I was going to leave the subject of swine flu well alone, but, well, it’s reaching pandemic proportions in the media, and an article in todays’ Independent caught my eye. They have a panel on page five, done in the standard Q&A format the papers always use in these situations. I’m sure it was intended to convey facts and attempt to prove there’s no need for panic but….see for yourselves. My comments are italicised.
Q. What is swine flu?
A. Much the same as human flu – but in pigs (that’ll be why it’s not Avian, Bovine or Ovine flu then!).
Q. How worried should we be?
A. At this stage, no one knows. Fuck, time to head for the hills, that’s very reassurring. We don’t know how worried you should be. It’s too serious to not be worried, but please don’t go into wide spread panic. Nothing is more designed to cause outright anarchy than the thought that no one knows what’s going on.
Q. Can it be treated?
A. Yes – up to a point. What point? Death?
Q. How bad might a pandemic be?
Er, I think the clue word here might just be “pandemic”
A. At it’s worst, it could have a devastating global impact, greater than a terrorist attack, nuclear accident or environmental disaster. Don’t hold back now, go straight for the absolute worst case scenario.
Q. Is there a vaccine against it?
A. Not in humans (there is in pigs). Well bully for them!
All designed to put your fears to rest innit! The really good news is that it’s still safe to eat piggy products, and when the mass executions of pigs begins, and we have scenes reminiscent of the foot and mouth outbreak, there will be the wonderful smell of bacon coming from those giant funeral pyres.
Pass me a bacon roll….
Oh almost forgot, my absolute favourite extract from the piece is the advice printed in the News of the World in November 1918, the year of the big Spanish Influenza pandemic.
“Wash inside nose with soap and water night and morning; force yourself to sneeze night and morning, then breathe deeply. Do not wear a muffler, take sharp walks regularly and walk home from work; eat plenty of porridge.”
Ha, in your face England! As everyone knows, we Scots eat nothing but porridge! Oh…………
Right, gotta go, I feel a sneeze coming on.