Daily Archives: November 7, 2009

No need to panic over H1N1 flu — Thomas Walkom in the Toronto Star

Here’s an excerpt from a column that appeared last Saturday in the Toronto Star, a mainstream newspaper from Canada’s largest city. While this may seem tame compared to a lot of what we publish here on the flu scene, this is notable for being one of the few voices of common sense being heard among all the decontextualized hype in the mainstream media.

Nurse Cathy Hayman (right) injects the H1N1 vaccine into the arm of three year old Timothy Logan who visited the H1N1 clinic located in the Pickering Town Centre with his mother Dawn (left). (Oct. 26, 2009) Photo: Tara Walton, Toronto Star

“People die of the flu. This is no consolation to the family of 13-year-old Evan Frustaglio, the Toronto boy who died Monday, apparently after contracting swine flu. But it is true.

This was so before this latest pandemic. It will almost certainly continue to be so in the future. But it is no reason to go off the deep end.

Keep things in perspective. What is worrisome about this particular strain, sometimes known as Novel Swine-origin Influenza A (H1N1), is its newness. We know, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that is contains genes from pigs, humans and birds. We know from experience that such a mix gives it the potential to pass back and forth between species and to become particularly virulent. Continue reading


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