Monday, April 27, 2009

I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE incensend over the swine flu hysteria:
How many times are we going to cry wolf over these things? Remember bird flu? The rush to stock up on Tamiflu? Gee didn't the Swiss drug maker Roche do well out of that one.

Sars anyone? The Millennium Bug? Let's face it, we love a good crisis and the media enjoys it more than anyone. Scaring the pants off the public is great fun, and sells newspapers.

So let's just get this latest crisis straight. "Up to'' 80 people have died in Mexico from a variant of Influenza A, which is being dubbed swine flu. A bunch of Americans and Canadians are thought to have caught it, though none of them have died or are even very sick.

Ten Kiwi kids apparently have the "deadly new swine flu'' after a school trip to Mexico recently. So far they're all OK too.

Now, I'm not suggesting for a minute that influenza isn't a nasty virus. Or that health authorities shouldn't take precautions until we know more about it.

But let's have some perspective, shall we? Every year, the flu kills an estimated 500,000 people around the world. There are up to five million cases. People die and are hospitalised right here in New Zealand from the flu every year as well.