Did you ever wonder what purpose is being served by fomenting panic over a mild and far from novel flu virus? Why do government agencies and WHO want to force unproven vaccinations on whole populations? Why are they spreading panic by issue general, fill in the blank internment and quarantine orders, such as the ones before the Iowa Board of Health? Why is the World Health Organization so quickly putting out a mass vaccination order? And why in the world would the govenor of Maryland call getting a flu vaccination a 'patriotic duty"?
These are questions that I have been asking myself in the past few days, as the first day of school on the East Coast has caused the media to go into hyperpanic mode about a flu for which the deathrate in the US is far lower than for the seasonal flu.
Sandy Szwarc, BSN, RN, CCP has a very cogent and calm discussion of the actual facts about this flu over at Junkfood Science. She says:
"The flu season has barely begun and yet the panic is already in full swing with 186,933 media stories about H1N1 and 47,159 news stories about the swine flu currently at Google News.* Do you know what is missing among the widespread pandemic alarm in the media and coming from government agencies, pharmaceutical and other stakeholders?
The scientific evidence being reported by medical professionals and in the medical literature."
She goes on to discuss that scientific literature in detail, including an analysis out of MIT published in the British Medical Journal, and the efforts of physicians in the US and abroad to spread Common Sense about Type A Influenza Viruses. In summing up the MIT analysis, Sandy writes:
"A single, one-size-fits-all public health strategy that assumes every epidemic results in widespread catastrophic and deadly disease (type 1) is not appropriate. Some epidemics affect very few people but the infection is serious, while type 3 affects many people but with mostly mild infections. But most new viruses, he stressed, are not type 1 threats. The 1957 and 1968 pandemics, for instance, went largely unnoticed by most people and the recorded deaths during both pandemics were similar to those seen an ordinary flu season today. So, we have pandemic preparedness strategies that are based on a catastrophic (type 1) epidemic and which result in public health responses that are improperly calibrated to the threat and risk doing more harm than good. They are also seen as alarmist and erode the public trust. "
And in her discussion of Spanish physicians who blogged for flu common sense under the rubric: Gripe A: Ante Todo, Mucho Calma, she says:
"Just because the virus is infectious and spreads easily, however, does not mean that it is more serious. This virus has proven to cause mild or moderate flu and to be less severe than the ordinary seasonal flu. Most people have mild symptoms and will get no benefit from going to the doctor, the physicians stress. Most importantly, the advice for taking care of the swine flu is the same as in all types of colds and flu. Most people can care for themselves at home, just as they would any cold or flu, with keeping themselves hydrated and nourished."
In an interesting twist on this story, Sandy also provides evidence that the Google Search engines actually censor what is is out there, providing additional bias towards the big build up to this mild flu. About this, she writes:
"There was no mention of these medical articles in the Google News, even specifically searching using pertinent search terms. And any mention of the blog project was only found by searching for the participating Spanish medical blogs by name.
Google’s Health Advisory Council appears to have determined that mention of these medical articles is not “relevant for you.” Google has become such a transparent social media marketing venue, it’s impossible for those who follow science and research to miss how Google’s search results prioritize what government-private stakeholders want the public to believe, not what people may want or need to know. Consumers searching Google for information, however, are largely oblivious to the degree that Google’s firewall filters their news."
I concur with Sandy here, based on my own searches for information relevant to my study of neuroscience and neuropsychology.
Sandy ends with these words of wisdom:
"Given that it’s unlikely the enormous political and financial interests behind flu pandemics will come to a screeching halt, that leaves medical professionals and consumers to be the responsible ones and get the facts, keep calm and practice common sense."
Read the whole article. Follow the links to actual, peer-reviewed scientific literature and analysis. Because Sandy is absolutely right.
As per usual these days, common sense will have to begin at the grassroots.