cartoon - swine flu remedy

Swine Flu Remedy

 

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they say something so incredibly asinine that you are literally stunned? You know – at first your brain goes through a system check to be sure your ears are working correctly.  You are hesitant to ask the person to repeat the statement, because you are afraid that you will hear the same thing again, and your entire nervous system is still trying to recover from the original shock. Then your eyes and brain go into overdrive: searching all the visual clues to see if the person was being facetious and you missed it. Then, a feeling of “Oh My God” washes over you as you realize that THEY ARE SERIOUS – and too dumb (and/or arrogant and self-rightous) to know how ignorant they sound.

Your poor brain searches for a response. You stand there in slack-jawed amazement as your mind creates, then discards, potential replies. You can’t believe you actually heard that. Your emotional fight-or-flight defense kicks in: should you respond or just let it go (and run away!). Well, normally, if it doesn’t matter to anyone, you can just say something like “Uh” and get the heck away. But when the statement is incredibly idiotic, hurtful, and indefensible you just can’t keep quiet. At least that’s the way I am.

Lately I have read some statements made in a social networking site that fit this description. Thank God I didn’t hear this stuff coming out of this person’s mouth, as I’m afraid my ears would have caught my hair on fire. These were some statements I read weeks ago that were so appalling  that I closed the site, waited several days, then reread the entries. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Then, I thought that maybe I was seeing this out of context, so I read a few prior statements. But NOooo, there they were, in black  and white, in all their glorious stupidity.

Me being me, I can no longer let these statements go unchallenged. Here – I’ll give you an example:

  • WhiteI’m at my law office working away. The Swine Flu disaster – yet another reason to control illegal immigration. How about those Mavs!10:27 AM Apr 28th

See what I mean? Is this a joke or what? Does this person actually believe that <the place that the illegal immigrants he’s talking about> CREATED Swine Flu? Or that the United States would somehow be spared if only we could keep those nasty illegals out? WHAT??? Excuse me for a minute, my brain still can’t handle this. I’m going to take a break, have a nice cup of tea, and try to think happy thoughts. While I’m gone you can look at this funny picture.

I don't know what the deal is with this horse. I'll bet he's a fun pet though.

I don't know what the deal is with this horse. I'll bet he's a fun pet though.

Okay – I’m back, still a little shaken, but I’ll try to carry on. I just hate it when my intelligence is insulted. Okay, deep breath, continue:

Now, I’m not an Infectious Disease Specialist, but here’s a quote from Dr. Jay Steinberg, who is one, at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta:

 History indicates that flu pandemics tend to occur once every 20 years or so, so we’re due for one, Steinberg said.

“I can say with 100 percent confidence that a pandemic of a new flu strain will spread in humans,” he said. “What I can’t say is when it will occur.”

Well, It’s Here. The following are some FACTS about Swine Flu:

What other examples of swine flu outbreaks are there?

Probably the most well-known is an outbreak of swine flu among soldiers in Fort Dix, New Jersey in 1976.

<Note: Fort Dix is NOT located in Mexico. It is in New Jersey, which is a state in the Eastern United States and far from Mexico. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the soldiers in Fort Dix were all citizens of the United States.>

The virus caused disease with x-ray evidence of pneumonia in at least 4 soldiers and 1 death; all of these patients had previously been healthy. The virus was transmitted to close contacts in a basic training environment, with limited transmission outside the basic training group. The virus is thought to have circulated for a month and disappeared. The source of the virus, the exact time of its introduction into Fort Dix, and factors limiting its spread and duration are unknown. The Fort Dix outbreak may have been caused by introduction of an animal virus into a stressed human population in close contact in crowded facilities during the winter.

How common is swine flu among pigs?

H1N1 and H3N2 swine flu viruses are endemic among pig populations in the United States and something that the industry deals with routinely. Outbreaks among pigs normally occur in colder weather months (late fall and winter) and sometimes with the introduction of new pigs into susceptible herds. Studies have shown that the swine flu H1N1 is common throughout pig populations worldwide, with 25 percent of animals showing antibody evidence of infection. In the U.S. studies have shown that 30 percent of the pig population has antibody evidence of having had H1N1 infection. More specifically, 51 percent of pigs in the north-central U.S. have been shown to have antibody evidence of infection with swine H1N1. Human infections with swine flu H1N1 viruses are rare. H1N1 swine viruses have been known to circulate among pig populations since at least 1930. 

Swine flu, also known as 2009 H1N1 influenza, is a human disease. People get the disease from other people, not from pigs.

The disease originally was nicknamed swine flu because the virus that causes the disease came to humans from pigs. The virus contains genes from swine, bird, and human flu viruses. Scientists are still arguing about what the virus should be called, but most people know it as the H1N1 swine flu virus.

The swine flu viruses that spread among pigs aren’t the same as human flu viruses. Swine flu doesn’t often infect people, and the rare human cases that have occurred in the past have mainly affected people who had direct contact with pigs. But the current “swine flu” outbreak is different. It’s caused by a new swine flu virus that has changed in ways that allow it to spread from person to person — and it’s happening among people who haven’t had any contact with pigs.

I also don’t work for the Center for Disease Control, but after searching the net for FACTS, I’m going to take a stab at trying to explain this to people who don’t have a firm grasp of science:

  • The Influenza virus mutates constantly. That is one reason that vaccines are not available immediately. The drug companies have to study the latest iteration of that particular strain and concoct a specific formula to deal with the new genetic mix.
  • A very few mammals: pigs are one; and most birds can carry influenza viruses that affect humans. All the science is somewhat complicated, but in layman’s terms my understanding is that a few mammals and many birds act as carriers for different influenza viruses. When the right combination of the little virus genes get together they create a new strain which may or may not infect humans. This particular one does.  The mechanism is akin to evolution, if you are a believer in that science. If you do not believe in evolution I don’t know what to tell you.
  • Swine flu is not called swine flu as some “science geek humor” to insult the people who become infected with it, or the country where it was first described and documented. It is because several viruses which usually infect pigs got together to create this new strain, which is actually a mixture of genes from swine, avian (bird) and human viruses.
  • The influenza virus does not care if you are in the country legally or illegally. In fact, in the first weeks of this particular flu most of the  United States citizens who caught it had been to Mexico. I am pretty sure they were there legally, and that they were not trying to immigrate illegally – they were just visiting, and brought the flu back with them when they returned to the United States.  And, in case you are wondering, no: they were NOT Mexicans “sneaking back across the border”. They were American citizens. Probably white, some may have been black, or yellow, or red, or even brown, but the vast majority were citizens of the United States.
  • The new influenza virus shows up wherever it shows up. Remember the Bird Flu? That was first documented in Asian countries. How about the Spanish Flu? It has nothing to do with the people of the country; they just got the short straw this time.

If you  still insist on placing the blame on a specific country for the this latest outbreak, you may want to consider this: The pig farm that this particular strain was traced to is owned by an American company. Now, I can only guess as to how much money that company spent to vaccinate against swine flu viruses, as in the United States farms “routinely deal with swine flu viruses” and that’s probably a regulatory requirement in the United States. I’m not going to tell you what I think, but it did cross my mind that maybe the Mexicans should be mad at us. After all, most American companies that set up operations in Mexico are doing it for  reasons that I’m not even going to go into. I’ll let Michael Moore do the documentary. 

 Now that I got that off my chest, I have a suggestion. Before this person writes another inflammatory statement he should think about what he’s saying, and consider his motives. If he’s a public figure: say, like an elected official; he needs to be cognizant of his image, as he is a representative of some constituents, for instance: the citizens of Farmers Branch. Farmers Branch is already being called an intolerant backwater, and quite frankly, mindless utterances like this only serve to reinforce that reputation. The citizens of Farmers Branch deserve better.

But maybe there’s help: I suggest this person join the Rotary Club.  Here’s some information from their web site. If they are what they say they are maybe they can help him. The least he can do is take the “Four-Way Test” before he utters any more embarrassingly ignorant statements.

Mission

The mission of Rotary International, a worldwide association of Rotary clubs, is to provide service to others, to promote high ethical standards, and to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

The Object of Rotary

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • FIRST. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • SECOND. High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  • THIRD. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
  • FOURTH. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The Four-Way Test

The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:

Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
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