Outbreaks of swine flu A(H1N1) have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control in 6 California, 2 Texas, and 7 Mexico cases. News reporters say thousands have been infected and hundreds have died already. I believe some newscasters have been over dramatizing the event as the next great pandemic because the virus has components of swine, bird, and human flu it is easily transmittable. Have you guys been reading Weekly World News for headlines again? I think Batboy may have the super secret cure stored in his bat cave and Manbearpig from South Park is in on the conspiracy.
From the CDC: Pandemic flu is a virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity the disease can spread easily from person to person.
The last known pandemic flu occurred from 1918-1919. Advances in medical research and flu vaccination programs have virtually eliminated the threat of a virus capable of pandemic status. Think about it. 1918 was a time when hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and medical science were sadly lax. Waste management and pollution were not really regulated like they are now and rodent infestations were rampant. People lived in close proximity to their stock animals which is where most animal viruses make the leap to humans. We usually don't see that now except where people live in 3rd world conditions or where infected animals are transported and introduced into a healthy animal population.
The CDC flu prevention tips are pretty much common sense:
1. Avoid close contact with people who are coughing and sneezing.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
3. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
4. Clean your hands.
5. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits.
I truly doubt we are on the verge of a pandemic but I would relish the experience of something so life changing to happen in my lifetime. A pandemic could wipe out millions. Imagine that....millions dead from a flu. Would it be like Monty Python's "Bring out your dead!" skit or would it be more like Night of the Living Dead where the "diseased" are burned in large bonfires? The gore fiend in me would love to see that. The scientist in me sees it as just another virus for research and vaccination to tackle. The reality is that we have medications (Relenza and Tamiflu) that readily treat this virus.
Conspiracy? Nope, just over hyped news jockeys scaring up some ratings. Don't believe the hype. And for those with enquiring minds it is okay to eat cooked pork so you don't have to give up your precious bacon! Yay!