Q: What would you do if you wanted to spread a communicable disease widely and quickly, with as little as little cost and personnel as possible?

A: Send an infected individual into a place where lots of people, from lots of different places around the country and the world congregate.

Florida has reported an incidence of swine flu today, and Indiana health officials confirmed this afternoon that a student at Notre Dame has swine flu. These developments bring to seven the number of states where the infections are being investigated.

In Orlando, Fla., the chief medical officer at Florida Hospital Loran Hauck indicated the flu has spread to a tourist who visiting the crowded Disney World.

“A case was diagnosed here in Orlando today on a tourist from Mexico who came to Disney attractions two days ago to visit,” Hauck wrote in the email. Florida health officials have not confirmed that the tourist was stricken with swine flu.

Walt Disney World is the fifth biggest tourist destination in the US, behind Times Square, the strip at Las Vegas, the National Mall, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston.

Great place to get as many people, from as many places as possible, exposed to a highly infectious disease in a very short period of time.

So then…is this another media-driven crisis, or is this the real deal?

If like me, you’ve been paying attention to news of the spread of this disease, you may feel a bit confused with the brouhaha surrounding it. Yes, there are closed to 150 confirmed swine flu deaths in Mexico, but what’s 150 deaths compared to those 36,000 who die yearly from the common, run-of-the-mill flu?

We’ve all heard that figure…right?

The CDC parrots it with every appearance on every news show in the nation.

So we need to take the swine flu seriously, and check with a doctor of we feel bad. Just don’t panic.

That’s it…right?

One thing bother me here; I can’t see to substantiate that 36,000 per year figure (outside of CDC report) no matter how hard I try to.

Here’s the closest I’ve come so far. You can check for yourself on page 9 of this report:

Number of deaths from influenza

    1979: 604
    1981: 3,006
    1983: 1,431
    1985: 2,054
    1987: 632
    1989: 1,593
    1991: 1,137
    1993: 1,044
    1995: 606
    1996: 745
    1997: 720
    1998: 1,724
    1999: 1,665
    2000: 1,765
    2001: 257

There is something wrong with someone’s calculations…36,000 is a far cry from 1,266, and that’s the number I get when I add up those figures.

Are we being conditioned to accept tens of thousands of deaths from this disease as being “normal”?

Why do I feel like Tom Cullen suddenly?

“M-O-O-N. That spells manipulate! Laws yes!”

I hope this ain’t Captain Trips, but until then, just ask yourself a question:

Baby, can you dig your man?

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