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The H1N1 virus has claimed its first victim in the country, after the death of a University of Stellenbosch student who contracted the flu strain. It is a little discouraging to read about this fact whilst lying in bed myself – with a head cold. Add to this the fact that we spend a lot of time in Stellenbosch during the past weekend, and that my beloved wife physically visited the Heemstede residence on the same weekend where one of the first two cases were first diagnosed, one can be excused for thinking the worst.
Ruan Muller, a 22-year-old polymer and textile sciences student, passed away on July 28 after being admitted to the Durbanville Medi-Clinic with pneumonia. Laboratory tests confirmed the H1N1 strain. Latest figures from the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) puts the number of tested cases at 480, but these figures are only an indication of tests and not of those potentially infected. The virus symptoms are virtually identical to normal flu. Forty-two of these cases are in the Western Cape
More people go to doctors now, proportionally, than ever before, and we are (supposedly) healthier and long-lived than previous generations. There is, feeling the way I do and witnessing the progress of the now so defined swine flu epidemic, really no satisfactory definition of health – because of its subjective character. But one goods suggestion is that it is what you have when you do not notice that you have it. It does not mean that we should not think about our health – it deserves thought, and most definitely – particularly in the face of our intolerance to minor ailments and more specifically, when faced with an epidemic such as this – a modicum of care: for prevention is best, early cure is second best, and both require a sensible watchfulness. It implies calm and arming ourselves with proper information about the epidemic.
Feeling currently worse for wear myself, it is hard to ignore G.B. Shaw’s cheerful urging to use our health “even to the point of wearing it out” (properly indicative of why I feel the way I do):
I have been following the epidemic since its first outbreak. What first looked to be some ominous signs of a doomsday scenario, is now uncomfortably close to home, a mere 15km away. How often is that the stuff of science-fiction becomes science-fact: Greg Bear writes in his Nebula award-winning novel Darwin’s Radio, “the next great war will start inside us.” In the next stage of evolution, mankind is history. Is it really like Nietzsche believed: “The sick are the greatest danger for the healthy; it is not from the strongest that harm comes to the strong, but from the weakest.”
However, the Institute said swine flu does not need special treatment as it took bed rest and conventional cold and flu remedies to aid recovery. "It doesn't need anything special, it's very like the common cold," said the Institute's Lucille Blumberg.
"Government of monkeys," eh? Not recouping fast enough from when your imperial ancestors ran the place into the ground? Grow up. Sorry, but I had to say something.
Plus, your childish thinking is reflected in your panic attack from being obviously uninformed on the real threats of swine flu. As long as you aren't as far below the poverty line, as so many in your country are (out of sight, out of mind am I right?), you should survive. You are more likely to see infected people suffer around you without you actually catching it. Comforting? I hope so.
The collection of essays by journalists, doctors and activists examines former president Thabo Mbeki's scepticism on HIV/Aids and former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's promotion of garlic, beetroot and vegetables over antiretroviral drugs.
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa passed the 100 mark for recorded cases of swine flu yesterday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said. In line with a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation last week, the institute will stop routine testing of suspected cases, having established that the pandemic has reached South Africa.
"Following his admission, a blood specimen was sent for pathological testing for H1N1 (swine flu virus) by his doctor, as he had recently returned from a trip to Swaziland. It was today confirmed that he had tested positively for the H1N1 virus."