Alright, I promise I won’t turn this into “swine flu blog” but I thought I might do a little commentary on the news as it stands worldwide. According to the latest WHO update, swine flu has caused about 25 deaths in Mexico (out of 590 confirmed cases). Worldwide there are a total of 985 cases that have resulted in a grand total of … 26 deaths (one was in the US). That’s about a 2.6% death rate — before counting the extenuating circumstances that probably lead to a higher death rate in Mexico (poverty leading to poor health care and late detection).
So the new H1N1 is no where near as bad as the hype surrounding it. So why do we have Egypt killing all pigs in the country, China detaining Mexican citizens even if they haven’t been to Mexico in the past months, and of course, the latest in useless, unhelpful measures — this:
Rusia prohíbe la importación de productos porcinos españoles
Russia Prohibits importation of Spanish pork products
El Gobierno ruso ha decido prohibir la importación de carne de cerdo española y de sus derivados debido al brote de gripe A/H1N1, también denominada como nueva gripe, y que ha provocado 20 muertos en todo el mundo, según ha informado el servicio federal de supervisión veterinaria y fitosanitaria de Rusia (Rosselkhoznadzor). Rusia es el mayor importador de productos porcinos españoles después de la Unión Europea y representa el 5% de las exportaciones totales.
The Russian government has decided to prohibit the importation of Spanish pig meat and its derivitives due to the outbreak of A/H1N1 flu, also designated as a new flu, and that has caused 20 deaths in the entire world, according to the federal service of veterinary and phytosanitary supervision in Russia (Rosselkhoznadzor). Russia is the largest importer of Spanish pork products after the European Union and represents 5% of total exports.
A little more information shows it’s not totally done without thought:
“Desde el 2 de mayo se prohíbe la importación al territorio de la Federación de Rusia de cerdos vivos, carne de cerdo y sus derivados que no hayan sido procesados térmicamente (temperaturas no inferiores a 80 grados centígrados durante no menos de 30 minutos) para todo el territorio español, considerado segunda zona de riesgo”, ha precisado el regulador ruso en su comunicado.
“From May 2 the importation to the territory of the Russian Federation of live pigs, pork and it’s derivatives that have not ben themally processed (tempratures no lower than 80 degrees Centigrade for no less than 30 minutes) will be prohibited for all Spanish territory, considered the second risk zone,” specified the Russian regulator in its communiqué.
(Please forgive me if the translations are a little rough. I was doing this very quickly.)
Live pigs I can see, as they can be carriers. Thermal treating I could see for other reasons, not so much for swine flu. As far as I understand, you don’t want to try raw pig anyway — there are much more dangerous pathogens, but since the flu virus lives in the respiratory system — and most people don’t eat raw pig lungs — I don’t quite get this ruling. In any case, the whole “end-of-the-world pandemic” scenario is fast losing its scare-factor. Hopefully soon we can forget about H1N1 for a while and get on with our lives.