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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

tee bee, should I be worried about a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico because of swine flu?

That's the question I got from a pharmaceuticals rep who had stopped by our local free health clinic for the uninsured to drop off some free 'samples' of insulin.

He was rethinking a trip he had planned to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. For all you Cancun partiers who didn't kill too many grey cells on your trip, and maybe ranged out to places like Xel-ha water park or the Tulum Maya pyramids on the beach, you'll remember Playa del Carmen as that vast, sleepy tourisma outpost you zoomed past.

My response then was, "Considering that the population of Mexico City is packed (9 million in the city, 22 million in the surrounding area), and that there are now 42 confirmed deaths there, I wouldn't worry about going to Playa del Carmen, or anywhere in the area. I'm not sure I'd worry about going to Mexico City."

Today I'd just say, "Do the math." You're probably more likely to die from just about anything else, given the statistics. If it were rampantly contagious, there would be millions dead or dying in Mexico City alone, like the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed an estimated 70 to 100 million people worldwide(estimate source named here).

Right now the odds are roughly 42 in 22 million. I might put a dollar on a horse with those odds, but I wouldn't expect to see a return.