Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pandemics

I hate it when things like this new swine flu come up. They scare me now. I didn't think much of them when I was younger but now, especially since the wife is potentially an at risk person- being at least a little immune deficient- they're horrifying to me.

I have to tell myself maybe this is being blown at least a bit out of proportion and I need not worry as much about it as I tend to. After all, new varieties of flu are discovered all the time and don't people already die in the tens of thousands each year from flu in this country every year? Maybe this is nothing special?

I was reminded of the bird flu from a few years ago. I was scared with that one but nothing really came of it, despite all the hype.

This letter to the editor to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat adds a different perspective to the pandemic issue than most of what I've been hearing:

Out of proportion?

EDITOR: First of all, a pandemic is defined as a flu or virus that occurs in a large geographic area, perhaps a continent.

Secondly, let’s do the math. Mexico City’s metropolitan area is the largest city in the Western hemisphere, more than 22 million people, approximately 9 million in the inner city. Worldwide, it is second only to Tokyo and Shanghai in population. Mexico City has the greatest air pollution and incidence of respiratory disease in the Western hemisphere. As of Monday, there were 22 confirmed deaths from swine flu, 103 suspected and 1,600 possibly infected. Out of 9 million people 103 deaths would be about 1000th of 1 percent. It would take 90,000 people to die of this flu to equal 1 percent of just the inner city population. World-wide the number infected is far less. And yes, I know that every life, every loved one, is precious.

And so thirdly and, most importantly, I ask why is this particular cyclic event being so blown out of proportion in our world-wide media and in our present day collective psyche?

SUSAN BAKER

Santa Rosa

Thanks. I feel better now.... I think.

Update, May 1: Looks like this thing might have been a flash- in- the- pan.

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6 Comments:

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's that kind of attitude that puts everyone else in danger.

 
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Mr. Nice said...

What the media is calling swine flu is related to avian flu. Remember '76? That flu never amounted to anything and they called it swine flu. And '97? That flu killed people and it was called avian flu. This is why the media calls it swine flu and not avian flu.

This particular flu strain is similar to both swine and avian flu. As it originated in Mexico, I say we call it pollo y puerco.

You may find comfort in knowing that people with a weak immune system are not necessarily more likely to become deathly ill from this type of flu. Swine/avian flu causes some people's immune system to overreact to the infection. People with a strong immune system have a strong overreaction. Having a weak immune system matters more with the everyday flu strains that kill hundreds of thousands of people annually. That should be comforting too, that countless people die from the flu anyway.

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger Fred said...

"It's that kind of attitude that puts everyone else in danger.".Well, I suppose totally ignoring the issue might. I think she's just trying to put this in its proper perspective.

Somebody has to, when we have so much hype being thrown out over this. I was appalled to find that the first supposed American fatality from this flu was actually a Mexican kid that was flown to Houston from Mexico for medical treatment for other medical problems.

If there was one attitude I found that might be dangerous, it was a friend of Connie's who had a vacation to Mexico scheduled for next week. Upon hearing of this virus earlier this week, she apparently said she was still planning to go to Mexico.

Maybe I'm being overly paranoid, but I don't think it's a good idea to go to ground zero of a new virus- a potential pandemic- while it's in full bloom. How would she feel if she brings it back with here.

I'd consider that negligent, if not criminally negligent.

I guess she still has time to change her mind. Plus, as more info becomes available, it may be that this newest swine flu is no real big deal after all.

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger Carol said...

What part of Mexico, Fred? Mexico City?

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Her planned vacation? On the coast, I believe. Cancun, maybe?

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger mresquan said...

You are far more likely to catch TB coming from the border.Part of the conspiracy theorist in me tells me that a swine flu "pandemic"will bring facts about other more potent and widespread viruses to light,making it virtually impossible to leave or enter the country,due to security measures imposed.

 

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