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WHO raises world flu alert to pandemic

The world health organisation has today raised the Influenza alert level to 6, the highest level, indicating a pandemic is underway. They rate the 2009 flu pandemic as currently moderate, with most people recovering, and I quote:

This particular H1N1 strain has not circulated previously in humans. The virus is entirely new.
The virus is contagious, spreading easily from one person to another, and from one country to another.
As of today, nearly 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 74 countries.
… I have therefore decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6. The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.
… On present evidence, the overwhelming majority of patients experience mild symptoms and make a rapid and full recovery, often in the absence of any form of medical treatment. Worldwide, the number of deaths is small. Each and every one of these deaths is tragic, and we have to brace ourselves to see more. However, we do not expect to see a sudden and dramatic jump in the number of severe or fatal infections.
… Most cases of severe and fatal infections have been in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 years.
This pattern is significantly different from that seen during epidemics of seasonal influenza, when most deaths occur in frail elderly people. … At the same time, it is important to note that around one third to half of the severe and fatal infections are occurring in previously healthy young and middle-aged people.

Read more details in the World Health Organisation press release.

This is also a timely reminder to people who work in office spaces about coughing/sneezing not into your hands, but the best cloth at hand. Two years ago at the start of the Flu season in Australia I blogged about the benefits of using your sleeves for catching germs.

The WHO has more details on the H1N1 strain of the Flu. There are also details on the current severity of this strain.

Keyboards are worse than Toilets

I promise to no longer touch any ones keyboards at work if you all promise to keep your hands off mine.
After seeing a twitter post on this, I read an article at the Beeb on how; and I definitely quote:

Research by the University of Arizona last year found the average office desktop harboured 400 times more bacteria than the average office toilet seat.

“Should somebody have a cold in your office, or even have gastroenteritis, you’re very likely to pick it up from a keyboard.” … one of the causes of dirty keyboards was users eating lunch at their desk, with crumbs encouraging the growth of bacteria. Poor personal hygiene, such as not washing hands after going to the toilet, could also be to blame.

Read more at the BBC well before you have lunch.
This is also a good time, going into the colder months in Southern Australia, to brush up on your coughing skills; and it is about this time last year I discussed the best way to do this.

Artificial Sweeteners Linked To Weight Gain

ScienceDaily have an article on new research on artificial sweeteners.

Want to lose weight? It might help to pour that diet soda down the drain. Researchers have laboratory evidence that the widespread use of no-calorie sweeteners may actually make it harder for people to control their intake and body weight. Cutting the connection between sweets and calories may confuse the body, making it harder to regulate intake.

You can read the full article at ScienceDaily.

Personally, I have never ascribed to the need for artificial sweeteners. If I want to sweeten my food, I will use a natural product like cane sugar, and as raw as possible. I also reject diet drinks and diet foods. Your “diet” is merely your food intake as a whole. If you want to be “on a diet” then alter your food intake and type on a permanent ongoing basis. Not just for a set period.

On a side note; I often think about going completely raw with my food but find it difficult to reconcile with eating in our modern society as a whole. Food for thought.

Climate change – the risks of no action

Watch this and then you will see why action is the better option than no action

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