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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 30, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Swine flu

Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

Madrona K-8 School was shut down because a student there possibly came down with swine flu. A Seattle and King County Public Health order is taped to a door.

Any more dangerous than regular flu?

Editor, The Times:

Could we have some actual reporting on this swine-flu issue? For example, everyone is getting all excited about the number of cases and deaths from swine flu, but how does that compare with the number of cases and deaths from regular, generic flu?

From what I understand, the symptoms and treatment of swine flu are pretty near the same as the regular flu. So is it asking too much for someone in the media to give us perspective?

If swine flu is dangerous, I’m all for alerts and precautions. But if it’s just another name for a different kind of flu, then there’s really no cause for alarm.

Is there?

— Neal Starkman, Seattle

Any type of flu a constant danger

As a physician, I find it disturbing that people are suddenly panicking about the swine flu, when three months ago I was unable to convince many that the regular flu was worth immunizing against.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the 1990s the average number of deaths from the “regular” influenza strains hovered around 35,000 in the U.S. alone. Why does that not carry any weight with people?

We live in a dangerous world, but apparently we have become desensitized to the constant dangers. Only when a new, exotic danger appears do we again take notice.

— Thomas Erdmann, M.D., Seattle

Open Mexican border jeopardizes Americans’ safety

The federal government’s failure to close the border with Mexico and invoke travel restrictions to and from Mexico as a response to the swine flu epidemic is reprehensible.

The more infected people we allow in from Mexico, the faster the disease will spread in the United States. The disease would be much easier to contain if new sources of it were not allowed to arrive from Mexico.

The government’s politically correct decision to not close the border and invoke travel restrictions shows a complete disregard for the safety of the average American citizen.

— Peter Meisner, Edmonds

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