Left: Keeping epidemiological vigil in Manitoba
I hate to make light of a potentially deadly swine flu pandemic, but I did scratch my head and chuckle at this headline from the website of CJOB-68, Manitoba's Information Superstation. I suppose that with the rapidly growing number of swine flu cases, Manitobans have a legitimate interest like the rest of us to wonder about the appearance of the disease in their province.
Initially it seemed odd to me that folks living in this heavily rural region would be particularly concerned about swine flu. After all, with the exception of Winnipeg, Canada's fourth-largest city, Manitoba is relatively isolated from the global air and sea traffic that will likely be the hopping-off points for infected carriers of the virus.
"What next?" I laughed to myself. "News stories about swine flu in Nunavut and Greenland?"
But then I read that Manitoba has a billion-dollar pork industry that employs approximately 15,000 people, and the headline seemed a lot less funny. Those who work in the pork industry would of course be at much higher risk for swine flu, and they could become primary carriers of the disease to the surrounding cities and towns.
Sorry, Manitobans: you have every right to be worried about swine flu.