Will swine flu be like SARS?
29 May 2009 Magazine issue 2710.
SWINE flu has faded from the headlines, but not from the world's hospitals. And it could well get worse as the southern hemisphere enters its winter flu season (see "Australia broadens testing for swine flu"). Yet the World Health Organization is delaying the declaration of a full pandemic, partly to accommodate countries whose pandemic plans are in disarray.
The WHO is not underestimating the threat, however, unlike some pundits who claim that swine flu is no more than a "scare, just like SARS", the virus that frightened the world in 2003. We should be so lucky. It was the scare itself - with its travel warnings, quarantines and public precautions - that eradicated the threat from SARS. No matter who dislikes being "scared" we must prepare for the possibility that swine flu could become much worse.