Suspected zombie outbreak in Melbourne

1 05 2010

Warning: We have a possible patient zero

(Image: xkcd)

I hope this new-fangled national health reform has some sort of measures that prevent the dead just up and walking out into the streets and cause the zombie apocalypse.

To be fair, Mr. Thornton is still speaking, however may be deluded as he still professes disbelief in his death despite documents clearly stating otherwise. He may not be a zombie, perhaps a vampire or post-mortem deity?

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Swine flu brain pop

22 06 2009

Rather good UK children’s animated production explains the current swine flu novel Mexican A/H1N1 influenza outbreak.

Some innacuracies, but its hard to tell exactly how dated this might be. Still, definitely good enough at explaining key concepts effectively for schoolchildren

Hattip: Malaysia SMS





Townsville 1; Bolivia 18

7 03 2009

Not quite the competition you want to be winning though.

Northern Queensland is currently suffering the worst dengue fever epidemic “since WWII“. Last reports I heard, cases were over 200, outbreaks of all four types of dengue have been reported, and the first casualty had occured last week.

Hopefully it will serve as a reminder that appropriate anti-mosquito health regulations on domestic gardens, water tank filters and other breeding grounds do need to be followed – or there can be dire consequences.

However it also important to note that Bolivia is currently suffering from its own dengue epidemic. Wikipedia puts cases around 31,000 and deaths at 18.





Are you a survivor?

23 10 2008

Mmmmmrrgh…

Interactive zombie survival horror.

Oh it makes my day.

I died 8 times before making it through.

Poor Jimmy didn’t stand a chance.

Via somewhere on needcoffe.com





Pilgrims responsible for plague spread

21 09 2008

World Youth Day pilgrims have been blamed for an atypical spike in exotic influenza cases in NSW. CathNews.

Not quite the disease spike I was expecting. Perhaps raging hormones were kept in check .

According the Sydney Telegraph: “Nurses report seeing high rates of of virulent infections among New South Wales hospital patients with ‘new and unusual strains of flu from exotic places’.”

Flu outbreaks amongst the pilgrims occurred more than once (old ABCVideo).

But NSW Health spokespeople note it is impossible to lay the blame firmly on pilgrim carriers or whether its part of normal flu cycles.





Anti-vaccinationists winning the war against healthy children

21 09 2008

Re-emergence of diseases like measles and mumps amongst Canadian communities (see Respectful Insolence) is starting to show what the totally unfounded (see The Stats Blog)  fear surrounding the MMR and other children’s vaccines has the propensity to cause.

I also had a link to similar outbreaks emerging in the UK. Outbreaks in other parts of the world are also likely to happen.

Part of reading this stories has helped me learn another horrible fact about the ramifications of less children being vaccinated. It does not just affect children who aren’t being vaccinated. Vaccination relies upon a concept called “herd immunity”.

We all have heard how vaccines aren’t 100% effective in the first place. This is an anti-vaccinationists selling point. Every time you are exposed to the contagion there is a chance of your vaccine failing. Think of it like brakes on your car, you can only be in so many “near-miss” situations before you bang something.

The idea of mass vaccination is to reduce the number of gambles. If every child is vaccinated, there is virtually no entry point for the contagion to enter your community. Every unvaccinated child is a bad driver on the road with no brakes. Not only are they relying on the brakes on your car to reduce danger to their children, they are an additional risk that your children need to avoid.

Some savvy parents are taking this into mind. Daycares that allow unvaccinated children (or do not have data on enrolment vaccines) are seeing health informed parents remove their children to other institutions that provide. The link I lost had a story of a mother who found out one of her children’s friends mothers had bought into the anti-vaccinist screed – and promptly stopped their children playing. A similar incident is found on MSNBC:

Karey Williams [47, Chicago] never thought a parenting decision would come between her and a good friend. The two had known one another for a decade, supported each other through infertility treatment and had their first babies around the same time. But when she told the friend that she had stopped vaccinating her daughter at age 1, the relationship abruptly ended. “She said, ‘Well then, your child can’t come into my house,’”

You might think this is harsh. But these are serious deadly diseases, no parent should be reprimanded for ensuring the health of their children. Lifelong complications (such as deafness) are very very common amongst victims of these diseases.

The positive impact of mass vaccination has a very clear and positive record. Science-Based Medicine has put up the stats for major vaccines. All of them have efficacy rates of over 80%, and save thousands of lives every year (if not more). And none of them have autism as a proven side effect. Science-Based Medicine’s author, Mark Crislip also points out that if GP/Big Pharma was really some sort of evil diabolical institution, they’d be joining the anti-vaccinists. More vaccines, means less disease. Less disease, means less business.

“I am an Infectious Disease doctor. I make a living from treating diagnosing and treating infections. I don’t make dime one if people do not get infected, so I am against any and all vaccines as they cut into my bottom line” – Mark Crislip, Science-Based Medicine weblog

Mandatory safety measures such as bicycle helmets, seat belts, standardised testing of car breaks are important for road safety. Shouldn’t similar safety measures be mandated for children’s health and safety.





Killer cornflakes, nothing to laugh at

20 09 2008

via small dead animals

Sometimes it’s unclear where the media-hype and the real dangers collide.

Serious dangers are emerging for Australia (and other parts of the world) that are well beyond what people would expect. No one was certainly planning on the Murray-Darling drying up (well no one who had any actual power to do anything about it).

A news report from earlier this year warned that arid conditions could trigger fungal outbreaks amongst food products that could lead to serious food poisoning hazards. CQU actually made the news by warning of “mass hallucinations, manic depression, gangrene, abortions, reduced fertility and painful, convulsive death”.

You might think that standard food safety standards should mandate alerts if any food source gets contaminated, right? However, these symptons aren’t caused by a single heavy dose of mycotoxin, but several small doses over an extended time period. It all adds up if you consider the amount of foodstuff you eat on a regular basis made from cereal crops (unless you’re allergic to gluten or something).

Small dead animals appears to be a right-wing climate change skeptic, and the comments certainly are full of grand ridicule of environmental health as a profession and the idea of killer cornflakes.

However I can’t help but consider the recent food poison scares emerging from China (melamine in milk) and Japan (pesticides and mycotoxins in rice/sake). Not necessarily directly caused by global warming – but definitely shows that food poisoning is a serious risk. And also consider, more fungal outbreaks will mean more reliance on (over)using chemical fungicides on crops.