sMAartblog

Sus scrofa domestica

Posted on: 13/05/2009

Swine flu still echoes worldwide. While governments and pharmaceuticals preach pandemy, we should recall that swine influenza is not new: it was first proposed to be a disease related to human flu during the 1918 pandemic, when pigs became sick at the same time as humans. The first identification of a flu virus as a cause of disease in pigs occurred as early as in 1930. Later on,  between 1997 and 2002, new strains of five different genotypes emerged as causes of influenza among pigs in North America. In 1999 in Canada, a strain of H4N6  crossed the species barrier from birds to pigs, but, fortunately, was contained on a single farm.

Taking into account that it is estimated that 146,357 people die each day all over the world (http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/greatc.html#birdatrate) and looking at WHO data concerning death causes http://www.who.int/research/en/ (let’s mention only malignant neoplasms, cardiovascular diseases,  and nutritional deficiencies) perhaps we should relax a bit recalling  A. A. Milne’s tender Piglet?

influenza

Or, if you feel more catastrophic, let me introduce you to Zhu Bajie, one of the characters of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. He is called Pigsy or Pig in many English versions of the story.

Zhu Bajie looks like a terrible monster, part human, part pig.  He tends to get into trouble because of his laziness, gluttony, and his propensity for lusting after pretty women. His buddhist name Zhu Wuneng means  pig who rises to power. On the other hand, his nickname is Bājiè which means eight commandments and is supposed to remind him of his buddhist diet. On the other hand, in the original Chinese novel, he is also called dāizi, meaning idiot.

Are we going to get fooled?

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