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Posted by preparedcitizens on February 8, 2009
Please visit the new Prepared Citizens blog
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 20, 2009
Mark your calendars: Wednesday, January 28th at 2 PM
And this webcast on Pandemic Influenza is somewhat of a mystery. I am sure that it will be interesting and timely.
Other videos and webcasts are located at the website.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has done an excellent job of keeping this citizen informed about avian flu and the preparedness that needs to get done in order to be ready for a pandemic.
I have said this before, I struggle with the preparation part of all of this. It takes a long time to get ready. Slowly but surely I am reaching some goals and I have to set new ones all of the time.
So if the budget is tight like mine please don’t hesitate to prepare.
I know that when you first hear about a pandemic what it truly means takes some getting used to but I have found that action is better than inaction. Truth be told, we have been preparing for over four years and if you were to look around my house you would never know it. We buy “twosies” of everything but lately we have been eating what we buy. So my goal now is to purchase “threesis” of essentials and cut back on non-essentials. There really is no room for failure here so I just keep plugging at this.
Sometimes I fear that if I delay, I will run out of time and my family won’t have what we need to endure. We do have some of the basic disaster essentials, it is the food that is a challenge (remember to rotate what you do purchase…at first I didn’t. I made that mistake so I will pass along the tip.
But I digress…..
There is a good deal of information at the Pandemic Flu website that helps to understand just what a pandemic is, stockpiling, workplace and individual preparation…and so much more.
For leaders in a community there is the “Take the Lead” page, also an excellent resource!
I hope that you make it to the PlanFirst Webinar!
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 13, 2009
Type A Strep with Toxic Shock Syndrome is a serious disease. School and health officials are doing a good job in their diligence to control the spread of this within the school. While one case does not an epidemic make, this is a good reminder for us to pay attention to what is circulating in our communities and how we respond when these illnesses occur. Vigilence and diligence are the key words and this community has both.
My prayers are for the young student and his family and prayers of thanks to a proactive town in following up and being diligent.
Here is the recent headline of this story from East Bernstadt, Kentucky
Posted: 9:31 PM Jan 13, 2009
Last Updated: 9:31 PM Jan 13, 2009
Reporter: Dara Rees
Email Address: email@example.com
School officials say doctors have finally diagnosed an East Bernstadt student’s illness. The school’s principal says the seventh grader from Laurel County has “Type A Strep with Toxic Shock Syndrome”.
School custodians started taking extra cleaning precautions last week when the student first became sick. School officials say they are cleaning every day and even between classes to make sure the school is safe for students.
School nurse Ronda Bundy says, “The doctor said there were no additional precautions to be taken, to proceed as you normally would.”
The custodial staff at East Bernstadt say they have cleaned every surface they think a student could come in contact with, using commercial grade cleaners.
“The desks have been bleached, we mopped with a lot of extra bleach, we went through lockers, we did the carpet areas, we did an extra cleaning on the carpet areas, water fountains, doorknobs. Inside, outside doorknobs!” says custodian Rosemary Callahan.
Classmates created cards for the boy and his brother who also attends the school. Some students then asked teachers if they could join together to pray for the family.
“The kids have mostly been in school with the student for a number of years and they just want to voice their concerns. And since they can’t go to the hospital and bombard the hospital, we’ll just get together and offer prayer and thoughts on his behalf,” says Principal Jim Meding.
He says there are no other students in the school with the same symptoms.
Principal Meding says the seventh grader is still in serious condition, but he believes after weeks in the hospital, the student will recover.
Just a reminder – a sore throat should be cultured by a physician early.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 13, 2009
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released the sixth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, which finds that progress made to better protect the country from disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism is now at risk, due to budget cuts and the economic crisis. In addition, the report concludes that major gaps remain in many critical areas of preparedness, including surge capacity, rapid disease detection, and food safety.
The report contains state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators to assess health emergency preparedness capabilities. More than half of states and D.C. achieved a score of seven or less out of 10 key indicators. Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin scored the highest with 10 out of 10. Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Montana, and Nebraska tied for the lowest score with five out of 10.
Economic Crisis Hurting U.S. Preparedness for Health Emergencies; More Than Half of States Score 7 or Lower out of 10 in Readiness Rankings
Washington, D.C., December 9, 2008 – Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today released the sixth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, which finds that progress made to better protect the country from disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism is now at risk, due to budget cuts and the economic crisis. In addition, the report concludes that major gaps remain in many critical areas of preparedness, including surge capacity, rapid disease detection, and food safety.
Massachusetts achieved 6 out of 10 possible indicators for health emergency preparedness capabilities. More than half of states and D.C. achieved a score of seven or less out of 10 key indicators. Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin scored highest with 10 out of 10. Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Montana, and Nebraska tied for the lowest score with five out of 10.
Over the past six years, the Ready or Not? report has documented steady progress toward improved public health preparedness. This year however, TFAH found that federal funding for state and local preparedness has been cut 25 percent since 2005, and that these cut backs coupled with the cuts states are making to their budgets in response to the economic crisis, put that progress at risk. In the coming year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 33 states are facing shortfalls in the 2009 budgets and 16 states are already projecting shortfalls to their 2010 budgets.
The rest of the MA story is here.
For the state-by-state scoring, states received one point for achieving an indicator or zero points if they did not achieve the indicator. Zero is the lowest possible overall score, 10 is the highest. The data for the indicators are from publicly available sources or were provided from public officials. More information on each indicator is available in the full report on TFAH’s Web site at http://www.healthyamericans.org and RWJF’s Web site at http://www.rwjf.org. The report was supported by a grant from RWJF.
10 out of 10: Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin
9 out of 10: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont
8 out of 10: Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Washington
7 out of 10: California, Colorado, D.C., Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
6 out of 10: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas
5 out of 10: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska, Montana
*Note: Arkansas’s score has been revised. The state provided information confirming they have a Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator after the original release of the report.
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 13, 2009
Check it out: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/
In the Spotlight
- Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule now available (Jan 8)
- January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month–Help protect yourself and your loved ones by learning more (Jan 7)
- Register now for NetConference on January 29: Antiviral resistance among influenza A(H1N1) viruses and interim guidance for antivirals (Jan 6)
- MMWR: Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0-18 Years now available (Jan 1)
- New status of M-M-R vaccines and updated status on supply of hepatitis A vaccine (Dec 16)
- ACIP Provisional Recommendations for Use of Pneumococcal Vaccines (Dec 8)
- View all …
Check it out, a wonderful website full of information!!
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 13, 2009
I have known too few true peacemakers in my life. Why is this such a rare find when we all value peace so highly? It is true that in order to be peacemakers we must first turn away from all evil. Is this what makes true peace such a rare prize?
We enjoy our evil ways, we have since the garden.
We are unable to reject what we cannot see for something we cannot obtain apart from a cleansed heart that is given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit when we first believe the truth about the man Jesus Christ who is the Son of God. I know of no other way to be a peacemaker.
Those who have found this truth are unable to truly tell another who has not. This marvelous gift of love given to us by God, in order to be understood, the seeker must find it on his own. Words cannot describe the fullness here.
And this is a frustration for those who love, who deeply love others with the type of love that caused Jesus Christ to die on the cross as our Redeemer. As imperfect humans, perhaps we are incapable of such love. In loving for this capacity, praying for it, I do believe that we are given a taste. A taste of what is ahead for us.
Those who seek true lasting peace must come to that place of trust alone. The seeker must step off the cliff alone — and that is truly what it is like before that step, we fear that we are stepping off a cliff into the great unknown. Like Nicodemus, we ask how will we be changed once we are born again. We fear the upheaval such a change will bring to our lives — this is pride, soft pride.
We do not want this change.
We do not want to give up control.
But just like we are born alone, we die alone, we must come to that place of faith alone. And it truly is that evil veil over our eyes that lures us away from the decision and no decision is a choice away from peace and this choice to flee keeps us listening to the siren song that pulls us back from walking off that cliff into faith.
This fear must be rejected because it is what keeps us from finding true peace in our soul – the peace that can be shared with others. The spark of something so desirable but also so intangible. When we step out and off, we do not fall from the cliff, we walk across the bridge that is the cross of Jesus Christ, we walk to the other side — we walk into new life, we become born anew.
The barrier to peace is the human ego, and our pride can be such an evil thing. That beautiful angel Lucifer, the most handsome and desirous of all that was created in heaven illustrates for us how seductive evil truly can be. That desire to be right, to be seen as a step above one’s peers, to be praised, to be admired as a thing of beauty, a thinker, an intelligent academic, someone to be sought after, to be desired. We want the wrong kind of love, the love from our fellow man is valued above the love from God.
We want somehow to be more than God, we want to be like a god at least in our own lives or our own sphere of influence. It was this that caused Lucifer’s fall from grace. And it is the subtle siren song sung to us even today.
So many ships have crashed upon the rocks following the lure of that deadly song. How hard an illusion this must be to maintain—to constantly think so highly of oneself. What pressure, the antithesis to peace. The slightest mistake brings on a rush of fear that the illusion will be shattered.
This self delusion that is steeped heavily in our own fears of losing control, this is why I hate that false praise, I shun it because it wears my soul down. It steals all peace and robs me of my joy. Such an oddity I become when I deflect praise. I have heard my own words over the years and I know my friends have not understood my ways. This is my attempt to once and for all explain what has been on my heart.
How can we have peace with one another if we think more highly of ourselves than we do of each other? This is a barrier to true peacemaking. It is a desire for power over others that is the peace breaker. We see this reflected in the headlines of today and over the years. We see this in some of our politicians whose grandiosity would be laughable if it weren’t so sad, and so dangerous. There is that desire to control again, to be lauded. And this control, hopefully once it is recognized for what it is the allure will be gone, for it can be rejected.
After years of my own searching for truth I found only one true path…and it is narrow. It is this love story that I have spent years trying to tell my friends about.
What do we become if we do not recognize that a loving God has given us His Son as a sacrifice for the sin that we must reject? We become nothing. We remain empty shells at our very core. The hole in our heart remains. The one that is God shaped, God designed and can only be filled by God if we truly desire peace.
Yes, at the end of it all we become nothing if this void remains.
As for peace in this life, as I said above, my search has led me to realize years ago that it is impossible to have peace apart from a relationship with the true peace giver. This is the perfection of God. He knows us so well. He gives us a deep desire for peace and only one true way to obtain it, how brilliant.
When we finally see that perfect man, the Messiah who has come, we see how perfectly small we are. Our ego is not shattered, it is made whole. We are dead to our old self and born anew. All that we are, all that we have, all that we must become is found in Christ Jesus. He is the only true righteous One. He is the only bringer of lasting peace. And this truth applies to every person anywhere on this earth. Jesus died for us singly and corporately whether we embrace this truth or not. He did the work. We have only to recognize and believe this truth. God loves us all equally – that is peace.
In my belief I am not a barrier to peace. I say to reject all that is evil and that list is quite long. I am so busy spending my time attempting to remove the mote from my own eye that removing the splinter from yours is not high on my list unless that splinter is so grievous that it preys upon the innocent. And yes, there are innocents among us. There are some glaringly evil things that we do as human beings that must be rejected through a social conscience. And some may very well be on my list, although I believe that I have long ago rejected the worst of them and repented. But I do not forget their lure and I grieve for those still caught up in what is pulling at them. I am not above the human condition to sin, I recognize it in myself, and in others as the joy stealer that will always be with us to some extent at least this side of heaven.
When we fail to discuss evil, when we turn a blind eye to it civilizations fall. When a society cannot define that which is evil we have consciously decided to allow it free reign. Do not believe the lie that we must not judge that which is evil. There is evil and people are capable of doing evil.
It is Jesus Christ the Messiah who is the bringer of peace to all who believe. So I speak of His peace, and for that I am hated because there is a created one who despises and works against this true peace. That one is the liar, the soothsayer, the one who mocks this truth — he is the god of this world and an enemy of the One True God.
So is this truth, and the telling of this truth, peacemaking? I think that it is and it is with love and courage that I speak what is in my heart for all to see and all to accept or reject.
This truth is a sword that divides and it rends the heart of those who are not willing to give up their pride in order to see it. It seems so much like hatred but it is a gift of life and love. It is a truth that we recognize having crossed that barrier from death to life and a truth that we cannot communicate fully to others. It must be experienced in order to be grasped by the seeker of true peace — by recognizing fully the Messiah who has come, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
But do not take my word for this. These are the words of peace…..
"That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." ~John 17:21-23
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." ~Matthew 5:9
"Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." ~James 3:18
"He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." ~1 Peter 3:11-12
"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." ~Romans 4:19
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." ~Romans 12:17-18
"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." ~Hebrews 12:14-15
Once this truth is discovered, there is no turning back, there is no desire to turn back. How wondrous a thing it is to know that when you have truly forgiven all and have been forgiven all – past, present and future.
"Nothing is so cruel as the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
With Much Love,
Catherine "Jackie" Mitchell
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 12, 2009
An awesome site for an equally awesome bunch of people. This will be a short post but I wanted to make sure that this group and groups like them get the attention that they deserve.
The site is called The Kitchen Table and it is focused on the firefighting community at large.
Welcome to The Kitchen Table
The Kitchen Table blog is a place for the growing online firefighting community to get the daily buzz. As the firehouse kitchen table is where firefighters in a station gather, The Kitchen Table blog brings firefighters together for a global conversation.
and today’s post was about H5N1 which is how I discovered the site.
This is ONE AWESOME WEBSITE!
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 12, 2009
Sometimes issues just seem to pick us. I never really set out to learn all there is to know about influenza, bioterrorism, infectious diseases (and I certainly have not even come close to achieving that end)….this life path just opened up somehow and I find myself trudging along trying to avoid the potholes and major obstacles that crop up from time to time.
My friend Debi @ A Pandemic Chronicle pointed us to an article written by Peter Sandman, another highly respected gentleman whose writing I have been fascinated by over recent years. He is a personable gentleman who is down to earth and he really knows risk communication.
I read what my fellow bloggers had to say today, even the Reveres weighed in, and DemFromCt @ Daily Kos had a wonderful article, Helen Branswell, Mike at Avian Flu Diary, (as I referenced in my previous post) and I am sure, though I haven’t checked yet, Crawford Kilian has had some wonderful insight.
I had to push back from my pc and take a breath.
There is a profound dialogue going on here.
An equally profound message is working its way through the many posts on the subject by all of us. None of us are claiming any expertise, not that I am aware of. I think that for the most part what we are trying to convey here is a message of deep caring and concern for our fellow man and we are all healers of a sort trying to prevent tragedy. So maybe I shouldn’t be putting words in my fellow flu blogger’s mouths. They do an excellent job on their own. But this is the impression that I have of all of them. A deep caring and commitment to their readers. And the fact is, we may not always get our messaging right but when you read between the many lines of flowing dialogue a caring heart of shows through.
Not one person, and I know most of these folks personally as friends, wants to “get it wrong” not one wants to add to anyone’s burden or stress. Not one would want to harm a single hair on anyone’s head and all of them are doing their utmost to educate and inform because each and every one of us know that this imparted information can be a benefit to you, the reader.
On my end, and for my contribution, I have to work very hard at understanding these technical studies so that I can attempt to convey what I think they are saying in order that I can translate that into some sort of workable action on our parts. I may not be so good at this. But what I try to do, what “voice” I try to have, is the one where I am explaining what I am reading to my better half, my husband, and my family and how if we do *A* we many not feel the effects of *B*.
This has been an ongoing effort by a great many people in greater “flublogia”, as we like to call ourselves, and we reside all over the globe. We have come together in order to think through some of these issues that will eventually effect us all.
So if I get any part of this wrong, if I misspeak, or misunderstand, and then misadvise, please know that I have done so with no ill will and certainly no intent to hurt a single person.
When it comes to advice, I really have no sure way, no certain path to see our way through a pandemic let alone a flu season. All I can do is point to the issues and who is speaking about them. I can tell you what advice I am taking and why and this by no means should be taken as my advice to you or an admonishment to you for not doing what I have chosen.
There is value in awareness and education. But I learn from each of you as much as you hopefully learn from me.
Onward, Upward and thanks for reading,
Or as my friends know me as “Jackie”
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 12, 2009
According to the CDC website the formulations for the 2008-2009 flu seasons for both the injectable and intranasal flu vaccine 2008-09 include protection against
- A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1),
- A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2), and
- B/Florida/4/2006 strains.
If you had influenza B Malaysia last year and a flu shot this year kudos to you, you may have the antibodies to resist this years circulating strain. Oddly enough, B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like virus was the 2007-2008 component.
A little bit about Influenza B viruses…Influenza B has a limited host range only infecting humans and seals. Influenza A viruses have a much greater host range. More about influenza B infection toward the end of this post.
Influenza B viruses also mutate by genetic drift and reassortment at a much slower rate (2 to 3 times slower) than A viruses. This is important because when they get the vaccine right, it will typically stay right for the entire flu season. Influenza A viruses are highly mutable so at the tail end of any flu season we are at more risk even though immunized.
What my response is: Non pharmaceutical interventions must also remain in the forefront of all of our efforts. And forced vaccinations of children or anyone else is not a guarantee of safety. It is an overreaction. Education and awareness are the best weapons in our arsenal.
So what is being discussed….
According to the website FluWatch Canada this is what is currently circulating in Canada:
December 28, 2008 to January 3, 2009 (Week 53)
Overall influenza activity in Canada remains low; an influenza outbreak in a hospital was reported in Ontario
During week 53, influenza activity in Canada remained low overall with the majority of the influenza surveillance regions still reporting no activity.
Sixteen regions (in BC, AB, ON & QC) reported sporadic influenza activity and localized activity was reported in 2 regions (central region in AB and in Toronto, ON) (see map).
Note that no data for 2 regions in SK were received this week. Eighty-seven specimens tested positive for influenza in Canada this week (percentage positive = 3.3%; 87/2,633) (see table).
The majority of influenza virus detections to date this season were influenza A viruses (54% or 165/304); however influenza B detections have slowly increased over the last several weeks.
In week 53, the ILI consultation rate increased to 23 ILI consultations per 1,000 patient visits (see ILI graph), however it remains below the expected range for this week. The sentinel response rate was low at 37%. An outbreak of influenza in a hospital in ON was reported in week 53.
Other Respiratory Viruses: RSV detections for Canada as a whole continue to increase while detections for adenoviruses and parainfluenza viruses remain at fairly low levels (see graph).
Since 1 September 2008, the NML has antigenically characterized 33 influenza viruses:
10 influenza A/Brisbane/59/2007(H1N1)-like (from BC, AB, ON & NS),
1 influenza A/Brisbane/10/2007(H3N2)-like (from BC),
3 influenza B/Florida/4/2006-like (from ON and AB) and
19 B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like (from ON and AB).
A/Brisbane/59/2007(H1N1), A/Brisbane/10/2007(H3N2) and /Florida/4/2006 are the influenza A and influenza B components recommended for the 2008-09 influenza vaccine.
****B/Malaysia/2506/2004 was the influenza B component for the 2007-2008 season vaccine
Regarding Antiviral Resistance, this was noted in Canada…
Results from the NML: (my note: National Microbiology Lab of Canada)
Since the start of the season, the NML has tested 11 influenza A isolates (6 H1N1 and 5 H3N2) for amantadine resistance. All of the H1N1 isolates were susceptible; however all of the H3N2 isolates were resistant to amantadine (resistance = 100% or 5/5). The resistant isolates were from ON, AB and BC.
The NML has also tested 24 influenza isolates (5 A/H1N1, 2 A/H3N2 & 17 B) for oseltamivir (Tamiflu) resistance. All of the A/H3N2 and B isolates were sensitive; however all of the A/H1N1 isolates were resistant to oseltamivir due to the H274Y mutation (resistance = 100% or 5/5). The resistant isolates were from NS, ON and BC.
All 22 influenza isolates (3 A/H1N1, 2 A/H3N2 & 17 B) tested for zanamivir resistance to date were sensitive to zanamivir.
Oseltamivir resistance findings from Provincial laboratories:
To date this season, 24 influenza isolates in BC have been sub-typed as A/H1 and were assessed genotypically for oseltamivir resistance using an SNP assay. Eighteen isolates tested positive for the H274Y mutation (resistance = 100% or 18/18), with the other 6 specimens still pending confirmatory testing.
Influenza-associated Paediatric Hospitalizations:
No laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated paediatric hospitalizations have been reported through the Immunization Monitoring Program Active (IMPACT) network for the 2008-09 season.
It is interesting to note that last flu season there was a mismatch to the circulating B strains. According to CIDRAP last year, “93% of the circulating influenza B viruses analyzed so far belong to the Yamagata lineage, which doesn’t match the influenza B component of this year’s vaccine. The B component is a B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like virus, which belongs to the Victoria lineage.”
More on Seasonal Flu Activity around the world…
from the WHO
Seasonal influenza activity in the world, weeks 51-52 (as of 7 January 2008)
During the weeks 51-52, the overall level of influenza activity in the world began to increase in some countries in Europe. Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland reported widespread activity with influenza-like illness (ILI) above threshold levels. France also reported increased activity while regional activity was reported in the Netherlands, Spain and local activity in Italy. Activity in many other countries remained low. The majority of viruses identified this season have been influenza A (H3N2).
Ireland: Widespread influenza A activity has been reported.
Italy: Three influenza A H3N2 influenza isolates were reported during week 52.
Netherlands: In week 52 a substantial proportion of specimens from sentinel ILI patients contained influenza virus. To date all influenza viruses detected in specimens from sentinel ILI patients were A(H3N2).
Portugal: Widespread influenza A (H3N2) activity was reported.
Spain: Regional activity was reported. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses were detected.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Influenza activity continued to be widespread across the country with GP consultation rates above the threshold levels in England and Scotland in week 52. The majority of the specimens have been positive for influenza A (H3N2), with low numbers of H1N1 and B detected.
Sporadic influenza activity was observed in Belgium (A), Cameroon (A, B), Canada (A,B), China (H1, H3, B), China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (H1,H3,B), Finland (A,B), Germany (H1,H3, B), Greece (A) , Iran (H3), Israel (A;B), Japan (H1,H3, B), Latvia (A) , Luxembourg (A), Morocco (H1,B), Netherlands (H3), Norway (H1,H3,B), Russian Federation (H1,H3,B), Slovenia (H1,H3), Switzerland (H3), Tunisia (H1,B) and the United States of America (H1,H3,B).
Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and Serbia reported no influenza activity.
What is the difference to us between Influenza A infection, Influenza B infection and even Influenza C infection?
Influenza A can infect a wide range of hosts. Pigs, horses, cats, ferrets, wild birds, humans. This highly mutable virus is divided into subtypes and is named according to the two proteins on the surface of the virus – Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). So when someone says H5N1 or H3N2 or H1N1 they are describing with specificity the two proteins that are in the Influenza A strain. There are 16 known HA subtypes and 9 known NA subtypes, not all infect humans. And currently only H1N1, H3N2 and H1N2 are circulating in humans. Rarely some of these subtypes cross the species barrier. H3N8, an influenza A virus that typically infects horses has recently infected dogs.
H5N1 is the subtype that scientists have their eyes on because it is crossing the species barrier from birds to humans, with other species also being infected from time to time. Only influenza A viruses infect birds. Some are low pathogenic and some are highly pathogenic. Of the H5 influenza A viruses there are nine subtypes. There are also nine know subtypes of the H7 influenza A virus. H7 infection in humans is a rare event. It is also broken down into high path. and low path subtypes. And then there is the H9 subtype which also has nine subtypes. This virus is only found in a low pathogenic form.
Highly pathogenic or low pathogenic
Pathogenic means the ability to cause disease. A flu virus can be highly pathogenic or it can have low pathogenicity. A highly pathogenic flu virus can cause severe illness and death. A low pathogenic flu virus is much less likely to cause severe disease.
Typically H1, H2 and H3 subtypes are what have caused illness in humans. When each subtype first emerged it caused a human pandemic because people did not have antibodies to fight off the newly emerged subtype. This is what we are watching for with the H5 subtype. It is increasingly infecting more humans demonstrating that it is adapting to the human host.
An infection with an influenza A virus is pretty well known as to what we experience. It’s hallmark is high fever, cough, muscle aches, and frequently we develop secondary infections like pneumonia.
Influenza B viruses as I mentioned above are found in humans and seals. Influenza B viruses are not classified by subtype. They typically cause less severe epidemics than Influenza A and they do not cause pandemics.
Infection with a B virus usually causes less severe symptoms but it is still nothing to take lightly. Influenza B does have the potential to cause more severe disease in older persons and the very young.
Influenza C virus causes mild respiratory illness and is not thought to cause epidemics.
So what is circulating in the US right now?
CDC has antigenically characterized 110 influenza viruses [68 influenza A (H1), 13 influenza A (H3) and 29 influenza B viruses] collected by U.S. laboratories since October 1, 2008.
All 68 influenza A (H1) viruses are related to the influenza A (H1N1) component of the 2008-09 influenza vaccine (A/Brisbane/59/2007). All 13 influenza A (H3N2) viruses are related to the A (H3N2) vaccine component (A/Brisbane/10/2007).
Influenza B viruses currently circulating can be divided into two distinct lineages represented by the B/Yamagata/16/88 and B/Victoria/02/87 viruses. Nine influenza B viruses tested belong to the B/Yamagata lineage and are related to the vaccine strain (B/Florida/04/2006). The remaining 20 viruses belong to the B/Victoria lineage and are not related to the vaccine strain. Seventeen of the 20 viruses belonging to the B/Victoria lineage were from two states.
Data on antigenic characterization should be interpreted with caution given that:
- Few U.S. isolates are available for testing because of limited influenza activity thus far.
- The majority of viruses antigenically characterized to date come from only three states and may not be nationally representative.
- Antigenic characterization data is based on hemagglutination inhibition (HI) testing using a panel of reference ferret antisera and results may not correlate with clinical protection against circulating viruses provided by influenza vaccination.
Annual influenza vaccination is expected to provide the best protection against those virus strains that are related to the vaccine strains, but limited to no protection may be expected when the vaccine and circulating virus strains are so different as to be from different lineages, as is seen with the two lineages of influenza B viruses.
In other words….A flu shot for the 2008-2009 Flu Season is still a very good idea. And in the case of H5N1 causing a pandemic during this flu season (along with seasonal flu) the N1 component of the flu shot may offer us a little bit of benefit against the N1 part of H5N1. I will take any advantage I can get. We can do the best we can to avoid getting the flu by becoming aware of what it is that is circulating throughout the entire flu season, knowing what strains we have been vaccinated against (if that was our decision) and to keep our hands away from our mucous membranes. There is so much that we don’t know about the world of virology and infectious disease control, but there are some things that we do know. Let’s make the best use of what we do know in order to keep as many people safe and healthy as possible.
Respiratory Virus Detections/Isolations in Canada – Quite a document!
DemFromCt is currently writing a three part series about the complicated nature of what we are dealing with. Dem is a good friend (for a Democrat :-) ). He is an excellent writer and can really explain much better than I can the ins and outs of all of this. His series is called “Flu and You” part 1 is here.
Mike at Avian Flu Diary has great information and he quotes medical writer extraordinaire Helen Branswell.
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 11, 2009
Google has realized that what people are searching for on the internet may be an early indication of what people are experiencing in any given area. Knowing this information may give us the first clue that a pandemic has begun. Certainly information from Google is not the only criteria, many other indicators are in place already. A sudden surge in purchases of over the counter medication in an area, a surge in emergency room visits, etc, these are all variables, things that experts are monitoring in order that we may all know when the best time is to hunker down. But how will that information reach the rest of the population if no one is really paying attention? And will this information be divulged to a largely unprepared population? Certainly, if we are not ready to receive the information it may not. Panic is something that no one wants to trigger. All the more reason for those of us in the general public to be prepared to receive this information.
For better of for worse we live in the information age. It is time that we put that information to use. It is time to make all the tools that are at our disposal work for us especially in regards to an infectious diseases outbreak or bioterrorism event. Information alone will not cause panic. What causes panic is information combined with unpreparedness. If we are ready to hear the news, while we may have some fear, we won’t become paralyzed in our fear.
Ah but it all seems so silly to prepare our homes for influenza to strike. I know this is what I think sometimes and I admit to thinking on occasion “why bother”. But it is this very inclination which will be our undoing. I have been getting a lot better at this preparedness thing. It took me admitting to myself that we are living in a dangerous world and I so much wanted our world to be the same as it has always been. And it no longer is. The balance of power IS shifting, there are groups of people who do want to wipe us off the map, and there are crazies out there who will commit suicide in order to kill as many people as they can. If these are not reasons enough for someone to prepare, then we add on top of this the threat of yet another influenza pandemic.
In order for me to not panic I had to ask tons of questions of the experts. I had to read report after report in order that I could understand so I would not panic. And I no longer feel as though I am on pins and needles waiting for something bad to happen. But I have grown up and grown into this new lifestyle….reluctantly. Now that I am here I try to encourage others to get “here” too. On hindsight, it wasn’t all that difficult. I just have never been that good at change.
A friend of mine is an expert in biosurveillance. You can read his blog here.
What the big question is….
Do you want to be given a head’s up if something major comes our way if that head’s up will increase your chances of survival?
I am working under the assumption that “YES” anyone would want a head’s up and I am working my fingers to the bone in order to assure that head’s up for my readers. There are a few of us out here actively engaged in solving this problem.
So please prepare so that when the heads up comes you can hunker down and not go out there to start to prepare.
You can vote in my poll at polldaddy http://poll.fm/r4y3/
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 10, 2009
It has everything to do with us here in the US. It has everything to do with me sitting here at my computer in Monson MA. It has everything to do with you, the reader of this blog.
When we can close our eyes to the suffering of millions we have lost something. When we can hear the reports of heartache, death from disease, hardship, and not translate that into faces and individuals and their plight and wonder what God would have us do with the awareness, we have shut off a vital part of our humanity – empathy.
Most of us will never experience the suffering of Hemorrhagic Ebola, malaria, dengue, Chikungunya, Leishmaniasis, and so many of the more “tropical” diseases but billions of people on this earth do, and suffer….oh how they suffer.
We sit and wring our hands over a pandemic which will affect us (and everyone across this globe as well) but we turn a blind eye to that which is unlikely to come to our shores or find its way into our homes. AIDS sufferers the world over know this. They are the modern lepers. And what did Jesus Christ do? He walked among them, healing them, comforting them.
Is it the overwhelming need the world over that causes us to do nothing? Is it that fact that we will never eliminate these scourges? Or that we will never be able to personally save a life? Is that the point of what Jesus did? What Jesus Christ did was show us through His example that we must never withdraw from the battle. He demonstrated to us that we must not withdraw from the world, we must not define people by what they are, what they have, who they represent, and what defines them. We are reaching hearts not personalities, not who people think they are, want to be, or even what they do – that is God’s to sort through, and He will.
Ebola is ravaging central Africa. Without human intervention we do not have to worry about these tropical diseases. But we must not shut off our caring about those who do.
H5N1 is becoming endemic all over the world and it is slowly adapting to the human respiratory tract —- which means it will be OUR next great struggle. No one will be spared, death will visit each and every one of us in one way or another. If not our own, some family member near or distant will be struck down.
Is it time to tell you the truth about how very serious pandemic influenza is? Certainly something must shake the cobwebs off. Certainly something must help you to realize that we (those who plan and prepare and sound the alert for others) are not talking about the “flu”. We are talking about something on a par with hemorrhagic Ebola, on a par with Hurricane Katrina striking every city and town in this country, in the world, AT THE SAME TIME. We are talking about an illness that turns faces blue black from lack of oxygen and there are not enough ventilators to go around, not enough hospital personnel to assist, not enough of anything to see us through this other than our own presence of mind, our own preparedness, our own moral courage to not devolve into panic stricken idiots who prey upon others — and there will be those too. And the maddening thing about this — we don’t know when that final adaptation will take place. All these co-infections, people with bird to human H5N1 and a regular seasonal influenza are more fuel for that fire.
So, if you can turn off Ebola in central Africa, and AIDS pandemic that has been ongoing for decades, ask yourself this question…..am I also not seeing a pandemic of influenza coming? Because if you are not actively preparing, if you are laughing it off, if you are thinking that it’s the next y2k, then you are sadly mistaken.
And West Nile is nothing to sneeze at either. Our world is changing and man’s intervention has had an impact. Overuse of antibiotics has fueled disease resistance, not utilizing the vaccines that we do have has allowed childhood illnesses that we once under control to reemerge even stronger. Now these *new* vaccines, well, there are ethical issues that MUST be considered. Who is paying attention?
And as for coping with all of this…..We do have tools, we do have options, no one is without hope.
If it were not for my relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I would not be coping with this myself. He is my strength, my sound mind, my focus and my reason for living. HE is my HOPE and it is to Him that I cling.
I pray that this post reaches in and touches each and every reader in a mighty way. Our Savior lives.
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 6, 2009
The truth is that the numbers of flu cases may actually decrease because human behavior is actually changing. So yes, we do hype influenza. And yes, we do hype what we can do to *mitigate” the season.
A low amount of viral shedding in healthy adults typically occurs for 24–48 hours *before* the illness onset During the beginning of the symptomatic period we shed more virus, typically our infectious period peaks during the first 24–72 hours of illness and then this declines over several days
Highly immunocompromised persons may shed viruses for weeks to months. Children shed viruses earlier than adults much before illness begins and then for longer periods if time once symptoms begin For children viral shedding peaks during the first 1–3 days of illness, and they shed more virus than adults and they can spread influenza for 7–8 days after illness onset and up to 21 days at the extreme atypical end.
Once influenza has resolve no viral shedding occurs.
By heeding this information we can stop spreading illness to others. If you know that you have been exposed stay home or keep your distance from others.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water – friction is the best to kill the bugs. Sing Happy Birthday twice to know that you have washed long enough.
- Dispose of tissues properly
- If you are sick, stay home. During local outbreaks-partially close schools by encouraging those who can to stay home. These are our children. They are most important to us. Teachers, be ready to send work home for the children who can stay home. For those with parents that must work class sizes will be greatly reduced.
- Keep you hands away from your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
- Sneeze into the crook of your arm, not your hands.
H1N1 is currently spreading throughout the US. It is antiviral resistant. Let’s be prepared to be as safe as we can. H3N2 may be just around the corner and it’s a very bad strain. And all this is very good practice in case H5N1 becomes pandemic, no one will have any resistance to that strain. Knowing how to stay safe, knowing how to use the weapons that we do have, will benefit us then. A pandemic is not the end of the world. There is hope and we are not unable to fight it with proper infection control procedures. Let’s save lives.
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 3, 2009
The Tower of Babel – The height of human arrogance. The height of disrespect toward God.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come (Matthew 24:37-42).
Let’s look again. Pre-flood people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage….the were not aware of the evil that was overtaking them.
In Genesis 10 we learn of a post flood world. The sons of Noah have spread out across the globe. The very genealogies point to the time of the gentiles and the time of faith in Christ Jesus. (Genesis 10:8-14).
The rise of Nimrod, a violent man who forced submission, persecuted the innocent, and took everything for his own. His arrogant desire was to rule all of the world. Do you see this mystery at work in the world today? Do you see what I see?
So Nimrod built his tower, his tribute to the arrogance of man.
Josephus wrote of this time…
Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness.
He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power…
Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was.
It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water.
When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another.
The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion…
Is that not what we are attempting today? Yes, I think so. All that we do apart from God is the very bitumen, brick and mortar in this great tower that is being built. The quasi religious theories and humanistic approaches that are embraced by man but not centered in God’s will for man. It is God who we must obey, that is what is healthy and beneficial for us. And that we are straying ONCE AGAIN….
This is the great mystery that must be revealed.
So add AI to the machines, allow them to learn, put all of our intelligence into the public domain, all music, art, thought, and teach it to the machines that we have built and presto Babel is built. Or so we think….for surely it will not last.
No testament to the arrogance of man has ever withstood the ire of God (thankfully so).
The “days of Noah” ended with a confrontation between good and evil, God being good and idolatry being evil. So continue to build this idol, this testament to man’s inability to be like God. Truly our days are like the days of Noah and the days of his sons too.
Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, Yahweh is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer. In that day, Yahweh will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. In that day– "Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, Yahweh, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it (Isaiah 26:20-27:3).
So to all who hear the cry of the overcomers…the hour may be next, a year or five, ten or twenty away but His hour will come.
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions (Matthew 24:42-47).
"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. "At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out. "’No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. "Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ "But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:1-13).
Those who do not have their oil…the door will be closed. The Lord will not know you, as He does not know you now. You fear, you mock, you hate, you think these words foolishness, you do not know Him. Are you buying into the lies of the postmodern “progressive” world who thinks that they can make concessions with “the world”. Those who mocked and hated Him when He was with us, that spirit, that arrogance is still alive in the world today….and they will hate us.
But we do not hate, but love in Truth, we have found and kept to the very narrow way?
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Luke 12:35-40).
That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows (Luke 12:47).
Are you watching?
Are you ready?
Are you afraid to be mocked and hated by many? Overcome that.
Be ready to enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you. When He comes you can immediately open the door for Him.
What a glorious privilege it has been to be able to point to the Master who will come.
Stand firm, stand fast, and prepare the way, for our Master is truly coming.
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 2, 2009
Prepare but prepare because we have hope!
Prepare because we have faith!
Prepare most of all because we have love!
Posted by preparedcitizens on January 2, 2009
Show me where an orthomyxoviridae as expressed in H5N1 has developed a new trait.
Mutations plus time plus chance does not prove evolution. There is evidence of neutrality not evolution.
H5N1 has not generated *new* genetic information as it has marched across the globe. And natural selection still fails to prove the existence of evolution in that a new and bolder species has not self-generated or been spontaneously created. Nothing new has emerged.
This is not to say that natural selection does not favor a shift in adaptability to a human host. H5N1 may still cause a pandemic but a loss of information through genetic mutation may yet still be demonstrated when it does.
More and more I am growing increasingly aware that the zoonotic orthomyxoviridae enhance the human H1s, 2 and 3s rather than mutate into strains that infect humans. (…just my pet theory).
To prove evolution a new species with new traits must spontaneously create itself. H5N1 has not done so to date.
Human behavior can alter the outcome. The use of non-pharmaceutical interventions can alter the impact and course. We are not being held hostage by nature and the worse threat that we face is what we do, and do not do for each other.
Complacency and apathy is the worst thing right now. Preparedness and vigilance is a God given strength. We are close to the brink of utter desolation because of our own behavior. *We* are our own worst enemies. Especially when we deny the One who created all and controls all.
He is a jealous God. And by that what is meant is that He loves us and He wants us to love Him back without elevating anything else to His level. The jealousy of God is not the same as human jealousy. It is a perfect jealousy that is meant for our good.
To deny the gift, to hide our head in the sand, is an affront to the One who gives us this peace of mind, this hope, this joy, this peace. We are His, He loves us, He wants the best for us and it is us who deny Him, not the other way around.
We can do this! We can help others! God does not want us to cower in fear.
Prepare Now! Prepare with Joy and Hope!
Do Not Fear.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 30, 2008
This latest study to cross my desktop got my dander up BIG TIME!
Here we are discussing the safety of tried and true vaccines with a hint of concern over the possibility that some children predisposed to having a reaction to vaccines that have been in use for decades and then this….
Healthy children, aged 6 months to 17 years, were recruited at two centres in Bangkok, Thailand between June and September 2007.
Before enrolment, each child’s parents (or other legal representative) provided their written informed consent and each child aged 7 years or older provided written informed assent.”
I wonder how many of these children were “wards of the state” and how many were the children of the wealthy and/or well educated. Even with parental permission there is NO justification for the experimentation on children. NO JUSTIFICATION WHATSOEVER.
These children cannot give informed consent. Children are not the property of the state OR even their parents. And even though such experimentation may ultimately save the lives of many more children NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DECIDE FOR THEM and at 7 years old they simply do not have the intellectual capacity to fully understand the implications of what they are doing.
I don’t care how much we think that we need a vaccine, and a vaccine is mighty attractive, one must not be created like this.
Sanofi Pasteur should be ashamed. I wonder just how much experimentation on those whose voice is a whisper or non-existent is going on today.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 29, 2008
Flu season is upon us but it is not too late to get a flu shot. And this years flu shot is a very good match to what is circulating.
It takes about 2 weeks for the shot to kick in so if you were already exposed prior to the shot you may still get the flu. The flu shot itself is made from dead viruses which cannot reproduce in the body. The flu shot does not make you ill. (If you are allergic to egg based products the flu shot is probably not for you. If you have had a severe reaction to any vaccine in the past, you should consult your doctor before taking a flu shot or other vaccines.)
This is also about not spreading influenza to others.
Another reason to get a flu shot:
A study at the University of Texas at Houston under the direction of Cardiologist S.Ward Casscells demonstrated that….
“Time and time again, we were seeing people in our practice who had had an upper-respiratory infection and then suffered a heart attack. When we dug into the literature, we saw reports that many heart attacks, as many as 35 percent, were preceded by an upper-respiratory infection. We also saw that patients who had received their flu shots were less likely to have a heart attack.”
Subsequent studies at other major universities have corroborated this report.
And then….if you don’t get the flu you won’t get the secondary complications of the flu either and they also can be deadly. Flu is dangerous and anyone who has truly had influenza will tell you that they do not want to experience it again.
My daughter came home the other day and told me that she went and got her flu shot. What a relief to know that this household is now covered. (…..now to encourage the rest of my family and friends)
In Massachusetts: MassPro Flu shot locator
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 26, 2008
(NASB) Revelation 3:14-21
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
‘Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’"
Jesus Christ tells us that the time that He is referring to will be characterized by the church whose deeds are neither hot nor cold….and that *church* will be spit out of His mouth.
The time will be characterized by a church who says it is rich, wealthy, and in need of nothing. But yet it is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
Our Lord Jesus Christ’s advice to us is that we buy gold refined by fire so that we can become rich. Rich in what? Rich in the knowledge that we need Him. Buy white garments so that we may cover our nakedness. What nakedness? We are not clothed in His righteousness. (Adam and Eve became naked when they ate the fruit of the tree – they became “worldly”.), And eye salve so that we may see. See what? His truth. the truth of the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.
Are we this church?
The seven letters to the seven churches has many applications. These were actual churches that existed at the time of that these letters were written. I believe that the purpose of the letters are that they address the heart state that each Christian has the potential to have, possibly at the same time or throughout our sanctification.
Each one of those churches could also depict periods of time in church history from Pentecost on through our Lord’s return. If you will allow, this is the gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week. The church age. The 70th week is coming. The Laodicean church is the Christian church in existence just prior to Daniel’s 70th week.
If we do not fear being Laodicean as a heart state and in the body of Christ today we may very well *be* in danger of being spit out of our Lord’s mouth. What does that mean? Hot water, as in a drink of hot tea is a pleasant beverage. Cold water is refreshing. Lukewarm water is good for nothing.
Can we pour out so loving as to not being pleasing to our Lord? Can we be immoderately *in* love with the world that we make allowances for evil? What were the warnings that our Lord gave to each of the churches? The warning to the Laodicean church is clear. We are in need of gold refined by fire. White garments because we have become naked. And eye salve so that we can see. When did we become impure, naked, and blind?
The book ‘Colossians’ references Laodicea. I believe the warning is to us today to not water down the message of the Gospel. How is the Gospel watered down? We forget to be like the Bereans and search out false teaching and stand firmly against it.
Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
If Jesus Christ and His glory is not the complete and utter focus of all that the church does we are in danger of being spit out of His mouth. Even focusing on our own humility is an affront to Him, we are to be dead to this life. That is the gold. That is the white garments, that is the eye salve. We are nothing, our lives are about His truth. But this truth, His truth and all that He said, lived and died for, must not be compromised in any way. We are to not lie to one another. Is to deny the truth by approving of something against God, a lie? I believe that it is.
We are told to “put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him– a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. ~Colossians 3:12-17
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
Do I bear malice toward Rick Warren for not taking an opportunity to walk away from that which is evil, the promotion of abortion in all of its forms (including partial birth, and post-birth) which is President elect Obama’s policy statement, no I do not.
I pray that God is glorified.
There is a warning to all of us. I include myself in this because I take the Word of God very seriously and I believe His admonitions to be both truthful and crucial to our lives today.
We are to admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual psalms…which *is* thankfulness to God from our heart. His Word is true.
So I will end with this:
“Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness With men who do iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.” ~Psalm 141:4
“For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; Preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity, who have sharpened their tongue like a sword.
They aimed bitter speech as their arrow, to shoot from concealment at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear.
They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly; they say, "Who can see them?"
They devise injustices, saying, "We are ready with a well-conceived plot"; for the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.
But God will shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly they will be wounded. So they will make him stumble; their own tongue is against them; all who see them will shake the head.
Then all men will fear, and they will declare the work of God, and will consider what He has done.
The righteous man will be glad in the LORD and will take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart will glory.” ~Psalm 64:2-10
God is all-knowing, all powerful, He is a spirit and alive. He is personal, righteous, holy, just, all-knowing, alive, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, immutable, truthful, faithful, compassionate, patient, a provider, a grace giver, and He loves us.
He also rejects sin.
Should we not do the same in order to bring glory to Him? I believe so.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” ~Psalm 111:10
I fear Him, do you?
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 24, 2008
Countless reports have been published this flu season alone of how much vaccine is going unused.
What comes to mind when you read these reports?
- Do you automatically assume that those who do not vaccinate are ignorant?
- Do you automatically assume that their behavior is unnecessarily placing others at risk?
If you do, you are making dangerous assumptions and also elevating your own standards at the expense of others. I believe that we must put others first. This works for vaccinating and the flip side is that it works for not vaccinating. (oh the moderation of it all — simply beautiful wisdom.)
There are plenty of very intelligent people in this country who have concerns about what we are injecting into our bodies, drinking in our water, eating in our food, and breathing in our air. It isn’t God’s creation that we are finding fault with, it is man’s intervention into that creation. And plenty of people have concerns about a growing trend, the reliance on technology in our lives. As I sit here on a wireless laptop listening to my own radio station speaking to hundreds perhaps thousands of people it is hard to see the downside to this…but there is always a flip side…always.
As I have said, I am a vaccinator. I have also appreciated and recognize the advances that are being made in medicine but I also see some danger.
The point of this post is not to harp on what I see as ethical and moral considerations of the use of science and technology in medicine or other areas of our lives, my focus is on what people are saying by their actions. They do not trust, nor do they see the benefit, of some of what is being offered as a benefit to their health and to the health of others in their immediate environment who their lives and decisions have an impact on. How their decisions drive our thinking, that is the thrust here. And that is where I feel a stone burdening my heart.
In the face of extreme pressure will we always respect others freedom to refuse medical treatment or vaccination? I look to some extremes…the forced sterilization and reproduction laws in China are, in my humble opinion, a human rights abuse. And this is dissimilar to the fight to abolish abortion and infanticide the world over. In the first case does a government have a right over the womb when what issues from it, a beautiful child made in God’s image, is a burden on a government? In the second case, the rights of the unborn, who have no voice, are the focus. The choice was made at and leading up to conception, after that point the child must be afforded all the rights under our constitution.
So the question remains and it must be asked now, before a pandemic, before a bioterrorism attack, this is “pre”paredness.
Will the right to opt-out of vaccination, the right to refuse medical treatment, always be respected even when that refusal will have an impact on our neighbor, other family members, our communities. And will the rights of those who refuse be further infringed upon by other measures under our current isolation and quarantine laws?
The heart walks a fine line and history does repeat itself. Different issues, similar responses because as human beings, right or wrong, we generally have the same fears.
So even though, up to THIS point I have been a vaccinator and an encourager of vaccination in it’s current state, this may not be true in the future. Advances in techniques are increasingly ethically precarious and I want the right to refuse without fearing the strong arm of the law by, for instance, being interned over my decision. The internment of the Japanese was not that long ago and I do not think that we adequately addressed this as a country.
It is time to revisit what we have done in the past before we walk so boldly into the future.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 24, 2008
There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays — like Christmas.
His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.
One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.
“That story is nonsense!” he said. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” So she and the children left, and he stayed home.
A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm.
He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening when he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet.
When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been thumped on his window.
In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn’t go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter.
They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.
The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It’s warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.
So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.
But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.
The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away.
He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.
Now he was getting frustrated.
He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.
Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.
“Why don’t they follow me?!” he exclaimed. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?”
He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud.
Then he had an idea.
He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese.
He then released it.
His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn — and, one by one, the other geese followed it to safety.
He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!”
Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. . . . “Why would God want to be like us? . . . “That’s ridiculous!”
Suddenly it all made sense.
That is what God had done.
We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing.
God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.
That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized.
As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.
Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm.
He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: “Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!”
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 22, 2008
This is a bit of a personal post because mostly it is a very public reminder to myself that drug resistance is not just a medical term. Drug resistance translates directly into increased impact on those who become very ill with influenza. This directly translates into more lives lost.
So searching my heart I ask what response *I* should have to this development?
I am very aware of my virological footprint. Unlike some somewhat nebulous concepts for my mind to grasp I DO know that protecting others by concentrating on my own germ hygiene is the kindest and best thing that I can do.
Note to self:
I will remember to sneeze and cough into my sleeve at the crook of my arm…and then
I will wash my hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer so as to not spread viruses to surfaces that others will touch.
If I do use tissues, I will dispose of them very carefully.
If I am ill or think that I am becoming ill I will stay home and away from others.
If someone in my household is ill I will stay home and take care of them without going out and spreading illness.
If anyone is ill at Christmas, even at Christmas, we will not “mingle”.
I will be aware of other’s viruses so that I do not expose my unvaccinated friends and loved ones.
(and I will remember to be joyful about this even though this is hard to remember to do and I don’t like thinking this much about these extra hygienic measures.)
I think that I will make up even more tips for myself and post them on the fridge to remind myself.
Maybe it’s just because I am getting old but I am needing lists more and more <sigh>
Share Life, Not Viruses!
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 21, 2008
A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a story that is important to focus on. Thank you Babcom.
Traffic Jam Dampens Holiday Spirit
by Casey J. Bortnick
Published Dec 20, 2008
Wedged in between two potential snow storms local shoppers saw Saturday as their last day to get their holiday shopping done. Thousands of people and their cars packed area malls and shopping centers. The results were long lines, and that’s just for those lucky enough to get in.
Those who went to the Eastview Mall were greeted with bumpers, brake lights, and frustrations.
"Traffic seems to be a mess. I hope some people are getting some shopping done. I’m not one of them right now," said Michael Shanley.
"Just waiting, I’ve wasted a lot of time. And I’m hungry!" Patty Stoutz exclaimed.
Eastview expected a large volume of holiday traffic Saturday. But shoppers didn’t expect to be stuck in the parking lot for as long as three hours.
"I don’t know why they don’t have more county cops out here trying to direct the traffic better," said Bill Benge.
The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department did call in re-enforcements. But with thousands trying to get in and out, deputies say there was only so much they could do.
"As you know the roads can only handle so many cars at a time, and it ended up being a huge logistical night mare for us and mall security," said Deputy Bob Green.
The traffic was so bad that the county’s 9-1-1 system was overloaded with angry shoppers calling from the Eastview mall parking lot. Green says cellular service in the area was briefly knocked out.
"It’s a story of too many cars trying to occupy a smaller area at the same time," Green said.
Cell service was restored and in the end, sheriff’s deputies say it was more of an inconvenience than a safety concern. After a long wait some left with a valuable lesson for next year.
"I’m going to go much earlier, I don’t know if it’s the snow that messed everything up or what? But it’s ridiculous," said Benge.
"You can’t move, can’t get out of the car, and you can’t find a parking spot. It’s easier to shop on the computer at this point," Shanley said.
No accidents or injuries were reported, but deputies say the overload of the 9-1-1 system could have been a serious problem. They urge those stuck in traffic to call 9-1-1 only in the case of an emergency.
This report is an example of what will happen at the outset of a public health emergency when the public is largely unprepared. And it won’t happen in one place, it will happen everywhere. And it won’t happen with such order because it won’t be holiday shopping that is being done, it will be life and death preparedness.
This is what planners across the country have discussed over the years about the higher category pandemic, other infectious disease outbreak or major terrorist attack possibilities….
When the real panic does occur, how long will it last? Hours, days? People will realize that there is nothing because of the reports that there is nothing.
After the stores are emptied people will go home and try to stretch out what they have. When their supplies run low, hunger (and thirst, and cold) will drive those who are well but possibly exposed and contagious out to search and beg from extended family, friends, and neighbors. What else can they do?
Those who are ill, may be gravely ill. There may not be any medical care available at this point either because supplies at hospitals and clinics are limited too.
First people will try to color within the lines. They will call the social service agencies and churches in their area. When they realize that those agencies have nothing for them because so many are in that same position who have tapped the well dry already, then they will search out other resources. What that happens the real “panic” will set in. Hunger, thirst, cold, these are the extremes that will cause people to act much differently than they do now.
The real panic is like what happens when someone is drowning. I have experienced that panic as a lifeguard and it is terrible. In the victims fear they WILL pull you down too. It isn’t because they want to kill you, you are their lifeline, it is because at some point extreme fear causes an irrational response. There are times, as a lifeguard, that we have to swim away and wait for the victim to stop thrashing. And we have to plan our approach carefully or both victim and rescuer will die.
As citizens we can’t need the lifeguard. The more prepared that we become as a society, the more we will not need the lifeguard. We have to learn to swim safely alone.
There are skills that a crucial to learn. Purchasing resources and learning how to watch the dates on the products we use. How to store them safely and inventory them….it takes practice and more thought than we are used to.
In the West we have grown too used to being able to think about something we want and jumping in the car to go and get it (even purchasing it on credit rather than with cash).
These practices will not serve us well in the days ahead.
And unfortunately, the “lifeguard” may not make it in time….thousands and thousands will be in need of rescue.
When we have to deal with a pandemic or other outbreak of widespread illness, or a dirty bomb attack, or any other situation that may require us (and we will WANT to) stay in and away from trouble.
The truth is no one knows “when” and “if” has fallen away from the dialogue.
A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says "get in, get in!" The religious man replies, " no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle."
Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again.
He responds that he has faith in god and god will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause "God will grant him a miracle."
With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God.
He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down."
St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don’t know what you’re complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter."
I am a firm believer in God’s miracles and I also firmly believe that Jesus took a boys lunch and fed the multitude. I am not discounting God’s abundant provision or His ability to do anything that He wants to do in our lives. He is sovereign and of that I have no doubt.
Sometimes the miracles that God does are so common to us as to be almost unrecognizable.
Perhaps reading this post will cause you to prepare which will be the blessing that you needed in order to be prepared for the days ahead.
What a blessing we can be when someone comes knocking on our door and we have the provision to share with them because we, and so many others, have prepared. When we who can are not a burden to the system there will be no panic, no need, no hunger, no thirst and the social agencies will not be overwhelmed because people who could, did.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 20, 2008
My town, my wonderful town, is really working hard at a disaster response plan. Jeremy Bedson presented his pre-disaster mitigation plan and it was tabled until May 2009. And for good reason. Our cities and towns are not capable of being our answer in a disaster of any magnitude. They can be of assistance, they can be a resource, but they cannot be our answer….and we cannot be their burden.
After years of thinking about this issue I ask myself what I expect from my town as far as “a response” is concerned. As a citizen of this town I expect an attempt at resilience. The town itself must not *fall* even though some of us will. I expect information, honesty, transparency, and a request for *my* assistance when it is needed. I do expect that those in town employ continue to do their job *as they are able*.
What I don’t expect from my town…care, feeding, clothing, shelter, security, medical care, or anything else that I know that I will have to do for myself in an extreme emergency where town employees themselves will be in danger. I recognize these things as blessings and not rights.
So call me crazy. I do appreciate every effort that this town is making on my behalf and on the behalf of every resident. Jeremy, Kathleen, Lorri, Judy, and others, are doing a stand up job and they should be applauded. But this resident and this residents family is not looking for support from or sustenance from a town who simply cannot provide it now or in the future.
What I *do* hope for in my dream of dreams…is that every resident of this town is aware of the dangers and risks and the need to seek their own solutions in order that they can mitigate their own problems ahead of time, the inabilities of the town to come to our aid in a disaster of any large magnitude, and the knowledge that our town’s resilience, may in the end, depend largely on all of us.
I pray for a happy and healthy New Year for us all.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 18, 2008
An ugly title for an ugly post, at least at the beginning.
Last night my husband and I enjoyed something that we rarely do, go out to eat at a restaurant.
We picked out a fun, quick, good, local place to eat. And the burgers were great. But my meal was practically ruined by the emotion that came over me.
It started with a sneeze by the mom of the family at the next table. No tissue, no sleeve, no hand sanitizer. A sneeze into a hand that touched the face of her lovely daughter right next to her…and so this is how it will all begin.
As I sat there, my eyes traveled from table to table. Children were everywhere. Happy faces at a special time of year, what can be better in the eyes of a child than Christmas time. The anticipation of great things to come just makes their little faces glow and their eyes sparkle.
As I continued to look at the family at the next table my heart started hammering. It ached.
And I choked up.
Each one of those children, my heart told me, may some day soon be counted among the dead.
At my table I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs ‘protect your children’ to each one of the parents in the restaurant. Not because I hate them, not because I am angry with them, not because I am outraged at them (yet) but because I really do love them and I really do care what may happen to them, why else be a public health activist other than to steer people away from what ultimately is pain of an unimaginable sort.
It is Christmas, a time of families and togetherness. A time of remembering whose birth it is that we are celebrating, Jesus Christ. It is also a time for some of us to think about children and family members who are no longer with us but who have gone on before us. It can be a very hard time for those who have lost loved ones. Every song, every light, can remind them of their loss.
This dichotomy, preparing for and urging others to prepare for a disaster and celebrating the birth of hope and our salvation, is hitting me especially hard this year. Oh, I still know the hope that I have. I still have the peace of Jesus Christ that surpasses all understanding.
Yet, I also still have the knowledge that sometimes the world goes through some very tough times. And those times are coming.
The awful and terrible thing about being a public health activist, is that I really know what havoc a novel strain of influenza can wreak on our bodies, and typically this type of influenza strikes at children and it kills them dead. This type of influenza can kill with such swiftness and ferocity that some have described the deaths of family members as “he was with us, healthy, one moment, and then he was gone. Just like that”. This is what a pandemic can be.
Not every pandemic has been something of nightmare proportions but enough of them have been that we cannot afford to gamble by doing nothing.
So here I am at my favorite time of year with a heavy, heavy, heart because I am looking ahead to more holidays, years down the road, where perhaps we will be looking back in remembrance of those we lost in the pandemic. Oh how this hurts. It hurts so much to know that there are things we can do to minimize the deaths and to minimize what else will come with this. But we can’t do any of it unless the parents listen first.
So if you are reading these heartfelt words today, please, please, search out what has been written by countless experts, medical professionals, moms and dads just like you, and people who just know – a pandemic is coming.
Know that there ARE things that we can do to protect these little ones who mean so much to us. These children who are our live’s, the children who bring us joy and who we are duty bound to protect, are worth every single bit of preparedness effort we can muster.
There is something worse that preparing for a pandemic, not preparing for one and having to bury our dead children.
Your children and grandchildren are counting on you!
As sometimes happens, I have to come back to a post because I thought I was finished and realized that I only wrote half of the message.
As a public health activist, over the years I have been struck by the similarity between what I do every day – talk about health, researching health topics, and urging preparedness, and what I carry in my heart every day – the message that this life is fleeting and there is so much more beyond this life.
So what is a message about preparedness without a message of hope?
As a parent I also realized that I was duty bound and wanted to help my children to realize that they are loved and wanted by their Creator, God. With that message they also heard from us why Jesus came to earth and how, if we open our hearts to Him, He quickly enters and that is where they will find all peace, hope and love.
Of course that is our families way, our belief, our truth.
It is also the other half of the message, the more important half, of preparedness. Preparing for eternity. A wonderful message indeed.
. . yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 16, 2008
The World Health Organization has released this 119 page collection of discussion papers regarding ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning. I cannot tell by the website when this was released for public consumption or even when the information was compiled into this form. It definitely is an important source of information for those interested in ethical considerations regarding infectious disease outbreaks and how they will be responded to by a world body.
Experts in the subjects of law, public health, ethics, WHO staff and country representatives were brought together into working groups to discuss the major issues that we will face in the days ahead.
The topic headings…
- I Equitable access to therapeutic and prophylactic measures – prepared by chairperson Marcel Verweij of Utrecht University (Netherlands)
- II Isolation, quarantine, border control and social-distancing measures – written by Larry Gostin, chairperson
of the working group on “Isolation, quarantine, border control, and social distancing” and Ben Berkman, both of Georgetown University
- III The role and obligations of health-care workers during an outbreak of pandemic influenza – prepared by chairperson Ross Upshur of the University of Toronto (Canada)
- IV Pandemic influenza planning and response – transnational issues for governments – prepared by Robert Archer, chairperson
I am just getting into the meat of this document now but I highly recommend it.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 16, 2008
From the headlines, the track record for compensation has not been good. And as Debi points out at A Pandemic Chronicle, this is a major humanitarian crisis. Humanitarian crisis. Sometimes the words we begin to use take us a degree of separation from the real impact on people. People do not want their food taken from them, this I can understand. People don’t want their livelihood stripped from them, this is what is happening.
May 11th, 2008 – 8:53 pm ICT by admin –
Sukna (West Bengal): While officials in West Bengal blame residents for the outbreak of the bird flu virus, resident complain that they are not being compensated enough for the culled birds.
Veterinary workers started culling thousands of backyard poultry to contain an outbreak of bird flu in the region, which has struggled to control the virus since January, but then they say that the residents are not cooperating.
“The response that we are getting is not good. People are still eating the chickens. The problem is that they are not earnest and they are lying. It is only when we tell them that the police raid them that they begin to cooperate,” said Samir Rai, Block Livestock Development Officer.
The rest of this story is here.
Compensation yet to reach villagers
The Statesman, India – 15 hours ago
15: Compensation of Rs 500 to each family whose backyard poultry were culled in March this year in English Bazaar town, following outbreak of Bird Flu is …
The rest of this story is here.
We in the west are uniquely situated. We can both prepare for what is coming AND help those who are being impacted by this first.
The fact of the matter is that without the government of India adequately compensating their people and in a timely way, there will be many empty stomachs in the houses of India.
Even at a time when we want to conserve our own personal resources there is so much more that we can give to those in need. The answer to this question remains to be seen, will we become isolationists now that the worlds people have largely grown to hate us in the US? For me, this is the time when we open our arms and our hearts wider. Just my 2c.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 15, 2008
The Final Judgment
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.
‘ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them,’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.
‘ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
“Sick”, “least of these”….”did not minister” to them……this is what we are doing to Him.
Anyone who knows me, knows that this is about the biggest affront to my heart that there is. That is when the Holy Spirit is grieved, rejected, maligned, abused – I have to turn away. I have to wipe the dust from my feet and move on.
“First, do no harm”, here is that tried and true principle that we have almost always accepted in our society. Not only are we not ministering to the least of these, we are killing the least of these. Most assuredly just as we crucified Christ in our sins and deeds we are doing it again by proxy and in some cases being the beneficiaries of the actions of those who are doing so.
THIS IS OUR LEGACY
Going in to battle with the plagues, pestilences, and trouble all over the world which is ahead, this has been our recent track record. What we do now has everything to do with what we will do in the days ahead.
I hope that this awareness makes others as uncomfortable as it made me when it hit me like the 2×4 that it is. Yet, I suspect many will think of this as just a little more foolishness from a “religious buffoon”.
So why not just let it all out.
Abortion, is an attempt at control.
For those faced with the dilemma….don’t believe the lies and don’t fall prey to the believing that abortion is good for you, a kindness to your ill baby, a burden lifted from your family, or from your life.
Abortion is not giving you freedom, it is about enslaving you.
Abortion isn’t an answer to your problem it is ensuring the death of those just like you in the future, your children. You are flushing your future down the drain, literally. Your ancestors and your progeny are being wiped out with a sure swipe. This IS the lie that you are believing – that it is all okay to do. You are being lauded a hero for making a tough decision and putting others first when in actuality that decision needed to happen quite a bit sooner.
But know this, if you fall prey to the lie there is a way back, there is always a way back – until the door is closed. Jesus Christ loves the humble and contrite and I know this for a fact.
Abortion puts an end to all the unwanted and imperfect among us…so in the future society will breed a better human.
This is so patently obvious.
What is desired…a tanned, multi faithed, raced, world citizen who is androgynous or bisexual and promiscuously given over and open to all pleasure, and who will never, ever, think outside of the box. A human being who will not be at war with anyone because he is all of them and he will probably speak a form of Euro-speak, a blend of all tongues and languages, and will bow down to the king of the world, a leader who best models that ideal — truly a “world citizen” will be one who does not honor the God proclaimed differences between us.
Difference does not mean we have to be at war or uncivilized toward each other.
And there will always be a remnant who will not be God denying.
So maybe I should write science fiction but that is not too far off from the description of the beast of Revelation and the world that Daniel 3 and 4 describes.
All of our collected works, our efforts, our human heart apart from God, well, Qohelet put it best in his cry…”all is futile under the sun”
Is it our hedonistic pursuit of pleasure which matters in the end?
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.” ~Ecclesiastes 12:13
Abortion has been with us as a source of grief in every society for a very long time. Probably since we left the garden. But never before has the world made it a pleasing and acceptable practice.
The world over, abortion was considered by most as a shame or a blight upon the society it was found in. It has always been a social issue to solve – not encourage and turn a blind eye to.
Spina Bifida was an early target in the US campaign. Under the auspices of saving these children from a life of pain and suffering we tested, genetically counseled, and scared parents away from embracing their imperfect but still very lovable and meaningful children. A terrible, terrible, heartbreaking disease, yes, but not one that should have ever been a cause to kill the child in the womb.
There are lives, short and/or painful as they may be, that stand as a testimony to a loving, yes loving, God who has compassion on ALL of His creation.
Look to some of those considered to be the least among us, there lives can and have been a testimony to all that God can do amazing things when we allow Him free reign in our lives.
I am sure Joni Eareckson Tada would tell you that a life lived in suffering can also bring a life of wonderful joy and peace. Joni reminds us to…
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”
And yet there is a push on to eliminate the least among us. The crippled, the diseased, the infected, the maimed, the incapable, the starving, the poor, the destitute, the drug addicted, the homeless, the prostitutes, even the faithful, the artists, and the Jews – there is simply no room for them in the inn.
I am sure that I am on the list of cast-offs. Be that as it may, I do not care one bit for my own skin.
I do care more about what brings glory to God. What is God honoring, is doing what is in His word.
“‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ ~ Matthew 25:45
The Godly wisdom and advice of my life is to do great kindness to those who ARE truly the least of these – they have no power, they have no voice and increasingly no one to defend them.
What are we doing for and to the least of these? Our society, our world, is attempting to eliminate them. The reason that “the poor we will always have with us” because they are the evidence of who we are by how we treat them – all over the world.
“Heap coals of kindness upon your enemy”.
If you still believe the lie you have come to accept…remember…no one will be able to stand against the lie of the society of the future. There will always be one more group that does not fit in, and they will keep on getting eliminated by the majority who are uncomfortable with their presence. This IS an abomination.
THIS is what we have opened the door to, this is what we must stand against. Not against the woman who has bought into the lie, against the crime itself.
For the woman, and the man, there is forgiveness in Christ Jesus.
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 15, 2008
I am not insensitive to the many situations where a pregnancy can be dangerous, inconvenient, heartbreaking, mind-testing. I thankfully have not experienced this testing. I am not condemning the woman who has been tested in such ways. I am not the judge of her heart or her actions. I am not here to condemn anyone. How can I condemn a heart when I know the forgiveness of God that gives me great joy and peace.
But I can condemn what we do as a society, and what we allow as the law of this land.
Our new President, Barack Obama, so strongly puts himself behind abortion rights that he does not see anything wrong, in fact he supports, POST BIRTH ABORTION. [see: Washington Post Article]
There are so many scenarios that put us to the test, put our feet to the fire. As women, as human beings, we are constantly being challenged to grow through things that sometimes seem at the time impossible to live through. Yet we endure and sometimes grow and shine despite the challenges that we have faced. Sometimes we even begin to see the absolute blessings that have come because of these challenges in life.
Rather than experience the tough stuff though, we have a tendency to look for the opt out clause in everything. This is human nature I suppose. We don’t want to suffer, we don’t willingly choose to suffer for the sake of someone else. We largely forgotten the absolute magnificence and God glorifying act of laying our will down to God and our life down for another.
We have the example in our soldiers willingly will lay down our lives for us when they choose to fight in distant lands but even today that is not being discussed as much. These men and women leave their country, their loved ones to answer a call of duty so that we can remain safe here. And sometimes I think that we have become hardened to this truth. I know that I don’t remember to pray for our troops in harms way every single day, much to my shame. I am trying to correct that now. I am remembering to pray for our country and our new president and administration coming in to power.
If I have forgotten some of these good things it is not hard to see how I, we, have also become hardened to other even less pleasant deeds.
The truth is, the tendency of human nature is to harden the heart to what hurts us. It is far easier to put these discussions on a back burner. It is far easier to let someone else decide these major issues. We rely on the advice of doctors, politicians, and leaders who, in some cases, have proven to be morally corrupt. Is there anyone we can trust anymore? Do I even trust myself? I HAVE to go back to the timeless truths of the Bible because nothing in human nature is trustworthy, even myself.
We opened the door to abortion and now euthanasia, the horrors and completely legal abuses that can and will result from opening these doors is potentially massive in scope. And the flow is flooding inward toward us.
I mention “first, do no harm” a great deal, and with a reason. What is true for an infant will ultimately, at some point in the future, be true for masses of human beings. A pandemic will bring out the best and the worst in all of us. To not get this right now, will be are undoing later. Fear of the ill and infected will be a fiery furnace for us all, “first, do no harm” must be in all of our thoughts.
Is there value to ALL human life? The sick and dying, do they have value. The Down’s Syndrome infant, born alive, breathing and kicking. Does this child have value? Do you have value if you have complications from the flu like encephalitis lethargica or other life altering and socially burdensome effects? There is value to all human life and this must be set in stone.
Discount me as a “religious” bumbling fool, for if I am wrong that is what I am, but I am willing to stake my life on this “foolishness”.
I value the timeless, constant, and valuable word of God that has proven itself over and over as worthy. My college attending family members pick up textbooks written today that are full of spelling and grammatical errors. What other errors are being perpetuated in these books? Find me an error in the Bible, it cannot be done, although not everyone has heart and eyes open to see the hidden truths. The invitation remains open to all who are called to Jesus Christ. And this Christmas, especially, the call to recognize that baby in the manger as the Messiah is so strong, perhaps as a blessing to us before the Holy Spirit is taken from the world. I see Him in evidence more and more every day.
How we treat the least of these is how we treat Him.
Widows and children, how do we treat them today?
With increasing euthanasia and infanticide.
Abortion – In the 18th–19th centuries various doctors, clerics, and social reformers successfully pushed for an all-out ban on abortion. In the 20th century various women’s rights groups, doctors and social reformers successfully repealed abortion bans. While abortion remains legal in many Western countries, it is regularly subjected to legal challenges by pro-life groups.
Partial Birth Abortion – “Partial-birth abortion” defined by law
Since it was first coined in 1995 by pro-life congressman Charles T. Canady, the term “partial birth abortion” has been used in numerous state and federal bills and laws, although the legal definition of the term is not always the same. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act defines “partial-birth abortion” as follows:
“An abortion in which the person performing the abortion, deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus. (18 U.S. Code 1531)”
In the 2000 Supreme Court case of Stenberg v. Carhart, a Nebraska law banning “partial-birth abortion” was ruled unconstitutional, in part because the language defining “partial-birth abortion” was deemed vague. In 2006, the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart found that the 2003 act “departs in material ways” from the Nebraska law and that it pertains only to a specific abortion procedure, intact dilation and extraction. Some commentators have noted that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act’s language was carefully crafted to take into account previous rulings. Although in most cases the procedure legally defined as “partial birth abortion” would be medically defined as “intact dilation and extraction”, these overlapping terms do not always coincide. For example, the IDX procedure may be used to remove a deceased fetus (e.g. due to a miscarriage or feticide) that is developed enough to require dilation of the cervix for its extraction. Removing a dead fetus does not meet the federal legal definition of “partial-birth abortion,” which specifies that partial live delivery must precede “the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.” Additionally, a doctor may extract a fetus past the navel and then “disarticulate at the neck”, which could fall within the terms of the statute even though it would not result in an intact body and therefore would not be an intact dilation and extraction.
Post Birth Abortion – Jill Stanek has brought this evil to the light of day. Reading what this nurse has experience first hand and the investigative work that she has done is crucial to this discussion.
Resources and background: Media Matters – Media cite anti-abortion activist and Obama critic
To vote NO is unconscionable when first we strive to do no harm. To vote no means that post birth abortion can be allowed in Illinois.
“This is not about Roe vs. Wade” Bill Bennett
Is this who we want to be as Americans?
With globalization and post birth abortion and euthanasia the law in some countries, like the Netherlands, do we want to be identified as individuals with such things, for surely what we allow to happen under our watch is our responsibility?
Do we ever want to give up our voice in such matters? The United States with full states rights was and is such a marvelous governance concept, why must it be abandoned with such seemingly little regard.
And again, I am not saying that we should ever condemn those who have believed a lie told to them, especially one with such ferocity. We should and must have compassion on those who grieve when they realize what has been allowed to take place. It is legal recourse that must change and that will only come about through changed hearts.
A pandemic will be one of those situations where our hearts are put to the test. We will all endure some very tough times ahead.
When we, collectively, have no value for innocent human life, and because so many of us have largely remained silent, apathetic, and willingly unaware of the horrors of abortion…judgment may be visited upon us through reaping what we have allowed to be sown while we were not paying attention. The progression beyond abortion is apparent to those who do not turn away. If we can turn a blind eye to the suffering of babies fresh from the womb who have been declared substandard and not fit for life by a doctor or a woman giving birth, what hope do you have to live out your days if YOU become “substandard” in the future?
Euthanasia is already spreading. It is not difficult to redefine the definitions once the door is opened a crack.
We are opening doors that must remain shut.
And beware, there are some who think there are lives we can do without…is yours next?
Posted by preparedcitizens on December 13, 2008
I really am not very good at this physical preparedness stuff.
I don’t like spending money that I don’t feel that I earn so I am careful about what I spend our family money on.
As a pandemic preparedness activist I have tended to focus on the eternal questions and how they relate to preparedness and response. I have left no doubt that I serve Jesus Christ, first and only. How I ended up with the message of “prepare” is no mistake. Our talents are used in order to reach into hearts.
I don’t see a conflict between the two messages. One is an action that mirrors the heart’s response. I am prepared, but my preparedness varies from yours.
Helping others to be ready allows us to explain why we are doing so, why we have done so..
Once we know who we serve, and we can only serve one of two masters – God or Mammon we are able to explain the difference in those two masters.
What is more important what we have here or what we do in His name while here? Bringing glory to God is what life is all about….heaping coals of kindness because He did it all first and foremost.
I do have some questions about what life will truly be like in Monson MA during and a minor infectious disease outbreak all the way through the range to a major outbreak, like a pandemic or bioterrorism event.
So – Putting These Questions All Together……
We live pretty central to a good many major cities. I am thinking that the best approach is be able to stand secure in our own homes and perhaps ready to protect a neighbor or two. Is there a different plan in the works than this? Certainly our town police force is not large enough to withstand a category 4 or 5 event without citizens themselves ready to secure their own homes.
Is there a method of communication for an “all hands” or “all clear” call in case phones are down or power is out for an extended time?
Will town government be able to withstand a category 3, 4 or 5 pandemic? Are the Continuity of Operations Plans completed for each department?
Who will be the authorities in charge during an infectious disease disaster?
What can I expect under a declaration of emergency? What laws will change?
What are the quarantine and isolation laws.
Will my civil rights be protected? What am I allowed and not allowed to do under martial law? Will my parental rights be safeguarded? I do not want others telling me how to raise my children by forcing them to take vaccines or other unwanted medical procedures. As a parent, and now grandparent, I must be the sole determiner of what is right for my child and loved ones, not the locality, not the state, and not any world body.
Will the second amendment be upheld in Massachusetts and honored in Monson?
What our EMT’s respond to all calls for health assistance?
What are our backup services if the surge capacity overwhelms Wing Memorial Hospital?
If the acute care center is closed who can I call for assistance?
Will there be enough personal preparedness equipment for each one of the town’s responders?
I have volunteered for my local MRC but have not heard anything back. Will my services be needed or wanted?
Will worship services and other gatherings be banned during a extended infectious disease outbreak?
During a category 5 pandemic many children may be left abandoned. Has a provision been made for protecting these children?
During a category 5 pandemic social breakdown is a probability. How should we best protect ourselves?
Does the Monson Police Department have enough personal preparedness equipment to last through the duration of a pandemic (perhaps 18 months)?
How can I assist our town?
Will you need skilled tradesmen, craftsmen, or day laborers? Will there be personal preparedness equipment available if I assist?
What if the power is out for an extended period of time? Where will those who are ill go for shelter? Where will the exposed go for shelter? Where will the “well” go during a pandemic AND an extended power outage?
If the town water service and power is out for longer than a week, do we have to shut off the main in front of our house? How can I obtain instructions?
That reminds me…a map of local springs would be helpful in case of extended power outage. (I will see what I can find.)
If my business closes and I am not getting paid, will my town services be cut off? (Can us little guys expect a bailout?)
How will I know if schools have been closed? What will the early school closure policy be in town?
If the local funeral homes are overwhelmed, who can I call for assistance?
As for what I have been doing lately…
I tell each person that I bump into in my travels who may need a hand or know of someone who needs assistance that I can help out, then I remind them when I see them.
I Pray Unceasingly