Sunday, December 04, 2005

This is supposed to quiet a sensationalistic media?

Brad Plumer points to an article by Michael Fumento about the media overblowing the risk at which a possible human-to-human-transmissible avian flu would put the world. The point he makes over and over again is that we really don't know what the risk is, and it's quite a good point. Further on, however, he aims to portray the Spanish Flu as a lot more benign than most people think. I was a little disquieted by this, none the less:

True, no retelling of those horrible days is without anecdotes of apparently healthy young people simply dropping dead, such as the man who boarded the trolley car feeling fine only to leave in the company of the grim reaper. But even these probably didn't die from a direct attack of the virus, writes Barry. Rather, "victims' lungs were being ripped apart . . . from the attack of the immune system on the virus."

Fantastic! It's not the virus killing people, but their immune systems. No problem!

I may be mistaken, but don't you end up dead either way? Lots of very nasty viruses (including ebola) are nasty because of the same overzealousness on the part of a patient's immune system. I may be crazy, but I don't find the comparison between avian flu and the disease which makes blood pour out of your every orifice until you expire very comforting.

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