Swine Flu quickly spreads across North America, it would be prudent for all healthcare leaders to be aware of what it is, what it does, and what it looks like.  To avoid a potential pandemic, everyone will need to be aware of what we are up against.

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.

For updates on the spread of Swine Flu, please click on the following link to the CDC investigation page:

http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm

Also, the CDC has provided the following FAQ’s related to Swine Flu.

Swine Flu 

What is Swine Influenza?

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza qsvirus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illne’1 ss and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The cla

pig-stock-photo

ssical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

How many swine flu viruses are there?

Like all influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change constantly. Pigs can be infected by avian influenza and human influenza viruses as well as swine influenza viruses. When influenza viruses from different species infect pigs, the viruses can reassort (i.e. swap genes) and new viruses that are a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses can emerge. Over the years, different variations of swine flu viruses have emerged. At this time, there are four main influenza type A virus subtypes that have been isolated in pigs: H1N1, H1N2, H3N2, and H3N1. However, most of the recently isolated influenza viruses from pigs have been H1N1 viruses.

Swine Flu in Humans

How common is swine flu infection in humans?
In the past, CDC received reports of approximately one human swine influenza virus infection every one to two years in the U.S., but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported.

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

How does swine flu spread?

Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What do we know about human-to-human spread of swine flu?

In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman was hospitalized for pneumonia and died 8 days later. A swine H1N1 flu virus was detected. Four days before getting sick, the patient visited a county fair swine exhibition where there was widespread influenza-like illness among the swine.

In follow-up studies, 76% of swine exhibitors tested had antibody evidence of swine flu infection but no serious illnesses were detected among this group. Additional studies suggest that one to three health care personnel who had contact with the patient developed mild influenza-like illnesses with antibody evidence of swine flu infection.

How can human infections with swine influenza be diagnosed?

To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus). However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 10 days or longer. Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC for laboratory testing.

What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?

There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.

What other examples of swine flu outbreaks are there?

Probably the most well known is an outbreak of swine flu among soldiers in Fort Dix, New Jersey in 1976. The virus caused disease with x-ray evidence of pneumonia in at least 4 soldiers and 1 death; all of these patients had previously been healthy. The virus was transmitted to close contacts in a basic training environment, with limited transmission outside the basic training group. The virus is thought to have circulated for a month and disappeared. The source of the virus, the exact time of its introduction into Fort Dix, and factors limiting its spread and duration are unknown. The Fort Dix outbreak may have been caused by introduction of an animal virus into a stressed human population in close contact in crowded facilities during the winter. The swine influenza A virus collected from a Fort Dix soldier was named A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1).

Is the H1N1 swine flu virus the same as human H1N1 viruses?

No. The H1N1 swine flu viruses are antigenically very different from human H1N1 viruses and, therefore, vaccines for human seasonal flu would not provide protection from H1N1 swine flu viruses.

Swine Flu in Pigs

How does swine flu spread among pigs?
Swine flu viruses are thought to be spread mostly through close contact among pigs and possibly from contaminated objects moving between infected and uninfected pigs. Herds with continuous swine flu infections and herds that are vaccinated against swine flu may have sporadic disease, or may show only mild or no symptoms of infection.

What are signs of swine flu in pigs?
Signs of swine flu in pigs can include sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed.

How common is swine flu among pigs?
H1N1 and H3N2 swine flu viruses are endemic among pig populations in the United States and something that the industry deals with routinely. Outbreaks among pigs normally occur in colder weather months (late fall and winter) and sometimes with the introduction of new pigs into susceptible herds. Studies have shown that the swine flu H1N1 is common throughout pig populations worldwide, with 25 percent of animals showing antibody evidence of infection. In the U.S. studies have shown that 30 percent of the pig population has antibody evidence of having had H1N1 infection. More specifically, 51 percent of pigs in the north-central U.S. have been shown to have antibody evidence of infection with swine H1N1. Human infections with swine flu H1N1 viruses are rare. There is currently no way to differentiate antibody produced in response to flu vaccination in pigs from antibody made in response to pig infections with swine H1N1 influenza.

While H1N1 swine viruses have been known to circulate among pig populations since at least 1930, H3N2 influenza viruses did not begin circulating among US pigs until 1998. The H3N2 viruses initially were introduced into the pig population from humans. The current swine flu H3N2 viruses are closely related to human H3N2 viruses.

Is there a vaccine for swine flu?
Vaccines are available to be given to pigs to prevent swine influenza. There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu. The seasonal influenza vaccine will likely help provide partial protection against swine H3N2, but not swine H1N1 viruses.

 

Questions:

1)  Have you seen any Swine Flu near you?

2)  What is your area doing to combat the potential pandemic?

A Clear approach to Team Building

At Clear Medical Solutions, we’re always trying to stay on top of best practices and cutting edge techniques that not only make a difference in the healthcare industry, but are cost effective as well.

Lately, we’ve worked with some of the pioneers in the Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) field to Clear Medical Solutions Team Building With Horsesdevelop a team building solution for healthcare teams that utilizes horses and all of their instincts as the primary teacher.  We’ve used it with several groups so far, and the response is nothing short of amazing! 

For less than half the cost of other team building services, your team can engage in experiential learning and have a lot of fun!  Not only will they learn more about their fellow “teammates”, but in the process, they will learn more about themselves and other’s perceptions of them. 

We’re calling the solution Clear Team Building, and it is now available to all groups accross the United States.  We are signing up new horse farms and ranches, and are ready to provide an amazing team building solution to your group needs.  For more information, check out the webpage here:

http://clearmedicalsolutions.com/teambuilding.aspx

Two Questions:

1)  Has anyone out there seen this sort of team building technique before?

2)  What sort of questions would  you have about this idea?

Number of uninsured to rise to 54 Million by 2019

The AP reports that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now estimates that without changes to federal healthcare policy, the number of uninsured in the US will rise from 45 million this year, to US Capitol Buildingapproximately 54 million in 2019. 

The CBO blames the rising cost of health insurance premiums compared to incomes, which they attribute to wasteful and unnecessary medical care. 

“A substantial share of spending on health care contributes little, if anything, to the overal health of the nation,” CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee.

Do you agree?  If so, what sorts of care do you feel are not necessary?

Welcome Home Harley Riders!

For those of you who live in Milwaukee, you may have noticed the roughly 200,000 motorcycles rolling through the streets of our home town. You may know that this weekend is the 105th Birthday Party for Harley-Davidson, but after watching the parade this morning, I believe that this event is something much bigger. This is one of the biggest events ever for Greater Milwaukee.

This evening over 100,000 people are watching Bruce Springsteen, and also more than 125,000 tickets were sold to “Harley Fest” at the Summerfest grounds. For comparison’s sake, that is more tourists than the Super Bowl or Olympic Opening Ceremonies. But when will we ever see a successful bid for an Olympic Games or find ourselves the selected city to host a Super Bowl. Not any time soon…

With food, drinks, lodging, fuel, and event tickets all being purchased right here is our local economy, this event is bringing millions of dollars of sales to our local businesses. Not to mention that all the great things we love our about Milwaukee will be on showcase for visitors from all 50 States and over 30 countries!

All in all, this week, there will be about 200,000 motorcycles and even more visitors to the city, and we should be thankful and eager to welcome them!

National City Bank to Open New State Headquarters in Milwaukee

In just another sign of downtown Milwaukee’s emergence as a hot spot for big business, National City Bank has announced that as part of it’s expansion into Wisconsin, it will be opening 11 new locations over then next three years and that it will be opening a 22,000 square foot state headquarters in downtown Milwaukee’s 411 building.

Beth Wnuk, president of National City’s Wisconsin banking, said: “Combining our existing Milwaukee operations into a downtown headquarters provides a dramatic and visible base to grow market share and strengthen the connection between our employees and their customers. We want to invest in the region’s future and be a part of its success.”

National City Downtown and Community Commitment

With a history of community involvement that exceeds 160 years, National City has been actively engaged in the Greater Milwaukee community since entering the market early this year. For instance:

— National City is the major sponsor of the Milwaukee Museum’s Act/React Exhibit opening October 4 and is a Cure Level sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and “Pink in the Park” at downtown’s lakefront Veterans Park in September.

— This spring, National City committed $100,000 to the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) in the form of a $50,000 two-year program grant, which is matched with a $50,000 grant investment from the National City Community Development Corporation for WWBIC’s Impact Revolving Loan Fund.

— In June, National City’s Community Development Corporation invested $4.8 million in the Blue Ribbon Loft Apartments located on the former Pabst Brewery site presently being redeveloped by local Milwaukee developer Joseph J. Zilber and also contributed $50,000 to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council for providing free assistance to consumers in helping curtail foreclosures.

“Our goal is not to be just another bank in Greater Milwaukee,” said Wnuk, “but to be a vital community and economic partner in the development and growth of our community.”

Milwaukee: The Call of the Young Professional

Today I am proud to announce that as of 6:00 P.M. today, there will be two new young professionals moving to Milwaukee from Mankato, MN to start their careers. I happen to know a little bit more about this average couple because it is my sister, Marissa, and her great husband Josh.

Both thought they would never move to Milwaukee, but after college, they noticed that not only was Milwaukee beautiful and a lot of fun, but there were many great companies for Josh (an automotive engineer with a 4 year degree), and lots of great sports teams and quality high school/college athletic departments for her (an athletic trainer with a 4 year sports medicine degree).

Not only were great jobs and companies calling their name, but so was the great nightlife, and excellent real estate market. Josh plans on doing real estate investment and they both plan on buying a home once they get everything figured out.

Now these two aren’t the only young people moving to Milwaukee. As part of the FUEL Milwaukee initiative (http://www.fuelmilwaukee.org/ ) many young people are either moving here or staying here after college. The combination of great jobs, lots of fun, and an excellent quality of life have led Forbes Magazine to name Milwaukee one of the top 10 cities for young professionals in the US.

Welcome Marissa, Josh, and any other young professionals that are looking to find great careers and Enjoy Milwaukee!

Loyal DC-based Brewers fan loses bet…forced to be homeless

All he needed was for the Brewers to win 4 more games last year…

In just one more example of a Milwaukee-Is-Back type fanatic…last baseball season, 36 year-old Washington D.C. native and Milwaukee Brewers fanatic Chris Jollay made a bet with a college buddy (David Christman), a Phillies fan, that his Brewers would win more games than the Phillies.

If Jollay won, he would trade homes for a bit with Christman. Christman would become a bachelor in Jollay’s pad, and Jollay would enjoy the home cooked meals and company of Christman’s wife for a week.

If Christman won, Jollay would live homeless on the streets of Washington D.C.

Although the Brew Crew had a great year with 83 victories, the Phillies ended up with 87…

So, true to his word, this July he packed up and hit the streets of Washington D.C.

Read more about it here:
http://www.sportsbybrooks.com/brewers-fan-loses-bet-forced-to-go-homeless-18875

This year he should have no problem winning the bet!

Milwaukee's Beaches are heating up!

As part of its place on a beautiful freshwater inland sea (Lake Michigan), Milwaukee does have some great beaches for getting sun, building sand castles, and swimming.

This year, after a facelift and new management, Bradford Beach near Milwaukee’s downtown is looking more and more like it’s old nickname “Bikini Beach” from the 70’s.

In fact, tomorrow, the beach will play host to the classy Balzac at the Beach Wine Tasting event.

Have a great time, learn about wine! Sample over 50 wines served with light appetizers on the Bradford Beach House patio along our beautiful lakefront.

– Three hours of wine tasting for $25!
– 3PM – 6PM Music and Entertainment, Wine Tasting
– Tickets available in advance at the Bradford Beach House, Balzac, and Hi Hat Lounge.
– Tickets are also available the day of the event.

Next Weekend at the Beach: Bradford Beach Jam!

Volleyball, soccer, rugby, dodgeball, wrestling, wind surfing, BMX, skate, freestyle motocross, disc golf, live music Friday evening, all day Saturday, Sunday afternoon. Four-person beach volleyball event feature former AVP Pro players on Sunday.
Read more at:

Other upcoming events at the Beach:

– July 28-31: Downtown Employee Appreciation Week

– Aug. 2: Copa de Praia beach soccer

– Aug. 16: Bradford Beach Rock ‘N’ Roll Art Show (Art Show and live music)

– Aug. 23: AVPNext Midwest Region Beach Volleyball Championships (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

– Aug. 23: AVPNext Midwest Beach Volleyball Championships

– Aug. 24: Balzac at the Beach Wine Tasting (Wine tasting and live music)

– Aug. 29-30: Milwaukee Harley Davidson Bradford Beach Roadhouse

– Aug. 31: Bradford Beach Labor Day Beach Party (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beach volleyball, soccer, Baggo, live music on Party Deck.)

– Sept. 13: Lakefront to Lakefront Bike Ride & Bike Swap (1pm to 10pm)

– Sept. 20: Sand and Bands Beach Party UWM Sandcastle Competition, Jigglesfest Music Festival (a festival that dates back to 1986 with roots at Marquette University).

Friends of Bradford Beach:

http://www.parkpeoplemke.org/park/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28&Itemid=41

If you want to cool off and enjoy some great people watching, check out the beach and Enjoy Milwaukee!