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#143061 - 08/06/08 07:32 PM Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3633
Loc: TX
New research has shown a majority of the deaths in the 1918 flu pandemic were actually due to bacteria.
Article here

They suggest governments stock up on antibiotics in preparation for the next one.

-Blast
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#143072 - 08/06/08 08:39 PM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: Blast]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2939
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Fascinating -- historically and practically.

Thanks for the link!

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#143074 - 08/06/08 09:11 PM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: dougwalkabout]
Yuccahead Offline
Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
I have a book, "Desert Survival Skills" written by David Alloway. A few years ago, after reading the book, I Googled him and found a web page that said he had died of an infection contracted when a horse stepped on his foot far from medical attention. I have since then wondered whether to carry antibiotics in my first aid kit.

After further sniffing around I wondered which antibiotic I should carry. I'm a little fuzzy on the differences but there are scads of antibiotics. There are those that work on gram negative bacteria, those that work on aerobic bacteria, those that work only on some particular infections and those that work only on Tuesdays. Some also can have quite serious side-effects (see the link below for more).

My girlfriend seems to keep Cipro stashed somewhere for some eventuality. Probably because she heard the name at the peak of the anthrax scare in 2001. But what if you are trying to prepare should you get stranded somewhere and then get infected? It seems I would want to protect myself against diarrhea and also against whatever might infect a wound for example. I suppose, ultimately, I'll ask my doctor but I would like to some more knowledge so I know what to ask for (if it is indeed a good idea).

Anybody have any thoughts on this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotic_classes


Edited by Yuccahead (08/07/08 01:51 AM)
_________________________
-- David.

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#143079 - 08/06/08 10:04 PM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: Yuccahead]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Good article. Thanks, Blast.

Can't help you, Yuccahead, but I also would be interested in knowing more about what you're asking about.
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#143082 - 08/06/08 10:12 PM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: Blast]
Jeff_M Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: Blast
New research has shown a majority of the deaths in the 1918 flu pandemic were actually due to bacteria.
Article here

They suggest governments stock up on antibiotics in preparation for the next one.

-Blast


Opportunistic infections have always been a major killer, and made a roaring comeback in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. People don't die of AIDS itself, or from some other syndromes; they die from the opportunistic infections these allow to flourish.

Not so long ago, our government did maintain rapidly deployable pharmaceutical stockpiles, including antibiotics. However, there has been much political tinkering, blundering and loss of readiness of late, in federal programs designed for disaster response and mitigation, including disease outbreaks or bio-terrorism. Several years ago, the system was in pretty good shape, and I participated in an exercise ("Bioshield") to practice receiving one of the stockpiles and distributing them to hospitals, county health clinics, etc. It went very well. Today? Who knows?

As for stockpiling antibiotics individually, that's kind of iffy, in my personal opinion. You gotta match the drug wid' da' bug. If you screw up when dealing with the really nasty cooties, you might make yourself sicker in the long run. That being said, I do stockpile myself, with a doctor's Rx. But I have specific reasons for doing so. I have a history ear infections, and I get pneumonia rather easily now, thanks to "Nine One One Lung," even though I was one of the few to wear a respirator in the thick of it. I also do long distance, off-trail, solo backpacking. My doctors know me personally, know that I am a paramedic, and trust me to not do anything too terribly stupid before I check in with them. Others here can give far better, more expertly informed advice than I can. But please don't "hold back" any pills from current antibiotic Rx's, even if you're already feeling better. It is very important that you complete the entire prescribed course of treatment.

The real key here is prevention. That means good sanitation and personal and public health pratices, and maintaining as healthy of an immune system as you can.

Jeff

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#143091 - 08/06/08 10:35 PM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: Blast]
samhain Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/30/05
Posts: 598
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Interesting article Blast, thanks for posting.

In response to some of the responses that were responding to your post;

I've always been leery of the idea of individuals stocking antibiotics for an emergency, though I do understand the rationale for it, and haven't come to a personal decision on it as of yet though I'm leaning to "nay".

The pro's:

1) Peace of mind.
As often is the case, peace of mind is just a placebo.

2) May have the correct antibiotic for the specific infection during an emergency.

The con's:

1) Peace of mind.
Thinking one has something covered can increase the likelihood of letting one's guard down or delaying seeking treatment. "I don't need to go see the doctor, I got a truck-load of Cipro in the bunker out back...."

2) Inappropriate use:
Having a source of antibiotics in the house is tempting to use when one "thinks" they have a bacterial infection.

It was not uncommon for physicians to prescribe antibiotics for a patient coming to their office with a cold (virus) just to shut them up. Folks in America tend to not feel they've gotten their "money's worth" unless they walk out of the doctor's office with a prescription of some sort.

Given the rise of drug resistant bacteria, I've seen the majority of physicians clamp down on that practice, but the publics' perception is still the same in many cases.

3) Wrong tool : wrong job:
As someone pointed out there are several different groups of bacteria. Gram positive rods, gram positive cocci, gram positive cocci in clusters or chains, gram negative rods, gram negative cocci, ..... And it's not possible to know for sure which one got you and then you have to run sensitivities to see which antibiotic will work on it.

You could have Staph. aureus, or you could have Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus (MRSA)..... in which case oral antibiotics ain't going to do you a whole lotta good.

I think that putting effort and time into prevention would be a wiser course of action. Cleaning and hygiene supplies, keeping oneself as healthy as possible to stoke up one's immunity,...

The best way anyone can prevent the spread of infection is simply washing one's hands.
_________________________
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samhain autumnwood

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#143092 - 08/06/08 10:38 PM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemi [Re: Yuccahead]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: Yuccahead
I wondered which antibiotic I should carry. [/url]


That is why there are people who have masters degrees and doctorates, who still refer to very heavy and thick books, who handle drugs.

As for Cipro, it was touted as a be all and end all wonder drug. It isn't worthless, if stored and used correctly, but the odds of anyone who isn't a medical making that call is just random luck. It's like atropine- does it work? Sure, if used right. But stocking whatever random antibiotics you can lay your hands on, when you don't know how or when to use them and lack the ability to determine the actual infectious agent, while not as stupid in my opinion as stocking atropine, it is on par with gas masks and geiger counters. If you have a REAL, CREDIBLE risk, and know how to use it properly, fine, otherwise, don't.
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When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#143102 - 08/07/08 01:06 AM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: samhain]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Originally Posted By: samhain
It was not uncommon for physicians to prescribe antibiotics for a patient coming to their office with a cold (virus) just to shut them up. Folks in America tend to not feel they've gotten their "money's worth" unless they walk out of the doctor's office with a prescription of some sort.

I'm convinced I could do quite well impersonating a GP.

1st visit: "It's a virus, go home, get lots of rest and drink lots of water."
2nd visit: "Ok, perhaps its bacterial, here's an antibiotic, go home, get lots of rest and drink lots of water."
3rd visit: "Let's run a few blood tests." (or x-rays, mix it up a little)
4th visit: "Hmmmmm, I think you need to see a specialist."

At any rate, that article sounds like good news, we already have all kinds of antibiotics developed, while a specific flu vaccine can't be developed until the nasty strain breaks out and is identified.
_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#143103 - 08/07/08 01:10 AM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: thseng]
Henry_Porter Offline
Member

Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 111
This week's (August 6, 2008) issue of The New Yorker magazine has an article by Jerome Groopman on "Superbugs," which I found helpful for getting caught up on the use of antibiotics and the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria in recent years.

I can also recommend "Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic" by Gina Kolata.

Thanks for the link, Blast, to the article re: bacterial infections and the 1918 flu epidemic.

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#143111 - 08/07/08 01:37 AM Re: Bacteria were real killers in 1918 flu pandemic [Re: Henry_Porter]
Yuccahead Offline
Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
To all of you that were directing some part of your posts towards answering me, thanks. Those posts, to me, were good informative answers and viewpoints. I actually have that New Yorker around here somewhere. I'll have to read it now.
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-- David.

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