Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A public service announcement

The media's breathless wall-to-wall coverage of the predicted swine flu outbreak has been unnecessarily panicking a number of people, in our opinion.

To keep things in perspective, here's Wired magazine's review of the 1976 swine flu "epidemic":

Total number of fatalities directly attributed to the swine flu: 1

Total number of fatalities directly attributed to the swine flu vaccine that then-President Gerald Ford ordered everyone to submit to in response to that era's hysteria: at least 30, plus hundreds of other diagnosed cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a serious disorder that can cause paralysis.

We believe that the outbreak in Mexico City has reached its current level due to the crushing population density of that overcrowded city of at least 25 million people, and that U.S. cities are not nearly at risk of the same level of contagion.

The currently available flu vaccine confers no protection against the H1N1 virus identified as being the cause of the recent outbreak, although it may (may) contribute to reducing the severity of symptoms should the virus be acquired. The virus appears to be negatively affected by the two available antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, at least for the time being. The generally available N-95 protective masks have not been proven to be effective at protecting people from infection (the virus particles are smaller than the holes in the material) , unless they are used to help isolate someone with active symptoms in a health-care setting.

People will gain the most benefit from practicing basic good hygiene: washing hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds several times a day, especially after contacting others; keeping their hands away from their mucous membranes (nose, eyes); avoiding others with flu-like symptoms; and consulting their health-care professional should they begin to experience any symptoms such as fever, coughing, lethargy and fatigue, muscle aches and sore throat.

Please keep things in perspective, at least for the time being. We seem to be in no imminent danger.

1 comment:

Lach from Oz said...

O.F.F.S! This quote perpetuates the dangerous myth about Guillian Barre being caused by the fluvax. This was wrong then, and is still wrong now! Have a look at Gina Kolata's excellent research book about the Spanish Flu epidemic called(simply enough) "Flu" for a great rundown on a real pandemic as well as the "Swine Flu" immunisation disaster perpetrated by the Nixon administration. Lets not give the anti immunizers more oxygen, please. Shame on Wired for this shoddy myth recycling!