WHO - Swine flu pandemic has begun - 1st in 41 years
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June 11, 2009: The World Health Organization has declared a Level 6 Pandemic response to the latest strain of Swine Flu - the highest response in over 40 years. At this point, this Flu has only killed around 144 people and infected 30,000 across 74 countries. Flues (of various sorts) kill 250,000 or more people every year, so this strain of Swine Flu is not particularly deadly. It is heat-resistant, however, with infections continuing even in the summer season (unlike most Flu).

Nearly half the reported cases are in the United States, and over half the deaths are in Mexico. Mexico's epidemic peaked in April, now down to 30 cases a day (from a peak of 300 per day). However, the WHO now believes that several European countries (such as Britain) have not been accurately reporting their flu cases.

Over-reactions to the flu have been quite extreme. In Argentina. The emergency medical services in Buenos Aires have been stressed to the breaking point (primarily with false alarms, the article seems to imply). A bus coming to Argentina from Chile was stoned last month because of rumors a passenger had swine flu. Which leaves you wondering: What's more dangerous, the flu bug, or our panicked reactions to it?



Game and Story Use

  • Gaming this is probably more creepy than fun, but it's certainly a useful source of nightmare fuel. Didn't The Stand start like this?
  • The stoning of a bus in Argentina is an interesting detail. It's a shocking depiction of mass hysteria, that shows us how violent and irrational crowds of people can become when scared.
    • Similar things would likely happen in The End Of The World As We Know It scenarios. In a Zombie Apocalypse, for example, airplanes might be shot down as they leave a country where an outbreak happened (even if the planes have no Zombie Infectees on them.
    • Or, the swine flu hysteria could be a smokescreen for something else. Organized Crime might have wanted to kill someone on that bus, and so spread the flu rumor about it to gather up an angry mob as cover.
  • For some good Swine Flu Conspiracy Theories, check out this thread at Yahoo Answers
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