A few years back it was the bird flu which swept Asia, and this time around it’s the swine virus. It is believed that it has originated from Mexico, and there are no traces of it reaching here yet. Till now, around 11 countries with more than 400 people have been diagnosed with this flu. Logically, Pakistan should not be at risk, as we neither have the farming nor the consumption of pig, although there is a small amount of wild population of pigs in Pakistan, but this can be spread from the interaction, so any one coming here from the above mentioned 11 countries could bring this menace here. The WHO has raised the global alert to phase 5, just one below the critical stage of 6th.
The worst part is that it has been rumoured that the vaccine for this flu will be available after September this year, which is something to be worried about. Last night, against there previous traditions, authorities did take a notice and the Minister for Health was heard saying that Pakistan is ready for any worst case scenario. For the time being, a proper monitoring is required on all passengers, returning from abroad.
Lastly, seeing the suspense thrillers like Mission Impossible 2, one always feel like this is another drama by some big pharmaceutical company, to prove there hegemony. Well that’s not my version, that’s what they themselves portrayed in that. The worst Flu yet to have hit is believed to be Spanish Flu in 1918, which is believed to have killed around 5 million people, followed by the Asian Flu in early 1950’s, which killed around 2 million.
From history, back in 16th century, there is an event known as the “Black Death”. It started from a village near Rome. It was no more than the modern day measles, but at that time it is believed that in less than 50 years, it had claimed nearly half of the population of Europe. The most dramatic part of this episode was that the Holy Church, which was supreme at that time during Dark Ages, claimed that it was God’s curse, due to the black magic practiced by the Jews. On that note, whoever was found to be a Jew, they were burned to death publicly, and thousands died due to this.
For the time being, we hope that things will turn out better.
Image: John Fenzel