Holliston Mill Artists Open Studios Oct 25 & 26 10-4
Placentino/Miller Book Fair - Oct. 20th and 21st
Town Meeting next week - Monday, Oct. 27th
Holliston over Medfield 26 - 14
Sgt Denman is now Lt Denman

The Parrot Flu

by The Publisher
June 17, 2009

The Parrot Flu

Submitted by Agent Graf

It is about the Parrot Flu (déjà vu, anyone?) panic-demic of 1930. In the 1930 “Bird Flu” scare, the official estimate of victims was 169 ill with 33 dying in a nation of 122.8 Million (1930 census).

Submitted by Agent Graf

This article is from the June 1, 2009 New Yorker Magazine. It’s interesting and reads quickly but I’ll summarize the key points of it. 

It is about the Parrot Flu (déjà vu anyone?) panic-demic of 1930. In the 1930 “Bird Flu” scare the official estimate of victims was 169 ill with 33 dying in a nation of 122.8 Million (1930 census). The victims all had close contact with parrots imported in 1929 from South America. Parrot Flu was psittacosis, a disease known to science for 40 years at the time. 

Scientists realized that inciting hysteria over a disease (that did not infect anyone who had no contact with parrots) was the surest way to obtain government funding for research. Newspapers and magazines incited hysteria to sell more copies. Manufacturers of sanitary products saw the opportunity that advertising their products during an “epidemic” provided. The story of the “epidemic” took on a life of its own and quickly outgrew the outbreak itself. 

Sound familiar? History is repeating itself. 

In May 1930 Congress awarded more funding to the basement laboratory where psittacosis was being studied and re-named it the National Institute of Health. 

The article helps us develop a sane approach to Swine Flu aka Novel H1N1 despite the amount of hysteria that public health agencies and media outlets are spreading. The World Health Organization has just declared a world-wide “epidemic” even as flu activity is decreasing here and in Mexico where the outbreak started. 

Maybe I should go along with the panic and hope it results in more funding for public health but it seems dishonest. People have enough stress in their lives without the government trying to scare them with new Disasters Du Jour. 

You should still wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough though. 

-Agent Graf
 

 

Posted in Comments.

E-mail This Article

Comments (0)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Recent Articles by The Publisher:

Stephen P Washer

Continue ...

Donald W MacLeod

Continue ...

Howard Lehr at 73

Continue ...

Safest Cities in Massachusetts

We're not Number 1 but we're not Number 351 either.

Continue ...

James D Ghelli at 51

Continue ...

Advertisement

Recent Articles in Comments:

"Middlesex Murder" Skewers Local Town - Ours

by Ceci LeBeau

"We come not to bury Caesar, but to appraise him."

Continue ...

The People's House: The White House

by Charlie Collie

There was no ceremony in 1792 to mark the construction of the White House, but on October 13th of that year, the building of what is today, the most ceremonial place in America began. The first President to live in the White House was John Adams of Quincy, Massachusetts. Three other sons of Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George H. W. Bush have lived there as well. Today, October 13th, we celebrate the building of the White House. The original design for the White House by French architect and civil engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant called for it to be modelled after the Palace of Versailles, but after a six year war for Independence from England and yet another war with England thirty years later in 1812, the White House, the future home of the Presidents would, not even remotely, be based on a “palace” design.

[Comments:1]

Continue ...

$1,400,000 for Downtown?

by William Dowd

In about two weeks – October 27 to be exact – Town Meeting will start and residents will be asked to approve a proposal from the Selectmen that calls for spending about $1,400,000 – give or take a couple hundred thousand – to install three sets of traffic lights in the downtown area and reconfigure the roads, sidewalks and parking. But before we get to how to pay for it, we should stop and ask at least two questions:

[Comments:4]

Continue ...

In Honor of Ann Talbot and her friends

by Mary Greendale

Ann did what she loved, and she loved what she did!

[Comments:14]

Continue ...

Where Are the Beavers When We Need them?

by Paul Saulnier

The bank above the outlet from Weston Pond collapsed sending debris down into the wetlands below.

[Comments:4]

Continue ...

Advertisement