The prospect of a ‘flu pandemic seems to induce hysteria. The Government panics for fear it is seen as unready for such an event and then people are worried, particularly parents since press stories of Avian, and now Swine ‘flu speak of their lethal potential.
When Avian ‘flu did eventually turn up in Norfolk the then Environmental Secretary, David Milliband, was more concerned with the commercial consequences blaming wild birds rather than Bernard Matthews’ infamous “bootiful” turkeys – or the method of intensive rearing where a virus can have a field day. Swine ‘flu has similarly been connected to Smithfield, a firm which rears pigs in unpleasant conditions in both the US and Mexico, the source of Swine ‘flu.
The downside of mass vaccinations, warned of by some professionals, has been played down and so Tamiflu has been stockpiled. Paracetemol they say is more appropriate and the widespread use of the anti-viral will hasten its ability to develop a resistance to this treatment.
New Zealand is taking a different approach after researchers are finding antiviral drugs having an adverse effect on children, who have been most affected by the ‘flu outbreak. Tamiflu is reserved for the most at risk cases.
Another side to this is the marketing and commercialism associated with such products as Tamiflu. A point is made that Mexico doesn’t invest in it. They look at some of those who do.