Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Update - Inaccuracies in Mass Media

We need to have a balanced reaction to the current swine flu concern. President Obama got it right in saying that we must be "alert" but not "alarmed" at this point. However, the mass media seems to be trying to exaggerate or over-inflate the numbers. This is the case with their reporting of the number of deaths from the swine flu in Mexico, which many news outlets including the New York Times report to be 152. However, if you get the information from the people who really know, the WHO (World Health Organization), the actual confirmed cases of swine flu infection is actually 26 in Mexico. Out of those 26 confirmed cases of infection, there are only 7 deaths according to the WHO. 7 (confirmed) is a huge difference from 152 deaths reported by the mass media. There's a difference between "suspected" cases and "confirmed" cases.

Regarding my numbers, don't take my word for it. See for yourself. I got them from the latest WHO update at http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_27/en/index.html

I actually posted a comment correcting the New York Times on one of their articles, but they censored me despite my provision of my sources from the WHO and CDC. It seems like they are bent on misleadingly exaggerating the numbers (as other corporate controlled news media are also doing).

Do I think the number of deaths is actually higher than the confirmed deaths of 7 (in Mexico)? Yes. I think that is a realistic guess. However, I also think that the actual number of swine flu cases is probably less than 150 as people (including health professionals) are quick to jump to conclusions that their ailments are caused by the swine.

Whatever the actual number is, the message remains the same - be vigilant by washing hands with soap and water before eating, before and after going to the bathroom, and whenever you can. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or ear with your hands. Avoid contact with sick people and avoid mass public gatherings. If you cough or sneeze, cover with a tissue and discard the tissue in the trash immediately. For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

There's no need to worry or no need to be "alarmed" as Obama stated, but be alert. If you have flu symptoms, see a doctor immediately. If it does end up to be the swine flu, there are two antiviral drugs (Relenza and Tamiflu) that are shown to fight this swine flu. Both require prescriptions.

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