Dramatic breaking news from the never hysterical Rupert Murdoch online media portal, news.com.au :
Good God! Triple! Within a matter of days. This is out of control. Is it now time to salt the corpses of your neighbours for post-pandemic survival rations? Before any of us do anything that drastic, let's go to the story :
Australia now has three confirmed cases of swine flu.
Well, the headline was true. There was one confirmed case of an Australian becoming infected with HumanBirdPig Flu, and now there's two more.
So yes, HumanBirdPig Flu cases in Australia have tripled, they have, in fact, soared 300%.
Headline hit baiting at its best.
UPDATE : Just a quick note to point out that I'm not mocking the people who are sick with swine flu, but the senational nature of the reporting. This can be an extremely nasty flu, and small children in particular who get it are going to feel extremely unwell, and going on what has happened elsewhere in the world, some of those children will die from the virus.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I believe that hundreds if not thousands of Australians have already caught ManBirdPig Flu, but wrote off the symptoms as 'normal' influenza, or a particularly nasty case of the flu they catch most years, and didn't seek medical attention.
The majority of Australians do not go to the doctor or hospital when they catch the influenza strains that pass amongst us every year around this time.
This means that a few dozen who had ManBirdPig Flu did not feel ill enough to stay home or go to a doctor, and ended up spreading it amongst friends and family and fellow commuters.
Short of a major mutation and/or a further melding of this virus with other influenza viruses, like H5N1 (bird flu), I don't think ManBirdPig Flu is going to wipe out hundreds of thousands of people here. But it will probably claim a few hundred lives, or more, before our immune systems learn how to fight it, and adapt to its presence in the flutopia of viruses and bacteria our bodies are continually at war against.
UPDATE : According to a "sensitive but unclassified" May 19 report from the US Centre For Disease Control, 64% of all confirmed or probable ManBirdPig Flu cases in the US occurred in people aged 5 - 24 years old. This is a New Flu that attacks the immune systems of the young and healthy.