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Swine Flu – A Fuss About Nothing?

Swine flu is causing concern at a worldwide level.  Big scary words such as ‘pandemic’ are being used to describe its effects, and the posts I’ve written on the subject have attracted quite a bit of interest too.  But why all the fuss?

Swine flu virus
Swine flu virus

That’s a good question, and a doctor I spoke to today, a paediatrician, is wondering too.  In this Italian doctor’s view, all the kerfuffle has been generated by the media, which, I guess, includes in a very small part little old Blog from Italy with its Swine flu updates.

I’ve had a few emails on the subject from travellers concerned about the risks of contracting Swine flu in Italy, or wondering whether they are likely to be stopped at the airport upon arrival in Italy, especially if they come from a ‘high risk’ country, such as the USA or UK.  Yes, people are worried.

There are even threats to close the schools in Italy. But is all the fuss justified?  Or could Swine flu really be a case of ‘viral’ marketing?

Swine Flu Fuss About Nothing

No, the fuss is probably not justified.  I agree with the good doctor. Bascially, the fuss about Swine flu is a fuss about nothing.  OK, people have been dying, this is true, but then other illnesses and, for that matter, road accidents are killing far more people than this grandly entitled flu pandemic is.

1918 was 90 Years Ago

Just to make us all feel even worse, comparisons are being made to flu pandemics from the past.  Indeed, causing all the mayhem in 1918 was the same H1N1 virus, alias today’s Swine flu, which is causing worries today.  However, hang on a second, before we all go locking ourselves in panic rooms, with a filtered air supply, of course, we should come back down to earth.

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1918 was a long, long time ago, and even if the 1918 flu reputedly killed as many as 100 million people, medical technology back in 1918 was basic to say the least.  Then, the Swine flu virus was new back in 1918, which is part of the reason why it killed so many.  Today it is not new, there is a vaccine, and for many of us, sanitary conditions have greatly improved over the last 90 years.

Medical Science Has Made Huge Progress

Medicine has come a long way too. 100 years ago there were probably many illnesses which medical science at the time was unable to identify.  People died for seemingly inexplicable reasons.  Now though, such reasons would be, in most cases, clearly identified.  Invisible killers from the past are no longer able to hide behind veils of ignorance and low technological know-how.

Global concern over Swine flu has come about simply because we know what it is.  The doctor I know really did not think there was a fat lot to worry about, aside from the fact that it is highly contagious.

Viral marketing

Note that somebody, somewhere, is making a tidy sum out of selling flu vaccines to governments.  Talk about ‘viral’ marketing!

Come to Italy!

If you are coming to Italy, do not worry too much about Swine flu -especially if you are coming from the US or the UK.  The vast majority of swine flu victims in Italy have simply been told to go home and take it easy –  I know, I read the Italian Health Ministry press releases and reports in the Italian newspapers.  And the one person who did die from Swine flu was not at all healthy in the first place.  In that case alas,  Swine flu was the last straw which broke the camels back.


Wikipedia – 1918 flu pandemic

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