VOTE Tues Nov 4, 7am-8pm HHS, Free Flu Clinic, 2pm-6pm HHS
Real Estate Taxes due November 3rd

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:

True or False?

by Mary Greendale

How are we as voters to have a prayer of knowing what is true and what is false in ads and mailings from candidates?

[Comments:10]

Continue ...

What You Need to Know About College Admissions: Helping Your Student Write the Essay

by Joanne Apesos

By Joanne Apesos and Beth Brooks So what’s a desperate parent to do when their student is one of those procrastinators?

Continue ...

Please Vote for Farming & Open Space

by Lixy Carey

[Comments:2]

Continue ...

Downtown Traffic Management

by Mary Greendale

The current management design would provide lights for safer crossings for pedestrians and allow people exiting Central and Hollis Streets to have a fair shot. The street widening, four lanes and narrower sidewalk in the design are NOT consistent with the Vision. As seen in the window of Fiske's General Store. There would also be a third traffic light at Hollis.

[Comments:14]

Continue ...

Peter Pan Flies into Town at Prana

by Ceci LeBeau

Continue ...

Advertisement