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Bless You

The trouble with the latest health scare (I mean swine flu, not the HSE considering shutting down a dozen emergency rooms) is that it’s hard to know how seriously to take it.

After SARS and bird flu, I suspect most of the population has become skeptical of influenza epidemics, seeing as no more than this week’;s tabloid scare story.

One twitterer is already bragging about the low-cost Mexican summer holiday flights he booked.

Mainstream reporting isn’t helping either. The latest news is, the World Health Organisation has raised its alert level from a three to a four on a six point scale, but I have no way to put that information in context.

The WHO website defines level four as ‘sustained human to human transmission’, which doesn’t mean much. Everything from AIDS to the common cold qualifies as a level four.

But without knowing how virulent it is (does the virus kill 10% of victims, or 0.001%?) that doesn’t help much either.

Movie studios are probably working on the doomsday movie already, to star Stephen Baldwin as the renegade scientist who develops a cure before recommending that the President nuke a gaggle of sneezing geese flying towards the US/Mexican border.