Anyone concerned about SARS?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Michael*K, Mar 16, 2003.

  1. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome? The mysterious illness that has been spreading rapidly worldwide. Kinda scary that they haven't been able to isolate the bacteria or virus that's causing it and it is not responding to antibiotics.
     
  2. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Captain Trips?
    Not to be flip, but every time I heard of some weird new disease floating around, my mind always spins back to Mr. King and THE STAND. It seemed so 'out there' back in 1979 when I first read it, but we know better now, don't we?[​IMG]
     
  3. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I heard about it this morning on the radio, yep, it's creepy as hell. A new disease is that last thing anyone needs right now (or ever for that matter) [​IMG]

    --
    Holadem
     
  4. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Yes. My girlfriend is postponing a trip to the Philippines because of it. She is a microbiology major (graduating this year) and has taken classes such as bioterrorism, multiple virology and communicable diseases classes. She has met Richard Preston (The Hot Zone, Cobra Event, Demon in the Freezer) at one of her classes, and we have both read up on this matter.

    Hopefully the genuises over at the CDC will get a handle on this soon.

    And yes, Captain Trips did come to mind (am a huge SK fan).

    Don't fear the reaper... Yikes! I just got the chills typing that!
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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  6. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    There's a new disease on the news just about every other week.

    By all means exercise caution, but don't assume that it's as threatening as is being portrayed on the evening news.
     
  7. EdR

    EdR Second Unit

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    This is kind of scary. From what I understand, no one who has had this has recovered fully. Many have died, but even those who didn't continue to have pretty serious respiratory problems. Not good.
     
  8. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Rain, I agree against being alarmist.

    But when the CDC and WHO both issue stern warnings, I tend to think it's more than just "sensationalized" since those are not agencies who tend to exaggerate such things.
     
  9. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    If it's cause is bacterial it *should* respond to antibiotics but if it's viral then it won't. There may be ways to treat it if it's viral but it can't be cured.


    Jeff
     
  10. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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  11. andrew markworthy

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    Just to try to get a perspective on this:

    (a) the disease, whilst serious, is relatively difficult to transmit. The majority of cases are from health workers who came into contact with the body fluids, mucus, etc of the initial very small number of victims. It's not that other airline passengers are dropping like flies.

    (b) typically with a new disease it is confined to a specific region, so there is little cause for issuing a global warning. The reason for the *apparent* alarm this time is that before the disease was identified, a lot of the early victims had travelled to other parts of the world. This is the reason for the unusually severe warning - it's to prime medics in other parts of the world to look out for symptoms and not to get infected themselves. It's categorically *not* to announce the onset of plague.

    (c) SARS joins a large number of other nasty new illnesses that are identified on a regular basis, about which the public normally remains ignorant, for the simple reason that they are not a widespread threat

    (d) SARS is not 100% lethal. From what I can understand of the figures, about 10% of *identified cases* have died. Others may still be ill with the disease, but it's premature to say they will be permanently afflicted, since respiratory illnesses can take a long time to clear up. Note the stress on 'identified cases' - until antibody tests and similar are devised, we won't know how many more people have contracted the virus and shrugged it off.

    (e) Panics about 'the disease can't be treated with antibiotics' makes it sound *very* alarming. This should cheer you up - the majority of the world's illnesses can't be treated with antibiotics. However, we don't normally spend our days worrying about getting infected with these. We only start to worry about these things when reminded of them.

    (f) So, whilst sympathy should be properly directed towards the patients and their loved ones, I don't think there's any reason to worry.
     
  12. Dave Morton

    Dave Morton Supporting Actor

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    Well said Andrew!
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    As the old saying goes "You have a better chance of being struck by lightening" and yet I don't see many people hiding in their basements during every electrical storm. [​IMG]
     
  14. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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  15. EdR

    EdR Second Unit

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    There's no question that people respond to probabilities in an unrealistic way. The lighting example is but one of many. The statistics about your chances of being killed in a car accident versus a plane accident is another common example. Yet the fear of flying is vastly more common.

    On the surface, these reponses could be called 'irrational' since having a fear of flying while not having a fear of riding in a car - or even more unrealistic, having a fear of SARS while feelign perfectly safe in a car - is literally ignorant of the relevant statistics. But there is an underlying logic, and it stems directly from our evolutionary past as a species.

    Since we evolved as members of small bands (I suppose 'tribes' could be accurate) of people, it makes sense that a sickness that affects someone you know would be an event worthy of fear. Fear would keep you away from said person, and enance your chances of living (and so having offspring with the tendency to behave the same way, and so on).

    It's easy to respond that, in the cases such as SARS, no one that you know is affected. But we should keep in mind that in the environment in which we evolved these kinds of emotional responses, there were precious few people outside of your group that you knew anything about. If you heard it through the gapevine that people were falling ill (or suffering any communicable danger), the odds were high that you have come into contact with these people, or could rather easily, which means a fearful response that might prompt you to protect yourself makes sense.

    Of course, in modern society, you can't simply move away from affected people, since you have no idea who they are. This in itself can cause further problems, such as phobias, generalized stress, and irrational fears about the person sitting next to you on the bus.

    I've done a good deal of reading about these ideas (although I can't say I've given the most accurate or well-thought-out account), which fall under the field of study called "Evolutionary Psychology".
     
  16. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    What about Earthquakes? Why do people live in areas that have such a high percentage of major earthquake activity? I guess after a while, you get used to it. And back to lightening, I'm sure if you had never experienced a lightening bolt before in your life and you saw one recently, you'd be scared to death. That's probably why most people on the East coast fear earthquakes (when they travel West) and people on the West coast fear Hurricanes (when they travel East).
     
  17. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    As Andrew pointed out in his excellent post, there were reasons why this early a more global warning was issued already, so doctors would recognize a patient. The mere fact that the cause of the disease has not really been identified YET, makes it look more creepy at the moment, but isn't that uncommon at this stage of the investigation. One has to recognize a patient, make sure it's one of "the" cases, try to find a common micro-organism (or another cause), etc. It is simply too early to judge the alleged unexplainability that gets so much attention now.

    Also, note that the use of a "name" (especially the unfortunate, but now rather common - both by the WHO as well as in the US - all-capital abbreviations and acronyms) suggest an entity (common cause). People want to "identify" a disease and know what causes it. And what one's own risks are. And how to possibly avoid it.
    Strictly speaking, even the fact that it's all about one "disease" has not fully been established yet (although most probable).
    "SARS" is about as descriptive as "UFO".

    Cees
     
  18. andrew markworthy

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  19. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    just received this document from my aunt. the source is: World Health Organization; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

     
  20. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I can't vouch for accurracy, but last evening on the news it was reported that this "mystery disease" is actually less aggresive than most strains of influenza.

    I guess the news has more interesting stuff to focus on now. :p)
     

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