I am a US Qualified Registered Microbiologist-Medical Technologist, operating my own Clinical Lab. I have been an activist advocating consumer, civic, citizen's rights for Thirty plus years & a Frequent contributor to the letters to Editor.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Swine Flu Paranoia-LEDS 17Aug2009

17 Aug 2009,
The Editor,
Times of India

As a US qualified Microbiologist and Medical Technologist in health care diagnostics for over 3 decades in Bangalore.
I have been watching this swine flu escalate from traveller's nuisance to nightmare to mass paranoia.
Much of it thanks to the media hype and government's disinformed apathy.

Human body is very hardy especially in tropical environments.
Even if it is a new or never before seen infection, the immune response can handle most infections without any medical assistance within about two weeks.

Which reminds of the medical anecdote - a doctor telling the patient with influenza, that he should be better with the treatment in about 2weeks.
without which he will need 15 days to recover.

Without too many confusing technical details I would like to point out some major dangerous uninformed trends this paranoia is taking.

Even if confirmed H1N1 infections do not require panicky medical intervention.
This "new" influenza virus is not known to cause disease in humans or swines.
500, Vaccine damage cases with 25 fatalities from the vaccine, were more than the one death from the 1976 outbreak in USA.
About 1000 or more Virus particles can pass through these ordinary mask pores that are being used all over the town.
They, offer practically no protection, and are just an public index of a private paranoia.
Ordinary methods of dealing with flu is enough for most people.

USA declared national emergency on 26 Apr 2009 not because of human health risk but national security!
(On April 26, 2009, the US Department of Health and Human Services declared a national public health emergency involving swine influenza A, citing its significant potential to affect national security. italics mine)

Other doomsday alarms included SARS, and Surat Plague in recent times.

Have we not lost our priorities with this H1N1 mania, if we consider the reality that 4 children below 5 (
Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands), 2007 unicef),

and 4200 Indians are dying every minute (6.58/1000 annual death rate -2007) in India?

Is it not the right time to start a balanced awareness campaign?

Thanking you
Sincerely yours
Mr. M.B. Nataraj
BSc,MS(Georgetown University, Washington DC)
MT(American Medical Technologists) USA
Microbiologist-Medical Technologist


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