Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another Prophet of Disaster

Ah, the news organizations are in a tizzy about the swine flu. They breathlessly report the latest rumors as fact and are bracing for Armageddon. This flu story is nothing big, sure it is important for our governments and the transnational organizations to keep their eyes on it, but the way the press is reporting this one would think it is time to lock ourselves in our basements.

In recent memory we had two panics over avian flu strains and the SARS panic. In one of the avian flu events I recall hearing stories about the strain's high rate of lethality, but also reported (though with less vigor) was how workers in Asian bird markets were found to have a high rate of being previously infected with the avian flu strain du jour. As is usually the case, only those at death's door were showing up at the hospitals and being entered into the rolls of the afflicted.

In fact the numbers as being reported are inflated (even as small as they are):
But Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

"Unfortunately that (150-plus deaths) is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation," Ms Allan told ABC Radio on Wednesday morning.

"That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico."
Source: The Age — WHO says only seven confirmed swine flu deaths

Of course, I suspect the deaths due to this flu are higher than the 150 posted but those are deaths we will never be able to confirm.

The reporting on this is hysterical.