Who's afraid of the Big Bad Flu?
I know many of us are concerned about Swine Flu, and as I write this even the World Health Organization has declared a Level 5 outbreak; just one step away from Level 6, the highest, which is reserved for pandemics.
As of this writing there have been approximately 150 deaths and a little over 2,000 people supposedly infected with H1N1 virus. Even assuming unreported cases with double or triple that number lurking as a possibility, this still doesn't look anything like pandemic. Latest reports today seem to be that the number of deaths in Mexico have leveled off. So far in the US, there is one reported Mexican infant who died of the disease. The head of medicine in Mexico recently asserted that this viral pathogen did not even originate in Mexico but from Southeast Asia.
There are a few scattered cases reported throughout the country and the world but it's still far from anything approaching pandemic proportions. Further, thus far there is nothing that distinguishes the so called Swine flu from any other flu symptoms -- except that it can only be identified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
It's certainly not news that some people die from the flu. In fact in the US, approximately 36,000 people die each year from the flu with the worldwide death toll numbering into the millions.Recently a number of health officials are beginning to cautiously question the growing hysteria around the growing Swine Flu hysteria. Recently on his daily networked radio show, even Dr. Dean Edell, an AMA loyalist if there ever was one, pointed out that over 800 people of all ages die from the flu each week, and he questioned the amount of attention and media hype this latest global threat poses.
So if it's not as bad as it seems, why are we hearing about it every hour like it's going to wipe us all out?
To quote the bard, "something smells rotten in the state of Denmark." As always, when paying attention to such things, consider: who stands to gain? This is what brings one back to the global pharmaceutical industry - the true '˜pandemic' to human civilization if there ever was one.
What is happening is that the European drug maker Roche is greatly increasing its production of Tamiflu with a tremendous boost in stock prices bankrolling millions. GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of the anti-flu drug Relenza, is also an investor boom with a steep increase of its stock prices.
Bottom line: Don't get carried away by alarmist media hype, wash your hands often, and keep it all in perspective.