At this point the H1N1 influenza virus has only proved fatal in Mexico, the presumed country of origin. The Wall St Journal tries to explain:
Scientists say the virus found in Mexico and in the U.S. appears to be the same, and therefore different mortality rates likely aren’t due to the virus itself. Doctors say the greater vulnerability could have to do with genetic makeup, though they view that as unlikely.
Much of the difference in mortality rates could have to do with timing. As the disease hit Mexico very early, doctors didn’t suspect anything unusual when patients came in complaining of high fever and body aches. Especially in Mexico City, with its high altitude and smoggy air, common colds that develop into a throat or chest infection with a fever are frequent in winter months and beyond.
Many of the victims’ stories are strikingly similar: Thinking they had a common cold, they waited for a day or two before going to the doctor, often taking their own medication, from antibiotics to cough remedies. When they did make it to the doctor, they were misdiagnosed, losing more days. By the time they got into a hospital, as much as a week had passed and they were in serious condition, suffering from pneumonia.
No matter how deadly the disease turns out to be it’s still going to be a problem since few people other than pig-fanciers will have any immunity and a vaccine won’t be available until the end of the flu season. I’m not optimistic about the govenments ability to contain it.
Also, every time I sneeze or clear my throat now I wonder ‘is this the swine flu?’ I’m almost looking forward to getting infected and getting it over with.