Friday, May 1, 2009

Egypt Pigging Out on Swine Flu

Egypt’s population is about 90% Muslim, and most of the rest are Copts, Christians whose ancestors walked on the beach with Jesus (metaphorically) way back before it was cool. Since Muslims don’t eat the pork, almost every pig farmer in Egypt happens to be a Copt. But the Egyptian government has begun systematically slaughtering the country’s pigs as some sort of hysterical response to swine flu. At least, they say it’s a response to swine flu. Many Copts aren’t so sure, and they suspect this might be an excuse for the notoriously anti-Christian Egyptian government to clamp down on their economic prosperity. In any case, it’s terrible science on the government’s part. Despite the fact that swine flu is a mutated form of influenza that exists in pigs, you can’t catch swine flu from eating pork. The World Health Organization has told the Egyptians this, but it doesn’t seem to be working. And while the medical authorities are trying to rebrand the virus with another name, it’s probably going to be an uphill battle. If nothing else, swine flu is catchy as hell. Pun intended? Maybe. More details here.

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