Bad flu confirmed in NZ and Israel
Yikes - three New Zealanders have tested positive for 'Swine Flu'. I understand these cases are not as serious as those in Mexico at this stage, thanks to early medical treatment. I wish all those afflicted a speedy recovery.
Sandy Szwarc, on her Junkfood Science blog, suggests a good reason why there have been more deaths in Mexico than elsewhere. Rather than being exposed to a more virulent strain, Szwarc says Mexicans are afflicted by extreme poverty.
The leading story on BBC World News is the confirmed cases of 'swine flu' in New Zealand and Israel.
I watched parliamentary debate on Tony Ryall's ministerial statement on the flu outbreak. Good to see all parties taking a constructive approach. Many were thankful of the work carried out over the past four years in preparing for the day New Zealand would face a potentially deadly flu outbreak. One hopes this makes National a little more kindly disposed to the public service in the upcoming budget.
Unfortunately the reaction from the government in Israel has been less than helpful.
"Ultra-Orthodox Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman on Monday declared that Israel would call the new potentially deadly disease that has already struck two continents 'Mexico Flu,' rather than 'Swine Flu, as pigs are not kosher. "We will call it Mexico flu. We won't call it swine flu," Litzman told a news conference on Monday, assuring the Israeli public that authorities were prepared to handle any cases. "
'Swine' flu may not be the most medically accurate term to use, but it sure beats unfairly tainting the citizens of an entire country by naming it after them. It would also be unfortunate to give the public the impression only those with contact with Mexico are are risk - confirmed human to human contact and the age of air travel makes this a nonsense.
One wonders what Israel's Ultra-Orthodox politicians would be saying in the case a flu started in Israel, and people suggested calling it Israel flu. I suspect their reaction would be hysterical and predictable.
That only serves to demonstrate the stupidity of naming the flu after a particular country.
The 1918 flu only came to be known as the Spanish flu because it received greater press attention when it moved from France to Spain in November 1918, and Spain did not have wartime press censorship at the time. There are a number of theories regarding its starting point - suggestions include the Far East, Kansas and Austria. Of course in New Zealand, it would be most appropriate to call the 1918 outbreak the Massey flu.