Monday, May 4, 2009

New Show Opens May 7

2934 South Pandosy, Kelowna, BC
Sheila Norgate, Bill Gingles and Me!
Exhibit continues to June 2

Swine Flu or Hog Wash?

"Identification of influenza subtypes became possible in the mid-20th century."

Sigh... before that, we all just got "the flu". We went to bed, missed school (yay!), took Bayer aspirin, threw up in the bucket beside the bed, ran to the bathroom (a lot), drank ginger ale and ate soda crackers. Ah, the good old days. I'd never heard of the World Health Organization... WHO? who are throwing around the word "pandemic" like Chicken Little on a good day. Personally, I'd much rather listen to the World Organization for Animal Health... which could be the World Health Organization for Animals ... or WHOA! A command given to reign in a galloping horse. They report, "This strain can be transmitted from human to human, and causes the normal symptoms of influenza." Ahhhh, sanity restored.

Three cases of swine flu have now been reported in BC, bringing the total number of Canadian cases to 13. CTV Reports as of 18:00 GMT, 4 May 2009, 21 countries have officially reported 1085 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection. But another source has that number at 236. Yes folks, 236 confirmed cases world wide amongst a world population of 6,000,000,000+.

The first time I heard the term "swine flu" was back in 1976. At that time, some "genius" in the US came up with an immunization programme which resulted in " Overall, about 500 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), resulting in death from severe pulmonary complications for 25 people, which, according to Dr. P. Haber, were probably caused by an immunopathological reaction to the 1976 vaccine. Other influenza vaccines have not been linked to GBS, though caution is advised for certain individuals, particularly those with a history of GBS. Still, as observed by a participant in the immunization program, the vaccine killed more Americans than the disease did."

Wow, that gives the expression "pig in a poke" a whole new meaning!

Now, this scares the crap out of me. Remember the strong arming of the level headed nurses who refused to get a flu shot: lose their sick leave benefits if they happened to get the flu? Now we have Stephen Harper reminding people "to comply with health orders because the illness is a serious issue". Other than washing my hands, etc., what are those "health orders"? Could it involve all those lovely antiviral drugs out there? The ones that might actually kill me!

But, thank God, I don't live in the U.S. On April 27th, the FDA issued "Emergency Use Authorization" to make available certain antiviral drugs to treat the swine influenza virus in cases for which they are currently unapproved. The agency issued these EUAs to allow treatment of patients younger than the current approval allows and to allow the widespread distribution of the drugs, including by non-licensed volunteers.

And what about those poor maligned swine? People are actually afraid of eating pork, even though you can't get swine flu from eating pork. Wait. That could be a good thing as far as the pigs are concerned. (Don't tell them about the 250,000 'offed' in Europe, and especially don't tell them we may actually have given the flu to them sometime around 1918).

EVERY YEAR, there are about 250 million malaria cases resulting in nearly one million deaths… EVERY YEAR!

Why is this not on the news every hour of every day? Because people living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable …and that's not us.

So, let's have a little perspective people.