Swine Flu, also known as pig flu or Influenza A virus by the media is the reason why the standard question at dinner tables these days is, “Do you know when are they going to develop the swine flu vaccination?”. This virus transmission from pigs to humans is also the reason why the topic of discussion at Indian kitty parties is the number of swine flu cases reported in a neighboring city (118 cases in Pune, India, last I heard). With the sight of surgically masked people walking down the streets of Indian cities, one can’t help but wonder about the severe acute respiratory disease and its root causes.
Not so long ago, the bird flu which does not normally affect species other than birds made its mark by infecting humans as well, with the first case of the virus occurring in Hong Kong in 1997. Genetic studies showed that the virus jumped from birds to humans leading to a high mortality rate in the years to come. Naturally, the more human cases of the bird flu virus are reported, the lesser people started to consume bird meat and the more the birds come down with the flu, the more the chances are humans will catch them too.
When such events mark the start of influenza epidemics all over the world, one can’t help but pose questions such as – Why is this happening? Is this nature’s way of telling us – Back off animals and eat less meat? Is this another warning from nature disguised in the form of a disease that we are meant to take seriously?
With such sudden appearances of different types of avian flu’s, it’s no wonder that many people are resorting to becoming vegetarians. From Paris Hilton to Michael Jackson (RIP), everyone is a vegetarian, making this a new craze in the present era. Apart from a healthy life style, these celebrities are sure not to contract any of the viruses from poultry such as chickens. And though swine flu cannot be contracted from eating meat that is cooked; people with exposure to raw meat are at increased risk of infection and hence as precautionary measure just stop eating them completely. And although these people turn vegetarians, they still do possess the risk of contracting diseases from their fellow human non vegetarians.
Not many people know that the first swine flu pandemic didn’t first actually occur in 2008, but appeared for the first time in the year 1918 when 50 to 100 Million people were killed worldwide. Although that particular epidemic was also associated with the virus from pigs, the exact origin still remains unsolved. The swine flu outbreak in 2009 is still the most recent and fresh in our minds (considering we are still in the year 2009) with statistics showing only 1 out of 1000 people who actually contract swine flu die. However, statistics mean nothing to an individual. I am a non vegetarian individual myself and this article is under no means trying to convince you to swing the other way, it is merely, some vegetarian food for thought.