Swine Flu or North American Influenza?

No, Michael Jackson's trend didn't catch on..

No, Michael Jackson's trend didn't catch on..

 Either way I don’t want it.

Recently, fears of a worldwide pandemic have emerged due to a recent flu strain found in Mexico. The strain has been dubbed “Swine Influenza” and is believed by many to have come from pigs and pork products. In Mexico over 159 people have died with 2,500 people infected. Today, the United States felt the fear brought on from the pandemic by the death of a two year old child in Texas. Researchers and lawmakers alike are struggling with  the possibility of a worldwide outbreak, but many are asking whether or not the fear is necessary or entirely media driven. Either way, the meat industry, yet again, has a shitload of explaining to do. Meat plants in Mexico City as well as the World Health Organization have already confirmed that there is no way the Swine Flu virus carried over from pigs to humans. So where in the hell did it come from?

Well, it is very rare for a virus to transfer directly from animal to human. Therefore the strain has only transferred from human to human, which means that the virus has a greater ability to mutate and complicate vaccination.

The states mainly affected within the United States are California, Kansas, Texas, Michigan, the New England region, New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Reports about a possible case in Orlando, FL were false, however a case in Jacksonville, Florida is being tested. Shit.

In order to assess the seriousness of the situation, let’s take a look back in time to past worldwide pandemics. Spanish-flu sound familiar? It should because between 1918 – 1919 over 30 million people worldwide were killed from the virus. And that’s not all…

Epidemics (avail. data) Year Infected Deaths Mortality % Death rate/1,000
Spanish flu (worldwide) 1918-19 1 billion 30 million 3% 30
Asian flu (U.S.) 1957 45 million 70,000 .16% 1.6
Hong Kong flu (U.S.) 1968-69 50 million 33,000 .07% .7
Avian flu (worldwide) 1990-today 421 257 61% 610
SARS (worldwide) 2002-03 8,096 774 9.6% 96
General flu (U.S.)[1] yearly average 50 million 36,000 .08% .8
Swine flu (worldwide) “confirmed” as of 4/29/2009[2] 273 153 2.6% 26

Sobering, isn’t it?

So is it necessary to panic when 30,000 people die annually from general flu viruses? Perhaps the media is adding more fuel to the fire than it should, but it is vital for all of us to take the necessary precautions to avoid another global epidemic. So buy some Germ-X, wash your ass regularly, and don’t eat/drink after people. And avoid Mexico if you know what’s good for you…

UPDATE:

The “Swine-flu” virus has been renamed by the US Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack as the 2009 “H1N1 virus” outbreak.

“We want to say to consumers here and abroad that there is no risk to you, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that there is any link between consuming pork, prepared pork products, and the H1N1 virus,” Ron Kirk (US Trade Representative) added.

Lest the point be lost, Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security Secretary) threw in, “We are establishing an operations coordination task force to deal with the 2009 H1N1 outbreak.”

H1N1 virus has the same serotype found in the Spanish flu virus that wiped out millions.

Thanks for the scarier name!

Washington Post

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s