Monday, 07 September 2009 04:00

Swine Flu Relatively Mild So Far, Despite Hype

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swine flu hypeDespite the hysteria created by the media, effects related to the outbreak of the swine flu virus remain relatively mild so far. It has not mutated and thus far has claimed few lives when compared with the normal seasonal influenza, even in Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia where winter is drawing to a close along with the typical flu season.

"The good news is that so far, everything that we've seen, both here and abroad, shows that the virus has not changed to become more deadly," said U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Thomas Frieden, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘Swine Flu Remains Mild as Vaccine Advances’ and another report by Reuters. "That means that although it may affect lots of people, most people will not be severely ill."

Frieden noted that the swine flu and influenza generally are unpredictable, but even the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the virus has not mutated so far. "There is no sense that the virus has mutated or changed in any sense," a spokesman for the United Nations agency told a press conference, adding that more than 2,837 people have died so far world-wide because of the increase in infections. By comparison, between 30,000 and 40,000 Americans die each year of complications related to the seasonal flu.

Some experts have also said there is no danger of viral changes occurring if they have not happened yet, like Italian oncologist Professor Umberto Veronesi, who said the epidemic is limited in terms of danger and “there will be no mutation in the genes of the flu.”

Australia’s federal health minister Nicola Roxon also highlighted the relative mildness of the disease. "Most people, including children, will experience very mild symptoms and recover without any medical intervention," she explained. The flu season there is drawing to a close and varying reports put the number of deaths related to the H1N1 virus at significantly less than 200.

Regarding the Southern Hemisphere, the U.S. government said in an online report posted at flu.gov that "all countries report that after mid-July, disease activity in most parts of the country decreased," adding that this information “indicates that the duration of the current influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere, in which the 2009 H1N1 virus is the predominate strain, may be similar in length to an average seasonal influenza season."

In another report released last week about the swine flu, the CDC analyzed the deaths of the 36 children whose deaths were linked to the virus. According to the analysis, more than two-thirds of them “had one or more of the high-risk medical conditions” like asthma, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy. Many of the others were dealing simultaneously with bacterial infections.

But despite the mild nature of the virus so far, plans for the federal government’s mass vaccination campaign — which many experts contend will be dangerous and ineffective — are proceeding at full speed. Millions are being squandered on vaccine propaganda as well, while the militarization of quarantine preparations advances.

Photo: AP Images

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