What can we learn from swine flu?

So is it all over? Was it just media hype? And what have we learned from the first pandemic of the 21st century?

Freezing weather

Maybe, no, and quite a lot, really. Cases of flu are now running at or below seasonal average, despite the freezing weather. Swine flu was – mercifully – less dangerous than originally feared. But media hype? That’s an insult to the families who lost young children, or pregnant mothers, during the outbreak.

Just before Christmas, I recorded a BMJ podcast with GPs and proper swine flu experts Dr Kate Adams and Dr Dean Marshall. We talked about how to answer the difficult questions patients might ask their GPs, about Tamiflu, the swine flu vaccines, and – interestingly – what will happen next year, now that people have been primed to expect treatment for flu.

You can listen to the answers here.

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