Public Health

Do You Have Mexico/Swine/H1N1 Flu?


patient zero

Find out at

Or get a more detailed answer to the same question at the best site for health scare debunkery:

In response to the growing spread of swine flu across the globe, the World Health Organization has raised its alert level to 5, indicating it believes a pandemic is "imminent."  But as [the American Council on Science and Health]'s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says, "We need to put this situation in perspective by remembering that the U.S. has over 30,000 deaths every year from seasonal influenza."…

As the epicenter of the outbreak, Mexico is right to take precautions like ordering the closure of many public services and private businesses until Tuesday.  But many other countries are taking drastic and unnecessary steps in the name of "protecting" their citizens.  Egypt has ordered that the country's 300,000 pigs slaughtered, even though swine flu has not appeared there and there is no evidence that pigs spread the disease.  Many nations have (unnecessarily) restricted the imports of pork products and live pigs, while others are imposing bans on travel to Mexico.  "But in the U.S., closing the borders would be like closing the barn doors after the horse got out, as President Obama has aptly expressed," ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross reminds us.

Folks in the U.S. should take a deep (maskless?) breath and relax.

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  1. Great pic.

  2. Folks in the U.S. should take a deep (maskless?) breath and relax.

    If only Jay Severin followed that advice…

  3. But the VP of the US says that if I’m going to be around other people, it needs to be in an open field, and I don’t have many open fields around me, so doesn’t that mean it’s time to panic!??!!??!

  4. so, This officially replaces west nile as the diaster dijour?

  5. I realize the author is Katherine Mangu-BoingBoing-Ward so this post is even more lightweight than the ones from their other losers, but would it really take that much for her to actually try thinking for a change?

    For instance, doesn’t the “barn doors” thing make no sense at all? If ten people have it in the U.S., isn’t it far more easy to contain and won’t it spread much less quickly than if 10,000 people have it? I mean, isn’t that just common sense?

    For background on the group that KMW quotes, see this. Hilarious!

    And, here’s my swine flu coverage.

  6. Lonewhacko- Why don’t you go to Mexico for some field research on swine flu? I’m sure we could get a collection together around here to pay for your (one way) plane ticket.

  7. Swine flu is shaping up to be the new Y2K Bug.

    …also, shut the fuck up, Lonewacko.

  8. Barn door makes sense to the WHO:

    “With the virus being widespread… closing borders or restricting travel really has very little effects in stopping the movement of this virus,”

  9. So, why are we even bothering inspecting people at airports and the border at all? Why not just wave everyone through? And, why are all those other countries monitoring who comes in to their countries?

    Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d suspect the ASCH of just being a front group or something.

  10. Do You Have Mexico/Swine/H1N1 Flu?

    I prefer the term hamthrax.

  11. Caption Contest!

    “I swear, officer, I haven’t been drinking! Don’t tell me you can’t smell my breath!”

  12. Question for anyone that knows about science/disease: once an individual catches swine flu won’t they have antibodies form against it, making every contact with the virus after that time a non-issue? If so, why not encourage the public to encounter the flu now (or over the summer) than in flu season when we also have to deal with normal flu?

  13. I went into the city yesterday. A few nonlethal cases of flue aren’t going to keep me away from crowds.

  14. Seer, the fear is that the flu will kill people before they can fight it off, but this risk isn’t that great. If you get the flu and recover from it, you have antibodies to protect you from it the next time you encounter that strain. The trouble with flu is the large number of virus strains out there. The antibodies you develop during an encounter with one strain only protect you from that strain. That’s why vulnerable people (ie the elderly) need to get a new flu shot each year with the strain that is common that year.

  15. I never get flu shots and don’t remember the last time we had the flu.

  16. They said if a black man became president, pigs would fly.

    Swine flu.

  17. Dude outruns the SwineFlu Monster 🙂

  18. Where did they get the pic?

  19. It’s a wedding photo from Arkansas.

  20. This is becoming a rather serious pandemic. The hamthrax virus has mutated into the new H1Z1 virus.

  21. I never get flu shots and don’t remember the last time we had the flu

    Last flu shot that I got was mandantory. I was in the USAF (1972ish), they said get the flu shot, I got the flu shot, I got the flu. Sick as hell, I went to the USAF hospital and they said I wasn’t sick enough (my fever was only 103, they only took care of 104 and above). I’ve sworn off flu shots ever since and haven’t had the flu since. BTW, I didn’t get the swine flu shot back in whenever, either.

    .. Hobbit

  22. Egypt isn’t ordering its pigs slaughtered to protect its citizens, it’s doing so to hurt its Christians and Jews.

  23. Is it possible that this whole goofball panic is the inevitable result of the “public health” apparatus that was set up during the avian flu panic? That is, maybe there were practices in place that more or less required the Mexican officials to “connect the dots” when more than the usual number of people with flu-like symptoms died, which then had to be communicated through a network that then triggered a wave of public health over-reactions.

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