Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Political Irrationality: The Swine Flu Scare

Don't take me wrong: I believe that contagious diseases should be taken seriously and good hygiene should be a habit, not a fashion.

Yet, this swine flu scare is the latest example of how politicians can easily take advantage of people's political irrationality and of the collapse of mainstream media credibility.

Let's put things in perspective: there are many contagious diseases around the world that have a much more sinister track history than this swine flu, and yet nobody gives them even one minute of their daily attention. As an example, consider the case of the dengue fever, transmitted by mosquitoes. In 2008, in Brazil alone, there were almost 800,000 infections and 448 deaths. A WebMD article estimates the annual worldwide death toll to be around 24,000. Yet, governments and press organizations from many countries, including Brazil, are now recommending that people should not travel to the US or Mexico due to the swine flu... C'mon, gimme a break!

BTW, here's Ennyman on the swine flu media scare:
I have not lost any sleep over this except to worry a little whether it's possible get infected thru online social networks. Actually, maybe someone will suggest that MySpace and Facebook are helping ameliorate the spread of the disease since we do all our socializing online now instead of face-to-face.
Oh, and here's Jon Stewart, excellent...
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Snoutbreak '09 - The Last 100 Days
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ENNYMAN said...

It's always good to step back and give the situation a little perspective. I am sure there are a goodly number of malaria deaths. And hasn't cholera been breaking out in the Africa sub-continent, as well as portions of Iraq?

Thanks for the insights.

Amanda said...

People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu. More than 1100 people worldwide have died from swine flu since it emerged in Mexico and the US in April, according to the latest figures from the World.

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