Saturday, May 02, 2009

Swine Flu - the Flu Pandemic

Let's get some numbers into perspective. Number of deaths from swine flu to date: 101 (one hundred and one). Number of deaths from road accidents annually in the USA: 50,000 (fifty thousand). Number of people diagnosed with swine flu in the UK at present: 2 (two). Number of people with MS in the UK: 85,000 (eighty-five thousand). Amount of money spent on biomedical research for MS in the UK: a lot, because they seem to keep coming up with more information and potential treatments quite often. Number of people estimated to suffer from ME in the UK: 250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand) - conservative estimate, 25% of whom are severely affected, i.e. totally bed-bound. Approximate cost to the UK economy of people ill with ME: £3,500,000,000 (3.5 billion pounds, parliamentary data). Amount spent on biomedical research for ME in the UK: £0 (zero). Number of doctors in the UK who know the difference between ME and CFS: 2 (two) - well, that's the impression I get, but I may be exaggerating!

Would someone please tell me what's wrong with this picture?

May is ME Awareness Month! For more information on issues surrounding funding biomedical research into ME please see the Invest in ME website:


Ka Ea Lim said...

I think by nature, we're better at reacting than preparing for the unexpected.

It's the same with HIV/AIDS where billions of dollars are being poured into promoting and preventing the cause of AIDS when more people have died of diseases like diabetes and MS.

When an unexpected disaster hits, the world scrambles to tackle it and meantime other more regular threats are being forgotten.

The media has a lot to do with it too. As media tends to cover new stories, something like the recent flu can be read on the headlines all over the world and so we tend to imagine it as a major life threatening disease due to the coverage.

Hopping Moon said...

Nicky I think what you have written about Swine Flu is just brilliant ! As you have shown - it is such a paradox the contrast between the way they treat ME - which has truly awful epidemic and pandemic potential - and the way Swine Flu is treated.

In swine flu they readily prescribe anti-viral medication yet they refuse it to people with ME : an enteroviral disease !

And then there's the ongoing refusal around the world to do the desperately needed physical research that could help find a cure....

There are such powerful vested interests at work...

Well done on your excellent blog - it is really helping to raise awareness.

Bless you

Greg Crowhurst

Nicky Reiss said...

Hi Greg,

Thanks so much for your supportive comments!
You write excellent pieces yourself!

Best wishes to you and your wife,