Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh really?

We had a chuckle when we read this story in the Dom-Post this morning. Under the headline "World 'on brink of pandemic'", it reads:

Global health experts are continuing to warn that the world is on the brink of a swine flu pandemic.

The threat from swine flu, which has killed 72 people, is expected to dominate discussions at the annual meeting of the World Health Organisation which began in Geneva last night.

With reports of the virus spreading in Spain, Britain and Japan, officials were to consider raising the pandemic alert and giving the go-ahead to produce vaccine.

The WHO raised its pandemic alert on April 29 to 5 on a scale of 6, signalling a pandemic was imminent. Proof the disease was spreading outside North America, where it originated, would trigger an increase to 6 an official pandemic.

New Zealand's response would depend on the local situation, the Health Ministry said. The Government has the power to close borders, restrict public gatherings, put patients in isolation and shut schools and work places.

The story then reports the extent to which New Zealand has been affected by this "pandemic":

The total number of confirmed infections in New Zealand stands at nine. Along with a further 10 "probable" cases, all have fully recovered. At present, there are 37 people with suspected swine flu.

We sense a Tui billboard coming on! We also wonder if the "global health experts" referred to are more interested in justifying their jobs, as swine flu becomes yet another in a long line of scares which amounted to nothing much.

1 comment:

Charmaine said...

Couldn't agree more. I have been a travel agent for a while now and in my time have seen the SARS and Bird Flu scares. I am sorry I see this one as the same thing. Dress up an ordinary disease with a sexy name and spread panic.

What I would like to see is the comparison with the number of confirmed flu cases/deaths over the same time. We may be able to get some perspective then.

Still as a wise man said...never let a crisis go to waste. Or was that a fool??