scary virus epidemics

JARDINE P F3CM at UNB.CA
Thu Nov 3 08:12:17 EST 1994


There have been a number of postings lately about emergent viral strains
and how they threaten us. Concern over this subject bothers me for two
reasons.
1) It shows how biased we are in Western culture regarding how disease
is working in the world. Every year 2.5 million people contract malaria
and of these 250,000 die. Emerging strains of influenza, a nuisance to
us in the "modern" world, kill thousands on there trip from China or
Indonesia. But we put emphasis on a few deaths from hanta or elbola?
I think our priorities are a little screwy. Selfish at best.
2) This whole deal about lethal viral strains shows our ignorance about
the biology of these bugs in the first place. In the absence of real
understanding or at least respectful understanding of these
pathogens, we allow the media and ourselves to make these events seem
drastic and exciting. New viral and bacterial pathogens will continue
to emerge as long as we're on this planet. They do not spell doom. They
are as much a part of the system as we are.

By the way, nothing we might try to create or accidentally turn loose
from a lab can beat the reservoir of disease natures been hiding.

fight the hype
PJ Jardine




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