Is the world over-reacting to swine flu?

Many of you in Africa seemed to think so during yesterday´s show. One man in Uganda texted to say ´there are 30,000 dying from malaria here every year. what´s the fuss?´ Is that fair, bearing in mind the WHO has upgraded its assessment of the virus, and says it cannot be contained? And there are more reported cases outside of Mexico.

Also, we’ll be updating our flickr pictures throughout the show

79 Responses to “Is the world over-reacting to swine flu?”

  1. 1 pallex
    April 28, 2009 at 14:30

    Okay- so I have a friend who is British and has lived in countries all over the world and she says that Americans are the most over reactive than any other people. She thinks Americans are obsessed with hygiene and that it makes no sense to wash hands or wear face masks. So are Americans particularly obsessed or is the world over reacting to the Flu Du Jour ??

  2. 2 nora
    April 28, 2009 at 15:01

    Most people who are alive now have not heard the stories of the Spanish Flu widows first hand. The center of the outbreak took many young soldiers. I met my great aunt sixty years after she was widowed. She never re-married. Like many others I met over the years, she maintained a garden which covered her basic food needs in case of a pandemic.

    If we had “over-reacted” to AIDS, perhaps we could have contained it.

  3. 3 Roy, Washington DC
    April 28, 2009 at 15:12

    It’s too early to tell if we’re overreacting. This outbreak could just fizzle out, or it could spread and cause damage comparable to the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918. We just don’t know yet.

    In either case, people should still be encouraged to take whatever precautionary measures they deem appropriate.

    • 4 Tom K in Mpls
      April 28, 2009 at 17:02

      Yup Roy, that about sums it up. But I would like to add one thing. Can somebody get Ros a mask that works?

      I find it a bit humorous watching peoples reactions when they find that the technologies (transportation this time) that make life ‘better’ just might be what kills them in new and unexpected ways.

  4. 5 Andrew in Australia
    April 28, 2009 at 15:32

    How could we possibly overreact? OK if we start panicking without the full picture, without true and accurate informtion issued by the proper and authoritative sources then yes, but here is a disease that has already been shown to be deadly, is easily transmissible and could spread across the globe within a few days. Compare that to other diseases that require bodily fluids or less simple vectors and you can see that we must be vigilant and take proper precautions.

    The imporant thing is to have the proper information and not rely on hearsay or dubious media reports that beat the story up.

  5. April 28, 2009 at 15:46

    James from Kenya

    I probably think given the disease’s proximity to the US of A (note:superpower) where major media companies are that is why there is a reaction. If the swine disease broke out in Kenya i doubt it would make headline news.

  6. April 28, 2009 at 15:49

    This new virus is very serious in that there is no antidote produced for a cure hence it cannot be contained yet so that it is most serious and can spread killing far more people than its alredy done.
    Since it effects countries all over the world scientists will spare no time to find a cure.
    However the problem in Africa where many people are dieing from malaria caused by mosquitoes exists only in Africa, unfortunately it makes little financial sense to find a cure by resarch companies whereby they feel the costs of producing a cure would not make it worth while for them, and since the mexican virus is nearer their home which could effect their own families and would be more profitable, so they will do all they can to find a cure.

  7. 8 steve/oregon
    April 28, 2009 at 15:49

    Yes we are overreactting. until a virus is killing 1 in 10 we are overreacting to take precautions to stop it. Governments should be prepaired for alot more people going to hospitals to cause they might have it. ever hear the saying what don’t kill you makes you stronger….

  8. 9 Anthony
    April 28, 2009 at 16:09

    Meh, these things come and go, I don’t really care. Are we really gonna talk about a flu? Remember the bird flu? Remember the bee’s all dying and the world ending? Remember the West Nile?

    Come on people, I’m more interested in whats happening in Pakistan yesterday/today…..

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  9. 10 Luci Smith
    April 28, 2009 at 16:14

    To Pallex:
    I find the French to be the most obsessed about health of anybody.
    While visiting the US, I heard yesterday on NPR that a lot of Americans do not even wash their hands after going to the toilet! If some people do not observe the least modicum of hygiene rules, it certainly puts a burden on the rest of the society!

  10. 11 Peter sc
    April 28, 2009 at 16:17

    Well if Africans are dying from malaria or AIDS or killing each other and they are so use to it, must the whole world wait or react to prevent a catastrophe. If the Africans are not happy and say we should not react and wait like they are doing , I chose to overreact.

  11. 12 steve/oregon
    April 28, 2009 at 16:19

    I still think the situtation with the drug wars and weapons trafficing coming from the U.S. would be a much more pert discussion

  12. 13 Luci Smith
    April 28, 2009 at 16:19

    Since young and healthy people in Mexico have died from swine flu, I think that it is better if everybody takes precautions until we understand more about this disease.
    I am in the US at the moment, and two schools have been closed down to be cleaned here in Dallas, because of two cases of swine flu.
    I heard in the first reports that this flu was a combination of swine flu, human flu and bird flu. Until the WHO knows exactly what it is, it is better to err on the side of caution, isn’t it?
    I too, have heard about the Spanish Flu and since it is awhile since the world has had that kind of epidemic, it just makes sense to suss the whole situation out and know what illness we are dealing with. No reason for any unnecessary deaths.

  13. 14 Faryal
    April 28, 2009 at 17:17

    As a university student in the United States (Indianapolis), I am very worried about my health. If the Swine Flu were to come to the United States, I think schools are going to be hit hard.

    I think taking these precautions are important in order to prevent the spread of the Swine Flu. Some may see it as over-reacting, but I think its just to stay on the safe side. It is better to over-react and be well prepared for the worst than under-react and be caught off guard.

    • 15 Faryal
      April 28, 2009 at 17:24

      I meant if the Swine Flu were to rapidly spread in the United States. I know several cases have already been confirmed, including one in Northern Indiana

  14. 16 Dennis Junior
    April 28, 2009 at 17:45

    1)No, the world is not over-reacting to the swine flu situation….

    2)USA: Watching their hands after using the toilet and other daily chores! That is very true and pretty much accurate…

    ~Dennis Junior~

    • 17 Dennis Junior
      April 29, 2009 at 06:00

      I think that the world is not technically over-reacting to the ongoing risks of this “SWINE FLU” situation….Since, it is not known of the many risks of the problems…..

      -Dennis Junior-

  15. 18 Andrew in Australia
    April 28, 2009 at 17:49

    The one thing I would really like to know and Ros can answer this – are those blue masks being handed out actually worth wearing? Are they doing the job they are intended as they seem rather loose fitting especially around the sides.

    Do they enclose the entire mouth and nose area adequately?

    Otherwise it just seems to be some reassurance rather than effective protection.

  16. 19 Luz Ma from Mexico
    April 28, 2009 at 18:02

    At the begining, I thought people were overreacting. However, after the situation evolved, and seeing how the Mexican government reacted (complete stop of the school system, stop of election campaigns, etc.) not only in Mexico City but in the whole country, I started to getting worried.

    The Mexican government does not do this. They usually react slowly to crisis. So, this must be something serious, or a lot of international preasure was put on them. This is not a normal response from Mexican authorities, believe me…

    I live on Northern Mexico. School was cancelled, and I was allowed to work from home because I don’t have anyone to stay with my children. That is also a precedent, since it is not a common practice. And the recomendation came from the government (to allow workers to stay at home with their children if they don’t have other people to take care of them).

    I have to say that I am glad that the government and the people are taking seriously this situation. I rather overreact than underreact… Let’s see what happens…

  17. 20 Luz Ma from Mexico
    April 28, 2009 at 18:09

    At the begining I thought people were overreacting. However, after seeing the response of the Mexican government, I got worried.

    Usually, the government reacts slowly to this kind of crisis. The type of precautions taken (stop of the school system, stop of activities regarding election campaigns, stop of sports/cultural events, etc.) say a lot of the situation. Either, the situation is critical or they are getting a lot of pressure from the international community.

    I live in Northern Mexico. I was allowed to work from home because I don’t have anyone to stay with my children while they are off school. That is also unheard from the labour market. It was a recommendation to employers from the government.

    Let’s see what happen.

  18. April 28, 2009 at 18:09

    In ten days it will all be over.

    Then there will be another international scare story. Or Bin Laden’s body will be found by the Pakistan forces who will have pushed back the Taleban.

  19. 22 Jessica in NYC
    April 28, 2009 at 18:12

    The consequences of over reacting is only monetary. The risk of not overreacting is not only fatal, but could devastate the whole world.

  20. 23 Fran, from Huelva, Spain
    April 28, 2009 at 18:15

    Hi Ross how you doing!, here a spanish newspaper “El Mundo” enphasises that Mexico is the olny place where people are dying because of this type of flue, an no other place, that’s why I think the problem is only there and Mexico’s government has to find out the reason of this problem, and there is no reason why the world is overreacting.

  21. 24 Brian
    April 28, 2009 at 18:19

    I think yes.

  22. 25 Patti in Cape Coral, FL
    April 28, 2009 at 18:21

    So far, I think the precautions recommended are common sense, staying at home as much as possible, washing hands, etc. It makes sense that measures are more stringent in Mexico, since the people there are dying. I’m suprised that Africans that commended were not worried about this, since illnesses that are not serious elsewhere tend to be devastating there.

  23. 26 David - Dallas, Texas
    April 28, 2009 at 18:23

    Mexicans are dying of this flue, and the rest isn’t? What a lame excuse.. Are we going to wait and see if it starts killing in other coutries?

    There’s an old saying were I grew up and they teach it from early on… Previene antes de lamentar.

    It roughly translate to -Prevent rather than regret.

  24. April 28, 2009 at 18:24

    These media “feeding frenzies” occur because news has become a profit center. Anytime commercial entities can exploit an issue that might affect their readers/listeners/viewers – especially here in the west – they will. They mostly ignore malaria and starvation because it doesn’t impact us.

    Having said that, if “making too much” of swine flu makes us better prepared, it’s worth it, and you’re quite right in devoting your program to it.

    Frankly I rely on public news media almost exclusively over commercial.

  25. 28 Roseann In Houston
    April 28, 2009 at 18:26

    I don’t think Mexico is overreacting – I listened yesterday and I think one of your guests made an important observation: people have reduced “personal space” in Mexico. I lived in Leon for 2 years, when we met someone on the street we embraced, cheek-kissed, shook hands. I think that is the logical explanation of why younger, healthy people are getting the sickest, they are the most social. And why it is not spreading in the US – we are not a society that touches. I do think the US is overreacting – I heard this morning that they are going to start passing out medication to everyone. Won’t that lead to resistant mutations of the virus?

  26. April 28, 2009 at 18:27

    We will only know afterwards if the response has been appropriate. I recall in 1976 when the swine flue scare happened the world, especially the US over reacted. President Ford’s decision to inoculate the entire country is debated to this day. What we do know is that more people died from the innoculations than from the Swine Flu.

    Don Lawson
    via WGCU in SW Florida

    ( I really enjoy your show Ross )

  27. 30 saad pakistan
    April 28, 2009 at 18:29

    Saad, Pakistan Of course. WE are over-reacting over this issue. No body has dies outside Mexico. And this virus is easily treatable so why there is so much fuss over this tiny issue.

  28. 31 Anthony
    April 28, 2009 at 18:31

    Even if this flu does get big, I think the drug cartels are still the biggest problem.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  29. 32 Patti in Cape Coral, FL
    April 28, 2009 at 18:33

    I had heard on the BBC news a theory that the virus is not as deadly to visitors and foreigners, or people who get it later than the first victims on because the virus “realizes” that if it is too virulent, it will kill off all the hosts, and then, of course itself. That’s kind of creepy.

      April 28, 2009 at 21:25

      It looks as if some people want the Mixicans to really panic. If it is true what Patti says, it shows us that some of us are becoming tragedy happy especially when it happens in a distant land. There is no need for small talk in situations like this. Its never too late to stop over-reacting or panicking though this is our standard way of reacting to recent tragic news these days.
      Humans have proved to be resilient in many dangerous situation when they become calm and seek to understand the situation first.
      Come to think about it! The Japanese in Hiroshima. A lot of people survived and that I think was more dangerous than this virus which occurs now in peace time. I am off to be – bird-flue, hogflu — I believe humans have the capacity to deal with it.
      This is time to think about this issue in an indepth manner to see what it is. Is it something in food chain — hog feed etc. These things need checking first.

  30. 34 Michael
    April 28, 2009 at 18:36

    At this moment in history, global interconnectivity maximizes both the risk of pandemic and our ability to circumvent it. It is vital that governments, travelers, and citizens everywhere be aware of this risk in order for us to be ready for the worst. However, it is equally important that neither governments nor the media sensationalize the issue, converting caution into paranoia or hysteria. So far, international response has been right on target, emphasizing preparedness over worst-case-scenarios.

    Michael in Portland, Oregon

  31. 35 Bruce Weaver
    April 28, 2009 at 18:36

    Re: Bad comparison between car accidents & swine flu numbers

    If tourists in Mexico come in contact with a person who has been in a recent auto accident, that doesn’t make them more likely to have an automobile accident upon their return to their home country! It’s the contagious part of this that is an issue of great concern. not the equivalent deaths that may occur.

  32. 36 ecotopian
    April 28, 2009 at 18:38

    There are no confirmed cases here in Oregon, so I’m not all that stressed. I can understand how a government would ant to keep even a mild strain of any flu from becoming widespread. It’s just sound health policy. That said, people have been returning to wherever they call home with this and might not have felt sick enough to go to a doctor. The cases in New York City, where the greatest numbers are, are very mild cases of this flu. The doctors were shocked at how “unsick” they appeared. If this is true elsewhere, people may not feel they need to see a doctor. Do you always go to your GP when you feel under the weather? I know I don’t. It’s usually because they can’t do anything and I see going as a waste of time and energy. I just stay home so I don’t give it to anyone else.

    I’m not saying this is what’s happening. I’m saying ti’s possible.

  33. 37 steve
    April 28, 2009 at 18:41

    Ros, you can’t even drink the tap water in Mexico, that’s a pretty good sign if a nation is third world or not. I hope you’ve been drinking bottled water!

  34. April 28, 2009 at 18:44

    I think no, the international comunity is not over-reacting to the swine flu situation. We need to think as a group in this kind of situations.
    Examples of the woman in India saying before in the program: “I don’t care, I’ll go anyway to mexico”, are problems. If there is a GOVERMENT giving advices for a health problem, everybody should listen.

    we have to think about others, to protect ourselves.

  35. 39 Ogola Benard
    April 28, 2009 at 18:47

    Why don’t people stop buying pork?

  36. 40 saad pakistan
    April 28, 2009 at 18:54

    Why porks are not being killed as hens were killed? Are swine better than hens. No way.

  37. April 28, 2009 at 18:54

    Matt in Indiana here,
    In addition to the excellent points made, my thoughts are this:

    With terrorism, the world economic crisis, drug wars, earthquakes, tsunami, impending disasters and dire religious predictions abounding, it is no suprise folks are feeling like something worse than the worse case is possible.
    The danger may be real, but greater is the danger of mass panic.

    Thank you

  38. 42 Tom D Ford
    April 28, 2009 at 18:55

    That was a fun joke about “Shaking”.

  39. 43 Chad in Tennessee
    April 28, 2009 at 18:57

    I live in the southern United States and my opinion is that the government is under-reacting and the media is over-reacting.
    I would feel much better if the government would enact some sort of travel restriction from Mexico City, or just do something to show that an some sort of effort is being made. I really can’t believe that the U.S. government is just sitting on their hands doing nothing. I realize that this has been blown all out of proportion by the media in order to boost their ratings, but even knowing this I can’t help but feel some small amount of fear. That is the main reason the government should be seen in a more active role, to control fear.

  40. 44 Ralph
    April 28, 2009 at 18:57

    1) Overreacting?
    Only with hindsight will anyone know, as the virus is quite a new mutation of swine, bird and human flu. It may mutate further beyond any foreknowledge.

    2) Why is there more attention given ti it than to, say, malaria in Africa?
    If malaria were considered a threat world-wide, we can be sure that all the world would be just as interested and alarmed. Africans are likewise, understandably, concerned with their own, and may trivialise this flu. We are interseted in what may affect us and those we are interested in. This is quite simple, really!

  41. 45 Luci Smith
    April 28, 2009 at 18:58

    To Steve- I drank the tap water in Mexico 28 years ago. It is the water in Houston that makes me sick!

    To Anthony- the flu could have an effect on security, makin life more difficult for people who smuggle drugs and guns.

    Maybe the flu threat could have a bonus-effect.

  42. 46 Ogola Benard
    April 28, 2009 at 18:59

    World bank report fears it will shake the economy!

  43. 47 Tom K in Mpls
    April 28, 2009 at 19:38

    As a devout agnostic, I wish to add, if we had all followed the Torah we would all be safe! 😉

  44. 48 Bec from Chicago, IL, USA
    April 28, 2009 at 19:41

    I think the US in particular is overreacting, and very few media outlets here are telling that there haven’t been any swine flu deaths in the US.

    As a pharmacy employee, I’ve ordered a stockpile of Tamiflu (anti viral medication) and have already gone through near half of it. The public in’t getting it; the doctors are calling it in for themselves and their immediate family.

  45. 49 Dihan from Sri lanka - Galle.
    April 28, 2009 at 19:45

    As a student , I suppose that it is better to over-react against the Swine flu than under react. Because every should care about there hygiene. If not it will be cause for infection of various kinds of illness such as Swine flu which is not easy to find medicines even for eminent s in the field of medicine.
    So that precautions should be taken and be well prepare for a worst situation than for a better situation. So i cannot say a fault of being prepared for worst situation. As I think , no body can say that it is over -reacting. If some body says like this, definitely he / she doesn’t know the meaning of over reacting.

    April 28, 2009 at 20:52

    Hey! I think all you fellas are trully human and that is good and bad. Having read what you said, I think it is unfair to see it as a Mexican problem rather than a Wrold problem.
    Having said that, I all see also is that there is nobody talking about the pigs themselves. We have responsibility for their welfare and it would be good to try and do something about their condition. It is very likely that the problem is realy pig’s but human problem visited on the happless animals.
    While some people solve the human problem, I think another group should go and check whether our hogs are okay.
    Finally let’s not use the this hog flu issue to settle our scores or our differences. It is cool for us to remain human but lets widen our vision.

    • 51 Tom K in Mpls
      April 29, 2009 at 15:03

      Sorry ARTHUR, my joke aside, you are completely wrong. This is a random occurrence of microbiology. Pig are a part of farmers inventory. As such, it is very much in the interest of farmers to see that they are healthy. They fight other strains of swine flu that are worse for pigs on a regular basis. The only reason you see this now is because this strain can kill people.

      Also while live pigs can produce/spread this strain, it dies quickly ( 2 to about 12 hours ) on processed meat. Assuming people start killing pig herds, I hope efforts are made to use as much of this as possible.

  47. April 28, 2009 at 20:55

    Hi WHYSers!
    As a child, I recalled the fmaily planning agency would say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. In that regard, it is better to be safe than sorry. So, I am not agreed that there is over reaction. What would concern me, however, is if there were very little useful information that was being transmitted in the various discussions on CNN, BBC, DW, Fox, etc.

  48. 53 Tom from massachusetts
    April 28, 2009 at 21:46

    I think the response has been right on the mark. I had the swine flu a very long time ago. From what they are reporting about it’s characteristics, it’s the same flu I had back in the 1976 outbreak. If you get it bad, you will barely remember how sick you were because it makes you semi-comatose. The biggest thing is paying attention to the fever. Once my fever broke, I rapidly got better. I was in the prime of my life along with the other inhabitants of the isolation ward I was in. It came on very suddenly in a span of 24-36 hours. With this flu, nursing care more than physician care is important. I remember the nurses feeding me plenty of fluids and monitoring my fever constantly. Obviously, I recovered and the whole episode took 4-5 days to run it’s course. Speaking as a survivor of it, I can add that keeping an eye out for the telltale fever and lethargy is important. By the time you see that, you will need almost full time skilled nursing care until you recover. You will not be able to take care of yourself during this flu. That’s what makes it different from the normal flu.

  49. 54 Owen
    April 28, 2009 at 23:20

    I’m currently staying and studying in Guatemala, Antigua, one country down from Mexico, while there is a real sense of fear it has yet to visibly impact on the daily lives of everyone i have encountered. so far there have been 2 suspected cases here in Guatemala, one near Tikal and one in Guatemala City, although i have yet to meat a single person who doesn’t doubt that there is far more cases than this. Guatemala city is a vast over populated city, with a huge slum and shanty town population, and i seriously doubt that the medical services here are in a position to react to a serious outbreak.

    As to whether the reactions by the governments and the people so far have been out of proportion, i can’t say for sure, though hindsight will tell in the not too far off future. I am leaning towards saying that the measures so far have been reasonably adequate, as while Guatemala is yet to suffer any visible impact, it is far better to over react and contain this than to under react and to allow a repetition of previous world wide pandemics.

    Better safe than sorry.

  50. April 29, 2009 at 03:28

    Thanks for posting this. It might be the start of a pandemic, but it is more likely just a bit of a preview for the inevitable flu pandemic that lies in our future. In the latter case, the good that comes from it (not to diminish at all the tragedy of those who have died from this outbreak) will be better preparation for that eventuality.

  51. 56 Mike - American in Cabo San Lucas, Mex
    April 29, 2009 at 03:31

    I am an American, living in Phoenix, but am currently on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mex. Spending the week here starting yesterday, April 27. My wife and I started watching the news stories about the flue on Saturday and on Sunday we went to see our doctor, who prescribed us Tamaflu (sp?) to take as a preventative measure. Anyway, we made the decision late sunday, not to cancel out trip. I have not heard of any cases in southern Baja. We were a little alarmed when we got off the plane yesterday and found many of the Customs officers wearing blue masks. Today, around town, I’d say maybe 1 in 25 (maybe less than that) Mexicans are wearing blue masks. Most tourists are not, and most Mexicans are not. Everyone is talking about the flu but most are taking a wait and see stance. Most seem to think that southern baja is isolated enough from mainland Mexico and hope that will protect them. I must say that after watching CNN and hearing that the Mexican Government has ordered that schools and other public places be closed raises my “alarm level”. The other thing that the tourists are talking about is – are we going to have a hard time getting back into the US; and is there a possibility we will be quarantined when we bet back. Don’t know on those items yet.

  52. 57 Sohel from Bangladesh - Otobi
    April 29, 2009 at 05:43

    I don’t see if it is overreacting; at least people are being informed about its eventuality. Besides there is a saying “Prevention is better than cure”. And who knows – this might lead us towards desired salvation.

  53. 58 globalcomedy
    April 29, 2009 at 06:37

    We all know that the media business worldwide is down. Newspapers are getting hit especially hard. It’s logical then that they would try to hype a story to sell papers. It’s not right, but it will continue to happen.

    One TV example: CNN in China. They reported that there’s no outbreak of flu there. Good news, but the problem is how it was presented. If there’s no outbreak, then why was the correspondent on-air? What’s the point of the story? Is it because it’s a slow news day in China? Is it because CNN bosses pressured her to get more stuff on-air? Again, it goes back to hyping the story. And yes, sadly this will continue.

  54. 59 MikeA
    April 29, 2009 at 07:07


    In 1918 a similar event occurred. The result: 50,000,000 dead. (Some estimates are much higher.)



  55. 60 Tim Hart
    April 29, 2009 at 08:47

    I am a virologist and I listened to the show from Mexico. I was concerned to hear some of the participants insist that they should not take precautions, such as wearing a mask or staying indoors, because if they were to get infected, they could just go to the doctor and get some antivirals. I think it is important to correct this. Firstly, precautions stop the spread of such diseases and should always be encouraged, although the effectiveness of any one precaution can and should be debated. Secondly, the whole point of these pathogenic influenza is that the onset of symptoms is often very very rapidly followed by severe and often fatal symptoms. The third point is that the antivirals have a fairly narrow window themselves, in which to prevent overt disease. The antivirals are also in limited supply and centrally distributed and should not be relied on as a first line of defence for logistical purposes. Finally, resistance can occur, and does, unfortunately commonly, is transmissible, and will result in the complete failure of treatment. On a population scale, the more people who become infected and the more who require antiviral therapy, the more resistant strains will develop and be transmitted. Essentially, it is really important that the BBC gives the impression that prevention is the most important available reaction to control the swine flu outbreak and should encourage people to participate in whatever preventative measures are recommended locally. Similarly, the BBC should be careful to qualify statements which they feel might not be conducive to public health. I am sure if a member of the panel had implied that the public need not use condoms because of the availability of antiretroviral therapy, his or her statement would have been qualified. This may seem nit-picky, but these are quite important points and public education is incredibly important in controlling this disease and small misunderstandings could lead to much less effective control. Hope someone reads this now.

  56. 61 Nick Lyne
    April 29, 2009 at 10:55

    in reply to saad’s question as to whether killing all the pigs would prevent swine fever: no more than killing all the Asians would prevent Asian flu…

  57. 62 Mary
    April 29, 2009 at 11:32

    It is possible that the painkiller metamizole sodium, a popular painkiller in Mexico and Brazil may be causing a problem. A side effect is to cause a dramatic drop in white blood cells in some people; this might affect the immune response to the flu and could explain the deaths in Mexico

  58. 63 Bruce from Hobart, Australia
    April 29, 2009 at 12:08

    We are still unsure of how serious the flu is, what the mortality rate is, etc, so it is too hard to say whether we are over-reacting. But it does not seem to be THAT serious – nothing in comparison to ebola, for example.
    An airborne form of hemorrhagic fever, one that did not entail direct human-to-human contact, would be really scary.
    Compared to death rates in war, in traffic accidents, and from smoking, the mortality from this form of the swine flu seems low.
    Also, although the Spanish Flu of early last century caused many deaths, it could perhaps be coped with far better these days, given better health care and hygiene in general.
    It would really be serious if we started to lose essential services (police, health care, water, electricity, and other utilities) due to personnel falling ill or having to remain quarantined at home.

  59. 64 dave
    April 29, 2009 at 13:05

    Check out this website http://www.swine-flu-tracker.com/ that tracks the spread of swine flu, it really puts things in perspective

  60. 65 Jennifer
    April 29, 2009 at 14:19

    We were discussing this in my epidemiology class yesterday. This flu contains mutations from avian, swine, and human flu. It’s not been seen before so there is the unknown element of knowing precisely it’s course and how to combat it. We should be using precautions to ensure that transmission is as low as possible.

    Are we overreacting? Nope!

  61. 66 Chad in Tennessee
    April 29, 2009 at 15:10

    Malaria kills more people in one hour than this “pandemic” has claimed in all. This swine flu does not meet the definition of a pandemic so why are we calling it one? The media is going on like we were in the middle of the Black Plague or something. This is ridiculous. The media are just fear mongers. Nothing boosts ratings better than spreading fear and causing panic. Shame on you!

  62. 67 Velma Taylor
    April 29, 2009 at 15:15

    I think the World Health Organisation have informed the world appropiately as to what precautions need to be and are being taken. The reports enable everyone to make an informed decision and shows how the world can come together in times of uncertainty. I feel reasured that they are vaccinating the cases discovered and people who may come into contact with people that have been directly in from Mexico. It makes me feel safer!

  63. 68 Hollie Parker, England
    April 29, 2009 at 16:43

    Can I say that with a few changes we could save a lot of people from dying?

    Stop ALL flights not just to mexico but eveywhere.

    Make everyone in mexico stay indoors.

    Get people to sanitize their hands

    Get everyone with it or symtoms to stay at home and tell everyone they have been in contact with that they have it.

    I dont want to panick or get swine flu just because people cant be arsed to wash their hands or cover their mouths and noses. If the W.H.O are so bothered that this is gonna go global, which it is hour by hour, then why aren’t they taking any risks?

  64. 69 nicole
    April 29, 2009 at 17:11

    wow i think it is so funny that all these people are saying we are over reacting (that we shouldnt be concerned until one/tenth of the population is dead) that is a ridiculous statement if your that nieve you really shouldnt post comments. it is a huge deal it is already global and killing people. i personally think we should be taking more precations, like if you have children you should be able to stay home with them instead of haveing to send them to school or daycare where we all know most germs are spread around.

  65. 70 Misel - Mexico
    April 29, 2009 at 17:47

    I am sad, yet not surprised it started in Mexico, where food regulations are not strict as in other developing countries. Also, I am not surprised that it is spreading so fast as we Mexicans lack common sense and good hygiene. I have observed throughout the years so many people leaving restrooms without washing hands or sneezing or coughing without covering their mouth. So, of course, when there is death and monetary losses, people “re-learn” and educate themselves on doing the right thing.

    I am not sure to what point I would consider over-reacting as people need to know that a simple action as not washing your hands could have an great impact on the health of the world. I think the hype will not last long, as science has advance a great deal since the last pandemics on the 20’s & 70’s (also after some monetary gain from the pharma industry as well) and the disease will be stabilized. Also, sad but true, fear has always been a good method to get people in track on “health prevention and precautions, not only in Mexico but in other countries.

  66. 71 Gibril
    April 29, 2009 at 22:52

    In a BBC News Bulletin, Egypt’s decision to slaughter all pigs was judged unnecessary. I believe the media misunderstood here about Egyptian concerns and broadcast the wrong message. This year, Bird flu has spread widely in Egypt this year. Egyptian doctors and vets are worried that it might contaminate pigs, then jumps next to humans as the deadly Mexican “porcine flu”. Even if that risk is small, they do not want to run it. Hence, precaution is better than treatment.

  67. 72 Kim
    April 29, 2009 at 23:08

    I totally agree with Elias %100.
    As for Pallex saying Americans are over obsessed with hygiene is just a very IGNORANT thing to say. WE as AMERICANS are not obsessed about it, we are just CLEAN!!!! We enjoy a nice shower and brush are teeth daily & make sure are children are tucked in to bed after taking a bath,maybe some cultures find that obsessed so be it.

    This is a very dangerous virus as it has 3 in one and we have not had to deal with it before so we have no protection.
    As for America freaking out about this virus and not malaria i agree it is isolated and although it kills thousands of africans we can not support the world.

    We , i mean all of us in the world must stop this virus before it kills millions.
    As a mother of 4 children i can say i am very alarmed about this and will take my children out of school if i have to to prevent them from catching it.
    By the way the person whos friend says america over reacts must have NO children to worry about or they would understand the fear of parents.
    May God Help Us all

  68. 73 paul
    April 30, 2009 at 02:49

    people are being informed about what to do in this situations, so they must be prepared, having some precausions, like washing their hands, not going to public places, etc.

  69. 74 Kro
    April 30, 2009 at 05:44

    The bird flu wasn’t a stage 5 pandemic one step away from full blown world wide epidemic.

  70. 75 Abid Tawsif from Dhaka, Shyamoli
    April 30, 2009 at 07:09

    Is there anybody who could come up with some suggestions pertinent to primary symptoms about the disease so that early treatment is ensured. It is not the issue about argument rather safety from imminent catastrophe. So, folks please do keep us advised for the betterment of the humanity.

  71. 76 jali from mexico
    May 1, 2009 at 21:08

    I think this is overrated.
    Swine flu? it’s justa flu
    it’s kiling people? flu kills people
    panic is the best method to handle people…. any doubt?? ask to Bush
    That’s my personal view

  72. 77 Rossana
    May 2, 2009 at 02:22

    The question is if there is overreaction.?.. well just think about this: in Mexico we’ve had up to May 1st. 8 fatal cases out of over 110 million people… Now a city of 22 million people has come to a halt… can you imagine 22 million people altogether not working, buying, not producing, not moving money??? I truly believe this is overreating ant letting paranoia taking control of our lives. Let’s take precautions, but not stop living…

  73. 78 Hollis - Trinidad,
    May 3, 2009 at 02:21

    Another cause for much concern and action by all of us especially leaders.

    Just goes to remind us that huge expenditure on nucler weapons and

    consequential great effort and energy on such, should be diverted to where the


  74. July 10, 2009 at 13:07

    The first case of the A(H1N1) pandemic virus was confirmed in Croatia,” Health Minister Darko Milinovic told reporters.

    The virus was found in a 60-year-old woman from the central coastal town of Split, who returned there from Sydney on Wednesday, he said.

    The woman, who sought medical help at a Split hospital a day later after she developed flu symptoms, was released home, the minister added.

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