Apr 29, 2009

Lousy Swine

Swine flu is here, and like it or not, there's a hive (sty?) of activity going on in Queensland in relation to this porky plague. This morning, I suited up to visit the pathology labs at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. By "suited up", I mean I got to wear a cool visitors' badge:

I was hoping to pick up superpowers, but no,
they made me wash my hands for safety.

We watched while Health Minister Paul Lucas toured the labs, looking through microscopes at blood samples, and various impressive pieces of machinery:

"But why does it look like a large photocopy centre?"

You might be pleased to know they don't yet have an easy, quick diagnosis for swine flu - rather, they're testing for Influenza A, then the H5N1 strain of avian flu. Only after ruling out all that - and, I assume, the sniffles and the "Man Flu" - do they send off the samples to a WHO testing centre in Melbourne to cross-check with their profile of swine flu. So far, Australia remains swine flu-free.

I for one am waiting for ovine, bovine, caprine, lapine, murine and piscine influenzas, to complete the full Barnyard Variety Gift Box of Potentially Pandemic Viruses. My favourite though? Assinine flu.


  1. What they didn't make you suit up in Racal level 4 bio hazard suits? How boring!

    Will sleep easy knowing that any potential sufferer will have to wait until they die before they get diagnosed...

  2. Hazardous Material, did you tour the Queensland Sperm Bank there too ?
    (Pollies would have been at home)
    Glad you washed your hands ;)

  3. You know ...
    it DOES look like a photocopy centre.

    I always knew those places were hiding something.

  4. Well Chaz, we were just in the normal labs. I was tempted to steal some scrubs for our upcoming return season of "Prognosis: Death!" though.

    And don't worry, they're streamlining the diagnosis process as we speak, so I'm sure there'll be one within a week or two. They're currently working by a process of elimination, due to the virus being all quite new etc.

    Drej, I did not in fact, tour the sperm bank, but I did happen to glance inside a fridge to see a shelf of sample bottles labelled "Saturday - Urines". Mmm, urines.

    And Moads... it's mysterious. Like a photocopy centre, only with slightly more test tubes.

  5. Apparently the genetic tag of swine flu is Base marker EIEIO.

  6. I played genetic tag once.

    I'm still 'it'.


  7. You realise that when the full force of the Pandemic Panic starts beating down on all and sundry that you will have been identified as a target. You know, like being exposed to all that stuff and everything.
    Oh hang on. That's Zombie Panic I'm thinking of. Carry on.

  8. Path labs are remarkably dull. As is Paul Lucas.

    Not even one Machine That Went Ping?

  9. I think I saw a glimpse of a clumsy girl on Ch10 News.

    Were you the one picking up the vials and sniffing them?

  10. It's the zombie apocalypse I tells ya!!

  11. Assinine flu, thats gold.

    Please tell me the Health Minister didn't ask why does it look like a copycentre. Thats hilarious if you thought it up, but tragic if he actually asked it.

    Because god knows as a solicitor in private practice with degrees of Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws, and Master of Business Administration he is certainly well qualified to steer the state through this swine influenza A (H1N1) outbreak.

  12. No, Barnesm, that is in fact me putting words in dear Mr Lucas' mouth. ;)

    And "assinine" is actually the proper Latin term for donkeys. I guess that's where "ass" comes from.

    Also - I wouldn't be surprised if I was on several TV news stories - I was that close to Paul Lucas. I had to hold my mike around his back to get it near the Chief Health Officer when she spoke. So essentially, I was hugging the Deputy Premier of the state the entire media conference.

    Welcome to my life. ;)