Looking at what Plagues the Human Race

Transmission electron micrograph of influenza ...

Image via Wikipedia

2009 Influenza A virus (H1N1 Swine Flu)

  • 18,129 cases
  • 119 deaths
  • 0.65% fatality

2002/3 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

  • 8, 273 cases
  • 775 deaths
  • 9.3% fatality

2003 – 2009 Avian Influenza (H5N1 Bird Flu)

  • 431 cases
  • 262 deaths
  • 61% fatality

Above are 3 global epidemics that hit us in recent years. Looking at the numbers, the fatality rate of H1N1 seems rather laughable compared to SARS and Bird Flu and noted to be only slightly higher than seasonal flu. In addition to the fact that H1N1 can be treated with a regime of commercial anti-virals such as Tamiflu and Relenza, like many I start to wonder if we’re all paranoid or under misdirection by some cleverly weaved PR to take our attention away from the economic crisis or something.

influenza-2009-cases

So the pondering let to some Googling and Wikipedia work which cumulated to this entry. I think the most important factor we need to look at is the timeline, where SARS and Bird Flu took its toll over the course of a few years, there are already 18 thousand cases of Swine Flu in just 2 and half months if we take the first case to be on 18 March.

Further reading gives me greater concern. The elderly, the young and those with underlying medical conditions are particular susceptible; it also causes complications in pregnancy such as “spontaneous abortion and premature rupture of membranes“.

While the global death toll seems to have stabilised, the number of cases has recently spiked so we can’t be complacent. As said in a previous entry, I’m not trying to create panic but highlight the dense population of Singapore makes it a good candidate for any potential virus outbreak so we can’t let our guard down yet. Practice good hygiene, seek medical attention if you’re unwell, take preventive measures.