Monday, April 27, 2009

WHO says FLU

My dad's got a cold. In fine Ken Breadner Sr. form, he's telling everyone he just got back from Mexico.
He didn't, of course. But we're about to be swine flu'd right out the wazoo.

You have to snicker at the two-faced media coverage. "NOTHING TO PANIC ABOUT...YET" said one headline this morning; immediately beneath that, "Swine flu pandemic could potentially kill thousands in Ontario". Nope, nothing to see here, move along, move along...

(To be fair, they're a wee bit touchy in Toronto. The SARS epidemic was only six years ago.)

The World Health Organization just raised its pandemic-o-meter to a Level 4, which sounds ominous until you look it up.
Level 4, according to the World Health Organization, means "human-to-human to sustain community-level outbreaks". So this is of some concern if there's a case in your community, but it's by no means time to run for the hills. Especially since the strains circulating outside Mexico are comparatively mild. 

That one in Mexico's a little uglier, mind you. This morning, the death toll was 40; last I heard it was 149 with thousands ill. Still, you need to remember Mexico City's population is well over twenty million. The mortality rate of this manbirdpig flu is minuscule.

So keep an eye out, but don't succumb to the hysteria that's already sweeping the media. 


Rocketstar said...

You know how we all love FEAR. It's always bound to get blown out of proportion and hey, the globe could use a little "thinning".

Green Assassin Brigade said...

I don't think its that bad a strain, a more important factor may be the general health of Mexicans especially in the disgustingly polluted mexico city.

How compromised were their lungs already from polution, did they have emphasema? how many already had Hep, TB or something else? How many were old? The number of victims and the data on those victims is still too sketchy to give us a definative image of this ilness

Ken Breadner said...

Rocket, you ain't kidding. The regular ol' flu kills 36000 Americans every year.
GAB, the concern they have in Mexico is it's actually the healthy young bucks that are getting sick and dying. The old folks, by and large, fight it off. They're speculating a partial immunity from the last time something similarish came around about 40 years back.