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With the media pumping out story after fevered story of a unique and "deadly" new strain of influenza sweeping the globe -- tossing words like "pandemic" around with little in the way of context -- you'd have to be a Vulcan not to experience just a touch of panic. But is this flu really so scary?
Any virus that's new to the human population poses a potential danger. But perhaps the most striking aspect of the swine flu quasi-panic is, if it had emerged just a few short years ago, we would have gone about our lives without any sense that anything unusual was even under way.
After all, millions of people around the world get the flu each year, and tens of thousands die as a result -- most of them very old or very young or people whose immune systems are already compromised.
The vast majority of people who catch a case of flu feel like crap for a few days or a week, and then they recover. So far, the swine flu is no different -- it's not particularly virulent, nor is it deadlier than the strains commonly referred to as "seasonal flu" (although Mexican authorities initially thought it was for reasons that are not entirely clear)...