Friday, May 1, 2009

What they're not telling you about Swine Flu

Here's a portion of an email I got from one of our public health officials, just to put things in perspective:

I am getting more than 8 Swine Flu "Updates" per hour.  Good grief.  This is a true epidemic, likely soon to be a global pandemic.  My guess is that we'll be in Phase 6 next week.  But the relatively minor human toll (low morbidity and low mortality) does not yet justify the resource allocation, nor the media attention that we have all seen.

We need to insure that we have a "measured response" that is commensurate with the real, not the perceived, threat.  And responding appropriately, in the face of media hype and patient worry and governmental involvement, is a real art.  I am hoping to hear your opinions on this.

In the past six weeks, Swine Flu has killed between 20 and 80 people.  More than 2000 have had clinically significant infections.  In the same time period, more than 40,000 people have died from routine influenza.  Millions were infected.  More than 40,000 died from TB just last week.  40,000 more died from malaria last week.