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Swine flu: Keeping it in perspective in relation to other diseases

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Message Mary MacElveen
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Far be it from me to place fear in the populous since the mainstream media and yes at times even our government does a bang-up job in doing so.  However, I do think we should keep the recent outbreak of ‘swine flu’ in perspective.  In an upcoming article that I am still researching, I will bring to light something we all must keep in our collective mindsets on which is an event that has the propensity to take the lives of millions.

As the world tackles this ‘swine flu’ scare, it has caused already some hysteria where folks are running out to purchase face masks and even Vice President Joe Biden cautioned people to avoid planes and trains.  In reaction to this flu, Egypt began slaughtering hundreds of pigs.  I happened to like President Obama’s reaction, “Just wash your hands and cover your mouth when coughing.”


If we are speaking of diseases, let us put this ‘swine flu’ into some form of perspective. In 2008, 12,898 cases of TB were reported in the USA.  Where was our mainstream media and our government to alert the populous of that devastating disease?


Again, keeping perspective: Typhoid affects 12.5 million persons each year in developing countries: Exactly, where is the WHO (World Health Organization) when it comes to sounding the alarm on that deadly disease?


According to the Mayo Clinic, this is what they report on staph infections: “Most of the time, the bacteria cause no problems or relatively minor skin infections. But staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria burrow deeper into your body, invading your bloodstream, urinary tract, lungs and heart.” They go onto report, “Now, a growing number of otherwise healthy people, many of whom have never been in a hospital, also are developing life-threatening staph infections.”


MRSA which is another name for staph infections is yet another disease that was brought to our attention last year.  In reading this report dated October 9th, 2008, it cited: “the Suffolk County Department of Health reported 10 MRSA cases this year, bringing the total to 12.  We lived through that scare.  Custodians in the schools affected cleaned all common areas with an “anti-bacterial agent.” 


In this report, ER Workers Often Infected with MRSA dated, December 30th, 2008, the last sentence of this article is the one that jumped off the page: “In the United States, there are approximately 95,000 serious infections and 20,000 deaths due to MRSA each year.” As the MSM reported over-and-over of that toddler’s death in Texas, please take a look at the number of deaths caused by MRSA each year.


Reaffirming Pres. Obama's call for hand washing as it pertains to 'swine flu', Dr. Elise O. Lovell from Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Illinois had this to add when it comes to MRSA: "It’s been demonstrated repeatedly that these hygiene techniques are poorly followed in the ED, yet they represent the best (and simplest) way to minimize the spread of MRSA between our patients and to keep our patients and ourselves safe,” she said in an interview with Reuters.


Now we move onto STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and according to this government web site, “The estimated total number of people living in the US with STD is over sixty-five million. Every year, there are approximately fifteen million new STD cases.” Oh, I have got to say it: “To the right-wing faction of the Republican Party, this is where this country needs to practice safe sex and teach it in our schools.  Abstinence only programs have NOT stemmed the tide of these diseases.” In fact this government web site reports: “one in four new STD cases occur in teenagers.”


You want to be freaked out by numbers and this is something to actually fear: When it comes to genital herpes, “80% of those with herpes are unaware they have it.”


Now we come to AIDs and I was astonished to read the numbers of deaths attributed to this lone disease which is a pandemic.  According to, they cite that the “US CDC does not report documented HIV/AIDS related deaths and only gives estimates, though individual states document deaths. Reporting of cases and deaths may be delayed by years in some cases, masking epidemics.”


Lastly, it is important for us to know of ‘swine flu’ and preventing its spread, but again, I still do not see it as being as deadly as other diseases are.  In fact, the AP has now reported: “Mexican officials lowered their flu alert level in the capital on Monday and said they will allow cafes, museums and libraries to reopen this week.”


They go onto report: "In New York on Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the World Health Organization "has no plan to raise the alert level to 6 at this moment." WHO chief Margaret Chan also told the U.N. General Assembly by video link from Geneva that "we are not there yet."

 Is this a case of making much a do about nothing?  No, since people were infected and in the case of that toddler in Texas; death occurred.  I just think we need to keep this flu in perspective with other diseases which have taken the lives of so many people and will continue to do so. 

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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