Friday, July 29, 2005

[geek][politics] This is the end, beautiful friend

This is the end My only friend, the end Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end No safety or surprise, the end I'll never look into your eyes...again
No, I'm not stopping my blogging... Rather, Jim Morrison's apocalyptic lyrics (and the psychotic visual montage from the 'final' Marburg virus outbreak in the TV series Millenium) immediately came to mind when I read about the increasing death toll in China from a swine-'flu' outbreak. I wish I could believe the Chinese that it is under control, but unfortunately they don't seem to have learned anything from the SARS outbreak. Lying, for instance, about using antivirals meant for humans to prophylactically treat poultry against the HN51 bird flu. From the BBC link:
Transfer to humans is rare - which makes the Sichuan mortality rate alarming. Also of concern is the authorities' silence on the deaths. It knew of the first cases on 24 June but it only allowed the story out on 25 July. In addition, this province is China's largest pig centre, producing over 50m swine annually. But it took over three weeks to identify the pig disease. The Sichuan government stresses larger breeding farms are not infected, and that pig meat bound for the market place is safe. In the affected region, billboards still boast that this is a national model of a disease-free zone.
Why don't I believe them? And I don't find it comforting that when the pandemic comes, the PRC will be among the hardest countries hit due to government corruption and coverups instead of effective public-health policy and actions. Not comforting at all.


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