To Be Confirmed

Posts Tagged ‘swine flu

There was a guide to swine flu in the Guardian today (page 11 – not available online) compiled in conjunction with the British Medical Journal. It was informative and the advice it offered was sound.

Under the ‘Prevention’ section of the guide it read as follows;

There’s no good evidence that wearing masks will protect you against swine flu. The evidence we found, which comes from the 2003 Sars (sic) outbreak, said masks in clinics and hospitals worked well. But it didn’t look at wearing masks in everyday life, for example on the street or public transport.

This guide was accompanied by a massive picture of a civilian wearing a mask. COME ON! Even if this person had swine flu, which from the picture you can’t tell, did it not occur to the picture editor that this particular picture is perhaps slightly inappropriate and misleading given the information in the text? Did they not read the article? 


The media is going crazy over this swine flu thing at the moment. I personally think everybody needs to calm down.

There is no doubt that S-OIV H1N1 can be dangerous but it is important to keep a little sense of perspective on the subject. Data at this stage can be misleading but at the moment, according to a paper recently published by the British Medical Journal, this is a disease which has a case-fatality ratio similar to seasonal flu (around 0.5%).   

Anyway, if you do want more information about Swine Flu it is best to go to a reputable source, don’t take it from the papers or the TV, or me for that matter. Here are a couple of great resources for all your swine flu needs;

The NHS run a fantastic service called Behind The Headlines which “provides an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news.” Or health stories without the bull shit.

This is their page on Swine Flu.

If you want to delve further and you don’t have access to medical journals then I suggest you check out The Lancet’s page on swine flu (emphasis mine).

“The Lancet‘s H1N1 Resource Centre is the result of a collaborative effort by the editors of over 40 Elsevier-published journals and 11 learned societies who have agreed to make freely available on this site any relevant content. All papers have been selected by a Lanceteditor, grouped by topic and fulltext pdfs made available to download free of charge.”    

What more could you ask for? Here’s a link!


Ben Goldacre just linked to this article on his twitter page. Having critised the media in this post, credit where credit is due.