(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 30, 2009
How the Swine Flu Spread
IT was Fidel Castro in one of his �Reflections� who brought to the attention of the world the fact that the Mexican authorities kept the spread of the H1NI virus a secret for a critical period of time. The reason the Mexican authorities did so was to ensure that the visit of the American president, Barak Obama to their country in mid April went ahead as scheduled. The Associated Press had reported that �Obama�s April 16 visit came a week before Mexican officials announced that Swine Flu was spreading, prompting an eventual mass shutdown that brought many parts of the country to a virtual halt�. The news agency in the same report quoted from an article in the reputed journal �Science� that suggested that the epidemic could have started �anywhere between November 3 to March 2�.
in another of his �Reflections� delved on the article in �Science�
had concluded that the symptoms of the swine flu were already appearing
March, five weeks before the official announcement about the outbreak
of the epidemic.
�A study published in the journal Science estimated
In the last week of April, the WHO director general, Margaret Chan, declared that the swine flu was a full fledged pandemic. She said that in such a scenario, �all of humanity is under a threat�. In July, the WHO said that two billion of the world�s population could be affected by H1N1 in the next two years. According to the organisation, the swine flu virus has spread to 160 countries in the last four months. Many scientific bodies and medical professionals disagreed with the WHO�s classification of the H1N1 virus as a �pandemic�. They also felt that the world body was over-reacting to the swine flu outbreak.
The 1918 flu had killed 30-50 million people worldwide but at the time the general populace had no access to medicines and hygienic conditions world wide were abysmal. Two million people died in the 1957 flu epidemic. Between two to three million people died in the 1968 outbreak. On an average, 250,000 to 500,000 people die every year during the flu season. In fact, every year, other diseases claim more human casualties. The WHO estimates that a million people die of malaria and two million from AIDS, every year.
wrote the articles after the Mexican president Felipe Calderon
scheduled official visit to
FOR SPREADING THE VIRUS
H1N1 virus first broke out in the community of La Gloria in the state
Cruz. The local media dubbed it the �NAFTA flu� because the area is
next to an
American owned pig farm that was relocated to
to many experts, the virus spread rapidly because of the free movement
and labour in the region, facilitated by the NAFTA agreement between
the recently concluded �Three Amigos� summit of the three North
VACCINES TO BE
OUT OF REACH
FOR POOR NATIONS
April 11, the Pan-American Health Organisation�s Watch Group asked the
health ministry to verify an alleged outbreak of influenza in the
La Gloria, emphasising that it could pose a significant international
risk. But the Mexican authorities seem to have given a higher priority
visit of the new American president, his first to a neighbouring
taking over. Mexican officials have admitted to the media that their
was left alone to tackle the epidemic despite claims to the contrary by
three leaders assembled in
There are growing demands that the three North American countries should form a commission to enquire whether the big pig farms owned by multinationals, like the one in La Gloria, could in the future incubate even more lethal viruses. Mexican officials said that there was no trilateral strategy to confront the epidemic despite its �ground zero� discovery in La Gloria. No independent analysis was done by experts of the three countries of the pigs and the general hygienic conditions at the multinational owned farm.
residents of La Gloria had been complaining for a long time about the
pools of pig excrement and toxic chemical left unattended in their
neighbourhood by the company. More than 30 per cent of the people
the pig plant had come down with flu-like symptoms. The mortality rates
region as a result of the H1N1 infections were initially higher in