High Diddle Diddle Was There A Fiddle

Just a few short weeks ago, all the little pigs down at the big pharm were looking worried, then someone mentioned Swine Flu Pandemic.

Now, already it looks like the World Wide Swine Flu Pandemic has fizzled out, for the moment at least, so the pigs can relax and maybe the rest of us can stop worrying about mass injections and whether the guy in the mask is a bank robber or just someone with the flu.

My dictionary tells me that a pandemic is a disease of world wide distribution. It doesn't say anyone has to die, but the perception seems to be that a pandemic is the modern equivalent of the plagues that scoured the world in ancient times, spread by rats and fleas, when half the population came to an untimely end.

A few years ago, remember, we were given dire warnings about the Bird Flu Pandemic and there was a rush to get flu injections. Some people caught that disease and in Asia a few died, and a lot of chickens and ducks were destroyed, but that's about as far as it went.

I think it would be fair to say that people, particularly elderly folk, and ones in poor health generally, die of the flu every year and have done so for ever. Our doctors wisely warn us that we should have a flu shot every year, just as a precaution, but at the same time they say that the flu shot will only counteract some strains of flu, and might not guard against the one that you actually get.

So if you have a flu shot, you might still get the flu. There is no money back guarantee that you won't catch flu if you have the flu shot, so why bother? Eat well, keep fit, and avoid crowds in Winter seems the best way to avoid flu to me.

After the success of the campaign to protect the world from Bird Flu, the big Pharmaceutical Companies produced and stockpiled a huge supply of flu shots in readiness for the next pandemic, which they supposed was just around the corner. I guess they had their fingers crossed that the vaccine they stockpiled was the right one to match the next strain of flu, but in any case, something was better than nothing.

This must have been quite a commercial gamble. On one hand, you would have to have enough vaccine stockpiled to meet the next crisis, but if the flu pandemic doesn't eventuate you are facing a big loss.

Fortunately for the big Pharmaceutical Companies, a new strain of flu emerged just before the use-by date of their stockpiled vaccine. No! not birds this time; that one was finished. This one was traced back to pigs, so Swine Flu got it's name.

Once again the news was full of dire predictions, hundreds dying from Swine Flu in Mexico, passengers swabbed on aircraft, others quarantined in a hotel somewhere. Each night on our TV News, a worried looking woman from some authority or other was warning us all to take precautions and people rushing off to get flu shots and masks to stop the spread of germs.

As suddenly as it started, the crisis was over. It wasn't hundreds dying in Mexico, the number was more like nineteen, others who caught the flu strain were successfully being treated, the worried woman from our TV News stayed home to have tea with her family, the people in quarantine were allowed to go on their way, the stockpile of vaccine that was nearing it's use by date was all sold, and everybody gave a big sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, down at the big pharm by the river, all the little pigs with their noses in the trough were singing their favourite ditties, 'We, We, We, All Made a Ton' and 'High Diddle Diddle, What's the Next Fiddle'.



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