Thursday, October 27, 2005

"There's a flu bug getting passed around, and it's spreading like fire through the town"

Maybe there's a blog block flu starting...I can't think of a topic.

Stop the presses, that actually makes me think of a topic.

What's the deal with the bird flu?!

Yes, yes, I know that it's somewhat important for people to be made aware of risks to the public health. But is it absolutely necessary for us to have almost daily reports of the number of sad avian lives that are being destroyed? FFS, Newsweek, this week, has a picture on it's cover of some technician swabbing the inside of a roosters mouth (I'm thinking CSI: Chicken Scene Investigation).

Now, you may be thinking, this is just Spins being her crazy veggie self going on about the chickens. But, no, that's not my gripe at all. The problem is the way in which this is being blown into some impending international disaster. I'm having flashbacks to the Ebola scares of the 90's.

And not everyone really understands the fact that this is not a human epidemic right now. They are giving flu shots to my dialysis patients right now, and I've had more than one question about whether this covers the chicken flu. (As if the drug companies would come up with a deterent to this thing before it happened, and hand it out for a $10 co-pay...maybe I'm just cynical.)

Again, it's not that we shouldn't be prepared...but isn't there some other national or international concern that could better grace the cover of Newsweek or the other mainstream news sources? Something that we might actually be able to take some sort of action against?

I understand that the flu is deadly. Tens of thousands died in the flu epidemic at the beginning of the last century. And the potential for a similar death toll should this cross the species boundary and convert to an airborn pathogen. But do we really need to raise our stress levels ahead of time? Since stress lowers our immune system's ability to fight off viral infections, the best thing we could do for our health is to tell the press to leave the topic the hell alone for our public health officials to address, until there is an actual threat.

I'm off my soap box now and going to watch the actual CSI.


Aravis said...

Chicken Scene Investigation? *LOL*

I get what you're saying. It's been bothering me too. I'm constantly hearing about the bird flu and the fact that we're low on flu vaccine again this year. I swear the media spends more time terrorizing us than anyone else.

the urban fox said...

Big pharmaceutical companies stand to gain a lot from public terror. I was wondering which of them was issuing all these scary news releases to drum up public panic. Then I saw a headline "Roche assures consumers that vaccines will be available to cover market". Ah. There we go then.

Newspapers also benefit from public fear, because people buy more newspapers when they're frightened than when they're happy.

Basically, the more scared you are, the more money you're prepared to throw at the problem.

Everyone's a winner (provided you're a corporate honcho).

LavaLady said...

I'm so out of it.
::coughs somemore::
But I wanted to stop in and say hi!

I wonder about the whole push for the flu stuff, but I also think it could really be awful. Unlike Ebola, it seems to be a real threat for larger populations...

Chicken flu! That made me laugh, for some reason, then sigh.

Lord Bargain said...

I think I may have caught it yesterday. I'll keep you posted how I get on, assuming I stay conscious.

Charby said...

I'm sure earlier I typed a comment about the flu and now it's gone?!
Unless I put it in some other blog instead?!!