So the swine flu has come to Huntsville. Great. So far the megahype has been over a pandemic of the sniffles. Really mild cases in the USA.
(I don’t count the one death, since that child was a Mexican citizen here for medical treatment.)
Overall a non-event, but one not to ignore I suppose. While the cases have been mild, the virus seems to spread far to easy not to worry about. And since it already shows signs of mutation, the real danger isn’t the current wave, but the second wave.
In 1918 the N1H1 breakout known as “Spanish Flu” was initially mild. Yes, that flu is the ancestor to the current outbreak. It was the second wave of 1918 and the third wave in 1919 that ended up killing millions.
Of course, the outbreak of 1976 ended with the USA killing more people via vaccines than the relatively small and hardly contagious flu did. (One source claims 39 died from shots while one died from flu)
And you have to keep in mind that the normal seasonal flu kills 30,000 people in a normal season.
Nevertheless, as harmless as this outbreak has been this far, there is cause for concern. This is a new virus. It may have ancestors in known, prexistant strains, but this bug is newly mutated and moving fast. It has crossed between the avian and mammal barrier and the swine human barrier. It is young, unknown and spreading. People are right to be concerned.
But panic? I think not. While we may not know this bug intimately, we do know it’s method of propigation. Caution, not hysteria, is called for. Not all virus grow to superbugs. Some evolve unsuccessfully. This one may do so yet.
So while local schools are closed and the swine flu count is up to a suspected 12, I’ll hold my panic a bit longer. Besides, I didn’t buy milk, bread and masks at the store last night.