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We’ve all had “swine” flu

I’m feeling a whole lot better now that WHO has caved to the demands of the American pig industry and changed the name of Swine flu to the more familiar H1N1. I can almost feel my temperature drop as I blog.

I don’t want to downplay the impact that the outbreak is having on the pork industry, or any industry for that matter, but no amount of wordmongering can obscure the fact that pigs play a significant role in this disease, and a number of other nasty ones, including the flu we deal with every year.

For those not immersed in the day-to-day interests of epidemiologists, flu viruses often get their start in farms where people and pigs (and chickens) cohabitate (China is frequently cited as a source). Many of the bugs we deal with every year are variations of a pattern that’s played out every year in these outhouses of infection.

So, chances are if you’re human and interact with others, you’ve had one form of “swine” flu or another. Having people know that, and getting them on the front lines of steps to control the development and spread of influenza might not be bad public health policy. Instead all us little piggies have to stay home.

Posted by patrickj on 04/30 at 12:40 PM
Environment • (1) CommentsPermalink

 

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