Possible flu outbreak at USAFA BCT class

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by aggie83, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. aggie83

    aggie83 Member

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  2. justawife

    justawife Founding Member

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  3. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I'm somewhat surprised this doesn't happen more often at colleges. You're bringing in people from all over the country into one small area and who knows who is coming with what illness at the time.

    Interesting that they are sending off for swine flu though....right now there are pretty strict protocols for who you can send off for that test. Otherwise healthy young people with flu symptoms are not on that list (at least for my current state and the military hospitals are following the state protocols).
     
  4. dtkdarnoc

    dtkdarnoc Member

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    problem with swine flu

    issue with swine flu is that it attacks the healthy with severe consequences, as opposed to "regular" flu which generally has bad results on the very young and the very old.
     
  5. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    not really....have yet to hear of a healthy person dying from swine flu in the US. I'm sure there has been one somewhere, but it is a bit underwhelming to me at this point as a physician when you compare it to the insane amount of media coverage it has received.

    Important to be aware of? sure. Important to keep on the differential? sure. To send almost a hundred swine flu samples to a probably already busy lab without other data seems a bit suspect. And these samples take a few days to run usually so what's the point when by the time you have the answer you already know the answer. The treatment is the same either way and the not sure the cost/benefit ratio is met here. (Epidimiologic info? maybe) I am holding back a bit in what I think really happened as it would simply be speculation and cause more problems than would help.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    And then the question begs to be asked: They're quarantined; suppose to go out to Jack's on Monday I believe. If they don't and are held in quarantine for a week, are they DQ'd and sent home; having to start again next year??? If they allow them to miss a week; especially of Jack's; what does that do to the moral of those who had to do all of BCT??? Don't get me wrong; I have a lot of sympathy for anyone that is indeed sick; whether it's traditional flu, swine flu, or any other illness. But the objective of BCT is quite clear. Even if not to the person who is sick and saying "It's not my fault I got sick". How does this affect BCT, the other trainees, and the goal of BCT which if you are sick/ill/injured long enough where the time loss is significant??? A week is basically 20% of the entire time. Very difficult decision to make on the part of the academy. It's not like BCT is a time where you learn facts or tasks. You can teach any monkey how to do certain tasks; and teach a 10 year old facts. The purpose; as most all of us know; of BCT is the experience. Learning team work, discipline, esprit de corp, and other non-tangible character building skills. Curious to see what happens. later.... mike....
     
  7. mdanderson

    mdanderson Member

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    I am a physician and I have a basic. H1N1 is no more of an issue for a healthy individual than any other strain of influenza. In fact--the patients that we saw with positive swabs were much less ill than those who were stricken with the type "A" variant this year. Type A was resistant, long lasting and caused sequelae--especially in kids. The concern with H1N1 is its possible virulence--when it comes back to visit this fall-- and its effect on immune suppressed, infants, elderly, pregnant and those with underlying medical conditions. It is an epidemiological issue really.
    These are healthy kids--they have all passed their DODMERB screening and the likelihood of severe medical consequences is very, very slim. As a parent I am more concerned about the fact that the recommendation the academy may receive from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health is to cancel Doolie's Day out. It is just not fair to expose folks to whatever this is--but it will be so disappointing for these cadets. I know my son is at the end of his rope and DDO was his motivation to get through every day. It would also be devastating to see medical turn backs from this--if it is any form of influenza I doubt that it has been contained given the tight quarters and the length of exposure---I cannot imagine them turning back 100 cadets.
     
  8. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    turning back this number of cadets would not be feasible. Losing 10% of a class this early due to this would likely not be acceptable to anyone in the chain of command.

    I could see them potentially requiring some additional training in the future for those in quarintine, but I would not expect them to see them back home.
     
  9. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    mdanderson - are you from Houston by chance (MD Anderson Cancer Center)?
     
  10. mdanderson

    mdanderson Member

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    Nope--just a coincidence. I have been to Houston's Children's Hospital though. I know some people who have done fellowships there. Anderson is a phenomenal center. It is a great resource to patients and physicians. They do incredible, cutting edge work.
     
  11. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I was wondering if this would happen this summer and am not surprised. I am sure all the academies are on the lookout since they had kids coming in from all over the country.

    We had a "huge" outbreak in our county a couple of months ago at an elementary school. The CDC did come in to track it and find Patient Zero and I am sure that is what they are doing here.
    The CDC is looking backwards - to find out where it came from and how it spread - this has nothing to do with current mortality or morbidity but researching how this disease works and if the virus is mutating.

    A woman in our county did die of H1N1 - she was in her early 50's and while she had some underlying health problems she was healthy when infected. I think it's sort of a misnomer to say everyone who has dies was unhealthy. There are millions of "healthy" people living active lifestyles who have diabetes or asthma.
    While the cadets at the academies presumably don't have "underlying health conditions" they may be exposing other people who do, including civilians they may be in contact with.
    The jury is not out on H1N1 yet.
     
  12. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    For interesting reading I suggest "The Great Influenza" by John Barry. There is a great description of how the Great Flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was spread by military recruits who were called up for WWI.
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The good news is that all these individuals are young and healthy. (Or they wouldn't be there). Fighting any flu or similar illness is definitely on their side. The bad news is that the academy will still have to decide how to handle a significant loss of training time at BCT. Additional training later on is not a feasible option in my opinion. There aren't any physical task training that any cadet is learning in BCT. That's not what BCT is for. Their training is simply a matter of learning confidence; discipline, learning teamwork; breaking a person down physically and mentally and building trust. Trust in one's abilities and determination; the ability of the team; and being rebuilt not as an individual but as part of a team. Unfortunately, trying to do this later defeats the purpose. The "Team Dynamics" changes when you try to train 80 individuals separately from the other 1300.

    And while losing 80-85 people during BCT is close to the norm (40-100) (6-7%); losing all at one time and for a reason that isn't totally in the hands of the trainee, definitely sucks. Hopefully all those sick will be back to decent condition soon. And hopefully they'll be able to get back into training where the purpose of BCT can be accomplished and the other 1300+ trainees won't be negatively affected.
     
  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I have wondered about the medical turnbacks too. I remember so well when my twin broke his nose in BCT and opted not to have surgery so he didn't have a turnback. I would assume that some of these kids will have ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and other consequences of flu which may further prevent their BCT participation. And, how can you now send them to Jack's, where so many get Jack's Hack (both mine did) after they've had such a bad flu?

    Bad situation all the way around.
     
  15. mdanderson

    mdanderson Member

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    Yes, there are always those who "fall out" of the statistical analysis. Yet it is important to remember that most influenza strains are different--therein lies the challenge---that is why "the flu-shot" has to modified every year and only covers at best one or two strains. The great Pandemic indeed was devastating. The military was undernourished, living in very close quarters and sanitary conditions were abysmal. It was spread by both droplet and aerosol means, and physicians and other providers went from patient to patient without the most simple of protective measures--hand-washing. It was a set up for tragedy. There are some very dangerous strains of influenza. Avian Flu is an example and causes severe respiratory complications. Influenza is in fact a nasty, nasty virus and containment is always the key. However diseases like diabetes increase one's risk exponentially for complications--while a diabetic may indeed my be "healthy", immune suppression is an underlying "problem." The same goes for pregnancy (even in healthy women) which alters metabolism and immunity, poor nutrition.......etc. The point is we are generally able to understand the "coding" of these flu bugs--we do know what they can and cannot do--statistically. This one worries us because of its potential for increased virulence and spread--and its pandemic capabilities--and as a result its effect on those who do not have access to supportive care and are included in all of those high risk categories-not because its sequela are worse than or more dangerous than Influenza "A" or "B". It sounds like the academy is doing what they need to do--determining what this is, and sequestering those who have the illness and giving them supportive care when necessary.
     
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Is anyone sick who is an upperclassman?

    One of my fencers is due home tomorrow. I hope he's not bringing any bad flu-thing with him.
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    And I am taking my son back to the hill tomorrow. I've already told him to stay away from the doolies and stay away from the masses. Fortunately, the basics are heading to Jacks. And hopefully they will keep those sick quarantined. Prior to coming home for vacation, my son was doing survival training. He hadn't eaten decently for 9-10 days. Lost 10 pounds. He's gained most of that back and is it good shape currently. I'd hate to see others getting infected.
     
  18. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    i think i heard some upperclassmen saying last year when i was a 4dig how we always get like a super-flu during the year, either right after thanksgiving or christmas, because everyone goes home and gets these crazy sicknesses and brings them back here and they all mutate together and form one huge giant ick. lol
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Talk to a doctor. The coverage of H1N1 was overblown.
     
  20. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    So, L.I.T.S., do you think this is much ado about nothing - or much ado about a minor annoyance? Was not sure from your comment.

    I am glad they isolated the sick kids. Will be anxious to hear of any other changes USAFA puts into place regarding this new wrinkle.
     

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