Health News and events

You dirty swine

Just days ago I was watching an interview with a guy on The Daily Show, who, like most of their guests, was flogging a book. His was called “Dread: How Fear and Fantasy have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to the Avian Flu“:

Even at our most level-headed, the thought of an epidemic can inspire terror. As Philip Alcabes persuasively argues in Dread, our anxieties about epidemics are created not so much by the germ or microbe in question—or the actual risks of contagion—but by the unknown, the undesirable, and the misunderstood.

I’m amazed at how timely it seems, given in the few days since, the swine flu has appeared.

So far in this part of the world, only the 10 NZ students have confirmed cases, with most of them already recovered. Their samples were processed at the Melbourne lab of the World Health Organisation, I wouldn’t be surprised if (for once) the media were staked out at a bio lab somewhere.

Let’s not panic unduly, people.

Oh, and can I point out that I’ve had this cough for weeks, and I’ve never been to Mexico.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

3 replies on “You dirty swine”

What panic? My friend returned from Mexico about a month ago, where she had in fact had the flu. So she rang her GP who told her to call the Alfred. The guy at the Alfred was completely clueless, had to ask around and eventually worked out that she should speak to the Infectious Diseases department – kinda obvious if you ask me. But he asked her to call back later cos they were all in a meeting…

I’ve heard a theory floating about that numbers are down for people gettting vaccinated against regular flu, so there is some scaremongering is going on to get people to go get (and pay for of course) a flu jab. Nevermind that the flu vaccine does not vaccinate against that particular strain of the disease.

Bob Brown’s speech at Melbourne University on Tuesday opened with him describing the high likelihood of a pandemic. I think it is likely. There are reported cases worldwide and I see no reason why even the most stringent biohazard checks are infallible.

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