Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Nothing New in Swine Flu

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Nothing New in Swine Flu

Article excerpt

WITHOUT wanting to make light of what could be a serious world-wide problem, it doesn't take much to panic us, does it?

All sympathy to the poor buggers in Mexico, but the swine flu "pandemic" has yet to cull the world's populace by any great number and yet one could be mistaken for believing the end of the world was nigh.

Really, apart from the name, what's new?

Haven't we been through all this before with the Hong Kong Flu, Spanish Flu, Bird Flu, Horse Flu, Chimney Flue...

The first time I heard mention of swine flu having the potential to spread across the globe, I thought they were referring to that television sitcom starring New York comedian Gerry SwineFlu.

However, any levels of early panic within me subsided when I read the list of symptoms which appeared on the front page of The Chronicle on Wednesday.

According to medical advice, among symptoms to look for were: "aches and pains, runny nose, headache, sore throat, sneezing, dry cough, and tiredness".

Hell, I have those symptoms just about every morning and somehow I'm still here.

Maybe I've had swine flu for the past 28 years. (I told the boss I was sick.)

Certainly, plenty over that time have referred to me as swine, or porker, or pig.

But isn't it amazing how easily panic and fear can be instilled within the populace just by predictions of the new world-wide plague?

Attach the word "pandemic" and watch the chaos unfold.

Suddenly, people are out clearing the pharmacy shelves of face masks and cough medication.

Based on what?

As I pen this mid-week, there had been 159 cases of potential swine flu death in Mexico, among them only 22 had been confirmed as death by the bug.

One death, a toddler in Texas, had been the only fatality reported outside Mexico.

Yet, a flick through the news channels on Wednesday night found that little boy's tragic death to be the major news item.

It's ironic that while CNN devoted hours of news time to that little boy's death (and advising us how we all should be carrying antiseptic soap with which to wash our hands every three minutes to avoid catching swine flu), literally thousands of children the same age, some younger some older, were dying from preventable causes like war, malnutrition and diseases eradicated in First World countries years ago. …

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