Though I’ve previously blogged about the potential serious human security threat of bird flu, I’d like to counter the current media hoopla with a little context (from a CNN report):

There had been no confirmed deaths in the United States related to swine flu as of Tuesday afternoon. But another virus had killed thousands of people since January and is expected to keep killing hundreds of people every week for the rest of the year.

That one? The regular flu…

But even if there are swine-flu deaths outside Mexico — and medical experts say there very well may be — the virus would have a long way to go to match the roughly 36,000 deaths that seasonal influenza causes in the United States each year.

“That happens on an annual basis,” Dr. Brian Currie said Tuesday. Currie is vice president and medical director at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York.

Since January, more than 13,000 people have died of complications from seasonal flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on the causes of death in the nation…

Worldwide, the annual death toll from the flu is estimated to be between 250,000 and 500,000.

About 90% of flu deaths occur in people aged 65 and up and most have previous conditions that make them weaker and more susceptible to adverse consequences from serious illness.

Obviously, a pandemic situation akin to 1918 would be a global disaster.

We’re a very long way from that point and the Obama administration’s serious response is designed to prevent precisely such a catastrophe.

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