Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Swine Flu

Thought I would throw in my twopence worth. Why is there such a carry on about swine flu when outside of Mexico people who do have it have a minor illness rather than full blown flu? I am not at work today but I know that there has been a big rise in admissions with respiratory problems already. The scaremongering has started - read any tabloid newspaper. There have been epidemics before in UK within living memory, foot and mouth disease and of course the Aberdeen Typhoid outbreak all of which we coped with.

Just read that there has been a death in USA, don't know if it has been confirmed as swine flu yet.
Can I give a bit of advice to anyone who wants to listen? Watch this and remember that public health is in the hands of the public - hands which should be washed. How many times have you been on a bus or in a public place and someone has sneezed or coughed everywhere? When I was a boy in 50's and 60's there were notices everywhere stating that coughs and sneezes spread diseases, we knew what to do. Now people just sneeze, sometimes I get the feeling that some people want to see how far it will spread and how many others they can contaminate. So, is there a case for criminalising sneezing? Will coughing attract a jail sentence? If the situation gets worse and people are catching flu, how long before someone sneezing or coughing in public without using a handkerchief will run the risk of summary justice from bystanders?
OK, a bit of fanciful thinking but.........
Just wait until someone sneezes down the back of your neck.

On a personal note, please stay away from your local A&E department, if you have flu you will only contaminate more people - including me. Contact NHS 24 or NHS Direct or your own GP.
Back at work later this week, will try to remember to write and tell you if the workload was increased because of this pandemic.

Late update.
Appears that the death in the USA was caused by swine flu and according to the news children in Paignton are being given Tamiflu as one of their friends caught the bug while on holiday in Mexico.
As far as I can tell we still don't have anyone seriously ill and it still seems to be associated with holidaymakers who were in Mexico.
News at 6 showed the first victim of the disease - he looked remarkably fit and well.

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