Burn the Hula Hoops you might get Hooping Cough!

Burning a Hula Hoop because there’s an outbreak of hooping cough is as illogical as some of the hysteria that has ensued in the past week over the Mexican-unleashed A/H1N1 flu virus.  If you haven’t caught up, that was erroneously called Swine Flu last week, or if you caught the gleeful front page of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, it was a “deadly pig virus”. Talk about irresponsible reporting.

In the escalating hysteria of last week an Israeli Minister moved to have the word “Swine” replaced with “Mexican” because it wasn’t…well…kosher. The Egyptians butchered…slaughtered, 300,000 pigs as a “precautionary measure” and Iran wasted its Zoo population of wild pigs

Last week I would have said that the only way you could have caught flu from eating the delicious flesh of our cute porcine friends, was if an infected Mexican had blown his nose in your pork chop.  But looking at the revised list of fatalities and confirmed cases and its incidence and potency, it is looking like good ol’ human flu again and Mexico is not as ravaged as it was suggested. Granted this bug is allegedly a stinker of a mutant virus – but it isn’t getting anywhere near figures that were declared by China in 2003 on SARS.

It all comes down to the name. A/H1N1, a human virus, was first called Swine Flu, an animal virus. It has since been rocketing up the World Health Organisation (WHO) pandemic charts to a category five.  But I reckon there is a bit of panic-inducing, geographic smoke and mirrors involved in the nomenclature here. Loosely, an epidemic is where a disease affects more people than is usual for the locality and a pandemic is an epidemic of world-wide proportions.

The WHO’s six-stage pandemic scale primarily measures the transmission of illness around the world, rather than its severity.

Last I looked WHO had recorded some 1,500 cases of the flu in 22 countries. That’s spread pretty thin for a flu. But use the word pandemic ….

With antiviral medication like Tami flu vaccine being snapped-up and stockpiled all over the world you have to wonder if the drug companies don’t have a hand in the scare-mongering.

While the world may well be hell-bent on buying medical pig in a poke, it’s time to roast a nice piece of pork neck and curl up with a copy of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Four legs good…two legs bad!

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