Sunday, May 03, 2009

A little perspective...

With the 24-news cycle running amok with "all swine flu, all the time" headlines it's important to get a little perspective on what this pandemic looks like in a historical perspective.

The image is difficult to read in blogger - so you can check out the original at this website.

The two take aways from this map - the 1918 Spanish flu was a serious pandemic. 20 to 50 million deaths worldwide and up to 18% of the world was infected with this flu - those are panic worthy stats. After the bird flu and SARS scares during the last decade, there have been numerous health department efforts to develop pandemic game plans. The H1N1 outbreak has been the first opportunity for many to institute their fancy "pandemic plans" that have been gathering dust.

Thankfully, it looks like these plans are working right now. However, I think it's worth noting that this doesn't appear to be "the big one". I hope that health officials don't suffer from hurricane forecaster's "crying wolf" syndrome (evacuating Florida for a pending a Cat-5 hurricane that turns out to be a breezy thunderstorm), because if they do, there could be a Katrina-style flu in our future.


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