Swine flu just another SARS

The World Health Organization classified its outbreak as a pandemic.

The word pandemic isnâÄôt thrown around lightly by health officials. This might be because the word carries ideas of pandemonium and the potential to open a PandoraâÄôs Box of sorts, causing panic and paranoia. Yet this is exactly the word the World Health Organization has chosen to describe their fear of the growing concerns over swine flu in Mexico City. The contagious virus typically affects pigs, but has infected more than 1,000 people in Mexico, killing 80. This new strain has no known cure and possesses similar symptoms to any other flu. While there is a vaccine for pigs, there isnâÄôt one for humans. Thus the panic begins. Countries around the world are on the lookout for symptoms of the virus. Reports are flooding in from all points of the globe that the swine flu has reached other countries. Schools, concerts, public events and even churches closed Sunday in parts of Mexico to thwart the possible spread of the disease. Travel warnings are being issued, vaccines are being concocted and passengersâÄô temperatures are being taken at airports around the world to check for high fever, a characteristic of swine flu. This news has also caused a massive disposal of pork products despite the information that eating pork does not cause swine flu. The travel industry and pork industry are naturally prepped to take a hit as more reports of the disease pop up worldwide. While we understand the importance of these precautionary measures we can only wonder where the news of this outbreak will be in two weeks. Will it have gone the way of SARS, mad cow disease or the Avian bird flu? Our desensitization to this news can only result from the constant reminders that the world is a bad and dangerous place. Yet employing common sense can go far in situations like this one. This editorial was originally published in The Daily Vidette at Illinois State University. Please send comments to [email protected]