August 30, 2009

The Great Swine Flu Hoax!

Written by nikhimenon.

                                        Much is being written about Swine Flu, which is the latest Epidemic in town.The Media ,both the print and the visual media have been working over time to spread awareness about this "dreaded" disease which even has the "potential" to wipe away the entire humanity within no time.I was also getting mentally prepared to die of this 'fatal' disease ( I had even told my milk maid,fish vendor as well as my newspaper boy that i no longer need their services ,since i hated dying leaving behind their unpaid bills!)   till my professor gave me an article about Swine Flu written by his friend Prof.Dr.B.M.Hegde who is also the Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Science of Healing Outcomes and Retired Vice Chancellor, Manipal University. So i thought i would share what i gained through it to my friends, who take the pain to go through my blog posts.

                           Before writing anything further about Swine Flu , i will write all what i thought about this hazard before i went through Dr.Hegde's article.

  • I can also get a Swine Flu infection if i eat un cooked/half cooked pork.
  • I should wear a Surgical mask always since the swine flu virus'floats in the air and may infect me if i go around un protected.
  • I will die very soon if i get an infection as millions of people have succumbed to this disease worldwide.
  • Swine flu is as serious (or even more") as hazards like HIV/AIDS/T.B. etc
  • The GOVT. and the Incompetent ministry are solely responsible for the outbreak of this pandemic.
  • The Swine flu Vaccine which is to come out this October will provide a satisfactory prophylaxis against this H1N1 disease.
  • If i take Tamiflu now, i can escape from this disease.
  Since i have listed all these , with a 'header' like this, you must have by now realized that all these 7 mentioned concepts are nothing but some common myths  about this pandemic
Then what is all this hype and panic about?what exactly is Swine flu?

C'mmon how many people remember the great Bird 'Flu epidemic that came with a bang and disappeared with a whimper, thankfully sparing human lives in the bargain.(and leaving behind a few pharmaceutical companies richer by a few million dollars!).

Swine Flu is undoubtedly as serious and as potent as that Bird Flu pandemic' which made the world paranoid some years back.Swine Flu is nothing but a flu like illness caused by a type of influenza virus .The only thing is that the strain H1NI is responsible for Swine flu where as Infleunza virus type A or Type B are responsible for the latter.

 Normally Viral infections are detected by P.C.R.(POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION) test.But a definitive diagnosis of any viral disease depends on the antibody titres in the body at the height of infection and again after six weeks. Similarly If the H1N1 antibody titres are very high during the infection only to fall significantly in the next six weeks, a definitive research diagnosis of swine 'Flu' could be made.
 But the present day diagnosis of this"supposedly pandemic" disease is made by a new test called as the new rapid (rRT-PCR) test which, notably, is designed by the same pharmac company which has the  worldwide rights for selling Tamiflu, the drug that the common thinks is the panacea for swine 'flu'.The most significant point is that this rRT-PCR test is not scientifically accepted yet which makes the diagnosis of ( even the confirmed cases) Swine flu disease
a "presumptive diagnosis" and not definitive.The sensitivity and specificity of this test is a matter of doubt and some researchers say it's only less than 50%.( Professor Dr.Hegde also thinks so) .So false positives are not that rare.Moreover the quality of labs  doing the test also matters.(Remember ,even in Kerala we have laboratories which are set up like 'cattle sheds'.Recently we had a case in our hospital,who was a leukemic patient and had come to our hospital with a blood routine from a local lab which reported his bld Hb to be 14 /normal where as it was actually only 7 g/dl !)

        Then what is it's Mortality rate? Even today(30/09/2009) i saw an aticle in The Hindu claiming that  has infected  about 40 million people so far.(as per Who reports)!

Well,it's true that the disease has a wide spread and it can affect large number of people.But at the same time,we can't definitely say that all the infected people (showing similar symptoms and diagnosed to have the disease) are having swine flu,as there is no satisfactory diagnostic methods so far for detecting swine flu as i had mentioned earlier.The exact virulence and the death toll ( The virus as such,is not potent enough to cause death but those with a co-morbidity like Diabetes,Hypertension or other Immuno compromised illness can succumb to it ) will become clear only by retrospective studies.Like recently,a retrospective study about Bird Flu came out which said that most of the deaths which were reported earlier to be due to the disease were  actually not due to it.

Even then,with the statistics available now,let's look at the odds of dying due to some common conditions and compare it with Swine flu.

Odds of dying due to poisoning: 1400/1
Odds of dying due to falling: 250/1
Odds of dying due to lightening:71,000/1
Odds of dying due toH1N1:8,000,000/1
Odds of dying due to drowning in your Bath Tub:807,000/1  

So That means there is more probability of you drowning in your bath tub than due to H1N1 disease.(which is supposed to wipe out the entire humanity!) 

If still you are not convinced here is some more statistics.

Every Year 50,000 ppl die in South Africa due to H.I.V. and more than 80,000 ppl due to T.B.Still we are worried more about H1N1 !

Prevention is the best cure for this disease rather than panicking un necessarily and depressing Our Immune systems hence by.

Mask wont  protect healthy people against the disease in society. If one is attending to the infected, one needs to have the mask to avoid direct droplets from the patient falling into the nose or eyes etc. This virus does not float in the air all by itself for the mask to stop it.
The virus is carried in small droplets from the patients' mucus secretions. Mask is a must for every patient to avoid spraying the droplets in his/her surroundings, especially if one is in a crowd or a closed aircraft cabin etc. Avoid unnecessary long distance travel for pleasure. Over crowding helps the virus to spread easily.
Avoid shaking hands,kissing strangers.Clean your hands with soap and water often.(esp after hospital visits or so).Plenty of rest, adequate sleep, nourishing ; plenty of water to keep the mucus membranes wet; regular non-strenuous exercise that boosts the immune system, avoiding smoking and alcohol, adequate oxygenation of all the cells including those in the immune system  should help to prevent this dread.

Then who are the Beneficiaries of the hype and panic about Swine flu that s in the air now? 

  • Pharmac companies(their anti viral drug will find more buyers now)
  • Media
  • Some Doctors(who are minting money now,as every patient even with a mild influenza will rush to the G.P. fearing it to be Swine flu.
  • Vaccine manufacturers.
Bottom Line:

  • Swine Flu is a mild disease ,the  best treatment for which is Prevention.
  • Scaring people through this media hype only serves to boost the sales of some drug companies and if the media stops reporting about this disease ,it will vanish by itself.
  • If you still want to worry about something,worry about AIDS or Tuberculosis.
  • And most importantly,not  a single case of swine flu detected worldwide is a definite diagnosis as no one in the world has done a titre analysis for Swine flu cases which is a time consuming proceedure.
  Written and posted by nikhimenon.2009.

The TITLE and the CONTENTS of this blog, are the intellectual property of the blogger, Nikhilesh Menon.. Please contact the blog owner for permission to use the contents herein.



Anonymous said...

good article

sukesh said...

This post was really useful for me.Thanks.

greeshma priya said...

hey nikhi...

loved yur blog! truly enlightening... hopefully more people would read this and be aware of the hype around swine flu...

Nikhil said...

Hey man, good article! Keep blogging

Akhilesh said...

Educative, Informative and most importantly helps us to realise that the media for the hunger for "Breaking News" has managed to rake up a Storm in Tea cup....
Bravo.... Keep it up Bro...!!
Email this article to maximum people....

xavier said...

swine flu! what s dat?

jaya said...

quite informative..keep goin nikhilesh

balu vn said...

gud one!

dr.mubarak said...

informative in laymans perspective..

nikhimenon said...

@ above all....

thanks for reading this post..hope it was informative.....

Jay said...

Thanks Nikhil,
really great hoax but not only swine flu, that community eradicate or eliminate the disease only the virus never die it changes in a new form So there is highest possibility that the HIV is a converted form of any virus.

Dr. Liz Miller said...

I agree with you - a useful and informative article
Thank you

angus said...

Common sense will prevail-hopefully

david said...

The thing is that, media s making a great fuzz abt this flu....they should stop that....

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nice said...

Never waste any opportunity to declare an emergency!

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DJBarton said...

Great, informative article. I thought the swine flu was a hoax when newspaper and tv ads pushed Tamiflu.

nikhimenon said...

thanks barton,for your valuable comment

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