Mixed Messaging

Now, I don’t get angry very often. Most people who know me know that it takes a LOT to get me upset. (Read: me = pretty chill) So when I do get upset, it’s probably something pretty egregious.

Today, the World Health Organization’s Twitter account is what brought me to this point. Spittin’ mad, as they say out west.

As you may or may not have heard, there’s a new strain of flu kicking around in China. So far, it’s characterized by some pretty bad outcomes and lots of people who follow the flu are a bit concerned by it. The WHO is one of those organizations that’s thinking about it, and putting out information on what’s known about the disease. They’ve got a Frequently Asked Questions page on their website and everything. Even their Twitter account is pumping out quick hits from the FAQ and updates on the situation. Props to them, honestly. Five days ago I would’ve laughed if you would have tried to get me to believe WHO would be ahead of some disease outbreak. Then on the train ride home from work yesterday, I saw this:

Now, if that doesn’t seem like something to get too upset about (because, honestly, most of it is good advice), here’s what I said back:

You see, no one in the world right now knows what transmits H7N9 influenza. No one. Being that it’s an influenza virus, it’s a safe bet that it’s transmitted through oral secretions (e.g., coughs, sneezes, etc.), but we know next to nothing about this disease. Reading the WHO (remember, that’s World Health Organization, and lots of doctors work there) tweet, it makes it seem that so long as you don’t eat bloody food, you’ve got nothing to fear from the H7N9 influenza.

I got no answer. But I figured out why. Because they kept tweeting confusing messages about how food safety was a–no THE–way to prevent H7N9 influenza!

I continued to complain:

And fifteen minutes later, this tweet was posted, the last of the night from them:

What a horribly irresponsible thing to do. The sum total of the impressions of their “nevermind” tweet pales in comparison to the number of impressions from their INCORRECT food safety tweets.

And I stand by what I said, because it is me that will have to unravel the confusion in 1.5 million people who’ve now got to decipher if bloody food is the cause of a possible pandemic.

Shame on you, WHO, you should know better. Have you ever tried to unring a bell?