Die Pandemie, die keine war

PALO ALTO – Im letzten Juni hat die Weltgesundheitsorganisation der Vereinten Nationen als Reaktion auf einen Ausbruch des H1N1-Virus (bzw. der Schweinegrippe) die höchste Pandemiewarnstufe ausgerufen, Phase 6, was bedeutet, dass eine Pandemie begonnen hat – es war das erste Mal in 41 Jahren, dass die Organisation diesen erklärten Schritt unternommen hat. Doch scheint der Ausbruch weniger zu dem bösartigen Wildschwein geworden zu sein, das die WHO-Bürokraten vorausgesagt hatten, sondern eher zu einem geschmorten Schweinefilet mit Äpfeln und Salbei.

Im Grunde hat die WHO wiederholt Sherlock Holmes’ Warnung missachtet: „Es ist ein Kardinalfehler, Theorien aufzustellen, bevor man alle Fakten kennt.“ Zudem war der Pandemiealarm gleich doppelt merkwürdig, zumal die normale saisonale Grippe jedes Jahr über die Welt hinwegfegt, stets weitaus tödlicher ist als das zurzeit zirkulierende H1N1 mit geringer Virulenz und gewiss die WHO-Definition einer Pandemie erfüllt: Infektionen in einem großen geografischen Gebiet, von denen ein großer Anteil der Bevölkerung betroffen ist.

Ironischerweise kann das Auftreten der H1N1-Grippe in den letzten neun Monaten unterm Strich als ein Vorteil für die Gesundheit der Bevölkerung gesehen werden, da sie die wesentlich ansteckenderen und tödlicheren saisonalen Grippestämme unterdrückt oder zumindest verdrängt hat. In der zweiten Januarwoche wurden 3,7 % der Amerikaner positiv auf die saisonale Grippe getestet, im Vergleich zu 11,5 % in der gleichen Woche 2009. Die offizielle Zahl der Todesopfer von H1N1 beträgt weltweit unter 14 000, während der saisonalen Grippe in den Vereinigten Staaten durchschnittlich 36 000 Menschen zum Opfer fallen und Hunderttausende in anderen Ländern.

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