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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Is this really a pandemic?

Flu of any description is very unpleasant as I know from personal experience. certainly the last time I had it I didn't really care whether I recovered or not for about 3 days - which is bad. I can't help feeling the dangers of the swine flu are somewhat exaggerated just as they were with SARS and bird flu. Having lived through a smallpox epidemic - not that I remember much about it except queueing until late in the evening for the vaccination; as well as two serious flu epidemics and the Cuban missile crisis I'm not sure I'm going to lose any sleep over it.

Are a few cases in most of the major countries the criteria for a pandemic? As a percentage of world population the numbers seem trivial at present. Just looked it up in Wikipedia which quotes the World Health Organisation. It has to be a new disease and one that causes serious illness and spreads easily amongst humans. So now we know.


kcm said...

No this isn't a pandemic. In my view (and I hope I'm right) it isn't even dangerous. As usual it is being hyped up by the media and the politicians are playing to the gallery. Look guys, it's 'flu! It doesn't even appear to be an especially dangerous 'flu. Sure 'flu can be nasty and it does kill a few people; it always did; it always will. Yes this will spread. Yes, technically, it may become a pandemic, but IMO not one to worry about. H5N1 avian 'flu is potentially more worrysome as it appears to have a higher CFR (fatality rate); SARS similarly. And as for the idea that this 'flu could be contained in Mexico, well forget it; it never could. By the time anyone realised it was around the genie was out of the lamp, however quick they are, given modern mobility and air travel. This has been around in Mexico since, it seems, mid-March, so the genie was out of the bottle a month before anyone knew (or at least admitted). Look at that month and then ask how dangerous this is. I rest my case!

Jilly said...

I agree entireley. I also read yesterday a comment from one expert who said he'd have been far more worried if it had been bird flu. He went on to say that in this country we have a basic immunity to H1N1 itself because it's around all the time. Yes this variant may get us but our bodies may well be better at fighting it than those of people in Mexico where it may not be as common.