Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Mum's Day No Pig in a Poke; the Insidious Swine Flu Was Bound to Happen, since Almost Every Type of Animal in Mass Captivity Has a Flu Named after It. So Why Not Swine?

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Mum's Day No Pig in a Poke; the Insidious Swine Flu Was Bound to Happen, since Almost Every Type of Animal in Mass Captivity Has a Flu Named after It. So Why Not Swine?

Article excerpt

Byline: CARRIE COX carrieon@bigpond.com

IT was the pigs' turn, I suppose. Birds had their 15 minutes, horses trotted out a beauty a couple of years ago, and let's not forget when all the cows went nuts.

All things being equal, most major species of animal will have the opportunity to wring the neck of humanity with the food chain at some point. Ecologically speaking, it's only fair.

It could be argued (not that I'm personally game) that the world needs a good virulent disease every decade or so. In Keating-speak, swine flu is the pandemic we had to have.

It's much like the argument (again, don't look at me) that the world needs a good war every 50 years. According to some, wars kick-start sluggish economies, correct population numbers and toss a starting jersey to highly frustrated army officers. Similarly a modern pandemic puts a bomb under public health systems, forces estranged countries to talk about things that really matter, and reminds us all about the fragility of humankind.

A good pandemic also shows us that the globalism is not without its flaws. It's just too easy these days to jump on a plane, breathe on the person beside you and infect another country. Forget about the sharp biro tip in your hip-pocket, mate; it's the phlegm on your lungs we really need to worry about.

And there is no better social leveller than a decent mutative virus. High-flying executives don't look nearly as mighty walking off an international flight with masks on their heads. It puts them in the same category as everyone else on the plane, and that can be a good thing when egos are paid to soar at 40,000 feet every other week.

(Not that I'm a fan of face masks, by the way. I recall flying to Kuala Lumpur at the height of the SARS virus scare. I had decided to not be a party to panic - plus a face mask frankly doesn't go with any outfit - yet found my husband and I were the only people sans masks on the entire flight. …

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