Scare Tactics?

Once again the CDC is trotting out their standard line of “13,000 flu deaths this season”, according to a CNN article. And that’s just the regular flu, nothing to do with the brand shiny-new swine flu. However, if you peruse the actual CDC site, almost nowhere will you find mention of any particular number of flu deaths in any given year. I was able to extract this from all the garbage at the CDC’s site

As of June 19, 2008, 83 deaths associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza infections have occurred among children aged < 18 years during the 2007–08 influenza season that were reported to CDC.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but 83 is a far cry from 36,000. I realize this is only counting deaths among children (up to age 18), but extrapolate from there a reasonable number of adult deaths and I think we’re still hard-pressed to come up with 36,000.

I refuse to be cowed by this tradition of claiming 36,000 flu deaths every year. I simply don’t believe it. Here’s an article from Dec. 2005 at USAToday that says they’re inflating the statistics:

Peter Doshi, a graduate student at Harvard University, says the estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 36,000 flu-related deaths each year is based on “flawed” statistics.

“I found a number of inconsistencies and poor assumptions being made,” he says. An example is the CDC’s use of “pneumonia and influenza” deaths, taken together, as a basis for estimating deaths caused by flu. He says that link is “arbitrary” and “has the effect of biasing their estimates of flu mortality.”

Lab-confirmed flu cases and flu-related deaths, except for those in children, are not reported to the CDC, so estimates of cases are based on a variety of measures, including deaths from pneumonia or circulatory diseases during flu season compared with deaths from those causes when there is no flu around. If the pneumonia deaths jump in January and February, health experts assume some are caused by flu.

They’re simply assuming that since the deaths occurred during flu season, it must be somehow attributable, at least in part, to influenza. For instance, if the weakened person hadn’t had the flu, they wouldn’t have died of a heart attack. Maybe yes, maybe no.

I don’t find this particularly helpful.

And don’t look to the flu drugs like Tamiflu to save you. I found this article on the FDA’s Web site disturbing:

[Posted 03/04/2008, UPDATED 03/04/2008] Roche and FDA informed healthcare professionals of neuropsychiatric events associated with the use of Tamiflu, in patients with influenza.The label has been revised as follows: Influenza can be associated with a variety of neurologic and behavioral symptoms which can include events such as hallucinations, delirium, and abnormal behavior, in some cases resulting in fatal outcomes. These events may occur in the setting of encephalitis or encephalopathy but can occur without obvious severe disease. There have been postmarketing reports (mostly from Japan) of delirium and abnormal behavior leading to injury, and in some cases resulting in fatal outcomes, in patients with influenza who were receiving Tamiflu.

There’s more, I didn’t quote the whole thing. We don’t see that being mentioned in the articles touting Tamiflu and Relenza, do we? I’ll stick with chicken soup, thanks all the same.

I’m not going to join the conspiracy theorists in saying this is a lab-created virus that they’re testing on us. It could be, I certainly wouldn’t put it past the government to do it, even if it is we’ll never know for sure.

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About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Kobo.com, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
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