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Should you be worried about a Flu Pandemic?

     There has been much in the news recently about influenza and concerns about the potential of a flu pandemic.  The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and, at times, can lead to death. The best way to prevent it is to get a flu vaccination each fall.
Every year in the United States, on average:
  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu
  • More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications
  • About 36,000 people die from flu
      Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
     Complications of flu can include pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections.
     Flu viruses are spread in respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. They usually spread from person to person, though sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
     Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you can pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
    A flu pandemic is an outbreak of a “new” influenza virus that spreads rapidly around the world. It is a more serious infection for everyone and people at every age are at risk. 
Historically, the 20th century saw 3 pandemics of influenza:
  • 1918: at least 500,000 U.S. deaths and up to 40 million deaths worldwide
  • 1957: at least 70,000 U.S. deaths and 1-2 million deaths worldwide
  • 1968: caused about 34,000 U.S. deaths and 700,000 deaths worldwide 
What is the Avian flu:
     Influenza viruses that infect primarily birds are called “Avian influenza virus.” Currently, the Avian flu (H5N1) virus is spreading among poultry (mainly chickens) in Asia and Europe. H5N1 virus does not usually infect people, but more than 130 human cases have been reported since January 2004. Most of these people had direct or close contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces; however, a few cases of human-to-human spread of H5N1 have occurred.  
     So far, the spread of H5N1 virus from person to person has been rare and has not continued beyond one person. Nonetheless, because all flu viruses can change, scientists are concerned that H5N1 one day could be able to infect humans and spread easily from one person to another. 
     No one can predict when a pandemic might occur. However, experts from around the world are watching the H5N1 situation in Asia and Europe very closely and are preparing for the possibility that the virus may begin to spread more easily and widely from person to person.
 
The following are measures currently underway to be prepared:
  • Poultry is being monitored
  • Pharmacies are stock piling (increasing stock of antivirals)
  • Labs are being trained to test for virus
  • New vaccine is being developed
      University Health System and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department are following CDC guidelines and providing local surveillance for flu infections, so the community can be informed of outbreaks.

Just 2 hours a year can reduce risk of dying from breast cancer

 

Pamela Otto, M.D., a faculty radiologist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, can’t fathom why most women 40 and older skip having an annual breast exam. It is the one thing that, more than any other, can dramatically lower a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer.

URGENT! PUBLIC HOUSING COMING TO SONTERRA!!

URGENT COMMUNITY MESSAGE!!  PLEASE RESPOND!!
The following information was published in the San Antonio Express-News this past weekend: 
 
SAHA Seeks to Buy Units Near Sonterra
Author: Ron Wilson; EXPRESS-NEWS STAFF WRITER

Ronald Reagan Band Wins Prestigious Award

The Ronald Reagan High School Marching Band has recently been named as a recipient for the Sudler Shield Award, given each year to high school marching bands in recognition of the highest standards of musical performance and marching techniques over a period of years.  The John Phillips Sousa Foundation is the proud sponsor of this International Award. 

 

The Reagan Band was selected by the Shield committee during its annual December meeting in Chicago, Illinois.  The committee largely consists of university band directors from across the United States and Canada.  Video performances from throughout the United States, Canada and Europe were judged in the competition. 

Deadly Car Crash on Sonterra Blvd.

Police say that speed was a factor in a deadly collision that happen on East Sonterra Blvd. and Meisner around midnight last night.

The tragic accident occured when the driver of a Cadillac hit a curb and then broadsided a tree. Ernest Delgado, 49, was a passenger in the back seat and was killed in the crash.  

Delgado's brothers, Richard and Joseph Delgado, were transported by AirLife to University Hospital.  They are both listed in critical condition.