By Dr James Le Fanu
Published: 7:00AM BST 02 Sep 2009
Dr James Le FanuPhoto: MARTIN POPE
There is nothing like a fortnight’s holiday for putting things in perspective. I flew to Greece, leaving Britain in the grip of the swine flu epidemic with an estimated 100,000 new cases per week – only to discover on my return that this major threat to the nation’s health seems to have evaporated.
Or perhaps, as the British Medical Journal suggests, there never was an epidemic. After considerable difficulty, Edinburgh doctor Wilfrid Treasure tracked down confirmed cases in his area – just 13 per cent of those in whom it was originally diagnosed. Almost nine out of 10 of those suspected of having swine flu had some other viral illness. It was a similar story at Middlesbrough’s University Hospital, which set aside a special swine flu ward. In July, 28 patients were admitted but the diagnosis was confirmed in just two. It will be interesting to see if a more realistic assessment of the scale of the “epidemic” will influence plans for a mass immunisation campaign this autumn. I doubt it
We have stocked Tamiflu antiviral at home. Ideally within 6 hours and at the very latest within 48 hours of flu symptoms we will commence Tamiflu treatment. I bought Tamiflu online (£50 per dose) from pimsreg.com registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) and listed in "websites displaying the internet pharmacy logo".
Update 26 July 2009: Tamiflu - currently one dose is free to people exhibiting swine flu symptons - get Tamiflu from the UK Government Pandemic Flu site.
On 1 September my son went down with, what our doctor said 'ticked all the boxes' as swine flu. After 102F, vomiting, diarohea, headaches ... and taking tamiflu (our emergency stock) and on Thursday Relenza, he seems on the mend (4 September 8pm).
Diagram of influenza virus nomenclature (for a Fujian flu virus)
Structure of the influenza virion. The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins are shown on the surface of the particle. The viral RNAs that make up the genome are shown as red coils inside the particle and bound to Ribonuclear Proteins (RNPs).