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Swine Flu Fear (SFF) Now a Pandemic

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Joon Yun, Director, Palo Alto Institute:

The number of confirmed cases of Swine Flu Fear (SFF) in the United States may have surpassed 100 million amid increasing global anxiety over a menace that authorities around the world are struggling to contain. The increase is not surprising. SFF is highly contagious, and even a brief exposure to someone afflicted can produce the condition.

Already, SFF has led to school closings, store shutdowns, and travel restrictions. Economies are teetering as a result. Confirmed cases of swine that have died due to the fear pandemic have been reported in many countries, and the number is expected to swell dramatically.

Hospitals and hotlines have been flooded by people who fear they may have been exposed to or are suffering from symptoms of swine flu, which can mimic everyday conditions such as the common cold and seasonal allergies.

The world has no vaccine to prevent SFF. Prior exposure to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) fear does not appear to confer sufficient protection against swine flu fear. The SARS fear (SARSF) pandemic in 2003 failed to be contained and sent the continent of Asia into a momentary recession as schools closed, factories shut down, and travel came to a halt. In the recent avian flu panics, millions of chickens and other birds lost their lives in an attempt to treat human fears.

The cause of the SARS fear epidemic, the SARS virus, was purportedly implicated in the deaths of 774 people, which represents only about 2% of the approximately 36,000 people that die yearly from the common flu, which does not progress to a fear pandemic due to sufficient natural immunity.

Swine flu fear may end up revealing more about the viral nature of memes than the viral nature of viruses in our interconnected world.

Palo Alto Institute -- a think tank whose mission is the pursuit of truth through fundamental research.

SOURCE Palo Alto Institute
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