Thursday, 30 April 2009

Howard is now leaving and this will be the last post written here on Swine Flu

Missmarketcrash has been swept away from her usual favorite control-freak topics of things-out of-her-control such as economics, the stock market and the weather.  I am now trying to drop the flu topic and get back on course.  Before I do, here are some great geeky links worth a read.  My obsessive readings have led me to the humble opinion that there is not enough data yet to have an informed opinion but the media hype is worthwhile if it can get us to use common sense and engage in civilized behavior.  Covering one's mouth with a tissue can go a long way and washing hands after any bodily function that emits things ought to be a matter of course, but, these measures shouldn't be taken into our psyche to a Howard Hughes level.

I happened to be out last evening and a quick flu conversation took place.  The brave and esteemed BBC war reporter/editor husband of a friend dismissed the topic as bad media hype with a roll of his eyes and a quick word about regular flu deaths and other more prevalent infectious diseases.  As you would, if you were a war reporter who faces doom on a regular basis.  "It could happen to me" is not in his makeup.  His wife was much the same.  I quivered on the edge of my seat, with the facts I'd read over the past couple of days on the tip of my tongue.  But, I sat silent as he is correct in the sense that there is no sense getting worked up about the situation.  However, I do think it is worth taking an analytical rather than an emotional perspective.  The analytical starting point?  It is a new creature.  We've not had a novel human-to-human viral flu-like form like this in many years according to the scientists. So, it is worth getting geeky to clarify points of that idea and learn more.  What the scientists can't do is tell you the future.  But more and more data will give more and more of a picture.

So, for the analytically minded, glances at WHO and the CDC can clarify any media warps you might experience as these are the primary scientific sources the media spins their stories from. Beyond that, a database list of Swine sequences from the National Center for Biotechnology Information is a must read for science geeks.  The various other pages on the site can get you up to date in a breeze.

Or, if that is all too terribly geeky, one could visit the Fluwiki and read it with a critical eye. It does tend toward the hysterical side and may contain incorrect information.  It is probably better to stick to the BBC if you are after layman's science than Fluwiki, but, it does have some interesting valid threads.  Finally, as I do like to end these posts on a humourous note, here is a link to a UK public health ad campaign called "Catch it, Bin it, Kill it" .  When the sneezing man rolls his eyes in a knowing way, I can't help but laugh.

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