Swine Flu – Hype or Hazard?

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This has to be the most stupid swine flu overreaction to date:

Haitian officials rejected a Mexican aid ship carrying 77 tons of much-needed food aid because of ”unfounded” swine flu fears, Mexico’s ambassador said Wednesday.

The Mexican navy ship El Huasteco was to arrive May 2 in Port-au-Prince carrying rice, fertilizer and emergency food kits to help the impoverished country respond to chronic hunger and devastating tropical storms.

But Mexican Ambassador Zadalinda Gonzalez y Reynero said Haitian officials told her April 29 they would not accept the ship, which was still in Mexican waters near the Yucatan peninsula at the time.

”The crew was in perfect health and there was no risk at all,” Gonzalez y Reynero told The Associated Press, adding that the cargo and 64 sailors aboard the ship had all been screened in Mexico. “We did not want to turn back the ship, but we also did not want our crew to be mistreated.”

She said it was possible the ship could try again to deliver the aid sometime in the future.

This story would have been laughable if it weren’t so tragic…Haiti is probably the poorest country in the world…The people desperately need food aid especially because 23% of their children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition…Did the authorities do the right thing by turning away the food without proof? Was the govt. being too cautious or was it trying to protect itself? I think governments around the world are acting out of fear; they are trying to protect their backsides…In the off chance that swine flu does sweep across their countries, governments can wash their hands of the guilt…They alerted us; they did their part…The rest is not their fault…

While on the topic of epidemics and pandemics, there were worse outbreaks of diseases than swine flu (infected 1700 people worldwide and killed 41) but nobody is talking about them…

  • Cholera – Zimbabwe, August 2008: According to WHO, 96,000 people were infected and 4,200 were killed 
  • Spinal Meningitis – Since the beginning of 2009, a meningitis outbreak has killed more than 1,900 people in 3 countries – 1,500 in Nigeria alone…More than 56,000 cases have been reported
  • AIDS – In China, AIDS killed 7,000 people in the first 9 months of 2008 alone but the authorities are not doing much about it…But look at their response to Swine Flu – all flights from Mexico were banned and all Mexicans in the country were quarantined
  • Dengue Fever -A severe dengue outbreak has infected 50,000 people in Bolivia and more than 20,000 in Argentina in 2009…In Australia, nearly 1000 people have been infected

Do you even remember reading about the above mentioned outbreaks? Frankly, I don’t…I wonder if the pharmaceutical industry has something to do with the hype…

P.S. FYI, seasonal flu causes 36,000 deaths each year in the United States alone…According to the CDC, 13,000 people have already died since January this year…Is anybody worried?

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7 thoughts on “Swine Flu – Hype or Hazard?

  1. Vinod & Solilo – granted developing countries can’t take the risk but why has Swine Flu become so big? Why are govts. going out of their way to protect its citizens from this epidemic while they are not doing anything or doing very little about more common epidemics like AIDS, cholera, dengue etc.? In India, money is being spent on screening incoming passengers for Swine Flu but nothing or very little is being done to contain other commonly occurring and equally deadly diseases…1500 people have been infected by Swine Flu and everybody wants to wear masks while millions have been infected by AIDS and nobody wants to wear condoms…

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  2. Once in the mid 1990s there were these rumours of plague in Bombay, and I remember some people had stocked up on medicine. Another time mustard oil had looked so dangerous after Dropsy cases… fear is a powerful emotion.

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  3. I find that the environment in USA is very sanitised. They have low resistance to any disease or for that matter any shock, unpleasant events or plain hardship.

    Swine flu is just another event. You will recall Bird Flu, Mad Cow disease and the likes…..We have covered apes, cows, pigs and birds..How about some other animals….

    Irrational fears when they spread cannot be controlled (its like mob psychology). Further, media also heightens these fears and they cannot be blamed as if this spreads to be a pandemic then consequences can be disastrous.

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