Monday, 27 April 2009

Of Health and Hysteria...

The outbreak of swine flu in Mexico has been meat and drink to the doom-mongers and conspiracy theorists that prowl the darker reaches of the blogsphere. The 24/7 newscycle adds to the sense of crisis and the feeling of hopelessness but, as with SARS a few years ago, the hype which makes the news media look interesting doesn't stand up to much analysis.

For those who think "Survivors" is happening right now, the facts will be rather disappointing. Yes, over 100 people (and probably more) have died but well over 1,000 (and probably many more) have recovered. It's a serious infection and must be treated that way but "global pandemic" seems a little overdone to me.

The problem is hysteria takes over and Governments stop being in control and start following the hysteria. That would be unwise. There's no evidence of widespread infection outside Mexico and also plenty of evidence antiviral agents such as Tamiflu are effective.

There will be more bad news and deaths in the days to come though it seems the World Health Organisation has responded positively to the crisis and countries in North America and Europe are well prepared.

Time for caution, yes, but panic, no.

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