Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lecture 9: Reaction and Response

Today's Outline:
Taking a Position
Reacting and Responding
Read Response Essay
Reading Activity

Definition? (on the board)
Examples? (on the board)
How does a pandemic usually erupt?
What actions or outcomes might be expected if there is a pandemic?
Can pandemics ever be useful?

While Listening:
Record facts in point form to show evidence of a Global Pandemic due to Avian Flu

How is Avian Flu like a natural disaster?
Where does the world stand in its fight to contain the spread of Avian Flu?
Does another global pandemic loom on the horizon or has the threat passed?
What are the implications for Central Illinois with its large population of wild birds?

Reading a Reaction:
Read “Much Ado about Clucking” in Essay Writing
Address the following questions in a well structured response (paragraphs with topic sentences, transitions)
How do you feel about the way the topic is presented (hint: look at the title)?
What do you agree or disagree with?
Can you identify with the situation?
Give examples (at least three) of where the author agrees with others, disagrees, or both.
Rewrite three of the above examples in the opposing view.
Post as a comment to the Lecture 9 blog post

Read Chapter 11 and “Health Canada Inadvertently Discloses Facts Planned Parenthood Would Like to Suppress” in Essay Writing.

Note: Image from American Conspiracy (Automaton Labs).


  1. Though I feel Richard Schabas is often too relaxed in his views on the seriousness of a pandemic in his essay "Much Ado About Clucking", I do generally agree with the fact that Canadians and other developed nations must not worry to the extent of some of our struggling easterners.

    Schabas calls to author Mike Davis's book "The Monster at Our Door" (New Press) and agrees with Davis when he says public health authorities have been much too willing to drop traditional skepticism, to cash in on a "short term political expediency" when referring to the "myth of bioterrorism" or the anthrax scare. Yet Schabas states it is a shame that Davis doesn't see the parallels to what health officials are doing in response to Avian influenza. Schabas goes on to say Davies, keeping true, tends to overuse words such as "horrifying" and "shocking", but cannot blame him for simply reporting the fear mongering statements of many scientists.

    There is a need to completely analyze the issues that arise with respect to Avian flu and other Pandemics. By simply treating these issues with "traditional skepticism" we are giving rise to the possibility of being ill-prepared if something the magnitude of the Spanish flu does come again. It would be naive to claim the adjectives used throughout the reports of scientists were without reason. The results of the Avian flu on birds, and it's potential on humans, I feel is enough in it's own right to warrant a serious concern.

  2. Richard Schabas’ essay “Much Ado about Clucking” is a short piece of writing stating how relaxed the general public really are in regards to possible global pandemics. Yes this is true, the general public are somewhat relaxed and only moderately concerned with this issue; however, Richard Schabas neglects the fact of how resilient the human race really is. We tend to have this hidden ability, or subconscious attention span to act when we’re needed to act. For example, at present day we’re living trough a very serious global pandemic known as H1N1 virus, also known as “Swine Flu”. Our current response to this issue has been more than adequate. Speaking for North America as a whole, we have invested large sums of both time and money into pertinacious research, extensive global monitoring, and vaccine development. All of which have been put into effect relatively quickly. Maybe as human beings we just simply prefer to not monitor for global pandemics all the time; or, maybe we just focus our efforts where they’re needed on a case by case basis, there tends to be quite a large global agenda in all aspects of life.

    Argument Re-writes:

    Paragraph 11 (Richard Schabas disagreed)
    Mike Davis makes the claim that Ontario imported several hundred U.S. doctors to fill the shortage due to sick or frightful physicians during the SARS outbreak, a very commendable reaction. The Canadian Government seemed to have acted accordingly, this could have been one of the potential causal factors as to why this epidemic didn’t claim more lives than it did. Providing proper health care from trained professionals is an essential part of any epidemic. Without it this battle could have been lost, which Mike Davis so clearly explained.

    Paragraph 13 (Richard Schabas Disagreed)
    Davis thoroughly lays out the SARS scenario, and any flu epidemic for that matter. It’s clear that today’s modern scientific field is attempting to use modern techniques to further understand how the human influenza incorporates avian elements. Mike Davis has a tight grip on his thoughts pertaining to influenza in general. Davis also attempts to explain in full his understanding of the situation, and his medical knowledge on human influenza.

    Paragraph 10 (Richard Schabas Agreed)
    This influenza situation is fairly shocking and extreme, and while Davis does contribute a lot of input on our growing knowledge, he’s a little too extreme. In my opinion, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding this issue, people are aware. Whenever there’s a ballooning issue there’s always a few people who can’t help but be extreme. By using words such as “shocking” or horrifying” he’s only condemning the issue further. This doesn’t help the issue, nor does it lead to any where positive. It causes band wagon jumpers seeking the thrill of fear.

  3. Blog Entry on “Much Ado About Clucking”

    In the essay, “Much Ado About Clucking” by Richard Schabas, he clearly states his view point that we should not be too worried about the avian flu. The topic is addresses with statistics, which makes it more interesting and believable.

    I agree that we should have some idea of what avian flu is all about but, not that it could be the next pandemic because researchers do not have enough evidence to say that it will be. There are too many false alarms that are causing people to jump to conclusions and spread world-wide panic, which in turn concludes to unnecessary vaccines. I also believe that there are other things we should be worrying about, such as people dying from car accidents or tobacco. Instead of losing government spending to finding and distributing vaccinations, we could be using it to build safer cars or better rehab programs. I am not pleased that health officials are not coming up with their own conclusions about the avian flu virus; more research needs to be done by our own scientists to know for sure. The only reason I feel I can identify with this situation is that I will probably have to be vaccinated for it (just like how people get the flu shot and a meningitis vaccine).

    Richard Schabas complies with how human influenza can modify itself through ‘antigenic drift’ or by combining with avian flu for ‘antigenic shift’, but he contrasts this opinion by saying the disease that can be spread through infection is not a super killer (agreeing and disagreeing). Schabas agrees that there is no ready made immunity, so researchers should find one to cure the chicken farmers that could get it from their birds (opposite (disagreeing): Schabas believes there is no need to create an immunity for something that is not a threat). He then disagrees with the outburst in panic because the last two pandemics were minor and almost ‘indistinguishable’ (opposite (agreeing): He then agrees with the outburst because the avian flu could be just another ‘minor’ pandemic but we should be medically prepared for it).

    Overall, the government is putting too much speculation in the media. They have programs that are on surveillance for it, so there is not much more to do other than wait for yet another so called ‘pandemic’ to pass.

  4. Josh Taschuk wrote..

    "Much Ado about Clucking"

    Richard Schabas presents the topic of the Avian Flu in an interesting manner in his article "Much Ado about Clucking". The title is and effective way to intrigue a reader to read on. Also, Schabas opens his article stating an interesting fact, further grabbing the readers attention.

    Schabas then goes on to share his opinion on how dangerous the Avian Flu really is throughout the article. I agree with his viewpoint that the scare of and influenza pandemic is over exaggerated and that the general masses need to relax and prepare themselves effectively by staying healthy and getting vaccinated. However, Schabas should know that if society continues to deny the possibility of a horrific pandemic, we may not be prepared for the disaster as efficiently as we should. The type of flu going around is always changing, so humans cannot naturally develop an immunity or resistance. So, by the time doctors or scientists develop an effective vaccine, the virus would most likely have claimed many lives. This is also a point where I disagree with Schabas. Schabas is very reluctant to acknowledge the possibility of the avian flu to become transmittable to humans, however all that is needed is for a human to catch a cold or another similar virus, then the virus now has a chance to be human to human transmittable, a scary thought not addressed by Schabas.

  5. Richard Schaba’s essay, “Much Ado About Clucking” (Globe and Mail, October 8, 2005) presents our concern of pandemic’s as an extreme overreaction. The author presents his idea’s in almost a tone of mockery. Schaba suggests that it is unnecessary to bare such great concern over predicted pandemics. The author assures, “Sanitation, vaccines, antibiotics, backed by better overall health and improved medical care have, over the past 100 years, reduced infectious diseases from being the leading killers to the fringes, now accounting for less than 2 per cent of all deaths in Canada.” He continues by showing that in comparison to events such as car crashes or lung cancer, we have no reason to be worried about a sudden influenza pandemic.
    Schaba raises goods points about the over reaction of influenza disasters and I agree that although they are a serious matter, we must be aware that our risk as Canadians is minimal.

    The point that Schaba is making aware can be identified in nearly any recent pandemic scare. For example, the swine flu or H1N1 made a tremendous amount of headlines. Citizens of Alberta are being urged to assure that they are up to date with their vaccinations. However, the case of swine flu in Canada has been very low and in most cases did not result in death. So why are people so concerned about the swine flu when we are much more likely to die from car accidents or lung cancer?

    Schaba admits that although the pandemic of these influenzas are overemphasized, “this is a fascinating story” (pg 336 par.4) The writer agrees that influenzas can in fact, be quite baffling. Schaba also goes on to talk about Mike Davis’ discussion regarding the “myth of bioterrorism” including the anthrax problem after the September 11th tragedy. Schaba acknowledges, “He is quite correct in his criticism of public health authorities. They have been much to willing to suspend their traditional scientific skepticism to cash in on short term political expediency.” (pg 337 par. 6) Again Schaba admits Davis cannot be blamed for his reports on the dangers of the influenzas when scientists are predicting these very events. (pg 337 par. 1)

    Opposing Views

    Page 336 Paragraph 4
    Although some believe pandemics can be a fascinating story, they are wrong. Pandemics are none other than an unnecessary overreaction to influenza’s. Just take a look at modern medicine and the recent deaths due to some of the same viruses that were predicted to be mass murderers. From the outcome of these virus’ we can see there is no need for panic when situations such as the Swine Flu or West Nile Virus erupt.

    Page 337 Paragraph 1
    Davis has no reason to report to people the extreme dangers of influenza. Although scientists predict these virus’ to be extremely deadly we have yet, in recent years, to see one that follows predictions.

    Page 337 Paragraph 6
    Davis discusses the “myth of bioterrorism,” following 9/11 and the anthrax scare. However he is mistaken, without health care’s participation in things such as preparing people for arriving pandemics, people tend to be more afraid. By focusing on immunizations people are able to sleep easier knowing that they as well as others are being easily treated. In addition, without our strong health care system during these times, pandemics could become a problem in the future.

  6. Richard Schabas', " Much Ado about Clucking" although raises some good points as well as awareness about infectious diseases, mainly influenza, to me, goes about the topic casually. However, despite his relaxed attitude i agree with Schabas' general idea about Canadians and developed nations being fortunate to be able to ward off high-mortality pandemics and serious illnesses.

    Calling influenzas a "terrible tale" he calls upon Mike Davis, to help describe his belief in mass murdering diseases that could cause "Dead Cities" if being ill-equipped to handle such monsters. Furthermore, Schabas agrees that although these diseases are deadly, and that there is still cause for concern, they should not be overdrawn and exploited all over the front page of a newspaper while such things as, " heart disease, cancer, and motor-vehicle crashes "(Page 336) go on without comment or even mention. Agreeing further that although people have a right to, " public health, not just bandwagons "(Page 337), he believes that scientists often abandon the scepticism for short-term "political expediency."

    H5N1, the spanish flu, SARS, and West Nile are just a few pandemics that spread across our globe. These unsolved mysteries are becoming tameable with new advancements such as vaccines and new technology that helps prevent the disaster of the spanish flu back in 1919 that killed more then 60 million people. As humans it would be gullible to think without proper care and devotion to the study of these monstrous creatures that the world would be just fine. Its with these wise and sophisticated scientists and their hard work that helps keep the death toll from these diseases manageable. Scientists use years full of preparation, thought, and evidence to back up their predictions and without taking notice, we might be unprepared for another attack on humanity from these pandemics.

    Opposing views, Page 335 Paragraph 4

    Although there has been on record a new disease every year, they have done their damage. On the brink of ``bringing society to its knees,`` these deadly pandemics are sweeping the globe killing of hundreds to thousands of people a year. Even though the amount of people that was predicted to affect didn't come true, these diseases still took action eliminating a chunk of the world`s population.

    Opposing views, Page 336 Paragraph 4

    While influenzas are a fascinating case, they prove to be pretty spectacular creatures to study. Having the ability to change its appearance, giving it a new name every year, they combine with different elements to immunity. Although dangerous these virus` are not as `horrifying` as some like to think. Although there's a new pandemic every so often, these virus are manageable, easy to understand, and can be kept under control.

    Opposing views, Page 338 Paragraph 2

    Garden-variety influenza is a disease we shouldn't have to take so seriously. In the winter, the flur infects millions of Canadians and can be said to lead to an increasing number of mortality, however, immunization is the new accessory, so people shouldn't be so afraid. These immunizations should be taken on by the rest of the world, setting a standard to help get rid of these diseases.

  7. In the article “Much Ado about Clucking,” the author, Richard Schabas, insists that we need more time to analyze the possibility of pandemic avian flu turning into human influenza and its possible affects to human beings thoroughly and scientifically before we conclude epidemic flu virus as a massive human killer virus.
    Some scientists believed that avian influenza virus may turn into human influenza virus thru so-called “antigenic swift.” Based on these scientists’ view, flu virus becomes more powerful so that there’s more and more people die every year. However, Schabas contradicts this idea by stating that more people die from influenza virus year to year because of its virulence, not because of its fatality. I agree with Schabas’ assertion because the fatality rate of pandemic influenza virus is not higher than HIV or pest. In addition, there are many well-known ways; such as washing hands frequently, wearing a mask to prevent, and getting vaccinated; to prevent pandemic flu from spreading. I also agree on Schabas’ opinion on the possibility of mutation of avian influenza. According to Schabas, throughout the history, human beings have had several influenza which could possible mutate into human influenza, but there was none. So, there’s no strong connection found between avian flu and human influenza yet. Lastly, Davis, who views avian virus as a serious threat to human beings, criticized that the public health authorities’ “incompetence, greed and political skulduggery,” so we cannot expect vaccine made timely in response to pandemic flu. However, Schabas argues that Canada has a more advanced, well-organized public health system, despite of defects in public health authorities than before. So, people will get the benefit of public health system in response to pandemic flu.

  8. The way the essay is presented is no the way I would title an essay about the Avian Flu. It is a disease that has killed people all over the world. The author implies that Avian Flu is nothing to worry about, maybe right now it isn’t, but I would be upset if I had a family member die from this pandemic and someone is mocking it. I agree with the writer that the essay he’s responding to sounds to serious and scary. We should be aware of the pandemic, not scared. Right now Avian Flu isn’t a huge threat, but we should still be serious about it
    I have not had any personal situations where the virus has affected me. I can still relate to this pandemic now because I am educated on the subject. However, the flu has not affected me personally, but there is always the possibility of it happening in the future. The Avian Flu could affect each and every one of us in the near future.
    “The second is the mutation scenario; this is the stuff of science fiction.”
    “...he uses words such as horrifying and shocking a little too freely.”
    “To be fair, this is a fascinating story.” “Human influenza is an elusive virus.”
    Mutation is something we should be worried about when it comes to influenza, there are always possibilities.
    The Avian Flu is horrifying and shocking; it is something we really need to be worried about.
    Human influenza is boring an we should not become educated on it.

  9. Richard Schabas’ essay “Much Ado about Clucking” takes an educated stance on the over-exaggeration of panic caused by the Avian Flu; the threat of a growing pandemic as Schabas describes it is nothing but “speculation”. However, even with the minute chances of an outbreak, an atheistic view on the subject such as the author’s could lead to a potential extinction of uncaring human beings. It is true that a pandemic of the H5N1 virus is extravagantly rare, yet this does not mean that an eruption is impossible. It may be fun to point and laugh at the people taking preventative measures to something that most likely won’t ever happen, but if the time ever does arise that extended finger won’t do anything in the battle to save millions of lives.
    The researchers and analysts over-seeing the surveillance of the avian flu have only the best interests of the population in mind when releasing information to the public. Mike Davis, the “master of disaster prose,” is said by Schabas to be an alarmist, using words like “shocking” and “horrifying” too much. Schabas also states that the prediction of the H5N1 virus mutating into a human virus is excessively rare. Opposition was not the only stance taken by the text creator as he agreed with Davis in that public health fails to truly analyze the whole situation and is only interested in quick reaction to make themselves appear reactionary in front of the population. Richard Schabas provides a sceptic view to a panic stricken nation and does provide some well needed relief, but the issue cannot be ignored all together, precautions must be taken.

  10. In the essay “ Much Ado about Clucking”, the author Richard Schabas provides his critique of the book “The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu”. Schabas clearly states that although the Avian Flu “ is a bad disease for chickens and significant concern for people who work or live closely with infected birds. It is not a threat to the rest of us.” [pg338] While I believe that Schabas has taken a much too lightly approach on the subject providing that there have been proven influenza pandemics, for instance the Spanish Flu which killed 60 million people, I do agree that unless you’re in close proximity to these infected birds there is a better chance of getting killed in a car accident then by the Avian Flu.

    Human influenza has become a very elusive virus, having the ability to change with combining elements of other influenza virus. The human population has no immunity from this virus and thus leading to world-wide pandemics. Although this rarely happens, but when it does it can lead to mass deaths.(agreeing/disagreeing Paragraph 8) While the H5N1 has proven to be an “endemic among birds, particularly chickens”[pg.338] these infected animals also provide the threat that the disease can now be passed on to humans. Furthermore, due to the fact that chicken is a world-wide export, these infected birds can lead us to a world-wide pandemic. (disagreeing Paragraph 17)

  11. In the essay, "Much Ado about Clucking" by Richard Schabas the topic is presented in a careless and amateurish manner. After all, hindsight is always twenty-twenty. Schabas attempts to dehinge the very real threat that pandemics can be. If scientists and doctors shared this attitude of doubtful ignorance and niavitey who knows where the the human race would be. The fact of the matter is, if you are going to disagree with the works of what researchers are doing in terms of efforts made to stop a potential spread of a deadly disease, disagree silently; do not spread the ignorance. Furthermore, it is easy to critisize the work of others when one is sheltered in a country with state of the art mdeical technology, and not in the shoes of a population which is poverty stricken and defenseless to such threats.

    The situation of 'H5N1' has affected all students, considering a school is a 'grand central station' for germs. You cannot walk three feet on residence and not see a sign or poster displaying proper hygene procedures and disciplines. Knowledge of proper hygene can be a populations best defense against pandemics. So to sit back in your writer's chair and conjure up insults and critisizms about the way a nation is reponding to a potential crisis is ignorant, to say the least.

  12. Richard Shabas' article "Much Ado About Clucking" discusses the global phenomenon of the pandemic, and presents the idea that all of the hype surrounding internationally significant infections is something of concern for those in close proximity to the infection, but, "... is not a threat to the rest of us" (P.338, Essay Writing).

    Schabas presents his material in a highly satirical fashion which emphasizes his point that media attention and public fear are vastly blown out of proportion. Focusing on avian influenza (H5N1) Schabas furthers his point that global terror of a pandemic is unjustified by referring to other literature on the subject. Schabas cites that in Mike Davis' tome "The Monster at the Door," "... [Davis] uses words such as 'horrifying' and 'shocking' a little too freely" (P.337). I fully agree with the presentation of the idea that media has caused such unnecessary concern, and can identify with the author having witnessed the SARS outbreak.

    During its short lived fame, SARS invaded the public realm with news stories of cancelled flights and images of hundreds of 'at-risk' people wearing respiratory masks. While a vast majority of the population had heard and taken precautions against the virus, a very insignificant amount actually became infected. While it may be argued that taking these precautions prevented widespread infection, even those in developing countries with inadequate medical coverage felt little impact.

    While a global pandemic such as H5N1 or SARS is always a possibility, so too is dieing in one's sleep. Living in fear of a disease is no way to live one's life, and the biased media coverage on the subject is farcical at best. Catching one of these 'superbugs' is almost as rare as the occurence of just such a global event.


    Schabas agrees:
    "He is quite correct in his criticism of public health authorities" (P.337).
    Davis is in no way correct in his criticism of public health authorities as their willingness to suspend traditional scientific skepticism may well have saved many lives.

    Schabas disagrees:
    "Predictions that the current behavior of the H5N1 avian virus is indicative of a growing pandemic threat are really just speculation" (P.337).
    As our knowledge of the H5N1 strain is limited, predictions of it's behavior leading to a viable international crisis are much cause of concern.

    Schabas agrees:
    "Ontario's program of universal influenze immunization is an excellent model that should be emulated country-wide" (P.338).
    Ontario's universal immunization model is an ambiguous attempt to control a virus that typically poses us little threat, and furthermore is a breach of one's right to choose immunization.

  13. The essay, "Much Ado about Clucking" written by Richard Schabas presented the topic of Avian flu from both sides of the spectrum. Despite a mocking title, the essay gave a good introduction to the issue of infectious diseases, and how Avian flu links to examples of these diseases in our past. The author went into detail about the topic with an open minded attitude. I like that he was able to explain how many other deaths are more common, but how Avian flu can still be a theory to cause panic. Antigenic drift, which gives the virus the ability to modify its appearance, and mutation make the virus slightly dangerous and very hard to detect. As a result, the author explained that this disease has the potential to turn into the next world wide pandemic. After explaining all the hazardous of this data, Schabas was able to convince me that, despite this information, that the avian flu is at a very low risk of turning into a pandemic, and other health risks should be focused on more directly.

    Looking back on the medical issues that have arisen during my 20 years of life, I have come to the conclusion that there are many health concerns in our world. When I was young, the fear of chickenpox was common. As I grew older, Mad Cow Disease, SARS and Swine flu have all caused me to panic to a certain extent. Although I agree that people should take extra precautions in regards to sanitation and personal contact, I do not believe that the avian flu is a theory to loss sleep over. Being a logical person, I looked at the direct facts relating to this disease to discover that very few wildlife and humans have contracted the disease. Although the idea of avian flu does give me a little scare, I will choose to worry more about the risks of car crashes or cancer, which have higher incidence rates.

    Where the authour agrees:
    "To be fair, this is a fascinating story. Human influenza is an elusive virus. It has the ability to subtly modify its outward appearance through a process called antigenic drift."
    Where the author disagrees:
    "We now have reasonable prospect of an effective vaccine; we have antibiotics and other medical interventions to treat secondary bacterial pneumonias; and our overall state of health is much better"

  14. When yo read a title such as "Much Ado About Clucking" you may find it hard to find the following essay credible. But even though the title may be comical, the possible pandemic that is the Avian Flu is no laughing matter.

    The author presents a plethora of facts and dates whihc support and impose his ideas as well as quotes and ideas from other authors. He brings up the views of Mike Davis and plays on the fact that he seems like a "Dr. Doom" type. Davis writes on topics that strike fear into the hearts of readers and mostly for no justifiable reason. While the author agrees Davis has agreat scary topics for discussion, he believes its out of proportion considering SARS for example has killed less in total than smoking tobacco does in an hour.

    I am always highly skeptical when it comes to these so called pandemics, as I feel we all should. The past few "super-killer" virus' have all come up short. Swine flu, SARS, Avian Flu; they had people all worked up over close to nothing. More people die of the common cold each year than all these "pandemics" combined. So why do we not put more care and attention into these seemingly harmless sniffles? I blame the media mostly, but also the naive nature of the typical human being. Once while watching CNN I heard the headline "Swine Flu: The Next Black Plague?". I was just about ready to throw me TV out the window! That is quite the accusation. And why are we trying to predict these pandemics when history has shown us that these super-killers mutate and are unleashed completely at random? The last deadly mutation was hundreds of years ago, so the "experts" tell us we are overdo. How can you be overdo for a random event?

    So live life to the fullest, go outdoors and don't wear a useless dust mask. Your more likely to die driving to work anyway.

  15. In the essay “Much Ado about Clucking” by Richard Schabas, I feel the topic is presented well and the title of the essay catches my interest. Schabas uses sarcasm throughout the essay to emphasize the exaggeration towards so called pandemics.
    I agree with the author’s point of view and believe that currently pandemics are over exaggerated and a single death from an infectious disease is not “front-page news” material. With the panic of H5N1, I can directly relate to the situation. Around every corner there is information bombarding us with updates and prevention of the swine flu. I feel this panic is unnecessary and many other health diseases are more of a threat to my health.

    1. From disagree to agree - Predictions that current behavior of H5N1 virus is indicative of a growing pandemic that will b a serious threat to all.
    2. From disagree to agree - The Public Health Authorities have done a good job using their scientific skepticism to prevent infectious diseases.
    3. From agree to disagree - A new super flu will cause a super epidemic, a pandemic that will cause a panic to millions, pose a threat to economies but eventually only cause death to few.

  16. The title is a very creative and attention drawing way to present the topic. It is also presented well throughout the essay with lots of opinions and evidence about the disease H5N1.
    In the essay it states that “infectious diseases have a capacity to frighten us far beyond any objective assessment of risk”. I greatly agree with this statement. Pandemics or the possibility of a pandemic are made out to be a way bigger deal then they actually are. Three are a great number of other “killers” smoking, heart disease and cancer, all of which are preventable. All and all we should be more afraid of the diseases spreading through our population that a preventable and not put so much issue and thought into possible pandemics. More people die day to day from car crashes then they do from avian flu. I cannot identify with this situation at all, as I have grown up in a very healthy safe town where such things don’t happen. However living in the city now I will be more exposed to these diseases.
    “Import, more or less clandestinely, several hundred U.S doctors...” (Paragraph 11) - disagree
    Several hundred U.S. doctors were indeed imported to make up the shortfall caused by ill and frightened physicians.
    “He is quite correct in his criticism of...” (Paragraph 15) –agree
    There is no way our public health authorities have been too willing to suspend their scientific scepticism to cash in on short term political expediency.
    “Is is chicken flu or...” (Paragraph 17) –both
    The avian flu is not a pandemic, or a large issue at that, it is just an over exaggerated scare.
    The avian flu is defiantly a pandemic; it has the chance to become a worldwide killer in a matter of time.

  17. Richard Schabas’ introduction to his essay “Much Ado about Clucking” states that Canadians as well as developed countries have a lesser risk for contracting infectious diseases, based on facts and statistics. Schabas’ research strongly affirms that with all the
    Dangers lurking outside of these solid countries, we can reassure ourselves that with a overall prominent health care available to the general public, individuals may have a peaceful state of mind.

    Although I agree with Schabas’ discontent for the exaggeration of the warnings of infectious diseases up to a point, I cannot accept his overall conclusion to ease off the awareness of potential dangers. Infectious diseases have a high risk of accelerated death.
    As the author states “ about as many die from tobacco addiction every hour” these individuals have brought on complications upon themselves, as to the innocent victims who do not plan to come in contact with a particular disease lose all meaning of life. Yes, we have the effective vaccinations and antibiotics but decreasing awareness may make us ill-prepared for the return or the next unexpected attack.

    A great example of unawareness is the beginning of March 2009 an outbreak of H1N1 in Mexico so called “swine flu” has infected not only the citizens but tourists from around the world as well. Swine flu has a history dating back in 1976 when a pandemic scare alarmed millions of civilians to head to the nearest clinic for immunization. Shockingly this past has resurfaced and because of the headlines and articles that covered front page newspapers and magazines; civilians had knowledge and improved preparations for the outcome of H1N1.

    Furthermore Schabas’ essay agrees that there are particular types of infectious diseases that have had a great impact to our society as he explains “there is a lot of good, solid science journalism” meaning that awareness helped us develop better strategies. The author goes on also by saying “To be fair, this is a fascinating story” expresses how Mike Davis’ story of “human influenza” to be a informative topic, curious by avid readers.

  18. In the essay, “Much Ado About Clucking”, the author ( Richard Schabas) presents the topic of serious health pandemics, and how they are viewed on a global scale. Schabas argues that, yes, the threat of a serious health pandemic is a major global issue, but the magnitude of these threats are sometime blown out of proportion. schabas uses the example of the H5N1 (avian flu) Virus that has taken a toll on the Southern United States of America. Schabas states that, over the past 15 years, public health and infectious disease experts have bombarded us with dire warnings about the ‘coming plague’”. Schabas depicts the significance of the threat of the avian flu, that perhaps it’s not as threatening as many view it.
    Although his statements seem un-credible and opinionated, he raises a very strong point. I can identify his topic, because I am educated about the issue through school and the media, however, I have never visually witnessed a serious health pandemic. Although there seems to be a sense of urgency and panic about the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus that is sweeping across North America, I have not been introduced to an immediate case, and therefore I don’t clearly recognize the effects of such a serious virus.
    1)Schabas agrees with author Mike Davis, on the statement that, “The human influenza is a very elusive virus”, because it “has the ability to subtly modify its outward appearance” (page 336, Para. 8).
    2)He disagrees with Davis by arguing that, “The Ontario government didn’t import, more or less clandestinely, several U.S. doctors to cover shortages caused by ill or frightened physicians” (page 337, para.11).
    3)Lastly, Schabas supports Davis’ criticism of public health authorities. Schabas states, “They have been too willing to suspend their traditional scientific skepticism to cash in on short-term political expediency” (page 337, Para. 15).

    Opposing these statements:
    1)“Human Influenza is manageable, because our medical research is much more advanced than the strength of this virus.
    2) “Because there was a shortage of physicians in Ontario to deal with the outbreak, The Ontario government had to import several U.S. doctors”
    3.) “Public health officials have been very consistent in maintaining traditional scientific measurements in order to deal with the pandemic”

  19. It is said to be, according to "MuchoAdo about Clucking", by Richard Schabas (Globe and Mail, October 8, 2005), that many individuals tend to overreact about the influenza that would "bring our economies to a standstill and modern society to its knees." Schabas did a fairly good job in telling the real facts about how people do over estimate the annual flu brought upon and carried throughout the majority of the human population. I couldn't find myself disagreeing too much with the author's point of view. He draws a point that it is a great extreme to which the extent that many people drag it out, and how it is repeated with almost every "pandemic" discovered.

    Although we, as humans, are responsible for most actions, I beleive that humans were naturally meant to endure an average flu season, as we have been since the early 1900's and earlier. Lots of recent news and panic about H1N1 (swine flu) has been going around, so therefore I am at a point where I can also relate to most of Schabas' points.

    Schabas agrees with others whem he brings up the argument of the Spanish flu, and how nearly 60 million were killed, and that a repeat can have less of a consequence in the modern day.
    Rewrite: The influenza disaster that had taken place during 1918-1919 is portrayed as a worst-case scenario, killing nearly 60 million people. If a similar pandemic were to re-occur, there is no telling how it would affect humans, due to our genetic make-up, the strength of the influenza's strain changes and at what rate it is changing. (paragraph 16)

    Schabas also states his disagreement about the continous fear of H5N1 when he beleives that indications of the H5N1 avian virus is indicative of a growing pandemic is just a speculation.
    Rewrite: Since scientists have never officially studied of the emergence of a pandemic strain, it still remains very possible that H5N1 can have severe consequences. It is still due to the way that influenza functions and the possibility that anything can happen at any given moment. (paragraph 12)

    A disagreement is also made when the author claims that H5N1 is solely a bad disease and should only occur as a concern to people who work or live closely with infected birds.
    Rewrite: Although it is perceived to be that H5N1 is only a threat to those constantly near infected birds, this is not always true. It happens as a virus, therefore it can spread to numerous people and places at a rapid rate. This being said, many should take precaution about this pandemic strain. (paragraph 17)

  20. Schabas believes that poeple are over reacting about the infectious diseases and actually heart disease, cancer; motor-vehicle crashes and tobacco killed more people.(P336 paragraph 7)

    Schabas believes that pandemic virus is scary, because of the infectivity not because of the virulence.(P336 paragraph 9)

    Schabas said that vaccinum scientists have never had the opportunity to use modern methods to study the emergence of a pandemic strain.(P337 paragraph 12)


    Someone may say people are over reacting about the infectious diseases, because the death number is not high enough. But if we do not carry about the infectious diseases and contain them immediately, they will become global disasters. Without studying them, they will become extremly powerful.

    Pandemic virus is scary because of the infectirity and virulence is another reason why pandemic virus is frightening. Some virus with powerful virulence can kill millions in a short time and they are used to make weapons as well.

    Although scientists do not know too much about the pandemic virus, but without some of their medical harvest, more people would lose their lives during some powerful pandemic virus.

  21. Mark Moodie
    The topic is presented in a very skeptical tone. The writer uses previous examples of purposes pandemics, as well as stats of the avian flu to demistify and critique much of the hype which has gone into it.
    I agree with much of what the writer says, people need to look at the avian flu relative to other harmful risks. He makes a good point in that SARS has killed as many people as those who died from smoking in one hour. Another good point he makes that for the Avian Flu to become seriously deadly it has to mutate, and because this mutation will come about at a random time there is little need to worry about it. Yet I feel that because of all he attention that has gone into it, humans will be more prepared and aware if this mutation occurs.
    There very little that I can identify with this situation, as I do not follow or believe to much of what is said in the media and as said in the essay, only 2% of Canadian deaths come from infectious diseases.

  22. Anonymous said...
    The way the essay is presented is no the way I would title an essay about the Avian Flu.
    by Dana Richardson

  23. author himself is confused about his thoughts and did not use the instances that would have contradicted his ideas. how could he predict that a mutation is expected in 40 years and will be a pandemic