Everyone who has been anywhere near a TV, connected PC, newspaper, or the office water cooler must surely have been pretty familiar with this whole Swine Flu (H1N1 A Influenza) business already.
There are a great deal of suggestions and various measures being undertaken to avoid the great flu coming here. The heat sensors being set up at the airports (at least in Penang), newspapers telling us what we should do to avoid getting the flu, and our government is assuring the people that every measure is taken to keep us safe.
Yesterday’s news – Temporary freeze on permits for pork imports
Today’s news – 1.7 million pigs to be vaccinated against flu mutation
As far as I know (from the various news source and wiki entries), the current H1N1 A Influenza is a new strain of virus that consists of genetic materials from similar virus that infects human, birds, and pigs.
The nickname swine flu was rather unfortunate for there is no evidence that the current strain was originated from pigs. H1N1 A is trasmitted from human to human, not pigs/birds to human, though there is also a newly identified case of farmer transmitting the virus to his pigs recently. (Pigs are unique in a way that they can get flu from birds and human, in addition to their fellow piggy friends) /pig.
Many are afraid, but few has the right reasons to.
Yes this is “new” disease that we don’t know alot about, and it is potentially lethal. But lets put things into perspective, H1N1 A (stop calling it swine flu already) has 23 confirmed cases so far, all in Mexico except one. One the other hand, malaria is killing 1 to 3 million people every year.
The danger of overreaction is very real. Hospitals swarmed with people who are afraid that they might die as soon as they exhibit a little bit of symptoms might be denying other legitimate patients.
There is also a history on these things, the US incorrectly declared a pandemic on swine flu in 1976 and ordered the whole nation to go through inocullation. The result was 1 death from flu, and 20 others from inocullation itself.
Of course, closer to home, I still wanna eat my damn pork!