Bird flu panic put into perspective

chicken-fluThe mere mention of the world Bird and Flu together in a newspaper or online headline strikes fear into the hearts of a worldwide population, the same way plague was the horror word in 18th century England.

The hysteria being whipped up so much so that humans believe that an epidemic and millions of casualties are just around the corner, human casualties that is.

Why is there such panic and paranoia?

How many people has the bird flu killed compared to, and this saying is highly appropriate in Việt Nam, the number killed by a bus?

There is no basis to the fear-mongering being forced in your face.

Recent casualties bring the death toll from the H7N9 virus to 36 from 131 confirmed cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, in China.


The way this story is being reported and picked up on a global scale you would think it was 36 million from 131 million confirmed cases.

I’m sure more people have died in the last week in China from traffic accidents. It does have a population of over 1.3 billion after all.

I know we shouldn’t treat any potential dangers to an outbreak which could result in millions of casualties lightly, but I just like to digest the information and look around and take it all in from my own perspective.

It is so easy to brainwash the gullible public with 24 hour TV and online media these days.

Fear, fear, fear.

It’s been going on in the US to great success for many years thanks to networks such as Fox News, even though US citizens sitting in their nice homes in suburbia arming themselves to the teeth with the latest home security weapons must think otherwise but can’t help themselves.

My first thought when I saw the usual ‘nation rushes to stockpile up on vaccines’ story, hmm someone is going to make a lot of money from this.

I started to ask some questions aloud.

Who makes the vaccines?

Are they in any way related to any information being leaked to the press?

Who decides what company makes the vaccines?

Is it really all about the money?

The Health Ministry is stepping up preparations for production of a vaccine against H1N1 flu viruses in late 2014 or early 2015.

Trials have already been taking place and the vaccine is safe, apparently.

So what about the H7N9 virus?

Do we need to spend billions on that also, just in case?

Just in case of what exactly?

An airborne outbreak which ravages the world’s population?

Maybe in the movies but I just don’t buy it.

The H1N1 flu virus we are continually told caused a world-wide pandemic in 2009.

It is now a human seasonal flu virus that also circulates in pigs.

The virus spreads between people in the same way that seasonal flu viruses spread, so we are told.

So far this year the virus has caused at least four deaths in Vietnam, not a lot is it?

According to WHO statistics in July 2010, the virus killed more than 18,000 people since it appeared in April 2009, however they state that the total mortality rate (including deaths unconfirmed or unreported) from the H1N1 strain is ‘unquestionably higher’ without the data to back it up, I may add.

Critics claimed the WHO exaggerated the danger, spreading fear and confusion rather than helping.

The WHO began an investigation to determine whether it had frightened people unnecessarily and a study performed in September 2010, found that “the risk of most serious complications was not elevated in adults or children.”

By 2012, a study showed that as many as 579,000 people could (could?) have been killed by the disease but then again they could have died of natural causes or normal flu.

The other week I went on a short break to Phan Rang City but my loved ones had panic in their eyes as there was a bird flu ‘outbreak,’ that word again, in the area and I had to avoid chicken at all costs.

What was on the menu?

Chicken, but I ate away knowing the worst I would have was a sore stomach, no doubt due to the beer and wine consumed and not the poultry.

I survived to tell the tale and by the time I arrived back in Sài Gòn the ‘outbreak’ was over and contained to a small local farm where swiftlets are raised for profitable nests.

No dead swiftlets were found at Thanh Bình Farm in Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm Town since April 19, the day the province declared the outbreak.

Tests on live swiftlets at the farm were also negative for the H5N1 virus.

Panic over.

But was there ever any panic in the first place?






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