May 25, 2009

Take a deep breath, Swine Flu’s not that bad

Swine flu is not hyper-virulent. While it spreads relatively easily it does not appear to be any more virulent that the strains we have circulating every year around the world, writes microbiologist Peter Collignon.

There are, appropriately, public health concerns with any new strain of influenza that develops. During the last century we have had three major events where millions of people died after new strains (H1, H2 and H3) spread to people and to which we had little or no pre-existing immunity (eg H1N1 Spanish Flu from 1918-19). These new strains spread to people from strains derived from birds, often after mixing their genetic components in pigs. This latter mixing made them more adept at spreading from person to person. The current “Swine flu” strain has a mix of human, pig and bird genetic components and thus is of some concern.


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6 thoughts on “Take a deep breath, Swine Flu’s not that bad

  1. daveliberts

    Great article. You can bet bottom dollar most media will ignore this type of thinking though because it certainly doesn’t sell newspapers like “YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” headlines do.

    A level of caution (as we are seeing in the current response) is appropriate. Panic is definitely not.

  2. Anthony

    Thank you Peter. It’s great to finally read an article on this flu that communicates the truth rather than the sensationalized fiction on offer in the mainstream media.

    I’ve been particularly disappointed with The Age, which I once regarded as the more reasonable of the mainstream media outlets, but have stopped reading ever since they began trying to scare the c**p out of their readers with this non-event.

    The beat up by the media (and therefore the over-the-top response from WHO and our federal government) is just one more reminder of why we need alternative media in this country.

  3. stephen martin

    A welcome breath of sanity!

  4. Richard Wilson

    This is the first rational article on 2009 version Swine Flu I have read. Congrats!

  5. martine Baboin

    Great to read what I always thought about the sine flue. I knew that the swine flew is just a media’s trick to sell their papers. I don’t have a good opinion about ‘journalisterie’ this is a word that I made up myself, it expresses bad quality journalism.

  6. Martine Baboin

    My apologies for the terrible spelling mistakes in my last post to you. I am French and English isn’t my forte.

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