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Monday, February 20, 2006

Bird flu: What should we do?

It seems that the media has become crazy in its pursuit of the coverage of bird flu. I was tracking down coverage of the flu in Internet and was really astonished to find out that all the major newspapers, magazines, television channels, web sites are in a fierce competition to give the latest information about the spread of flu in Africa, Europe and Asia. There is nothing wrong in it as it is their job. However, what scares me is the fact that they are giving too much emphasis on the scary side of the crisis. This can cause serious emotional fear and unrest to many people around the world- specially to those people who are not so much well informed about the nature of bird flu.
Of course, bird flue is a serious crisis for world economy as it is going to seriously disrupt everyday life in many countries. It will also affect the tourism and traveling industries very negatively in the short term as many people will get scared to travel to the countries affected by this crisis. The one possible negative effect that no one is seriously contemplating is the fear it is causing about eating poultry products. As a result, it will seriously hamper the industry and millions of people who earn their livelihood from this industry. Poultry products form an important part of our daily meals and if many of us want to avoid it then we have to look for alternatives like beef, mutton or even fish. Then, serious pressure will occur to meat and fish producers and suppliers. It is much easier to produce and supply eggs and meat of chickens than beef or mutton. That is why trying to substitute chicken with beef or mutton will not be possible for everyone. On the other hand, from health perspectives chicken is much better than beef or mutton. The second problem is rather psychological. We now live in a world with a lot of insecurities from different matters. Violence and terrorism, drug addiction and road accidents, AIDS- these things are perhaps more than enough to keep us scared all the time. Now we have some things extra to wander about.
The international media should come forward to help the people in overcoming their fear. Bird flu is indeed a very serious matter and it is affecting and destroying thousands of chickens on the world. Now it is no longer limited to the birds only but gradually infecting human beings in various parts of the world. However, the media should give more coverage to the ways of saving ourselves in case of a disaster takes place in our respective cities. There should be more information about the vaccine of bird flu so that we can be prepared very well. If we know about it and if we are were prepared then we will get less afraid. On the other hand, too much of watching and reading so much about the dangerous aspects of flu will only make us more afraid.

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