Recently, Utah’s epidemiologist, Dr. Robert Rolfs, injected his entire state with a heavy dose of complacency and told them not to worry about bird flu.
He said, “Avian influenza means bird influenza. It’s a problem for birds right now in other parts of the world, and it is a problem for birds there.” He was persuading KSL-TV reporter Shelley Osterloh that there was nothing to worry about in Utah. In fact, he told her “Utah has other health threats we should be concerned about.” You can read Rolfs comments at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=185817
Rolfs in effect sedated the entire Utah population.
Nevermind that former Utah governor, Mike Leavitt, and now Human Health Secretary, recently came to Utah and said it’s time to get prepared for what could be the most devastating pandemic in our history.
Never mind that Dr. Robert Webster — the scientist who discovered H5N1 — has called avian influenza the “most frightening virus” he has ever seen.
Never mind that the CDC, the WHO, and scientists worldwide are trying desperately to find a solution to save whole nations.
One can almost visualize Osterloh addressing a gathered crowd of Roman citizens in 165 B.C. when the Antonine Plague was about to begin killing 5,000 Romans a day. “Do not fear, my fellow Romans. Harken unto me…these rumors of a plague are but whispers in the wind. Go about your business. I have spoken with Rome’s greatest physician and he says Rome will never fall to plague.”
Rolfs wants Utah residents to forget about bird flu and worry about something else, like pertussis. Reporter Osterloh abandons her objectivity and sidles up to Rolfs and proudly agrees that “The bird flu isn’t in the USA.” The inference is that Utah residents shouldn’t worry. Not one bit. How could it possibly get over the mighty Wasatch mountains and hurt us? Well, Ms. Osterloh, I guess we should wait until it takes wing on the thousands of Utah seagulls and one of them drops a gift on your shoulder before Utah residents should take action.
This false sense of well-being spouted by Rolfs may soon invade other states, other epidemiologists. Be wary of this state-sponsored vaccine of serenity. It’s a vaccine your local government wants you to take so you won’t worry so much. But it could kill you.