Just days ago I was watching an interview with a guy on The Daily Show, who, like most of their guests, was flogging a book. His was called “Dread: How Fear and Fantasy have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to the Avian Flu“:
Even at our most level-headed, the thought of an epidemic can inspire terror. As Philip Alcabes persuasively argues in Dread, our anxieties about epidemics are created not so much by the germ or microbe in question—or the actual risks of contagion—but by the unknown, the undesirable, and the misunderstood.
I’m amazed at how timely it seems, given in the few days since, the swine flu has appeared.
So far in this part of the world, only the 10 NZ students have confirmed cases, with most of them already recovered. Their samples were processed at the Melbourne lab of the World Health Organisation, I wouldn’t be surprised if (for once) the media were staked out at a bio lab somewhere.
Let’s not panic unduly, people.
Oh, and can I point out that I’ve had this cough for weeks, and I’ve never been to Mexico.