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Should you travel during the swine flu pandemic?

Should you travel during the swine flu pandemic?

Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:45 PM
  #1  
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Should you travel during the swine flu pandemic?

I notice quite a bit of misinformation about swine flu across the forums. (Which is why I have put this up twice) You in the northern hemisphere have a period of grace as you are presently in your summer, a time when influenza is less likely to be passed around. I imagine things will be very different by November, but hopefully a vaccine will be available by then.
Though of course influenza viruses can mutate very rapidly.

Here in Australia, swine flu has proved to be much more contagious than normal influenza and though sufferers here have not died, there are good medical resources and care available. However it is early days and so far the number of cases has been contained - though growing.

One reason all governments are concerned about swineflu is its potential negative effect on economies that are already under stress. Data from previous epidemics shows that the economic effect of people cancelling plans for travel etc because of fear of a pandemic has proved to be much greater than the actual economic effects of the pandemic itself.
There are excellent information websites at
www.flupandemic.gov.au
and
http://www.healthemergency.gov.au/in...ntent/brochure
My feeling would be that if you don't have travel insurance that will cover you, if you have a compromised immune system, or if you're not prepared to spend much of a very expensive holiday laid up in bed (and possibly very unwelcome in your accommodation) don't go.
francophiletasmania is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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So far, the number of infected people in my country (Germany, 82 million inhabitants) has been 6 (six, not 6 million). And all of them have been treated sucessfully with the regular flu drug.
Since many European countries rely heavily on public transportation, the effects of summer may be less than if you lived in a country where you can avoid contact with other people more easily. So proper hygiene is always a good idea, like washing your hands regularly.
Nevertheless, I would not travel anywhere without proper health/travel insurance anyway.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 09:37 PM
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I traveled through SARS and made it through that being in S.E. Asia on vacation, 1-2 times a year, and then there was bird flu when I was in S.E. Asia . I'm in Los Angeles area and can only hope that I will get through this, Swine Flu situation, too. I survived the really horrible Hong Kong flu when I was a child. I didn't get that one although we knew people who died from it right here at home. I'm scheduled to travel to Europe in August. Happy Travels!
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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No, I don't even give a thought to that when making or carrying out travel plans. I'm too busy worrying about turbulence.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 04:50 AM
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This is an astonishingly insular piece of Australian navel-gazing.

H1N1 is on the verge of being officially called a pandemic, because it's suddenly infected over a thousand people in Australia. Though no-one's died, infections have increased fourfold in a week. "Pandemic", BTW, doesn't mean very dangerous: just very widespread. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asi...ic/8092474.stm)

That, of course, means it might be a jolly good idea for people to avoid Australia. And an even better idea for Australians (especially from Victoria) not to come and infect the rest of us. But it doesn't mean there's any reason for Europeans to avoid the US, or vice versa

Francophiletasmania might be right to say it's taken off in Australia because winter's the dangerous time, and it'll hit us all in December. Or the Australians might have done a rotten job in containing it. Or they might just all be malingering: being knocked out of the 20/20 chamionships at the first round must be a terrible trauma for the poor darlings.

Who knows? Whatever the reason: there's no obvious reason the overwhelming majority of the world should change their plans now because a thousand people in Melbourne are throwing sickies.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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Terrorists didnt stop me in 2001 and swine flu wont stop me in 2009.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 06:04 AM
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"Pandemic" means that an infection has spread over notable parts of the globe. This is not equal to "epidemy" which means an infection that affects large numbers of people.

How many people die in car accidents every year in your parts of the world? A much higher risk than this flu virus. Do car accident statistics keep you from driving, or leaving your house?
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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While a valid discussion, it is an interesting placement because of the Australian poster's interest in the Europe forum under the France tag.

Seems like the advice should be if the flu is now widespread in parts of Australia, then Australians should do Europeans a favor and not travel, taking the infection with them from their winter. Second, Europeans and others vacationing in Europe should avoid contact with Australians.

I just had a message from an associate in Japan who arranges contacts/travel for those coming into Japan for business and Japanese businessmen traveling to other countries. He says because of the flu his international travel is totally suspended. Terrible news since that is his lifeblood and the reaction is keeping people from traveling to countries that are not currently experiencing problems.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 05:54 PM
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I think that most of us have decided swine flu is a non-issue. Yes, a few people have died in the US - but all had significant underlying diseases - and thousands of similar people die every winter from whatever strain of flu is around. So far, this flu seems to be milder than the normal winter form.

If people want to worry about disease they should have a look at the number of people affected by Lyme disease - not as dramatic - but the numbers are enormous and it can be very debilitating even to young healthy people.

I think part of the problem is that swine flu was such a disaster in Mexico due to the lack of health care for many people - and untreated major underlying diseases in many more - who finally showed up at a hospital at death;s door.

It is apparent that in a developed country in which most people have access to a reasonable quality of healthcare swine flu simply isn't an issue. (Our corporate travel office recommended against unnecessary travel for about a week - until the scope of the problem became apparent. Now there is only a strong reco against travel to Mexico for the short term.)
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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As I work in two colleges with lots of young people and one college I work in is in Birmingham (where there has been an outbreak) I'm probably much more at risk staying at home.

NYtraveller - at least one of the deaths in the UK was someone without any underlying medical issues
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 09:54 PM
  #11  
 
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Just over 1000 swine flu cases have been registered in Melbourne, Victoria, a city with a population of about 4 million. Most cases have not required hospitalization, with the manifested symptoms being indistinguishable from 'normal' flu, whatever that is. There have been no deaths. It is 'flu season' here, and it is expected that there will be more cases over the next two months. The incidence, as usual, will decline as warmer weather approaches. The 'epidemic' has not affected attendances at public events, nor the use of public transport, and is declining in importance as a 'news' item. It does not seem to have affected travel between Australia and Europe, and, more specifically, it has not changed my intention to travel to Europe on Monday, June 22!
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