I have been asked by an annoyed businessman whether the press has over reacted in its coverage of the swine flu issue. The front page coverage is no doubt bad for business, especially for those involved in tourism and air travel. The global financial crisis is already bad enough for airlines and the swine flu isn't helping.
But we are dealing with human lives here. It is a health issue that concerns human lives. So the education and precaution are necessary. In comparison against SARS, which claimed many lives, so far only one fatal case has been reported. But we must note that this is a new strain of flu virus.We haven't developed an immunity and we are unsure how harmful it would be. This is a flu that is spreading from human to human.
The alarm bells are certainly justified. At this point, no one is even sure why the flu has hit so many victims in Mexico. The World Health Organisation has correctly asked the flu to be renamed as pig farmers have been blamed unfairly. In some countries, pigs have been culled and pork banned. It is a silly reaction but that's due to ignorance and even prejudices. This is where education comes to play.
Precaution, as they sayd, is better than cure. Diseases are being spread faster now because the world has become smaller. The easy access to air travel simply means diseases would be passed faster. It's the same with arrivals of foreign workers, who may not have been properly checked. Tuberculosis, for example, has returned to countries like Malaysia and Singapore which do not have such disease for a long time but it has made a comeback because of the foreign workers.