(World Health Organization) briefed reporters June 9 that reports to the agency of infections in Inuit communities in Canada showed “disproportionate numbers of serious cases occurring,” said WHO senior official Keiji Fukuda.
In general, I've been confused by all the attention the H1N1 virus has gotten. When compared to the "regular" flu each year, this seems to be, well, frankly much better. I'm far from a medical... anything, though, so I'll just keep my mouth shut and wash my hands a lot. Try not to shout down people who know better than me anyways, but also try not to add to what I was seeing as a minor hysteria over something that seems to be... well, just like the flu. Any death is too much, but what if we attacked the "regular" flu with as much media attention and assistance?
But this is the first I've heard of it hitting a Native community disproportionately higher - and by a wide margin. I don't know how much everyone else knows about the history of flu and the Alaska Native communities (really ANY Native community) but it's pretty bad. There have been several epidemics which have nearly wiped out whole villages, 90% of the population in some cases.
At the turn of the century there were a few outbreaks - some call it "The Great Death." These flus, also, were disproportionately higher in Native communities by a wide, wide margin. While many tried to stop it, many clergy used it to prove that Native ways were evil, and Western ways were good. All you had to do was look at who was dying, and see the "truth" in that. For Alaska Native people, these outbreaks were a major turning point for entire cultures, entire ways of life. I could give mountains of posts on this, but suffice it to say that the last time the flu was a big problem for the world, it devastated Native cultures in Alaska.
For some reason, I assumed that any sort of flu outbreak wouldn't hit these populations as hard this time around. Modern medicine and all, right? But I'd be lying if this didn't pinch something in the pit of my stomach. I'm not ready to ring the alarm quite yet, but my country for a degree in medicine! I hope that those officials they mention as saying not to assume there are "genetic, environmental or underlying diseases" to blame for it are, you know, making sure there are no genetic, environmental or underlying diseases to blame for it.
Well, I suppose, in this, I may be adding to what could amount to the latest trend in hysteria, but I just want to make sure there's at least one guy up there checking this out. Anyone?