There’s a lot of people who should know better (and I’m looking at you, Senator Bob Brown) who have been running around like headless chickens*, panicking about swine ‘flu.
It can be nasty, sure, and at the moment it appears to be moving from human to human but it’s not even officially in Australia yet and it’s not even within a bull’s roar of the Spanish ‘flu pandemic of 1918-1919 which killed an estimated 20 million people world wide.
The swine ‘flu virus appears to be part on the “influenza A” strain and can be passed from human to human by coughing or sneezing or a person picking up the virus on their fingers and touching their mouth or nose. The good news it can be treated quite easily if caught early enough by prescribing an anti-viral like “Tamiflu”
Anti-virals can also be prescribed for those in close contact with the infected person as a prophylactic**, such as medical staff or family. The problem with developing an effective vaccine against swine ‘flu arises from that fact that the virus has to be isolated and developed in a vaccine form and this can take some months.
The other issue is that identifying who has swine ‘flu is a complicated process. People with ‘flu-like symptoms (ie. coughs, sneezes) who have visited areas affected by swine flu have a nose and mouth swab, which is then taken for testing for “influenza A”. If the test for “influenza A” is negative, then on yer bike.
However, if the person is positive for “influenza A” then further, more detailed testing is needed to see if it is in fact swine ‘flu and that can take some time.
The good news is that increased exposure to a range of milder ‘flu strains will probably make a deadly pandemic less, rather than more, likely. And there’s no need to wear those stupid masks, which are a terrible fashion faux pas.
The other good news is that we can now say “swine” on a regular basis in public discourse.
Fuck, I love saying “swine”.
*You note I don’t say “carrying on like a pork chop” as that would obviously be in poor taste.
**Oh, stop sniggering!