Malaria, cholera, dengue and tuberculosis have been killing people in their thousands for many years and continue to do so. These can be easily controlled by improving the environment, and, in comparison swine flu poses a minuscule problem. The WHO is to be blamed for declaring it a pandemic and creating fear worldwide. Now, laymen tend to associate this word with a large-scale health disaster.

The country is forced to spend crores of taxpayers’ money for procuring test kits, vaccines and masks, all of which are of questionable value in the day-to-day management of the rather ordinary disease. Why can’t the government wake up to environmental issues and clean up the country?

Dr. K. Raghu, Coimbatore

This refers to the news item ‘Novelty, sudden outbreak add to the swine flu panic’ (Aug. 22). Swine flu has created panic not only because it is contagious but also because the virus has the potential to mutate. The fatality rate as a percentage of those affected is higher in India than in other countries. Swine flu cannot be compared with heart disease, cancer or diabetes as it is a ‘donated disease’ while the others are ‘lifestyle diseases.’ When mankind works against nature, nature takes its revenge. It has now come in the form of a virus which can survive and spread easily in the present-day air-conditioned environment.

T. Sekhar, Visakhapatnam

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