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In the news: swine flu

Average: 2.8 (13 votes)

The media likes to freak people out over "pandemics" and other scare stories. You've probably heard reports about the Mexican Swine influenza that's grabbing all the headlines. Apparently, a strain of the flu virus that affected pigs has mutated into a form that can be passed on to humans. This contagious form first appeared in Mexico and has spread around the world with cases being reported from Europe to New Zealand.

But how safe are we? Well, much safer than the media would have you believe. Most cases, so far reported around the world, appear to be mild. Nearly all of the victims recover without needing to be hospitalised. At any time there are hundreds of  types of flu in the world which cause death. Flu spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands annually. The victims usually being the very old, the very young or the very weak. The swine flu is just another type and is no more or less dangerous.

News stations like CNN have to fill 24 hours a day with news and this results in them giving far too much coverage to such stories. Media reporting on issues like this is  hyperbole and completely over the top, creating a false sense of danger and panic amongst the population.

Note: Influenza is commonly known as flu (they're the same thing).
swine basically means pigs.

key words

  1. freak out (phrasal verb)
  2. mutate (verb)
  3. virus (noun)
  4. pass on (phrasal verb)
  5. contagious (adjective)
  6. mild (adjective)
  7. hospitalise (verb)
  8. annually (adverb)
  9. hyperbole (noun)
  10. panic (noun)

Now use the numbers next to each word to match them to their definitions:

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  • A feeling of fear:
  • Every year:
  • (informal) To become very emotional / upset:
  • An organism which causes disease in humans:
  • To change from one thing or type of thing into another:
  • Gentle, not strong:
  • To give a disease to another person:
  • A way of speaking / writing that makes something seem bigger than it is:
  • To take someone to hospital and keep them there for treatment:
  • Describes a disease that can be caught from someone else: