The Wild Microbial World

There has been a lot of talk about the Swine Flu, (er, I mean, H1N1) lately, but it hasn’t turned out to be the big bad pandemic the world had begun preparing for. Although there have now been cases discovered in almost every state , it has not been shown to be any more dangerous than any other flu. Acccording to the CDC, about 36,000 people die of flu-related causes each year.

“Worldwide, the number of deaths attributed to the flu each year is between 250,000 and 500,000” (Thomas Walkom, The Toronto Star, May 1, 2009)

Some have suggested that the media distorted the Swine Flu story in order to thwart attempts at economic recovery, or to weaken the social protest movement through fear.

The truth is that we live in a microbial world. “Humans Have Ten Times More Bacteria Than Human Cells.” Viruses are amazing. Trying to eliminate these microbes with antibiotics and antibacterial agents is counter-productive.

That is not to say that we shouldn’t protect ourselves. One of the best places to get sick is the hospital. It has been suggested that billions of dollars could be saved, not to mention tens of thousands of lives, each year, simply by cleaner practices in medical facilities. According to one source, “2 million patients get health care associated infections each year.”

It’s their world, we’re just living in it.