Flu Vaccine

I think people all over the world are worried about Swine Flu. It’s a topic that has really had a lot of exposure in the news recently. I will be very relieved when there is an effective vaccine made available and that’s why this article on Reuters.com caught my attention.

The first piece of medical vocabulary that caught my eye was this:

all children aged 6 months to 18 years should be immunized

Here, ‘immunized’ (immunised in the U.K. spelling) means that the children should be given an injection of a substance which will help protect them against the illness. Even though it wouldn’t protect them against Swine Flu, it would at least prevent them from catching two different forms of the Flu at at once.

There’s another interesting phrase slightly later in the article where Dr. Anne Schuchat is quoted as saying:

“I think this is very unusual to have this much transmission of influenza during the (summer) and I think it’s a testament to how susceptible people are to this virus.”

In this case, a ‘testament to’ means the same as ‘proof of’. So the amount of transmission during the summer is proof of how easy it is for people to be infected by the virus.

The expression I think is most interesting in this article comes near the end where Dr. Schuchat says the 43,771 cases of Swine Flu so far are “just the tip of the iceberg,”.

This is an expression that’s easy to explain by thinking about it visually. Imagine an iceberg in the ocean. The part of it you can see is very small compared to the whole thing. Most of the iceberg is hidden underwater.

The expression ‘tip of the iceberg’ just means the visible part of a problem is much smaller than the actual problem as a whole.

Are you worried about swine flu? How many cases have been reported in your country?

Today’s image is by Brian Hoskins