The government has announced the closure of the Swine Flu hotline so beloved of journalists and other layabouts. This comes less than two months after the Chief Medical Officer admitted that the Swine Flu outbreak may not have been quite as deadly as first feared. Figures indicate that 392 people have died from the mild flu, a figure slightly less than the 210 million September death-rate predicted for the small sea-side town of Formby alone.
“It turns out that there may be one or two people still alive, somewhere,” said Medical Officer Sir Nigel Billingsworth. “Even so, this still vindicates the official medical approach. Although it is possible that large numbers of cases of diarrhoea were in fact a direct response to the medical plan code-named ‘Scare the shit out of everyone’.”
Medical experts from around the world are convening at an international conference to determine the best approach to future outbreaks and plan a co-ordinated response – as well as which manufacturer of a pointless vaccine will benefit from the next outbreak.
“We are all a little disappointed about Bird Flu, you know about all the panic in the streets,” said Billingsworth. “There wasn’t any, but I am sure we can do better next time.”
Experts believe that some opportunities were missed with the recent outbreaks due to a lack of co-ordination regarding the branding of their products.
“We had some confusion, and there was a lot of wasted exposure when the name H1N1 was used to try and convince Americans that Swine Flu, which spread to humans from industrialised pig farming, wasn't related to pigs.” said Billingsworth. “But we can't rely on the stupidity of the American public any more. Some of them have access to the Internet and a few can even read.”
Indeed it is effective branding that medical opinion is convinced will provide a more fertile breeding ground for medical papers, research grants and the all-important public service interviews on the GMTV sofa that will lead to greater royalty fees for their next books.
“We haven't done very well recently. Bird Flu , Swine Flu and Bitch Flu, they just aren't aspirational. If you are trying to get a week off work you want it to sound really, really deadly,” said Billingsworth. “We are therefore toying with 'Angry-Wildebeest-Flu' or perhaps 'Cornered-Mother-Tiger-Protecting-Her-Cub Flu'. There were licensing issues with our first choice – 'Wolverine Flu'.”
Whilst Swine Flu has claimed less deaths around the world than 'falling over' does in a month in an average care-home, medical experts insisted we must remain vigilant.
“We have to make sure that all instances of Tamiflu are completely eradicated, by making sure you all get as much as possible,” said Billingsworth. “So let me re-iterate the official medical advice – you will all be dead by morning.”
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