We thought it was going to be avian flu, but it’s actually Mexican swine flu that is going to develop into the pandemic that’s going to wipe out the world, or so some might have us believe.
You can’t read very far in the newspaper (or social media, if so inclined) in the last week without finding some story about swine flu in Mexico and how it’s spreading. It’s everywhere and the story has taken on a life of its own.
What do we know? Thousands in Mexico are believed to have been infected with swine flu and at least 152 are suspected to have died, but only seven in Mexico (at this point) are confirmed swine flu deaths. It’s been found in the U.S., Canada, France and New Zealand. There’s also been one confirmed death in the U.S. now. There’s even swine flu in Alberta.
The thinking is that this could develop into a pandemic. It’s at a 4 on a scale of 6 on the pandemic alert level, for what it’s worth. It basically is just a reference to how transmissible it is; not to its lethality.
Travelling to Mexico
It took a while, but the warnings finally came that travel to Mexico is not advised. They don’t want to disrupt world trade as happened during the SARS outbreak in Canada in 2003, but it’s kind of unavoidable now. There are a number of companies that have cancelled travel to Mexico.
It’s probably not a bad idea to avoid travelling to Mexico until things are under control and we all know whether or not we’re going to die from swine flu or not. If it’s any consolation, there’s a village in Mexico where the villagers insist it’s the swine flu outbreak ground zero.
What’s the real flu risk?
The point has also been made that thousands die from the regular flu every year, with one estimate at 250,000 to 500,000 flu deaths every year. You mostly have to worry about that if you’re 65 or older.
I do worry about these things, but something is going to get you eventually. It wouldn’t hurt to take some typical flu precautions like washing your hands, staying home if you’re sick, cover your mouth when you cough, don’t touch your eyes or mouth, avoid people who are sick and, it may seem obvious, be healthy (exercise, eat well, etc).
So, no matter what happens, there’s still going to be a large number of us who survive. Let’s hope it is the pandemic that never was. If you feel the urge to go root in the garden, please stay home for a few days.