Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What about philosophy -- does it matter if it's true or not?

A public-health message, via Jim:

Novel A/H1N1 influenza: updated Q&A from the CDC

Can I get novel H1N1 swine flu from reading novels?

Recently there has been heightened public concern about the risk of contracting H1N1 influenza from exposure to large literary works, based in part on media reports of a pediatric case following a reading of “Charlotte’s Web”. The CDC has a few similar cases:

--In Wilkes-Barre, PA, a 43-year-old male fell ill with flu-like symptoms after finishing one Dostoyevsky novel and reaching chapter 65 in a second one.

--A male teen in Skokie, IL, was hospitalized briefly after reading the collected short stories of John Cheever.

--Two high-school English teachers and a librarian reported dizziness and high fever partway through Lampedusa’s “The Leopard” (Colquhoun translation).

The CDC is investigating these incidents, but has not yet found any association between the reading material and H1N1 influenza.

I just finished reading “The Three Little Pigs” to my daughter. Do I need Tamiflu?

The CDC is not advising any special precautions related to swine-themed literature. However, certain groups who are exposed to large amounts of reading on a regular basis may be at risk, including literature professors, book club discussion leaders, proofreaders, and bookish recluses. Until further information is available, the following precautions should be observed:

--Postpone novel-reading if you are in contact with others who have symptoms of reading.

--Choose Cliff’s Notes or Reader’s Digest condensed versions when available, or rent the video.

--Skim through long descriptions.

--Avoid skipping back to earlier chapters to remind yourself of character names.

Should my school close down their English classes?

The CDC is monitoring the end-of-year term paper season carefully, and will issue appropriate guidelines for educational institutions. Certain volumes of Faulkner, Austen and Melville have been determined safe by CD laboratory reading. For a complete list, see the cdc.gov web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment