Aug 03 2006

Whatever happened to Bird Flu?

Published by at 12:01 pm under Media,Politics

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A friend far longer established in the blogging community than I told me last week that the first post in a blog is always the most difficult. So I shall make this brief, and resist the urge to kick off with an inevitably awkward and uninteresting “about me” post. What I will say is hi, welcome, thanks for dropping by. As this blog evolves, it will bring you my thoughts on anything from technology to politics, the PR industry to parenthood, and who knows what else along the way.

Bird Flu. Not so long ago we were all being told to prepare for an “Avian Influenza Pandemic” that had governments scurrying to stockpile arguably useless vaccines, corporates channeling huge amounts of effort and resource into their Avian Influenza Crisis Management Strategy (that’s a “bird ‘flu plan”), and individuals left wondering exactly when and to what extent we should start to panic. Lock up your children, bird ‘flu’s a-comin’!

So where is it?

Well according to it’s alive and well in Asia, with new cases and the odd human death being reported in Indonesia and Thailand, while Big Pharma Inc presses ahead with the development of the cures and vaccines that will keep their shareholders and pension funds in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. But where’s the coverage? Where’s the panic?

The short answer, of course, is that it’s just not news any more. Israel’s adventures in Lebanon, and allegations of UK and US intransigence and complicity, dominate this week’s front pages. Before that it was the storm in John Prescott’s accountability teacup, and next week it’ll be something else.

I doubt we’ll see bird ‘flu in the headlines again until more cases are discovered in Western Europe. In the meantime, as H5N1 steadfastly refuses to cross the species barrier, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Sit back, relax, stick Sky on and watch live as Beirut crumbles, Iraq descends into civil war and the once oh-so-promising Labour government continues to slowly – and sadly – implode.

At least we haven’t all got bird ‘flu.

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