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back to article Swine flu will [enter scare words here]...

Several people in the UK have quite possibly got swine flu, but this doesn't necessarily mean the end of civilisation. Some of you might worry that the epidemic will swiftly carry away your comms services. The 'reasoning' goes something like this: the flu reaches epidemic proportions, offices close as our transport …

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Black Helicopters

the government says.....

A vaccine is being developed and should be ready by September. It will be given to frontline medical staff and then other groups depending on need

and you really believe them

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Bob Crowe

is positioning for his members to take vast amounts of time off work. This isn't a silver lining to the cloud, this is platinum! Whhey!

Just mention the words "Swine Flu", or even just "Sw" and Bob Crowe will start yelling "my members..."

Why doesn't Bob Crowe just admit he doesn't want "his" members to do a day of work?

Stubbed your toe, member? Call a strike.

Do something dangerous, member, and you were sacked? Call a strike.

Swine Flu symptoms, or just a cough, member? Cowabunga!!! We've hit the jackpot. All members will be on an indefinite strike until 10 years after the last case of flu in Tibet.

Bob Crowe makes me proud to be British. His inventiveness for doing nothing, and be paid for it, is simply the best in the world.

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Silver badge

A more likely scenario

All the hype is hugely overblown. S/F turns out to be just the same as normal, common-or-garden flu. However, brits - particularly the media, love nothing more than the prospect of doom, gloom and disaster. Everyone will phone in sick - claiming to have S/F and be told to

1) not go to the doctor - in case they infect more people

2) stay away from the office

which between them amounts to a malingerer's charter. I would expect some people to take a couple of weeks off as a sickie - then to do it again and again, every time the flu bug "transforms" into a new and worse variety. Then, once more for good measure with "normal" flu. And then every time after that whenever they get a slight sniffle.

Industry will realise that very few of the people who took time off sick are actually necessary to the smooth and efficient operation of their businesses. In fact, many companies will observe an increase in productivity, reduction in problems and general improvement in performance as all the crap employees exploit the system to the hilt and stay away - letting the motivated, talented staff get on with their jobs. (Just like they do in the period between xmas and new year - the absolute *best* time to get stuff done, without getting dragged into pointless meetings, having to waste time fixing idiots' problems and getting submerged in dumb problems from dumber users).

With luck, we could see a renaissance in british industry - with a lot more staff being asked to "work from home" (i.e. keep the hell out of the way, shut up, stay in bed and stop bothering the talent). Over time, these staff could be slowly moved into their own divisions of the organisations they "work" for and then sold off to an outsourcing operation, thus divesting the parent companies of "an entire useless third of the population".

All this panic in the media and consequent hypochondria and absenteeism could turn out to be the best thing that has happened to industry for a long time.

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Megaphone

Call Centre?

"This service is made up of a website and call centres which will quickly be able to tell members of the public whether they have swine flu."

Whether you will be able to understand a damn word they are saying is a different matter.

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Pint

"BT's network is ..."

BTwholesale's network is so overpriced that any ISP reliant on BTw to connect between ISP and end user (which is almost all of the medium and small ones) **is** going to be hard hit if there are significant sustained increases in usage (the "Centrals" is what I'm talking about). BT's much overhyped 21CN changes the topology somewhat but is still overpriced, and is running so late that only a tiny proportion of end users are using it (just ask AAISP and Entanet and...).

The LLU ISPs don't have overpriced Centrals to worry about, but they do have potential issues in the relatively short links that connect individual exchanges to their core networks. Some of these short links will be nowhere near capacity and will be OK, others will not be so lucky.

If there really is a sustained increase in demand, two classes of ISP (and their customers) might be in a good position: (1) those ISPs who have deliberately priced themselves at the high end in order to buy lots of Central capacity and keep lots of it spare for times like this (2) those who have implemented "traffic management" in a sensible way that allows them to distinguish between time critical and less time critical traffic and allocate bandwidth accordingly.

Let's see what we get.

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Megaphone

Vaccine

Of course it will be unlike the existing vaccine in that it won't have been rigorously tested before being injected into our mums, dads and kids.

However if we're lucky the State will take away the confusion by making it unlawful to refuse to be vaccinated, as the government of our American cousins is attempting to do.

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FAIL

Transport for London!

Hahaha, yeah right, honestly that place is a joke. Half of the departments are just contractors. With other contractors as their management.

I know of one IT related department which is so understaffed they can barely handle one person off sick at the moment, and even then the current staff have to falsify their hours as management refuse to sign off their true hours as it would blow their budgets.

I do know one non-contractor, and the hours they are expected to work (and then not be paid for) break quite a few employment laws, and probably some human rights ones!

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Rather like the existing flu jab...

...which is produced based on guess work as the time taken to produce enough means they have to decide what strain to fight against approx 10 months in advance of needing it... and we all know how good we are at predicting things!

Swine Flu... it's fun, i got a week off work lay in bed, quarantined... god it was dull!

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Big Brother

Swine flu will...

...make it easier for Terrorists to get into the UK and it's probably all an Al Qaeda plot anyway, so let us check your DNA for traces of flu, just go along to your local Police Station and while you're there, why not sign up for an ID card - Government Spokesman.

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Anonymous Coward

Vaccine is an illusion...........

that this criminally incompetent Labour Govt is spouting about in order to keep the masses happy in blissful ignorance UNTIL it is too late and the masses are on deaths door ,and/oror hopefully Labour has been voted out. . There is no way at all that the UK is going to get the Vaccine that is being promised, any idiot can see that. It is produced in the USA and they are not going to send it to save UK population when the USA is also wanting/needing it. As well , no wonder the manufacturers want indemnity against damages ,since the vaccine will likely kill as many as it cures as it is not being properly tested. Tell a lie, yes it is being "tested" on us in UK.

Also, the NHS has been offered some wonderful Portable Isolation Unit Hospital that are in form of large tents with proper and pukka air purification and approved by CDC. Why are they not

taking them and dealing with this rather than putting people in the hospital and infecting more people. Want to know more, nokta08@gmail.com

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Bronze badge

Normal flu versus swine flu...

And don't forget the number of people that die on the roads, and in hospital from infections they received there. (not just MRSA, everything. The numbers are far higher than you might expect!)

In comparison to those deaths that don't make the media, those that do (terrorism, swine flu etc) are completely insignificant. The only reason for them banging on about them is petty scaremongering designed to get people to buy their papers. Thankfully el reg takes a more sensible, balanced view and its nice to see it explicitly addressed in an article!

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WTF?

Sorry the page you are looking for cannot be found

Well, tried the NHS symptom checker and got error 404

No wonder so many people think they have it

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Joke

Oh no it's the end of the world..

Correction - merely the Aporkalypse.

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Symptom checker

The link doesn't work. This one does though.

http://haveigotswineflu.co.uk/ (NSFW)

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Alert

Good oh..

Oooh, big scary overhyped hamthrax might infect our workers but we'll still all be able to look at online pron...

I suspect network availability might actually go up if they stop buggering about with it.

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Pint

Hmm...

3 days left of work before 6 weeks holiday then starting a new job in September.

Oh dear I've developed a cough. My throat is rather soar. My nose is runny after fixing that dusty PC. Better call in sick, thanks swine flu *cough* err I mean ugh can't...get...out...of bed...feel rough...swine...flu??

Beer icon cus that's the only fluid my body will receive for the next 6 weeks.

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Joke

What next?

'What happens next will be clear to anyone who's seen 28 Days Later...'

A poor quality sequel? H1N2 maybe?

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Bronze badge

Wait

I thought SARs was suppose to wipe me out

I want to know why this flu is more lethal in Mexico. With Mexico being so close to the USA you think they would see the same results If you are going to say the USA has better health care look Guatemala. Is next door to Mexico and does not have the same death rate. Not sound cruel, but more people have died from the regular flu t hen people that have been infected with swine flu. You want me to panic? Let me know when its killed 300 people in on week, in one city.

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Silver badge

A theory...

"The busiest time for internet usage in the UK is early on Sunday evening, when average speeds can fall as much as 25 per cent."

The Top Gear Effect?

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FAIL

Short Sighted

Of course the spread of this will be greatly aided by the idiotic practice of punsihing sickness certified by a GP as unauthorised absence. Ive lost count of the number of work places I have seen where staff fearful of attendance sanctions pass sickness around by refusing to stay away when they are clearly sick.

British management, so short-sighted it is positively myopic.

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Silver badge

Scare flu vaccine ...... it's as good as printing money for the drugs pushers.

"Of course it will be unlike the existing vaccine in that it won't have been rigorously tested before being injected into our mums, dads and kids. .... By Alex 26 Posted Sunday 19th July 2009 10:50 GMT

A comment which is supported here ..... http://cryptogon.com/?p=9960?

Does anyone remember Thalidomide, which was another wonder to save the world ... "Thalidomide was found to act as an effective tranquiliser and painkiller and was proclaimed as a "wonder drug" for insomnia, coughs, colds and headaches." .... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide

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Silver badge

@AC 11:36 GMT

The vaccine is being developed in Germany.

Would you like to get paranoid in a different direction now?

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Silver badge
Go

@AC

It's not only made in the US. The Company that holds the patent is swiss, although it's parent company is admittedly American. However in 2005 the company - Roche - agreed to license the patent out to other companies, partially as a response to demands from various Doctors.

Tamiflu is no new development, so it should have been quite well tested. Obviously it's gotta be adjusted for the new strain of flu, but it should be no more harmful than it normally is. Remember that it is a vaccine and not an immunisation, there's a huge difference between the two!

That said, the company does have a bit of a history of anti-trust abuse, so not the nicest company to be relying on for the future of mankind! But I doubt the situation you suggest is actually going to present itself.

As for the tents, I don't know the answer, but perhaps they don't meet the required standard. You say that CDC have approved them, but perhaps the NHS have different considerations. More likely it probably is in the process of being approved, and just has to get through the many miles of red tape.

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Silver badge

Swine flu is a media event.

Even the perpetually money-grubbing folks at the World Health Organization are no longer tracking cases and/or deaths from Swine Flu anymore. The data is lost in regular flu statistics, to the point of being meaningless noise.

In other words, nothing to see here. Move along, all. Unless you enjoy helping the media sell razor blades, tampons & beer ... in which case, feel free to be afraid of your own shadow.

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Grenade

Read on.

Did anyone else notice that the news of Swine Flu in Mexico hit the headlines about 4-6 weeks after the Government sponsored TV advert hit ITV. (the one with the people in the lift).

Seems quite strange to me for an advert about flu to appear on TV at the close of spring.

I wonder what it is that the UK population is not being told about the origins of Swine Flu.

Furthermore, whilst it has been reported that healthy people have now passed away from Swine Flu, why weren't the population informed of the type of underlying health problems that those who first passed away from Swine Flu had? It may not matter some, but shouldn't others with underlying health problems be made aware that they are potentially at greater risk of dying from Swine Flu?

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Black Helicopters

unbelievable

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8157842.stm

Looks like they want use to catch it

who'd a thought it, maybe they want a "large" number of the population to die

Naaa couldn't be..... could it?

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Boffin

"several people" "possibly"!?

As of July 6th, the WHO reported 7447 laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 in the UK - the fourth-highest total of any country. While the mortality rate of the current strain is relatively low, it is astonishingly infectious: "In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks." (WHO) And that's outside the regular flu season. Compared to regular flu, it penetrates deeper into the lungs, causing more damage and making it more likely to cause pneumonia. The real concern is what happens when it mixes with seasonal flu strains or H5N1 'bird flu', which is often fatal but doesn't spread easily. By this time next year, I would not be surprised to see a fast-spreading strain with a 5 or 10% mortality rate.

As for the vaccine, many commenteers clearly need their tinfoil hats adjusted.

All that said, John Oates is correct that this will not cause the collapse of civilization.

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Go

Survivalist? Sure, for a few weeks

AC @11:36: sir, you are blithering. Please take a cold shower and reassess your comment. Believe or not, not *everything* that happens in the news is a symptom of "Nu Labour" incompetence or corruption. I wish a few more commentards would do as I have just done and invest in a box set of the complete "Yes, Minister" / "Yes, Prime Minister", and reflect upon the distinction between the /government of the day/ and the /State/. Thank-you.

Now, my main point: it is exactly the self-fulfilling prophesy nature of the modern fast-news cycle media reporting on incipient panic that motivated me to quietly accumulate 4-6 weeks food & drink supplies, plus a wind-up radio and light, camping stove, purification tabs etc. (It's all useful stuff to have, anyway, for lots of different scenarios. E.g.: I'm in the country, and out here 12 hour power outages are an annual event; I was in North Cornwall at the time of Lightmoor; I remember the 3-day week; et cetera. ) The worst that can happen is that I will turn out to have been a little over-paranoid in six or twelve months' time. Top tip: get a couple of cartons of ciggies in your stash, even if you don't smoke. If modern JIT inventory supply chain management suffers cascading failures as some suspect when people stop turning up for work, 20 Marlboro will be worth a lot more than their weight in gold... ;)

That said, I'm not really doing anything that could cope with a semi-permanent breakdown of social order. Firstly I think it's pretty unlikely - there are more back-channels and informal local networks than many suburbanites would expect. Secondly, the prep needed to see out more than 4-6 weeks' self-sufficiency would be impractical - too big, too expensive. Finally, I can't be bothered.

So, bring it on, I say. Nothing sweeter than saying "I told you so" to people who were laughing at me a month or two back :)

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FAIL

Yabbut

It's all moot. As soon as someone shouts "think about the children" we're all lost.

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Alert

We are doomed!!!

Link from El Reg ..

http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/FluSAT/P2.htm

gives...

We’re sorry, the page you are looking for cannot be found

It might have been removed, had its name changed, or be temporarily unavailable.

Please try the following:

Check the spelling of the address you typed.

Click the back button to try another link.

Use the search facility to look for a specific topic.

Or click on one of the links below to visit our most popular pages:

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Jobs and careers at NHS Direct

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Common health questions (NHS Choices)

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... make you as sick as a pig

or, will give you a curly tail?

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Silver badge

It's started...

Just tried to follow the article link to the symptom checker - it 404's - has the virus crossed from swine to humans to computers? Is this the start of the apocalypse? Keep calm and carry on...

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Megaphone

The flue is. ...

I had the flu twice. Here in Melbourne, Australia it's winter and we have the most swine flu in Australia.

It's like the regular flu, with a bit of stuffy head and some body ache. Drink some hot lemon tea, and have some echinacia.

The only people it has actually killed were people with PRE-EXISTING SEVERE medical conditions. It's just like the regular flu, which also kills people with weak immune systems.

And no, I wasn't hugging (or anything else) any piggies

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Silver badge

Now I'm worried

"It kills about 1,500 people in the UK every winter - but of course that is dull old people flu,..."

I'm a dull, old person :(

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Silver badge
Alien

Changing the Great Game Paradigm ..... :-) Circus Rules

"Swine flu will ..... make it easier for Terrorists to get into the UK and it's probably all an Al Qaeda plot anyway,... ".... By Graham Marsden Posted Sunday 19th July 2009 11:12 GMT

Yes, it most probably definitely does and is, Graham, which surely then easily identifies the Spinning Phantom Menace as being the Establishment itself trying to maintain Chaotic Disorder to head off Public Oversight and Discovery of Private Sector Rule of Nations and their Natural Resources.

In an Age when Man was not so easily "globally connected", one can certainly understand the need for a few bright sparks to take over the running of things, but to not imagine that the situation will evolve to introduce even brighter and more enlightened Great Game Players to help run things Better and Differently/More Equitably, is a Failing of Human Intelligence which Novel Computer Programmers uncover/discover and would QuITe Naturally Exploit 42 Fix.

So to all those who would think that they run/were running things, simply find yourself a Novel Computer Programmer who would be able to discover and uncover flaws which are quite naturally exploited and fixed. Invariably Always does the exploitation easily pay for the Fix making IT a Seamless Invisible Stealthy Operation ..... which for all that you may ever know, is an SIS Operation too in these Post Modern Binary Manipulation of Human Perception times.

Certainly Thames House and the Po Box 1300, SE1 1BD, Funny Farm Crowds are au fait with ITs Virtual Drive AIMachinery, although they may be characteristically coy, to the point of implausible denial of such information and knowledge/Intelligence,in acknowledging and admitting that, which would have one then asking .... "Are the Intelligence Services working as they should be, Leading?"

Obviously, the Alien View would be that they are failing abominably in such cases and thus will the Failing be QuITe Naturally Exploited to be Fixed. And it is a something of a Catastropic Oversight not to have the Program already In House and Default, which is probably exactly the sort of thing that a Cyber Security Officer would be AIMajoring in. It is certainly something they will be encountering in and on their Virtual Travels/Travails.

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FAIL

....at least it's not avian flu

...the real nasty type, with the 30-40% mortality rate. That's what's going thru my mind as I watch these wholly inadequate measures being taken by the health authorities.If this were a dress rehearsal for H5N1, ...well , fail seems inadequate.

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FAIL

Is this Flu 2.0?

After all...

- It doesn't live up to the hype

- It's interactive

- It's free because no-one will pay for it

- It makes you spew complete rubbish from both ends

- It has a disproportionate effect on the young

- Everyone in your circle of friends will inevitably get it and tell you about it endlessly

- The name is ridiculous

- Government ministers don't "get it", but talk as if they do

- The CBI doesn't get it either, but claims it will cost [insert fantasy number here] per day to the UK economy anyway

- It doesn't make a profit (unless you're Big Pharma)

- It has otherwise rational people discussing it endlessly

- It has absolutely no use at all, except providing an excuse not to work (unless you're an epidemiologist or member of an 'end of the world' christian cult like the CoE)

- You have to be a bit low on brains to actually want it

- ITV gives it more airtime than the BBC

- The bug fix won't be out for months and may not work anyway

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If H1N1 follows 1918 pattern...

The people that survive will be two groups:

1. The one in 6 people that qualify for the vaccine. (USA figures)

2. Those lucky enough to get infected now while the virus is still fairly mild.

The reason humans shake hands and kiss is to spread cold and flu viruses as soon as possible so that natural immunity is transferred.

The more we prevent the spread now, the more people will get the deadly version when^H^H^H^H if it emerges next winter.

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Boffin

Sure there is vaccine

To all those paranoid crackpots going on about how there is not going to be a vaccine: there is, a friend of mine (here in The Netherlands) is working on it.

A lot of different companies around the world are working on it. And why wouldn't they be, the potential for profit is huge (given the hysteria). And they do it every year as it is (it is not like it is really harder to produce a vaccine for this flu, then it is for the normal yearly influenza strains).

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Happy

@Pete 2

Re: "an entire useless third of the population"

You do know what happened to the Golgafrinchans who remained on Golgafrinchan don't you?

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Alert

All aboard the 'B' Ark

"other groups depending on need"

These groups wouldn't by any chance include MPs, senior civil servants and the like?

I for one would welcome 600+ by-elections

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WTF?

@ Ben Tasker

Why the mention of Tamiflu? Tamiflu is an anti-viral drugs that used to treat the symptoms of flu; it is not a cure nor a vaccine. This is also an area where the population are being greatly mislead.

People are asking for Tamiflu when they don't need it, thinking it will stop them from getting flu (which it won't).

Also, nobody is being told that taking Tamiflu when you symptoms are at their worst can actually make you feel even worse. The only benefit of Tamiflu is that your recovery time will be reduced by 12 - 24 hours

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Silver badge

@John G Imrie

Re Golgafrinchans

Oh, yes. Indeed I do. However this bug is being spread by the media (part of the one-third) rather than by telephone.

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Anonymous Coward

@Anonymous Coward - Vaccine is an illusion...........

The illusory vaccine for the UK is being produced in by GSK in County Durham, England, not the USA.

Are you confusing it with an anti-viral by any chance.

http://www.teesdalemercury.co.uk/teesdale-news/story,2149.html

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Stop

Don't be IDIOTS!

It's to be expected that the commenters on here will demonstrate bravado and a "brave" lack of concern when they are not in the "at risk" categories.

I suspect that their casual attitudes and lack of concern would rapidly change if they found themselves or their nearest and dearest in one of those categories.

The thing is, these people don't see past their own blinkered view and their idiotic " I'm alright, therefore everyone must be the same as me" attitude.

What about the people you know that are in the risk categories, what about people you know who are pregnant, what about kids under the age of 6 that you come into contact with. What about Dave at work who has asthma? what about Dave's wife who is pregnant? What about Sue at work that has a 2 year old kid?

It's not a joke, the govermnent is predicting up to 65,000 deaths this flu season, compare that with the 6,000 that we usually get, these estimates are only with one third of the population contracting the virus.

The government is very concerned that "mass panic" or as I prefer to call it "people making informed decisions to do something about it" will cause a disruption to the workforce.

All the government is concerend about is making sure everyone carries on going to work and the cogs keep turning. They don't give a crap about individuals, this is the reason they are making out that it isn't such a problem when they should be informing people about the hard truth and giving them the information they need to make informed decisions.

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@ The flue is. ...

Rob

I doubt you had swine flu twice. You'd be immune after the first bout.

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Big Brother

load of balls

recently both my wife and son (8yrs) have been diagnosed with swine flu. At first there was a bit of worry, they both were perscribided tamiflu and i was sent to a local clinic to pick it up. The clinic looked like a scene out of outbreak with loads of plastic sheeting about and cloured zones that marked out where people could and could not go. Getting home they both had slight temps (just over 100degF) and had the other symptoms of a slight flu, but nothing there to worry about. When reqading the side effects of the tamiflu, which were especially bad for minors we dec ided not to give our lad it at all. Now 4 days on and our lad is almost perfectly well and chompin at the bit to get out of the house and play, while my wife who took the tamiflu is still feeling terrible. She has no flu symptoms, but is exibiting almost the side effects of tamiflu which are pretty bad. now there a few things that i have noticed

1. the expiry of the tamiflu is only a few months away, and looking into it the government had a massive incentive a few years back to stockpile it to "save~" us all from the bird flu. Are they simply pushing out a drug that should be reserved for serious flu, because they have stockpiled to much of the stuff a few years ago

2. The medical instutions are just pandering to media hype of the situation, even our GP admitted to me that there is whold lot of over-reaction going on. This so far is a very mild variant of the flu virus, and its going to take a major mutation before it gets serious.

3. The government is simply using swine flu as an instrument to proove to us that they "care" and that they have the ability to be "pro-active" in resolving a "global pandamic". While in reality they are aiding in spreading panic (isn't that the goal of terrorism?) and wasting away precous recources of our already streched NHS, and the so called opposition parties are guilty of exactly the same thing

-4. really this is a non event

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Anonymous Coward

lol

it all reminds me of something I saw way back when it all just started -

"I haz eats burgers haz I gotz swine flu naow?"

"I fell down the stairs and now I can see a white thing sticking out of my arm, is this swine flu?"

"No that's aids - wait what did you say you were doing to a pig?"

so on and so forth - seems we're more or less still in the same place.

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Stop

@sleepy_chicken

I was wondering about that Tamiflu comment myself, there is a big misconception that Tamiflu prevents you getting the flu, which it blatantly doesn't.

The trouble with Tamiflu being given out so soon, when it isn't necessary, is that if the virus starts developing resistance to Tamiflu, then mutates into a stronger strain with higher mortality rates there will be no effective treatment for the new strain.

I could understand them giving it out when the health authorities were at the 'stopping transmission' stage, but it's gone beyond that now so why are they still giving it out like it is a cure-all?

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Joke

Comared to the normal number of flu deaths....

This year isn't really any worse.

The media just seem intent on scaring us with stories about the upcoming "snoutbreak" that's going to kill us all.

It's a load of porky pies if you ask me!

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