According to this emailed warning message, H1N1 (swine flu) is currently wiping out entire villages in parts of Asia and has already mutated into a more deadly strain.
The message claims that the mutated version of the virus is set to reach the United States in coming months where it will kill six out of ten people and necessitate the implementation of martial law. The information supposedly originates from experts at the US based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Johns Hopkins University.
However, the absurd and alarmist claims in this warning message are completely untrue. There are no credible reports whatsoever that suggest that large numbers of people in Asia are dying from a mutated strain of H1N1. Information of such importance would certainly have been covered by news media outlets around the world. And, a July 27 update of H1N1 related statistics published on the World Health Organization website shows that there is no sudden spike in deaths in the South East Asian region.
There are also no credible reports that suggest that H1N1 has now mutated into a more deadly strain. Health authorities around the world are closely tracking the spread of the virus but, as yet, there is no evidence to suggest that a more dangerous mutated strain is spreading, in Asia or elsewhere. Some earlier reports indicate that a Brazilian laboratory has identified a single person with a genetic variant of the virus, but it is unclear if the new variant is more aggressive than the more common type. While health authorities are certainly aware that mutations in the virus could lead to more virulent strains, and are closely monitoring the virus with this in mind, there are no indications that such dangerous mutations have already began to spread and take lives.
Moreover, the claims that the information in the message comes from the CDC and Johns Hopkins are also false. The CDC has published extensive information about the H1N1 pandemic but none of this information confirms the claims made in the warning message. Johns Hopkins University also maintains a website with information about the virus, but, again, none of this information validates the claims in the email in any way. Thus it seems that the irresponsible instigator of this bogus warning has simply added the names of the two organizations in a rather lame and transparent attempt to add totally undeserved credibility to the message.
In a further level of absurdity, the message, after first claiming that the virus will kill six out of ten people, then suggests that citizens should refuse vaccinations designed to counter the virus because of possible health risks associated with vaccinations. It should be noted that health authorities are working on producing safe H1N1 vaccines and will make them available to the public as soon as possible.
Spreading blatant misinformation about H1N1 is counterproductive and irresponsible. Such bogus warnings will do no more than spread fear and alarm among communities and could lead to panic. The dissemination of dangerous misinformation about the virus may make the difficult task of effectively dealing with the virus even harder for health authorities worldwide. H1N1 remains a very serious health concern so it is vital that people receive accurate and current information about the virus. Do not rely on unconfirmed rumours about the virus that circulate via email and social networking websites. For factual information about H1N1, people should refer to reputable organizations like those listed below. To help stop the spread of such misinformation, please do not forward this or similar messages.
Example:(Submitted, July 2009)
Subject: Fw: Latest on H1N1 straight from the CDC and Johns Hopkins
I’m not a bearer of ‘fear’, but think we all should pay attention to THIS one……Evelyn
Wise council from Julie who also sells Enzacta and she agrees, HFI and PXP from Enzacta will keep your immune system strong and help fight off H1N1…. these are more practical steps we can take…….Kevin
From Julie I have an ex-husband who is a research physician at an Ivy League University. I decided to contact him to get the real and full scoop on H1N1. Since he does government research he was able to access everything we want to know about H1N1 and he also contacted top docs in infectious disease at Johns Hopkins. Here is the dirt:
The CDC says H1N1 is currently wiping out entire villages in Asia . They expect it to hit the US in Jan/Feb where it will kill 6 out of 10 people. It HAS mutated. (Throw out the conspiracy theory) They will attempt a program of mandatory vaccinations but probably will not have enough time to enforce it. I will not be vaccinated. The last time they did mandatory vaccinations at least one person died and many others developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is a devastating illness.
They have not let the public know because they don’t want people to panic, but to people who know, they are suggesting the following:
Start stocking up on food now. They expect that martial law will be put into effect. You won’t be able to go to work or shop for food – you will be shot.
Buy facial masks made by 3M – #N95.
Use Purell obsessively.
Oh, this is interesting: This pandemic was predicted years ago by a Russian mathematician. It’s impetus was the Tsunami a few years ago.
I know that by spreading this information I’m taking the risk of looking like an alarmist, but this is straight from the mouths of the CDC and Johns Hopkins.