Thursday, May 7, 2009

Swine flu in perspective

While the swine flu is no laughing matter (30 deaths world wide), its not really as bad as we are being led to believe. Lets look at some other outbreaks and how they compare to the swine flu.

Generally found in Africa, Asia, Latin America. Most recent outbreak killed 4,200 people in Zimbabwe. Wow, that's 140 times more fatalities than the swine flu! OH! I see, but Zimbabwe is in Africa, so who cares?

Spinal Meningitis
The northern Sahel region is known as the “meningitis belt”, (even by the WHO) so guess where we see most outbreaks? Lets see, in 2009 so far we have 1,900 deaths, Mr. Science tells me that we have seen 63 times more deaths this year from spinal meningitis than we have swine flu.

AIDS is found worldwide, BUT, 70% off all people infected people live in Africa. That’s right kids! Africa! “The Dark Continent” hmmm, no Disney land, a disproportionately small number of Caucasians, seems like the gold and diamond mining guys have this all taken care of! No need to worry about some pesky little thing like AIDS. Hmm, lets see 5,700 deaths PER DAY from AIDS. Well Mr. Science is refusing to the math as its just so absurd. Lets see, we are willing to stop airplanes, detain innocent people, close schools and businesses because 30 people died from the flu. BUT, we wont distribute condoms and educate kids when 5.700 people die every day from AIDS? Moving on…

Ohh, a classic! Any one care to guess where the most frequent outbreaks are? Let me give you a hint: no Disney Land, and Tarzan. That’s right! AFRICA! Outbreaks of this deadly disease kill in the range of 10’s to 100’s. So its in line with the swine flu.

Look, I could go on for pages naming diseases that kill more people than the swine flu, yet get a fraction of the attention, but I think that I have made my point. Should we react swiftly and strongly to the swine flu? YES! But lets not forget about the other communicable diseases that are doing so much more damage.

Thank you Foreign Policy for the inspiration.


  1. This is like SARS, is it not? I mean, not biologically, but fear-monger factor.

    At my last count (done yesterday) there have been two (2) deaths in the US from "n1m1 influenza 2009," and one of them was a Mexican who illegally crossed the border to seek medical treatment. So, there has been one (1) American death from swine flu. That's compared to the 150-something deaths across North America (that technically includes Mexico).

    I'm not saying we should only worry about Americans, but let's gain some perspective here. One Texan has died from swine flu. Everyone else who got it stayed home from work, drank some orange juice and got better.

    It's the flu for crying out loud! I understand that this is a different strain of influenza, and that the current flu vaccine doesn't work on it. But to avoid getting this particular flu, what should I do differently than any other flu season? And if I do get it, what treatment should I undergo other than what I would for any other flu?

    All this fear-mongery is ridiculous. It's SARS (which had a global survival rate of only 98%)all over again. If my factoids are mistaken, someone please correct me.

  2. No, you are correct Thor, its really that out of whack. Check out this graphic
    its the malaria vs swine flu graph.