State of California Survey

February 4, 2010

Last week I received a phone call from a person doing a survey for the California Department of Health. It was pretty long, about 15 minutes. It had all sorts of health questions such as my awareness of lead and unsafe sex practices (I could decline to answer any question) as well as questions about my access to medical care and my own general health.

The asked if I had received regular and H1N1 flu shots. But they didn’t ask if I had gotten the flu.

They did ask if I had had a fever in the last month. But that is not quite the same as asking if I had had the flu.

My friend in Oregon didn’t make it

December 6, 2009

<Local newspaper story

More personal sad news

November 26, 2009

A friend of mine is in the hospital in Portland OR with flu complications and is not expected to make it. He has had a stroke and kidney failure on top of the pneumonia. He’s late 40’s/ early 50s.

I found out a few more details about my friend’s friend. She was a good friend of another friend of mine, too.

Apparently she was sick for 2 or 3 days at home. It got worse and she had a fever of 106. They called the hospital and were told to wait it out. Well they did for a few more hours but by the time she was admitted things had advanced so much that they couldn’t save her.

I just joined a great forum.

November 24, 2009

Rhizalabs Flu Forums

I highly recommend it. Some of the discussion is scaring me, though.

H1N1 can be life threatening

November 23, 2009

I hope I am not giving the impression that I am anti-doctor. I’m not. I recognize that there are many dedicated and hard-working medical professionals out there and I would specifically like to thank them.

I have been following this blog for over a year and I feel like she is a close friend even though I don’t even know her real name.

About a month ago, her son contracted H1N1 and needed everything modern medicine could give him. Even so it was touch and go. He’s out of real danger now, but he’s still hospitalized.

Attila The Mom’s blog

ATM if you want me to remove this post, just let me know

Analysis of a scientific H1N1 sequencing article

November 8, 2009

I came across this article written in April 2009. I do not have an extensive background in chemistry or biology and I do not claim to be able to understand this article completely.

Here is a link to the entire article:
Mapping the sequence mutations of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus neuraminidase relative to drug and antibody binding sites
See the abstract below:

Some of the points I found interesting ( and be sure to comment if I am incorrect:

  • The virus was able to be sequenced and put in a database within 2 weeks of the outbreak in Mexico.
  • The researchers thought it interesting that this new virus was more similar to H5N1 avian flu than to H1N1 already in the Americas.
  • They also compared similarities to the 1918 flu which has been dug up from cadavers, sequenced and put into a bio informatics database. They found 21 differences.
  • The primary purpose of the article was to determine if the current antiviral drugs will still work with this new strain, and they conclude that so far they will.
  • They discuss the how (fast, much?) the current virus it currently mutating and are concerned that the places it is mutating will make antibodies and vaccines less effective.
  • One of the links H1N1 Model in the article was to a molecule modeling program that show mutations between this current virus and 1918 and avian virus. It also showed current mutations as recent as Oct 23. It seems to me that there are a lot of mutations but few on the difference sites.
  • The researchers are all in Singapore. One of the reviewers is in Bethesda MD

My questions:

  • Are only 21 differences (out of 380 or so) significant and indicate this is very close to 1918 flu and/or avian flu?
  • This only concerns the neuraminidase portion of the virus, which I gather is an important protein. Is this the important part or can viruses differ in other areas not covered by this paper?
  • Abstract

    In this work, we study the consequences of sequence variations of the “2009 H1N1” (swine or Mexican flu) influenza A virus strain neuraminidase for drug treatment and vaccination. We find that it is phylogenetically more closely related to European H1N1 swine flu and H5N1 avian flu rather than to the H1N1 counterparts in the Americas. Homology-based 3D structure modeling reveals that the novel mutations are preferentially located at the protein surface and do not interfere with the active site. The latter is the binding cavity for 3 currently used neuraminidase inhibitors: oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), zanamivir (Relenza®) and peramivir; thus, the drugs should remain effective for treatment. However, the antigenic regions of the neuraminidase relevant for vaccine development, serological typing and passive antibody treatment can differ from those of previous strains and already vary among

    My very own case(s) of the flu

    November 6, 2009

    About 2 weeks ago I was sick. Headache, scratchy throat, feeling blah and maybe a slight fever. This only lasted a day or so.

    Then this Sunday I had a weird headache that would come and go. On Monday I was definitely sick, again with the sore throat and headache. This time I developed a fever. It briefly got to 103 in one ear. This time I was blowing my nose a lot.

    It’s now Thursday. The fever is almost gone and I feel much better but I get woozy if I stand or walk too much. I’ve quarantined myself for the week, missing a few fun social occasions.

    So, do I have H1N1? Probably. But I can’t know without a lab test. Since I wasn’t that sick, there isn’t much point to the test.

    A friend whose son goes to the local elementary school said absences there were very high (40-50%).

    Our first survey is up!

    November 4, 2009

    Please fill it out and have your friends fill it out also!  It’s only 12 quick questions.

    Also here is a tinyurl for it:

    Rollout of the blog section of

    October 20, 2009

    Since flutruth has a limited budget,  I’m trying wordpress for the blogging part.

    Sorry for the disjointed browsing experience.