Friday, April 24, 2009

The Plague

It's been sunny and warm here for a few months now. So it surprised me this morning to receive an email from our program director warning us about influenza--usually a cold winter disease--in the D.F. Then my seƱora knocked on my door and told me there had been many reports on the news about it, and to make sure I washed my hands and maintained good hygiene. On my run through the park, more than the usual amount of people were wearing face masks, including a father and his young daughter. Finally, the NYTimes filled me in on the recent Mexican outbreak of swine flu, with 57 deaths in Mexico City in recent weeks. According to the paper, "the deaths have presented a worrisome pattern because seasonal flus typically kill infants and old people, while pandemic flus — like the 1918 Spanish flu, and the 1957 and 1968 pandemics — often strike young, healthy people the hardest." The virus is apparently a mutation from North American swine, and it is now being labeled a "respiratory epidemic" by the nation's health minister. While I am not overly alarmed, the idea of leaving my health in the hands of the national government here does seem to be a cause for worry.

At the same time, of course, Berkeley is having a TB outbreak. You can't avoid all the diseases all of the time. I guess this is just a little reminder of how beholden to nature we still are. 

for more info see the NYTimes article

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