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Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu A Bit Of A Misnomer

I don't usually comment on health issues (as it doesn't fall into the "describing geeky things that happened last night" camp), nor do I generally link from Boing Boing (as it would be unlikely for most people to see a BB article here first, statistically speaking).

But this - this I found interesting:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that, people in the U.S. infected with the virus have either traveled to Mexico recently or have been exposed to someone returning from the country. The CDC originally thought the virus was a straightforward swine flu virus. However after closer analysis determined it is a new virus containing a mixture of swine, human and avian viruses.
-- Swine Influenza Update from a Nurse: Virus, Panic, Precautions, and End of the World Websites.

Which is pretty creepy considering this thing's special trick seems to be hopping from species to species. I don't know how likely it is for a bug to go from say, swine to human and then human to human and then, uh, human to turtle - but it sure sounds like a great House episode if there ever was one.

Course, others don't agree:

Meanwhile, the UNRELIABLE sources are in full bloom. Rightwing and survivalist commentary ranges from decrying the swine flu as a bio-terror attack (Terror Pigs?) to celebrating this as the beginning of the Rapture.

Apocalypse swine.

This is the way the world ends, people. Not with a bang.

But a snort.

Update: Apparently the "cross-gene" theory is being disputed, and the swine flu may be all swine after all.



sterno said...

This feels like the first few hours of some major disaster as reported on 24 hour news. Lots and lots of fear, speculation, and hype, to fill the tremendous void of useful facts.

It will either turn pandemic and dangerous or it won't and we'll just have to wait and see. On the bright side, the initial outbreak is in the Spring. That means the least hospitable conditions for the flu to be spread. People are outdoors more, spending less time in croweded indoor areas infecting each other. Summer break is on the way and that means kids won't be spreading it to each other in class. This should buy time to help put together vaccines, etc, that can help mitigate the spread of it if it turns out to be nasty.

For the time being though this seems like a lot of hype by an excitable media rather than a real threat.

Josh said...

Yeah, my fear is really that of the tongue-in-cheek kind. Although, one of the major plot points in the trilogy I'm reading is destruction of the known world by pandemic, I don't plan on visiting the Channer Rift anytime soon, so...

Planet Money recently did a bit about piracy and noted that it was likely getting a lot of attention because it was so darn easy to explain. So much more, than say, the economy.

This is like those stupid ads for antibacterial sprays, but they get the chance to talk longer and sound smarter.

Not going to be buying duct tape anytime soon, though.

Actually, that reminds me. I think we're out of duct tape. So I might be buying duct tape, but not enough to cover the whole condo.

sterno said...

The reality is that our medical technology is way beyond what we had in say 1918. We can rapidly turn around vaccines, and we have anti-virals like Tamaflu. So even if we had a particularly nasty pandemic, we have a medical system that can help mitigate the worst of it.

Furthermore, in 1918, they didn't have work from home as an option. Provided I had a couple weeks worth of food I could live in my apartment pretty much indefinitely.

Josh said...

Swine Flu, Google Style:,-101.953125&spn=95.342233,203.90625&z=1

Clamatius said...

>Actually, that reminds me. I think we're out of duct tape. So I might be buying duct tape, but not enough to cover the whole condo.

Then you need to buy much more duct tape anyway. Never mind the possible impending end of humankind, it's just impossible to have too much duct tape.

>But a snort.

You actually made me laugh out loud. Well done. :)

Jason said...

The only real question is this:

Are you heading to Vegas or Boulder?

Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive who likes to sign his comments because it makes them 10x more valid)