Swine flu or summer hype?

Swine flu continues to dominate much of the media. While the general public seem to be stoically ignoring the whole flu crisis, the papers are grabbing any remotely newsworthy development they can in a desperate attempt to fill pages during the summer’s usual dearth of real news.

The Volkskrant’s front page story on Monday points out rather disappointedly that there is no sign of any ‘hysteria Mexicana’ (most of the Dutch media still insist on calling the virus Mexican flu) in Holland and that the impact of the pandemic will largely be economic.
The paper goes on to tell us that a British insurance firm has calculated that Holland tops the list (after Britain) of countries where an epidemic is most likely…
The NRC meanwhile reports that the authorities have decided not to give swine flu special treatment. As from now patients will be treated in the same way as anyone with ordinary flu, it reports rather sternly.
Nevertheless, the paper goes on to report that the health minister intends to have a vaccination available for the whole population by October or November, quoting a radio interview with Ab Klink at the weekend. ‘Just to be on the safe side’, the minister is reported to have said.
Further in the article, we are told that most patients who get swine flu will only suffer (muscle pain, fever, blocked nose) for two to seven days.
And then, just as we are feeling a lot better, the NRC comes up with information from professor Jaap van Dissel from Leiden’s teaching hospital.
He tells the paper that people with swine flu will no longer be automatically given the anti-virus drug Tamiflu because between 20 and 30 patients out of 200 get ‘serious side effects’ . Very comforting.
Luckily the AD newspaper decided not to join in the hype. Instead it devotes a whole commentary to the subject under the title ‘flu alarm greatly exaggerated’…

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